Exposé Online banner

Asturias — Cryptogam Illusion
(King Records NKCD3856, 1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-10-01

Cryptogam Illusion Cover artThe brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoh Ohyama, Asturias has a sound that could be called an instrumental symphonic fusion (in the vein of Kenso, Happy the Man, Pekka Pohjola or Oldfield's better output), yet it occasionally teeters very close to what might be called new-age. Don't let that scare you - this music is brilliant and inventive, full of color and emotion. Unlike the 'Oldfield clone' sound of the first album, this - the third album - incorporates many fresh ideas that have not been explored here before; rather than just rehashing the old formula, Ohyama and company have now incorporated some modern chamber elements into their sound with the use of viola, cello and uncredited sax and bass clarinet (could be samples?). This works well to augment their basic sound, which features synth, bass, drums, guitars and piano. Some tunes, like "Glacier" and "Mistral Island" seem to be merely heavily programmed solo synth workouts by Ohyama alone, which is where the new-age tendencies come into play; still, one has to appreciate the intensity and depth of these compositions. "Phoenix" and "Cyber Transmission" are two full band pieces that harken back to the sound of the last album. The title track and "Adolescencia" are two that showcase the new 'chamber' sound to its fullest, while "Distance" and "Danca das Borboletas" mix that sound with the more familiar Asturias sound (and some backing vocals in the case of the latter). "O Tempo Passa" is the only song here with lyrics, delivered by Yoko Ueno, and closes the album nicely. Overall, a bold step forward for Asturias, and an album I'm sure most would enjoy.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 5, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Asturias

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garden Wall - Path of Dreams – After a rough, albeit promising debut, Principium, last year, I was surprised to find that this — Garden Wall's second album, delivers on most of those promises. For sure there are still some rough...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues