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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Blackmore's Night - Shadow of the Moon – Well, if this album doesn't make you want to run barefoot through the heather I don't know what will. Former axeman for Rainbow and Deep Purple has joined with his Lady to create an utterly enchanting...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues