A newly remastered edition of founding Yes singer Jon Anderson‘s 1976 debut solo album, Olias of Sunhillow, gets released today as a CD/DVD-Audio set.
Olias of Sunhillow is a concept album that tells the story of an alien race made up of four tribes, each representing a different music consciousness, that escapes its doomed planet and ends up bringing music to Earth.
Anderson tells ABC Audio that the story was influenced by the writings of mystic and spiritual author Vera Stanley Alder, as well as artist Roger Dean, whose cover art for Yes’ Fragile album inspired the sun-powered spacecraft in which the aliens traveled.
Anderson recorded Olias of Sunhillow by himself at his home in Buckinghamshire, U.K., while Yes was on a hiatus after finishing its tour in support of 1974’s Relayer album.
The singer explains that he’d been collecting instruments from around the world, and when he decided to make a solo album, he also started teaching himself how to play them so he could incorporate them into the project.
Anderson also taught himself keyboards and, inspired by how his friend Greek composer and musician Vangelis worked, he says he linked multiple keyboards together to make it easier to create layers of sounds.
Jon happily remembers playing the album for Vangelis after it was finished, and getting a very positive reaction.
“He just looked at me halfway through and came over and hugged me,” Anderson recalls. “I thought, ‘He likes it!"”
Jon tells ABC Audio that when he heard that Olias was being reissued this year, “I listened to it all the way through, and I was really happy, because I felt, [while it] might not be perfect on different levels…it’s very clear and…it worked.”
Here’s the Olias of Sunhillow track list:
“Meeting (Garden of Geda)”/”Sound Out the Galleon”
“Dance of Ranyart”/”Olias (To Build the Moorglade)”
“Qoquaq en Transic”/”Naon”/”Transic To”
“Flight of the Moorglade”
“Moon Ra”/”Chords”/”Song of Search”
“To the Runner”
By Matt Friedlander
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