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Olyam: Cristal Reveur

Olyam is the only name for this one man (French) band and while these kinds of projects can yield sketchy results, Cristal Reveur works just fine. Aside from a few guests who help out on such exotic instruments as the panpipes, kena and charango, as well as less esoteric instruments like the accordion, violin and cello, Olyam weaves a sonic spell full of the kind of romanticism inherent in the works of Mike Oldfield and Vangelis.

"The Awakening" features Olyam's lovely Spanish inflected acoustic guitar over a bed of synthesizers and pianos. Though most of the percussion appears to be synthesized here and throughout the CD, the sounds are never too processed or tinny. In fact, the production is surprisingly lush and easy on the ears. "Between Earth and Sky" features a nice flute led melody that evokes some of Steve Hackett's work on albums such as Voyage of the Acolyte. "Volcano" contains a haunting theme carried by the piano as well as layers of synthesizers. Tasteful electric guitar and flute enter as does Olyam's passionate acoustic guitar playing. The panpipes that close "Volcano" are a really nice touch. "Sacred Geometry" features more of the Spanish inflected acoustic guitar and a distinctly "world music" influence. This track is quite possibly my favorite because Olyam successfully blends traditional instruments with modern synthesizer technology. It works very well because the line between the old world and the new become blurred. Another winner for me is "Lunar Instant". It is the only track to feature vocals by guest Annabelle Martinez. The cello harmonizes with her wordless vocals and the effect is quite similar to what Mike Oldfield accomplished on albums such as Incantations. Cristal Reveur, the title track, ends the CD with a wonderfully longing acoustic guitar solo. A Latin flavor is also present with the addition of a sweet, but much too short trumpet solo.

In all, there's much to like here. I highly recommend this CD for fans of mellow, romantic instrumental music. It's not overly complex and makes for nice listening while relaxing after a hard day of work or for enjoying a glass of wine and reflecting on that old romance that was just never meant to be! Olyam has done a splendid job with regard to arrangements and production. He gets a big sound for essentially a one man band. Bravo Olyam!

Added: May 15th 2003
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Olyam Webpage
Hits: 2664
Language: english

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