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Oblivion Sun biography
Hailing from Maryland (USA), five-piece OBLIVION SUN were formed by Frank Wyatt (keyboards and saxes) and Stanley Whitaker (guitars and vocals), founding members of HAPPY THE MAN, from the ashes of the legendary US 70's prog band.

HTM had reformed in 1999, and released two CDs, "Death's Crown" (1999) and "The Muse Awakens" (2004). However, a series of practical problems prevented the band members from getting together to record a follow-up to the latter album, in spite of the large amount of material they had gathered. Therefore, Wyatt and Whitaker decided to begin recording under the name of PEDAL GIANT ANIMALS, a duo project featuring drummer Chris Mack (formerly with ILUVATAR) as a guest musician.

In 2006, with the addition of Bill Plummer (keyboards), a skilled audio engineer and former Grammy nominee, and Dave DeMarco (bass), OBLIVION SUN were born. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Wyatt and engineered by Plummer, was released in September 2007 by ProPhase Music, an independent label located in Philadelphia.

The music played by OBLIVION SUN crosses many genres, while staying true to their progressive roots. The band cite such diverse influences as GENESIS, FRANK ZAPPA, GONG, KING'S X, GENTLE GIANT and XTC, and their live performances are heavily based on improvisation. They are currently active on the US live circuit.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)

Why this artist must be listed in :
While firmly rooted in the great '70s prog tradition, OBLIVION SUN are not afraid to blend diverse musical influences into an exciting, dynamic modern sound.

Oblivion Sun (2007 - studio album)

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The High PlacesThe High Places
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Prophase Music 2010
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Prophase Music 2009
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The High Places by Oblivion Sun (2013-01-29)The High Places by Oblivion Sun (2013-01-29)
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OBLIVION SUN discography

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3.92 | 88 ratings
Oblivion Sun
3.70 | 59 ratings
The High Places

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 The High Places by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.70 | 59 ratings

The High Places
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Oblivion Sun is an American band from Maryland which has been being since 2006 and done two studio records and "The High Places" is the second of those featuring Stanley Whitaker(vocals, guitars), Frank Wyatt(keyboards and saxophones), David Hughes(bass) and Bill B Brasso(drums).

Like many other records I feel this could be a record which grows with every time I listen. The front picture must be one of the years finest art works until now with a romantic landscape and a beautiful woman standing in the air. It's impossible to not hear Whitaker's simarity with Peter Gabriel and that voice coherence must be positive in the progressive ear. The vocals are very good on this record, among the best ingredients really. The instruments sound quite lame partially but the vocal parts stand out.

What's most interesting may be the long suite "The high places" in six pieces. There lies the vocals present all the time and it has a great flow. The spirit of the song feels "free". The instrumental "March of the mushroom men" is also very good with a playful melody. What's lowers this record is a couple of weak tracks such as "Dead Sea Squirrels", which is a good example of boring prog. "Everything" shows the nice vocals but isn't very interesting. I would recommend especially the second and the fifth track of this record for you listeners. On more eloge to the cover of course and for a very professional sound. I also think I will raise the rating after more listenings. Recommended!

 The High Places by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.70 | 59 ratings

The High Places
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I was pleasantly surprised by this gem of a band. They will be playing on the Bring the Prog Back tour with Sound of Contact, and it's clear as to why. The band seems to have their own sound, although I can detect Camel and Pink Floyd in there. This combo seems to be a foundation upon which they then add some humor, strong song writing, and gorgeous melodies.

At first, I thought it might be an instrumental album. The first two tracks have no lyrics at all, but when "Everything" begins to play, we are treated to an outstanding singer whom has a golden voice and smooth delivery. I think I may have gasped. It is true, though, that the majority of this album is instrumental. The final song, a six track piece, features the singer dispersed throughout, but the band seems most comfortable when reverting to an instrumental style that features strong personality and a maturity beyond the band's years.

I mentioned earlier that the band has chops when writing songs. I say this because the band seems to be able to handle instrumental tracks just as well as the catchy lyric-driven tracks. They have talent here, and also a playfulness that reminds the listener that the band doesn't take itself too seriously. With that said, the band does present a serious theme here, regardless of the track titles. The albums seems to discuss man's high places that are respected above all else, though they are really cages and blinders to seeing the beauty and wonder all around us. I find this topic relevant both socially and personally, so I appreciated it quite a bit. I'm excited to see what this band can cook up in the future. They have a mature style and a thoughtful approach that is balanced by a slightly goofy attitude that I admire. This album itself is a solid 4 stars.

 Oblivion Sun by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 88 ratings

Oblivion Sun
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by Dreamer of Pictures

4 stars Here I am writing a belated review of the first Oblivion Sun CD. I will say up front that I shot photos of a Happy the Man show at least once in the 1970s and became a regular photographer at their shows in the 2000-2005 time frame. I have done the same for Obilvion Sun. I donate the photos to the bands; often the bands arrange for me to be admitted as a guest, i.e., for free.

I've been listening to this album since it was first released.

This album struck me as being true to several themes. Stan Whitaker once said HtM needed to rock a bit more, and the Whitaker tunes here are first and foremost rockers. That's only the beginning of the stylistic tour, though. There's jazz, lots of intense and intricate keyboard interactions among Frank Wyatt and Bill Plummer, surprisingly a bit of funk, and yes, Stan does sing again.

A very welcome surprise to me was the powerful compositional influence of Bill Plummer, who contributed three tunes. Bill was a roadie for HtM and an audio tech production wizard; for a short while he took keyboard lessons from Kit Watkins of HtM, the son of two music teachers at James Madison University in Virginia. Stan once told me he proposed Bill for the lead keys seat in HtM in 1999 and was outvoted. Of Bill's contributions, I adore the sublime Tales of Young Whales, a haunting submarine instrumental excursion with an especially powerful midsection.

The overall top pick for me from this collection is Catwalk, composed by Frank Wyatt. It charmed me, and it charmed my kids. This is a jazzy sequel to the story of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, updated in many ways for the modern age and its sense of the mind and imagination as a definite locale and in particular somewhat akin to a computer. All of that in words and music, with the powerful development of themes and variations that consistently characterized the best work of HtM. Probably Stan's best vocal work ever.

From this CD the following tunes migrated to my iPhone: Tales of Young Whales, Catwalk, Chapter 7.1, Noodlepoint, and Golden Feast. In rotation with 900+ other prog tunes via Shuffle. Feels a lot like the prog tidal wave of my college days never ended.

How many stars? Four in my opinion, a lot of great stuff on this CD, but keep in mind I could be biased for the reasons noted above.

 The High Places by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.70 | 59 ratings

The High Places
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Oblivion Sun (aka Happy the Man Mk II) has a new album out called The High Places, an innuendo laced title that recalls the Crafty Hands moniker from HtM! Yeah, the music is certainly in the exploratory mode pioneered by these American stalwarts, led by the intricate guitar playing of Stanley Whitaker, a rather original player both in style and tone as well as his HtM cohort, the industrious keyboard/saxman Frank Wyatt. The duo is aided in their quest by bass David Hughes and drummer Bill Brasso.

Whitaker's style always seemed to me at least a rather furtive combination of Holdsworth and Latimer, a soloist capable of sonic extravagances as well as gorgeous lyrical lines, chock full of emotion. This is ideally expressed by the first two pieces, the colorfully obtuse 'Deckard' and the majestic 'March of the Mushrooms'. Both are highly musical and very entertaining. But they like to mix it up a tad by including a brief vocal ballad 'Everything' (not my cup of tea) and then a highlight heavier tune full of playful fury , comically entitled 'Dead Sea Squirrels' that just is so totally pleasing, a space-rock extravaganza with a harsh drum beat, buzzing guitars and slithering synth doodles. Imagine Hawkwind meets Return to Forever! Yeah, very fun as well as funny! I love this tune!

But the centerpiece is without question the 22 minute 'The High Places' suite , a 6 part opus of deranged and yet inspired progressive rock that has all the aromas, scents and flavors one can hope for. There is so much going on within various themes, starting off with alternating vocals, piano renderings, in an almost Canterbury-esque expanse of the stupendous part one 'My Eyes'. This is what we mean by progressive, a veteran band of musicians taking basic rock structures, infusing it with jazz colorations, some bluesy flutters, a severe dose of delirium (wah-wah guitar pedal to the forefront) and some breezy vocalizings.

The short 'Awakening' keeps this rolling along, Whitaker's axe in the forefront, oozing and aaahing along unperturbed. 'Flowers' is another mini-interlude, keeping the pace alive and well. This time, it's the piano leading the charge with bass and drums in tow, the intensity level slowly growing in stature and expanse. Wyatt explodes with a super synth solo, full of lush deviance. Boom, Heaven is here! 'The Rules' is another 'high place' (sic) on this album, a seductive and smoky vocal that weaves superbly within a suave melody that captivates the attention and inspires some intense dreaming. Very pleasant indeed. It fades immediately into its companion piece, 'The Cage' that is simply the breakout explosion from the previous piece, complete with a sensational guitar solo, more erudite singing and forward propulsion. The finale ends with enthused piano playing that defies the norm. These 2 tracks are superb and absolutely first class! The 2 minute 'Our Eyes' qualifies as the explosive 'adieu', a brooding coalescence of sound and purity and offering some more exasperated vocals within a symphonic realm.

All in all a satisfying release that is a very pleasant listen, nowhere near the craziness and sonic brilliance of fellow Yanks and way more experimental Herd of Instinct, perhaps due to the heavy influence of the vocals that are good and certainly heartfelt but stylistically weak. I think I still prefer their debut album, which took me a while to warm to (I slipped into the car stereo for a week). It's also a short work clocking in at a hair over 40 minutes, a trait I generally dislike severely. Perhaps a little more structure and a tad more experimentation could have vaulted this sophomore package into a higher place (sic) . Worthy of hunting down but not a vital inclusion in one's discography unless you are a Whitaker fan boy''.

3.5 acmes

 Oblivion Sun by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 88 ratings

Oblivion Sun
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A US project from late-00's, installed by ex-Happy the Man bandmates Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker, Oblivion Sun were born out of the need of the two musicians to produce some proggy music, after they realized a new Happy the Man work would be difficult to occur after the surprising comeback in late-90's.Whitaker & Wyatt had already collaborated on the ''Pedal Giant Animals'' album in 2006 and their new effort would be the self-titled album of Oblivion Sun in 2007, released on Prophase and featuring also Bill Plummer on keyboards, Chris Mack on drums and Dave DeMarco on bass.

Any kind of a vintage recreation is totally abandoned by the HAPPY THE MAN ex-duo, although their influence is all over the place, as Wyatt and Whitaker seem to follow the path of contemporary Prog and blend the modern productions with their beloved style of the legends of 70's US Prog.The instrumental tracks still follow the Symphonic Rock/Fusion style of HAPPY THE MAN, based on the impressive use of saxes, the twisting keyboard parts and the powerful and dramatic changes.However the heavy use of synths add an appropriate modern approach and the style of Oblivion Sun sounds very fresh and up-to-date with the new Prog age.The hints from the sound of GENESIS, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and GENTLE GIANT seem to still haunt Wyatt's and Whitaker's main musical preferences, the musicianship remains always fairly complex but there are also plenty of melodic themes to keep the album balanced.A few tracks sound weaker than the others, like ''Re:Bootsy'' and the mix of Neo Prog-ish synths with funkier rhythms or the more easy-going and rockier but rather uninspired ''The Ride'', the rest though are absolutely satisfying with some fantastic instrumental ideas and plenty of inspired, changing climates.

The two veterans of US Progressive Rock are still hungry for some quality Progressive Rock and ''Oblivion Sun'' prooves just that.Very good album with plenty of blinks to the legendary past of these great musicians.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Oblivion Sun by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 88 ratings

Oblivion Sun
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was one of those purchases I found on Ebay for a dirt-cheap price. These are hit-and-miss as you can imagine, ranging from fantastic discoveries to uncoordinated heaps of debris reeking of gastric zephyrs and only things that a turkey vulture could consume. Oblivion Sun's self-titled release of 2007, I'm glad to say is one of those fantastic discoveries.

This project is made up of two members of Happy The Man, guitarist Stan Whitaker and keyboardist/sax player Frank Wyatt. Having not been much of a fan of HTM, I wasn't expecting much on this album. But I was greatly surprised. This album sounded much more dynamic and energetic than anything I had previously heard by HTM. The music is complex, sometimes jazzy, and mostly rather eclectic. I love the Moog synthesizers played by keyboardist Bill Plummer, talented enough to be compared with Jan Hammer and Tony Banks at the same time.

It's really hard to pin down the sound of this band, in which I hear references to the Dixie Dregs, King Crimson, D.F.A., and obviously Happy The Man. It seems like a fine mix of symphonic prog and jazz rock/fusion, often with quirky melodies, sometimes reminiscent of Gentle Giant. The song Catwalk is an unsual number in that it reminds me a lot of Genesis, particularly for Whitaker's vocals sounding like a subdued Peter Gabriel and the Baroque interlude in the middle sounding like it was off of Genesis' Trick of a Tail album. On occasion, their sound gets harder in places. The album is chiefly instrumental, with only two tracks containing vocals.

A rather unexpected, yet wonderful discovery performed by an extremely tallented band full of intelligently arranged, quirky and mostly complex compositions. Well worth the highest grade of five stars. This one will be in my CD rotation on a regular basis.

 Oblivion Sun by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 88 ratings

Oblivion Sun
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Oblivion Sun is the new Project founded by Stan Whitaker and Frank Wyatt (2/3 of the creative brains of Happy the Man), who already had worked as a duo for their "Pedal Giant Animals" album. I mention this album because it contains a lot of compositions that were left aside during the "Muse Awakens" post-production phase (the brief Happy the Man comeback period), and the same happens with a couple of tracks from this Oblivion Sun namesake debut release: they were written during the very fruitful "Muse Awakens" era but didn't find a space in the final repertoire. With the experience of "Pedal Giant Animals", the opportunity was there to form a new full band in order to continue to explore this musical vision, in fact incorporating material written by all other three members. One way or another, it was reasonable to suspect that the resulting album would be solid and energetic. And so it came to be that the suspicions were utterly confirmed - the "Oblivion Sun" tracklist exhibits a high degree of intensity and melodic richness, heavily marked by the Happy the Man heritage. No doubt that Watkins is a major influence in Bill Plummer's playing and writing, as he was for David Rosenthal in "The Muse Awakens"; you can also notice a strong "Crafty Hands"-vibe in the repertoire's predominant spirit. The majesty and drive of the opener 'Fanfare' shout these two notions out loud, and so does the delicately complex dynamics of 'Noodlepoint': these two pieces are cornerstones for the listener's frame of mind. Sandwiched between the two is 'The Ride', a hard rocking song in which Whitaker makes his guitar riffs conform the nucleus for development of the main motif: this track sounds like a halfway stance between 79-80 Kansas and Spock's Beard. Warning: don't mistake the synth lead that starts at 1:50 for a guitar (magnificent job, Bill!!). 'Catwalk' bears a very lyrical atmosphere, including a beautiful Baroque-inspired little interlude that creates a relaxing beauty of sound (HTM-patented). 'No Surprises' is a slightly heavy-oriented piece that conveys a certain density (on a very subtle level), with the segued follower 'Re: Bootsy' shifting things into the realms of funk-inflicted jazz. The alternation of guitar and synthesizer solos in the latter states one of the most incendiary passages in the album, despite not being as heavy as the preceding track. 'Chapter 7.1' is yet another example of how to revitalize the HTM heritage with a higher degree of sonic power: the fivesome manage to keep things under control though all the display of muscle and feeling, which only comes to reveal how amazingly solid this ensemble is. Things remain the same (exciting, moving, cleverly ordained) for 'Tales of Young Whales', whose combination of ethereal melodic bases and punchy instrumental assemblies works beautifully. 'Golden Feast' occupies the album's final 6 ¾ minutes, at times sounding as some sort of tribute to 'New York's Dream Suite' (the fantastic closure to HTM's 1977 album), but with a more pronounced jazzy edge and a more robust global sound. Oblivion Sun is definitely a testimony of how age doesn't have to affect creative genius at all or sabotage any further development of musical power: this gathering of veterans creates a kind of refreshing (prog) music that would make lots of contemporary musicians terribly envious.
Thanks to Raff for the artist addition.

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