Review: OH. EP Sleeping World by Bertrand Pourcheron of Clair & Obscur
on June 29, 2013 in
Bertrand Pourcheron, reviewer at Clair & Obscur, a French webzine that explores a wide variety of music from progressive rock to ambient, through the post-rock, atmospheric pop, electronic music, psychedelic and experimental has written a wonderful review of the EP “Sleeping World”.
Clair & Obscur covers music of the past and present, not limited to mass media trends but through a genuine passion and love of great music.
Bertrand Pourcheron was Musea Magazine’s editor for 11 years and handled the French promotion of bands like Camel, Pendragon, IQ, King Crimson, Fish and Jadis. He was editor of Harmonie Magazine (the biggest French progressive and metal fanzine), a reviewer for Rockstyle (a magazine covering all styles of music, sold in libraries in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg), Rock Hard (the biggest metal and progressive magazine, sold in libraries in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Canada), Clair & Obscur (Webzine) and Big Bang (the most important French progressive magazine since the end of Harmonie Magazine in 2010).
Bertrand was also co-head of the French Fan Club of Marillion and is presently the Europe division manager of Backstage Montréal Enr., a quality concert promotion, independent music distributor and band merchandising business based in Montreal, Quebec.
This is the review in French:
Cette jeune artiste grecque, de son vrai nom Olivia Hadjiioannou, partage son temps entre son pays natal et les States. Sur son premier EP autoproduit, intitulé “Sleeping World”, elle nous offre 35 minutes d’une musique qui plonge aux racines du rock mélancolique et du prog’ metal symphonique pour un résultat éclectique et chaleureux qui s’emploie tout entier à servir la voix sublime de la belle demoiselle (dont le timbre évoque parfois ceux de Sharon Den Adel ou de Anneke Van Giesbergen). Cela dit, n’y cherchez ni expérimentation délirante ni emphatisme échevelé (exception faite peut-être de l’introduction du magnifique titre d’ouverture “Trials”). Passez donc votre chemin, amateurs d’envolées classisantes, de démonstrations techniques ébouriffantes, de lyrisme grandiose. Car Olivia, vous dis-je, est une honnête artiste sans prétention. Les grincheux et les snobs trouveront même les mélodies trop accessibles et les arrangements convenus…
Dommage pour eux. Cet EP possède en effet des tas de qualité. Tout d’abord, sa production est irréprochable, son relief sonore limpide et aérien et son mixage professionnel et résolument moderne (“Have You Ever”, aux faux airs de Within Temptation). Bon, mais la production n’est jamais que l’habillage de la musique. Un Mat Pokora bien produit restera un Mat Pokora…. Les six compositions gravées sur “Sleeping World” ont donc aussi à leur actif une cohésion irréprochable (le très dépressif “Banned By The Deep”, superbement mis en musique), de bons techniciens (bien que nullement démonstratifs) et une recherche mélodique réelle – et bien oui, une mélodie peut être accessible et recherchée, n’en déplaise aux puristes (le magnifique “Non-Exhistent Myth”).
Enfin, et par-dessus tout, OH possède un charme inexplicable qui défit l’analyse et dont par exemple le dernier Queensrÿche (celui de Geoff Tate, on s’y perd) est parfaitement dépourvu : c’est la fraicheur et la sincérité. Au fait, et si c’était l’essentiel?
This is a “rough” translation in English:
This young Greek artist, whose real name is Olivia Hadjiioannou, divides her time between her native country and the States. Her first self-produced EP, entitled “Sleeping World”, gives us 35 minutes of music that dives into the roots of melancholy rock and symphonic progressive metal for an eclectic and tender production whose entity serves the superb voice of the beautiful lady (whose timbre sometimes evokes those of Sharon Den Adel or Anneke Van Giesbergen).
That said, search not for feverish experimentation or complex emphasis (except perhaps the introduction of the magnificent opening “Trials” title), and walk on your way, amateurs of classifying bursts, of hair-raising technical demonstrations, of grandiose lyricism. For Olivia, I tell you, is an honest, unpretentious artist. The petulant and snobs alike may find the melodies too accessible and the arrangements conventional.
Too bad for them. This EP actually has many characteristics. First, the production is impeccable, its sound relief is transparent and thin as air and the mixing are professional and decisively modern (“Have You Ever” reminiscent of Within Temptation). Good, but the production is never just “dressing of the music”. A well produced Matt Pokora, remains Matt Pokora… The six compositions engraved on “Sleeping World” have to their credit an impeccable cohesion (the very depressing “Banned By The Deep”, beautifully set to the music), good technicals (although by no means demonstrative) and real melodic exploration – and yes, a melody can be approached and explored, no offense to purists (the magnificent “Not Existent Myth”).
Finally, and above all, OH has an inexplicable charm that defies analysis and like for example, the last Queensryche (that of Geoff Tate, who is inexplicable) is perfectly free of the superfluous in freshness and sincerity. In fact, isn’t that the most essential?
See the review on Clair & Obscur
Multi-instrumentalist and director Olivia Hadjiioannou as the artist Oh. has been honored for her ingenuity, innovation and creativity in music and video with multiple international awards. She made her debut as Oh. on the international music scene with the award-winning music video, "Trials" in 2013 – cited as one of the 50 top events to mark Greece during the economic crisis. With the advances of immersive video, she released her single "Love of Avalanches", mentioned in Huffington Post as one of first 360-degree immersive VR videos released by a Greek artist on YouTube in 2016.
The music video "Red Lion" is presently a winner and official selection in 12 film festivals worldwide. Winner of Best Music Video award in the inaugural French Riviera Film Festival (FRFF) in Cannes, France. Winner Best Music Video at the Cosmocinema Film Festival in London. Winner of the Best Music Video Short in The Psychedelic and Transpersonal Film and Music Festival that took place on May 25, 2019 at The Producer’s Club in New York City. Winner Best Experimental Mixed Media Short Film at the Paleochora Lost World Short Film Festival in Southwestern Crete in Greece. Read more in her Bio and EPK
The EP “Metallia” has received over 32 reviews from 13 countries worldwide, is in top 10 progressive rock and metal charts and listed as one of the best albums of the year for 2018 on Metal Nation Radio.
“Metallia” by Oh. is an epical prog-metal composition in six parts. A multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums.
This instrumental progressive metal album will reveal its intricacies and hidden depths over time. It will extract from your mind pure visions, to mend your mental pictures, preen presumptions and to elicit an element of the unexpected…. because that is what will transmute your subliminal mind map into a remarkable blueprint which will lead you from wherever you are now, to wherever you want to be.
Available on Bandcamp