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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2009
I nicked a music magazine (Vinyl Collector?) from a reception room somewhere because there was a section on prog music. In the margins they asserted albums to be avoided and Jon Anderson's Olias' was a prime suspect. I remembered the album being played by the 'upper 6th' at school, thinking then that it sounded like a movie and that the band defined 'organic'. Twenty or more?.. years later I discover that apart from some strings and engineering Olias of Sunhillow is written, performed and produced all by the man himself and the album sounds even more amazing than I remember.

Melody is king and there's reams of it here suffused with way ahead of it's time synth arrangements and knee wobble percussion all held together by Andersons unusual voice and singing.

I am hoping that Olias will give us an update sometime and that when we strangle the last breath out of mummy Earth, there will be room for a few no hopers wherever he and his people are.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2003
This album is full of haunting melodies surrounded by complex rythms and arrangements, sometimes coming to a spine tingling crescendo and at others floating through the air to soothe the mind. This album was written at a time when progressive music was at it's creative peak and because of this fact it doesn't dissapoint. It is a piece of work that was underrated at it's release but has stood the test of time. I would recommend this album strongly even if you are not a Yes fan.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2001
The odyssey of the doomed planet Sunhillow and how Olias, one of its leaders, creates a ship, "The Moorglade", that he uses to escape his world, accompanied by many tribespeople. Attacked by the enemy Moon Ra while in flight, Olias overcomes by sheer will and calm. Eventually finding a suitable planetary home (possibly the Earth?) they land. There are hints in the lyrics that they become the founding fathers of the Aryan race.
This story is the backdrop to a wonderfully inspired piece of musical creativity from Jon Anderson. Laden with atmosphere and incorporating harp, acoustic guitar and highly original sounds that fit the theme perfectly, this is a delightful and tuneful masterpiece.
The original cover was also a work of art, sadly lost in the CD version. I was also disappointed that only half the lyrics were reproduced here. This is one to buy and listen to for the rest of your life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful

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.

Released in July 1976 on Atlantic K 50261 in the UK and 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.

1. Ocean Song
2. Meeting/Sound Out The Galleon (Garden Of Geda)
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/Song Of Search
8. To The Runner

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 "Moorglade" artwork.

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 on Warner Brothers/Atlantic/Arcangelo ARC-8061 (Barcode 4988044390614) - the disc is a SHM-CD (Super High Materials) 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 tears.

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.

"Cha! Cha!" Anderson chants as he finishes the wicked album closer "To The Runner". Couldn't agree more my Topographic son...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2009
I first had this as an LP back in the 70s but it got lost somewhere. Saw Jon recently in Liverpool and he played a song from it so I had to get the CD. Shame you can't read the cover details on the CD but the music still sounds great- to Jon Anderson fans anyway!!It won't be to everyone's taste but who cares!!?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 April 2007
I remember the afternoon that I first heard this album, together with "Voyage Of The Acolyte" by Steve Hackett. These two albums have been played many times over the last thirty plus years and have stood the test of time incredibly well, becoming long term favourites.

Recorded during a time when the members of Yes pursued their own projects, the music on this album is extremely hard to categorise, having an eastern, almost mystical quality to it that makes it quite unique in the scheme of things. The layers of instruments are quite complex and very different to anything around at the time. Jon used the shape and sounds of words as well as their meaning, which often explained the strangeness of his lyrics on this and many of his "Yes" compositions and this style works supremely well here.

The sound as presented on this CD hasn't been "tweaked" for the modern age the way many re-masterings have and so sounds rather thin and lacking in body and weight. I'm not criticising, just making a point that master tapes originally optimised for the LP medium don't always transfer to CD without some sympathetic work being done on them...

Most of you who know the music of Yes will know this album well by now. If you don't, I suggest you give it a try. The captivating sounds and genuine story should win you over...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2000
Very inventive and captivating debut solo work from Jon Anderson, lead singer for Yes. Written in the fantasy vein of Topographic Oceans and Relayer, this work tells the story of flyng ships on the warpath. The record album had an illustrated panel story to accompany the tracks. The music is wonderous and the lyrics have a sinister edge to them. It is my regret, despite the range and excellence of music Mister Anderson has provided since this work, that he did not create more during this period because it is the forte of his career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2012
This is not so much an album as a kind of Cosmic Ocean, a spiritual swimming pool, a labour of love for both Jon and his fans, an album of intense labour, but dreamlike result. Where Yes music swells, throbs and pounds, this washes back and forth with oceanic grace and infinite sweetness. Oh yes, OF COURSE it is a concept album - what else would you expect from Jon Anderson, but don't worry, the basic upshot is of a group of magicians and their tribe escaping from a doomed world to settle on a new better one. If there was ever a better metaphore for Jon's existence and career, I don't know of one! Historically, it is a great Prog Rock artefact, spoken of either in extreme reverence or utter contempt, depending on your age, but if you are of an inquisitive nature, and can play more than just air guitar, this is always worth serious investigation, and may just broaden your mind in more ways than you thought possible. Thank you Mr. Anderson, you saved my life!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2015
Having trawled through the reviews of the various incarnations of this album (Amazon seems to lump them all together, irrespective of version) I found Mark Barry's contribution very useful in reaching a decision. (Thanks Mark). I've owned the vinyl since its release, listening to it on incrementally better systems as the years have passed. I've also had the regular CD but thankfully left it in someone's car a while back. Although it has a very special sound of its own, the LP has to be heard as an LP and it's warm characteristics suited the material. Not being present at the recording meant that for me the LP was the definitive representation. Until today. The clarity that this version brings to the entire spectrum of sounds on the album has to be heard to be believed. Considering the recording date and the equipment available in '76 the detail that's been teased out of the masters is just bonkers. The biggest bane must have been tape noise but this remaster seems very carefully engineered to avoid all but a tiny hint of unintended distractions (on 'phones, you can just hear the gate closing where there's a silence between tracks). It's a little pricey but you'll never need another- this is the one. Welcome back Jon, I hear you now.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2000
showing lots of the "Yes" background, but far more acoustic and creative. A bit like comparing old Led Zep 1 and 2 when 3 came out - very different in style and content. some immensely moving pieces on this album; good for cocteau twins fans!
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