Oberon


Oberon

Oberon - Oberon ©1996 Prophecy Productions
1. Stay
2. The Nightingale
3. One From A Deep Green Emerald Sea
4. L.I.T.L.O.T.W.
5. Lily White

Is "neat" a good way to describe a nostalgic goth/Pink Floyd-ish one man project? Obviously the music is actually quite forlorn and attempts to be quite depressing in that way that Pink Floyd intended, so why does Oberon make me grin like a goof? The music is mostly composed and performed on keyboards and uses lush arrangements to actually make a full sound. I do have a couple minor gripes about the somewhat cheesy drum machine sound here, but that's minor at best. The vocals often come across as David Gilmour trying a northern European accent, but they also work. Throughout this twenty two minute EP, hints of Sisters of Mercy and Floyd keep coming up and it's the good kind of hints. The album culminates in a long repetitious solo, but is quite stark in its bleakness. Hopefully this Oberon character is still at it somewhere because this tasty EP makes me long for more.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/1999

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Mysteries

Oberon - Mysteries ©1998 Incidental Music
1. Nocturne Op. 3
2. To Spring
3. Do You Remember Me?
4. Reveries
5. Anything
6. Tearing Me Apart
7. Mysteries
8. The Garden Of Flesh And Bones
9. The End Of The World

In my review of Oberon's self-titled EP, I expressed my hope that this character was still at it somewhere. As it turns out, he certainly was and was kind enough to provide me with Mysteries, his latest offering from his creative endeavours. I also learned that up until very recently, Bard hadn't heard Pink Floyd so for this review I'm forced to entirely scratch that out as a possible influence. Trust me, it's rough being a record reviewer when you aren't allowed to use stock references.

Mysteries is a much more realized album than its predecessor. Considerably more lush, alive and sweeping, the album guides the listener through some very pensive and sullen soundscapes. Bard displays a wide range of compositional skills with his ability to weave in picturesque and smartly placed instruments, including very warm keyboards, piano, acoustic guitar, oboes, clarinets - the works. Various sections, including the opening "Nocturne, Op. 3" and the long entrance to "Tearing Me Apart", are exceptional piano compositions that are strongly evokative. That, in result, builds to a quietly climatic but very spine chilling peak in "Tearing Me Apart". Lyrically, Bard nods his head to William Blake (as many seem to be doing these days, ie: Ulver) in "To Spring". His own text is introspective and fitting for the mood of the music. Some hope is expressed in the words: "When this candle has burned down/Another dream/Another life..." from the title track suggest that through all the misery, there still is hope. Bard's vocals have also improved since the self titled EP and are capable of properly conveying the emotion necessary for the words and music. Needless to say, this album is a grand improvement from the quite good EP. I can picture fans of latter day Anathema, Tiamat or even the Projekt Records roster finding quite a bit to enjoy here.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Anthem

Oberon - Anthem ©2001 Incidental Music
1. Anthem
2. Love-light
3. Byzantine
4. When All Is Sorrow
5. Dreams Of The Sun
6. East
7. Solaris

The latest foray from Norway's Oberon is a bit of a surprising departure from his last two releases. The music has been dissolved down to a more ambient, soundscape oriented type of project, with nearly all the tracks being very quiet, atmospheric and ambient collages of sound, quite far away from the more standard music of his past. The very first track is probably the most fleshed in terms of achieving anything close to his previous music. From there, the short release takes one through a variety of quiet, contemplative passages often comprised of sparse keyboard playing and brooding sounds. "When All is Sorrow" is aptly titled, sounding like a funeral dirge on very sad sounding organ notes.

This release is a good EP to put on headphones late at night perhaps while reading or perhaps drifting with the lights off and your eyes closed. Fans of slightly musical soundscapes should definitely check this out. As a teaser for an upcoming full length, Anthem definitely is a good teaser.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2001

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