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

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rosebud - Rosebud – Ten songs give almost as many stylistic snapshots. The sound of a love-in, with a keyboard, in Latin America; no trace of Carlos anywhere. A moody testament with sultry vocals grazing...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues