Title - 'Olias of Sunhillow: Expanded Edition' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Jon Anderson
For those unaware, Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a newly Expanded and Remastered 2 Disc Edition of the classic debut solo album by Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, Olias of Sunhillow.
Released in July 1976, the album was a conceptual work recounting the story of an alien race on a journey to find a new world following volcanic destruction on their home planet.
All music on the album was written and performed by Jon Anderson and the recording took place at Anderson's Buckinghamshire home studio whilst Yes were on hiatus following the tour to promote the album Relayer.
Initially recorded on an 8-track tape machine, the arrangements were then rerecorded on to a 24-track tape machine. The album saw Jon perform the music entirely alone, teaching himself to play keyboards and acknowledging the influence of such legendary musicians as Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz and Vangelis on his work.
Indeed, it was even rumored Vangelis performed on the album, something the maestro would subsequently deny in interviews thereafter.
Olias of Sunhillow was released by Atlantic Records in the summer of 1976 in an elaborate gatefold sleeve designed by David Fairbrother-Roe and was a top ten album in the UK.
This Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly remastered from the original album master tapes and fully restores the stunning original artwork and also features a booklet with a new essay and exclusive interview with Jon Anderson.
Over the ensuing years the excellence of the album has led to many calls for the album to be remixed in a 5.1 Surround Sound format.
Alas, despite extensive research, the multi-track masters of the album cannot be found. However, this Expanded Edition of Olias of Sunhillow features a DVD featuring a high resolution 96 kHz / 24-bit re-master of the stereo mix and also includes a high resolution 5.1 Surround Sound up-mix derived from the original stereo master tapes as an additional feature.
Disc One - Olias of Sunhillow: Remastered Edition
1. 'Ocean Song'
2. 'Meeting (Garden of Geda)' / 'Sound of the Galleon'
3. 'Dance of Ranyart' / 'Olias (To Build the Moorglade)'
4. 'Qoquaq en Transic' / 'Naon' / 'Transic To'
5. 'Flight of the Moorglade'
6. 'Solid Space'
7. 'Moon Ra' / 'Chords' / 'Songs of Search'
8. 'To The Runner'
Disc Two - Olias of Sunhillow: High Resolution 96 Kmz / 24-Bit 5:1 Surround Sound Upmix & Stereo Remaster
After the release of the brilliant Relayer (November '74), between 1975 and 1976, each member of Yes released a solo album (some notably better than others), but all of them had at least an inkling of semblance to Yes music.
Jon Anderson though, as the main creative thrust of the group and the voice of Yes, would create a spectacle that truly seemed like a Yes album in all its essence.
Both in scope and and in its ideas, let alone its album art, which featured artwork by the artist David Roe (all of which paid homage to the artwork of Roger Dean, who had been building a fantasy world through Yes album graphics beforehand), Jon would even dedicate the album to Dean.
Ergo, on July 24th, 1976, Jon Anderson released Olias of Sunhillow, a musical fantasy epic on which he plays literally every instrument, writes every word, and sings every verse, including multi-tracked vocals for chorale effects!
In my humble opinion, Olias is a dense, and richly ebullient, new-age opus that realistically preceded the new age genre that was to follow.
It is notably a rather complex album with sometimes indescribable musical textures that envelope you while listening. A fantasy story from beginning to end with a plot-driven purpose, the album even included a multi-page spread of written storyboard and beautiful artwork (which has been wonderfully preserved here in this delightful rerelease by Esoteric Recordings).
To paraphrase a line from Jon's song 'State of Independence,' whilst conjuring up his cosmic, unchangingly beautiful voice, his sound is much like ... holy water to my lips" (as well as my ears and my spirit, of course).
Ergo, Olias is no different an experience where Jon creates textures with sound that I, and millions of others can only dream about. Simply put, the music was ahead of it's time.
An auditory excursion into a fantasy fairy tale with instruments and sounds that capture so many wonderful flavors of songs, chants, incantations and ambient soundscapes. Breathtaking, from start to finish.
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