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Iona - Open Sky CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.09 | 94 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Iona's Open Sky is, if anything, a lovely excursion from typical progressive rock, so much so that I would hesitate applying the label. This is, for the most part, breathy Celtic music with minimalistic instrumentation serving as a backdrop, and four lead instruments- bagpipes, violin, electric guitar, and gorgeous feminine vocals. Mainly, the album suffers from a sameness that makes actively listening to it something of a bore; instead, this makes excellent background music.

"Woven Cord" Airy music opens the first piece. When things pick up, there's heavy drumming and blasts of a wailing bagpipe. It is followed by electric guitar over a spacious backdrop.

"Wave After Wave" Retaining the pervasive Celtic flavor, the second piece features a bittersweet fiddle. Joanne Hogg's beautiful vocals are heard for the first time.

"Open Sky" Over sparse instrumentation, Hogg sings. This is largely a vocal track that features some vast electric guitar playing.

"Castlerigg" This expansive piece consists of light synthetic padding and eventual bagpipes. Gentle vocals dance gracefully on the calm and quiet music. It doesn't pick up until the final two minutes, where the piper really lets go alongside a peppy rhythm section.

"A Million Stars" Melancholic violin makes up the shortest piece.

"Light Reflected" This song features delicate vocals and a more forceful guitar solo.

"Hinba" Here is yet another soft song highlighting Hogg's copious talent as a singer and Troy Donockley's abilities as a bagpiper.

"Songs of Ascent (Part 1)" The first section of this tripartite piece consists of more New Age music, eventually led by a calming flute. Suddenly heavy drumming sets upon things, abruptly introducing the vocals.

"Songs of Ascent (Part 2)" Inviting and delightful, the second part brings in an electric guitar and a soothing harp. It opens into what is perhaps the airiest portion of the album.

"Songs of Ascent (Part 3)" Lovely vocalizations and buoyant percussion makes for a charming listening experience. It is followed by a full-bodied guitar solo.

"Friendship's Door" The final track is a sleepy one- more of the same, or, I should say, less of the same.

Epignosis | 2/5 |


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