Olias Of Sunhillow

Staff Review

Staff Pick

Original
Victoria
HPB Staff

Olias Of Sunhillow

by Jon Anderson (Vocals (Yes))
A brilliant sci-fi/fantasy concept album

Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow was one of my first forays into progressive rock at the age of 11. At first, it was really out there for me. I had never listened to a concept album before, but I was big into science-fiction/fantasy, so it naturally clicked with me. The concept of Olias of Sunhillow: after hearing a distress signal on a distant planet, Olias, the title character, sets to build a ship to rescue those in distress. "To The Runner" remains one of my favorite songs on the album, along with "Meeting (Garden of Gods)/ Sound Out the Galleon". This album might be an acquired taste, requiring multiple listens to discover that it's really a gem. But it's worth giving your full attention.

 
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Inspired by the artwork of Roger Dean and the writings of Ver Stanley Alder, Jon Anderson developed an entire story around the idea of an interstellar exodus from Sunhillow, writing this album around the narrative (named for the spaceship's architect, Olias). The idea may seem overly ambitious, but Anderson fills the record with enough magical moments to delight fans of Yes' mystic side. The music is written and performed almost entirely by Anderson, who dubs vocals, plays guitar and harp, and adds percussion and the occasional synthesizer to flesh out his ideas so that at no point does the music lose its spellbinding effect for lack of sonic detail. Olias of Sunhillow is faithful to the spirit of Yes, though decidedly more airy than that band's visceral style -- its closest comparison would be Fragile's "We Have Heaven" or Going for the One's "Wonderous Stories" (which was clearly influenced by this record) on the vocal tracks, and Greek progressive electronic composer (and future Anderson collaborator) Vangelis on the instrumental tracks. Although the album is effective in its entirety, "Sound Out the Galleon," "Olias (To Build the Moorglade)," and "Solid Space" are some of the more memorable excerpts. The arrangements incorporate elements of the four tribes of Sunhillow, the most noticeable being Oriental elements that prefigure Vangelis' own China (especially on the opening "Ocean Song"). While there are several songs that could have easily fit in Yes' own catalog, and the lyrics continue to mine the mystical musings that Yes fans had come to enjoy, Olias of Sunhillow is not the missing Yes album some might hope it to be, though it does prefigure the later Jon & Vangelis collaborations of the '80s. If possible, pick up the LP version of this release, since the packaging is stunning and features terrific artwork by Dave Roe. ~ Dave Connolly, Rovi

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Atlantic (Label)
  • UPC: 075678027321
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Track listings

  • 1. Ocean Song
  • 2. Meeting (Garden Of Geda)/Sound Out The Galleon
  • 3. Dance Of Ranyart/Olias (To Build The Moorglade)
  • 4. Qoquaq En Transic/Naon/Transic To
  • 5. Flight Of The Moonglade
  • 6. Solid Space
  • 7. Moon Ra/Chords/Song Of Search
  • 8. To The Runner
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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