Olyam — Cristal Rêveur
(Musea Dreaming OMP-DR 8419, 2002, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2003-12-01
Olyam is a young French musician working in the realm of New-Age/Pop, akin to other one-name practitioners (Kitaro, Vangelis, Yanni, etc.) though his influences also include Mike Oldfield. His 5th release in this vein (he also has several albums out in the purely symphonic and world music genres, among others a prolific fellow!) Cristal Rêveur conceptually (and predictably) revolves around the mystical powers attributed to crystals, evidenced in song titles like “Sacred Geometry” and “Crystals Dance.” The ten songs are all instrumental, though Annabelle Martinez provides some la-la-las to the track “Lunar Instant.” Olyam’s strength is not as a virtuoso instrumentalist, either as a guitarist or keyboardist. Instead, his real talent lies in the crafting and production of the finished pieces. The best, “Between Earth and Sky,” “Mineral Memory,” and “Volcano,” ably bring together an assortment of instrumental sounds, some generated on keyboards, some via guitars (along with various electronic drums and percussion) with simple yet likeable melodies. The poorer songs suffer either from weak melodic or chordal inventions or from instrumental mismatches, such as the pairing of an accordion to a swing groove. I can’t help feeling that Olyam’s aiming at mainstream commercial success with this music and, while I enjoyed moments on this disc, my guess is that most Exposé readers will want to give this one a miss. Handle with care (except for you closet Kitaro and Yanni fans out there).
Related artist(s): Olyam (Olivier Brigand)
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
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more