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By all accounts the Yes vocalist has churned out a lot of pap over the years, both with the band and solo, but the occasional gems, such as his first solo album "Olias of Sunhillow", are worth the search. It's probably comes under the heading of "new age", as does a lot of the aforementioned pap, but this is far more musically interesting than you would expect from that genre. As ever it is littered with references to Anderson's vaguely Oriental spirituality, and the music is suitably decorated with South and East Asian colours. Anderson also deftly arranges some particularly attractive self-chorusing vocal harmonies. To add to the non-specific worldy feel these have an African sound to them.
Mixed all together with plenty of glittering synths, the arrangements are rich and lush but not bloated or overblown. The intro "Ocean Song" is a perfect example of the classically perfect timing with which he introduces different sounds. Anderson claims to have played the multiplicity of instruments on this album himself, but I would be surprised if Vangelis didn't have a hand in this. A lot of the sound of this album has echoes in Jon and Vangelis's stuff (particularly the hypnotic chant-like "Solid Space") so this is highly recommended to fans of the duo. As well as those who like Yes's more spaced guitar-free work.
June 21, 2004