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

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Nukli - The Time Factory – Nukli are a psych-rock band who have a fairly long history peppered with only a few, rare releases. Having spent a good part of the 80s gigging in England on the festival scene with the likes of the...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues