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Jon Anderson - Olias of Sunhillow CD (album) cover

OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW

Jon Anderson

 

Prog Related

3.93 | 267 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zitro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars An extremely inspired and creative new age album!!

Here, Jon Anderson first proves that he can be the 'oldfield' way (play all instruments) ... while his playing is not virtuosic at all in any instrument except his voice ... he created an absolutely beautiful and uplifting album! This is the solo album that is the most similar to Yes in my opinion (very spiritual and fantasy-like). The warning I would give about this album is that Jon Anderson vocals are very unusual (for people unfamiliar to yes) and sometimes, hearing him for the first time here can be overwhelming. So, do not stop spinning the disc because the singer sounds like an alien! You will get used to his voice. I think this is the most spritual album I have heard, keep a note on that. It also has somewhat of a soundtrack feel. The album begins beautifully with the vangelis-like Atmospheric song called 'Ocean Song. After the weakest track 'Meeting', he shows us how beautiful the harp can be in the first 2 minutes of Ranyart while ending the song gracefully with a short vocal dominated song that reminds me of Tales of Topographic Oceans'. Qoquat en Transit is a track divided in two segments. The second segment of the piece is very strange and is focused around a rhythm. 'Flight of the Moorglade' is a simplier track focused on vocal melodies/harmonies, and overwhelming amount of instrumentation at the end.

That is nothing compared to the beauty of the second side. "Solid Space" is mindblowing!! A great keyboard line is introduced, and it is played for about 5 minutes. However, that keyboard line is so brilliant and powerful that it doesn't feel repetitive. The music on the background is spectacular! Jon Anderson Vocals are at their best, and here, he uses his voice as an instrument : a crazy descending 'AHHaaAaaAaAAoooo' vocal riff. This song is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. I hope it is put as a sample MP3 here in progarchives. That song is followed by Moon Ra, the epic of the album. Beginning with strange vocal harmony done in chants, it captivates you from the start. Musically, this man alone can make music with such quality and brilliance as Yes' best moments. After 5 minutes of vocal showmanship (it gets intense near the end), the song undergoes a mellow and beautiful keyboard solo section. Then, more melodic vocals appear until a pretty acoustic guitar takes over the song in pure tranquility. After the guitar solo is finished, a new age section finishes the song. After all that beauty, I usually am almost about to drop a tear, and get lots of goosebumps, yet the album is not over ... the last song (many times considered the best song from the album) concludes the album perfectly. This song is a mid-tempo excellent song, and one of the most straightforward songs of the album, it still is incredibly complex in the background.

This is not just music, this is art! I highly recommend this album and I think it is essential to any collection of prog rock music. If you are a fan of Yes' spiritual works (awaken, close to the edge, soon, and Tales of Topographic Oceans), you will like this even more.

Highlights : Solid Space, Moon Ra

Let Downs : Meeting

My Grade : A-

Zitro | 5/5 |

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