OMNI — Sólo Fue un Sueño
Review by Cesar Inca (César Inca Mendoza Loyola)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
The Spanish ensemble Omni keeps on rolling quite strong in the year 2007, and their "Sólo Fue un Sueño" is a powerful prooof of that. having exprienced a severe line-up crisis after the release of their previous work "El Vals de los Duendes", the material comprised in this one reveals the band diggind deeper in the symphinc tendencies that had played a crucial (although not exclusive) part in the aforesaid album. With Starry, Márquez and Torres serving as the main forces behind the band's melodic drive, and having a strong, precise rhythm section to build those melodies' expansions upon, Omni manages to fuse lyrical magic and rocking energy in almost every item in the album. The namesake track opens up the album as a dreamy interlude, based on the combination of soft pian ochords and eerie synthetic whistle sounds floating across a template desert wind. the ambience is one of awakening to a brand new day, while still in the process of letting go of the rest soon to be ended. And the rest ends right from the beginning of the first sounds of 'Ya estamos Aquí', a vivid sonic landscape of contagious joy - as always, classic Camel and Hackett-era Genesis serve as main influences for Omni's melodic sensibility and elegant arrangements. This piece is, in many ways, a concise announcement of the album's main features: the keyboard inputs on leads, harmonies and orchestrations is quite prominent, the guitar parts display emotional solos, the flute and sax settle in playfully, at times accompanying the guitar-keyboard lines, at other times creating texturial contrasts against them. After this high-spirited piece comes a more complex track: 'Noche en Malandar'. This one gets started with a languid prelude that goes to serene places, then the interlude comes in as a half-exotic melodic drive that alternates 11/8 and 5/4 tempos in a very harmonizing fashion. Finally, the serene intro returns to close down the track in a meditative manner. Track 4 'Telescopio de Papel' brings a sort of compromise between the playful vibe of track 2 and the stylish sophistication of track 3 - Starry's leads sometimes remind me of Oldfiled. This sequence of tracks 2 to 4 pretty much creates an empathetic impact in the listener's mind from listen one. And now comes one of the main feasts of the album, the 10+ minute long 'Tren de Rota'. This majestic exercise in symphonic prog delivers a compact succession of various motifs and moods, going from the colorful to the melancholy while passing through the realms of the ethereal and the extroverted. Vintage compatriot bands such as Cai and Imán appear as main references for the Flamenco -inspired elements infused in this track (together with the ever-present Camel thing). This piece really brings out the sceneario of a train starting, doing and finishing its travel, and after its departure, travellers going home and watching the sunset from their balconies. 'Tren de Rota ' is a definite highlight of the album, as is 'Noche en malandar', and 'Un Columpio Sobre el Mar' as well. 'Un Columpio...' finds the band digging deeper into the Arabic factor, making their symphonic sound lean closer to the standards of prog-fusion, although things remain genuinely rocky , all in all. Anyway, the rhythm section behaves in a jazzier manner tha never before in this album, and so does Torres' sax lines from the middle onwards. 'Espíritu Libre' also has some fusionesque elements in, but it tends to give back the symphonic factor a preferential role. The closure is a dreamy finale, starring a moving solo by Starry. This is a perfect epilogue for such a beautiful album - "Sólo Fue un Sueño" is the affirmation of Omni as a relevant item in nowadays' symphonic prog, and of course, one of the most important prog bands from Spain .
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 , 20:06 EST
OMNI — Sólo Fue un Sueño
Review by erik neuteboom (erik neuteboom)
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Expert
Omni is a Spanish six piece band, rooted in the late Eighties. This is their third album, released in 2007 and again it contains pure instrumentally music. The sound of Omni on Solo Fue Un Sueno has obvious echoes from Seventies Camel and also reminds me frequently of Dutch Camel-inspired bands Lady Lake and especially Odyssice (it could have been their new album!): very melodic, flowing and often sensitive guitar work (compelling in Noche En Malandar, fiery in Telescopio de Papel en biting wah-wah in Espíritu Libre), omnipresent interplay between guitar and keyboards, some pitchbend driven Minimoog sounding soli (like in Telescopio de Papel and the dreamy final song Salto al Abismo) and finally the use of saxophone (sultry in El Tren De Rota). Like Seventies Camel the sound by Omni is like a ‘warm bath' as on the Camel albums Mirage and Moonmadness, my favorite Camel-era. Along the strong guitarwork, the keyboard player colours the compositions very tasteful with varied vintage keyboards like the Fender Rhodes electric piano, the violin-Mellotron (wonderful intro on Noche En Malandar), Minimoog synthesizer, Solina string-ensemble and the Hammond organ (swirling solo in the alternating highlight Espíritu Libre). This is not very original symphonic prog but it sounds wonderful with very good work on guitar and keyboards and tasteful arranged compositions. My rating: 3,5 stars.
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007, 13:20 EST