Review: Ozymandias – Les Rêves Orientaux (2008)


artist: Ozymandias
release: Les Rêves Orientaux
format: CD
year of release: 2008
label: Ramses
duration: 40:04

detailed info: discogs.com.

Ozymandias is a solo piano project created by Christophe Terrettaz, a Swiss pianist active since 1996 under this artistic name taken from a poem by Shelley. We can say that this poetical inspiration lead him and the composer Mark St. John Ellis (best known for his project Elijah’s Mantle) on a collaboration which resulted in an album called The Soul of Romanticism, published in 1999. More recently, in 2003 the Japanese director Ryuichi Hiroki included one of his songs in the film Vibrator. These details may give an idea of what Ozymandias means beyond the character created by Alan Moore in Watchmen.

His last work, Les Rêves Orientaux (Oriental Dreams), comes after some journeys through Japanese lands, where he gave two shows after eight years without concerts. “The beauty and strength, depth of feelings as well as human folly is the essence of this album”, we can read on his web, but now it is our turn to describe it. One of the first impressions we get while listening to these oriental dreams is that piano remains in lonely melancholy, just as the rest of his works. There is no lofty virtuosity, no Oriental arrangements, only the bare emotion struggling to join the void into our ears. Doubtlessly we can find in his compositions influences by Satie, Debussy, Rachmaninov but most of all, of that simple and grieved Chopin.

On this occasion, however, sorrow gives way to some more curious and spirited tunes at times. The kind of deep sadness present in former albums is still recognizable in certain songs as “Shinobu”, but not as dominating as it has been before. In my opinion, this tone has much to do with the guiding subject, in this case a reflexive response to the exotic, something like Karnak (2000), an album focused on Egyptian culture. Not the best of Ozymandias’ creations after all, but despite what has been written, an album that I would not consider as New Age, but still within the realms of dark Neoclassical music.

Reviewed by Osvaldr

Tracklist:

1. Shinjuku (4:14)
2. Les Rêves Orientaux (3:27)
3. Un Dimanche à Kamakura (3:11)
4. Le Pays Des Souvenirs (2:10)
5. L’Homme Qui Ne Voulait Pas Mourir (3:41)
6. L’Aube Sur La Mer De Bismarck (2:34)
7. Hiroshima-Nagasaki (4:50)
8. Gengis Khan (2:56)
9. 16 Ans (4:25)
10. Les Lumières De Hong Kong (3:15)
11. Shinobu (5:23)

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