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Marc Carlton - Ovriah CD (album) cover


Marc Carlton

Crossover Prog

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The Rain Man
4 stars Released in 2007, 'Ovriah' is Marc Carllton's 6th album. Once again he brings his expansive knowledge of the guitar and synthesiser to the fore; combined with a well organised and thorough approach to song writing. Although this instrumental piece is a mini-album; at 37 minutes in length, although it is short for Carlton; it is considered the norm for a full length album these days. To me it makes perfect sense and reaches the same quality achieved in all his other albums. It feels like he has given his ideas enough time to expand and at the same time does not overdo it.

The first 3 tracks: 'Long after the end.', ''Towards Recollection' and 'Ovriah's Distance' set the scene and have a relaxed, pleasant feel to them. In particular, on 'Ovraih's Distance', where Carlton uses the synthesizer to create a flute sound which is one of my favourite moments on the album. Each track of the first 3 tracks builds on the previous one, as the music gathers momentum. The fourth track 'Triumvirate' acts as the climax to the first 3 tracks which sees a complete change in mood, as the distorted guitar gives the impression something bad has happened. I can just imagine someone going about there day quite happily in the first 3 tracks, then suddenly someone drops a bombshell and does not know how to deal with it. For the rest of this track, its like the person is reflecting on what has happened and the music becomes more ambient. Track 5; 'Echoes of Ages' starts off with the identical riff to 'Triumvirate' but this time its done with a pure, clean sounding guitar. To me this indicates that the same thing happened but this time the person knew how to deal with it as if they have learnt from their mistake. After the riff it is as if the person has climbed out of a hole, as the guitar pitch gradually increases to one of happiness. The last two tracks; 'Tabulsa Rasa' and 'Who sleeps in Throne Eternal', feel like they are reflecting and jubilant about being back on track. The warm melodies return and the album finishes with the same guitar piece as the first track, showing that things are back to normal.

On a side note if you buy this CD, it will allow you access to a special area of Marc's website which tells you the story which he is conveying through the album. Personally I have not read this yet as I prefer to interpret albums in my own way first. However I will read it now this review has been published.

One of the things that stand out about 'Ovriah' is how the 7 tracks combine to create a bigger picture. Most artists when writing albums have maybe 20 tracks recorded then whittle it down to the best 12. These tracks are usually completely unrelated and stand on their own rather than as part of a larger entity. I am not saying I don't appreciate these types of album as they take up about 90% of my CD collection. But having an album whereby each track is purposefully made and placed on an album requires not only more skill but the end result makes more sense and if done right like this, you'll be listening to it for a long time.

Overall 'Ovriah' is a wonderful piece of work by Carlton. It is well constructed and well delivered which just shows once more how talented this young musician is. As this is shorter than his previous efforts, it makes it more accessible than his other albums. Therefore, I would recommend this as a starting point, before getting into his longer albums such as Reflex Arc and Still. Whether you decide to make up your own story or use the story from the website to listen to the album; you are in for some great music.

Report this review (#163756)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Portrait of a man

In a fascinating, exclusive interview for this site in 2007 (see the Interviews section of the forum), Marc Carlton provides some interesting background to this album. "Ovriah" was one of the first pieces of music Marc ever wrote, but at the time he felt he did not have the skills or equipment to do the piece justice as a recording. An early acoustic version appeared as "Ovriah II", a track on Carlton's first album, but it took another 8 years for things to go any further. When he decided the time was right to commit the music to tape, the recordings were reasonably straightforward, helped in no small part by Marc's long time familiarity with the music.

When asked about the relatively short length of the album (a shade under 40 minutes), Marc says that he sees it as an EP or mini-album. Admirably, he says he resisted the urge to pad the album out simply to fill the space available on a CD. The music is intended as a "symphonic portrait" of someone called "Ovriah", in seven parts. "Ovriah" was a character in a book Carlton was writing in the mid-late 1990's.

The music here is closer to that which appeared on "Still" than on "Reflex arc", being generally more ambient and unhurried. Soft sound based colours dominate the early tracks, with waves of pleasant noise being preferred to discernible melodies. As the third section "Ovriah's Distance" develops, electric and acoustic guitars move us towards a more defined musical structure. This development is sustained on the following "Triumvirate", where harsh rock based lead guitar suddenly sends us in a completely unexpected direction. As such, this section represents the musical crescendo of the piece, a sort of apex if you will, after which we are gradually returned from whence we started.

Marc's affection for the music of Mike Oldfield becomes obvious on "Tabula Rasa", a more orthodox gentle rock section featuring lead guitar. Some fine piano rounds things off nicely on the closing "Who Sleeps In Throne Eternal".

In all, a highly enjoyable album of moods. There is little here by way of excitement (other than on "Triumvirate"), this most definitely is music to unwind to.

Report this review (#302259)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | Review Permalink

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