Omni is a symphonic progressive rock group hailing from El Puerto de Santa María in Spain. Crónicas Del Viento (which translates into 'Chronicles of the Wind') is their fourth album, but my first conscious encounter with their music- a pleasant encounter, I might add.
According to the info sheet delivered with the album, the double-CD is “a narrative of facts and sensibilities with musical passages of multiple influences. It comes to close a cycle of the band where they invite musicians to have a musical feast with them, making them enjoy, live and share harmonies and feelings”. The album was already composed in 2009 but remained in the archives for many years until 14 years after it was finished and released.
The band consists of Mike Starry (lead guitar, keyboards and synthesizers), Salvador Vélez (guitars and voice), Iñaki Egaña (bass and backing vocals), and Tato Macías (drums and percussion). As guest musicians, they invited Pepe Torres (sax and flutes), Diego Ruiz (of Storm, on drums), keyboard/synthesizer players Juanma Rodríguez, Luisda García, Kiko Vega, and Victor M. Mateos “Willy”, and bass player Charlie Durán.
Disc one is a (partly) vocal disc. An Intro (Levante En Calma) opens the album with sounds of the wind, then a Pink Floyd kind of guitar sound. Sequencers build up the tension. Overall a fine Floyd-like track with a slow pace and soaring guitars. Great opener.
The title track, Crónicas Del Viento, reminds me of Pink Floyd around 1985, including the atmosphere, guitars, and saxophone.
La Espiral has dreamy symphonic feel with flute and Spanish lead vocals. They are quite good vocals too. Often, I find Spanish vocals quite harsh, but not this time! Los Recuerdos Del Unicornio is another vocal track, also reminding of the David Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd, including a soaring guitar solo.
The long Dos Orillas has a folky feel with Celtic influences, instrumental, guitar, flute. In the second half we find ourselves in the realms of keyboard led neo/symphonic prog.
Over to the second CD which is entirely instrumental. It opens with the 9 minutes long Imad El Marino. As on the first disc, things start with various effects (nature sounds and city noises) then floating synthesizers evolving into a symphonic part with marching drums. Later on we have soaring guitars and a really cool synth solo (a bit like Rick Wakeman) and some oriental tinges on the electric guitars.
The music on much of the second CD can be described as electronic symphonic instrumental with clear Floyd-influences, but also some traces of Berlin school electronic music. In Terral the band also brings in some Oriental influences, and again cool synthesizers.
Tormenta De Arena is a pure percussion piece, and as such a minor torment. Apparently, the idea was that Diego Ruiz and Tato Macías put together a “Sandstorm” where first one plays the drums, then the other and finally the two together. I am no fan of persussion only stuff, so luckily, it's short.
The 12 minutes long bonus track Tras El Puente (a remake of a track from Omni's debut album) more than makes up for it. It would have been strange to end an album with a piece like Tormenta, by the way. Tras El Puente in several ways reminds me of Joe Stariani's Flying In A blue Dream. At least parts of it. The guitars, the patterns. But then, there are also entirely different influences as Floydy or Berlin School synth parts. A wonderful piece of music with a finger-licking keyboard solo leading towards the end.
All in all, a great album!
****- Carsten Busch (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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