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: dis​cogs​.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)