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Thursday, 21 August 2014
"Olias Of Sunhillow" by JON ANDERSON (October 2011 Warner Brothers/Atlantic/Arcangelo JAPAN-ONLY SHM-CD Reissue in Mini LP Repro Artwork) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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"…Set Sights To New Lands…"
Encouraged by the brilliance
of "Relayer" in 1974 (with Patrick Moraz at the keyboards instead of
Rick Wakeman) - like most YES fans at the time - I awaited the inevitable Solo
albums in the mid Seventies with a sense of excitement. And while Squire and
Howe had their moments of glory - most of us somehow knew that Jon Anderson's
debut vinyl would be a Proggy Humdinger - and it is.
1. Ocean Song [Side 1]
2. Meeting/Sound Out The
Galleon (Garden Of Geda)
3. Dance Of Ranyart/Olias
(To Build The Moorglade)
4. Qoquaq En
5. Flight Of The Moorglade
6. Solid Space [Side 2]
7. Moon Ra/Chords/Song Of
8. To The Runner
Released in July 1976 on
Atlantic K 50261 in the UK and Atlantic SD 18180 in the USA - "Olias Of
Sunhillow" even charted at Number 8 in good old Blighty and has been a
treasured work ever since.
Those who bought the
original record will of course remember not just the fabulous dense music
contained within - but the glory of the sleeve - a gatefold with an inner flap
and inside that an equally elaborate inner sleeve that seemed to offer up more
writing than a Tolkien book - and all of it done in glorious
Its fate on 'CD' however has
not been so idyllic. Saving us long-haired lotharios from the dreadfully dull
German 1990's CD that's been afflicting our shores for years now - along comes
the Japanese with no less than a full-on 5" Repro of the artwork and for
the first time - a properly decent remaster.
Released 5 October 2011 in
Japan-Only – "Olias Of Sunhillow" by JON ANDERSON (of Yes) on Warner
Brothers/Atlantic/Arcangelo ARC-8061 (Barcode 4988044390614) is a SHM-CD (Super
High Materials) in 5" Mini LP Repro Artwork and runs to 44:20 minutes. SHM-CD
does not require a special CD player nor audiophile equipment to get the sonic
results - it's just a better form of the CD format and brings out more nuances
in the transfer (its slightly weightier than the standard CD). I've about 15 of
these now and they're all universally brilliant - and in some cases (like here)
- jaw-droppingly good.
This is a dense
multi-layered recording and needed the deftest of remasters - and this SHM-CD
gives you just that. Right from the opening synth fade in and vocal gymnastics
of "Ocean Song" - it fills your room with sound. The huge drum
section "Naon" in the centre of track 4 is also fabulous - rattling
your speakers with all the multi-tracks they can handle. By the time you arrive
at "Flight Of the Moorglade" (lyrics above) with its huge acoustic
guitars and keyboard pings - you'll need a hanky to wipe away those Roger Dean
The bad news is that it was
deleted quickly and those punters that have copies can/are charging a hefty
price tag for the privilege of owning one - so shop around.
Anderson chants as he finishes the wicked album closer "To The
Runner". Couldn't agree more my Topographic son...