I love music that almost instantly creates a fantasy world in the listener’s mind. You only have to close your eyes, and the song will take you to another dimension, far away. For me this kind of music is the most magical of all. An album with this fine quality is Jon Richards‘ release, named Elysian Fields (2011). Rarely have I played an album that creates more fantastic visions than this; It is as magical and wonderful as the flying white horse on the CD cover.
Elysian Fields is Jon Richards’ first album on the MG Music label, and his third album total. This UK based artist has in the past released two albums on R Cat Record – named Pangea (2008) and Transmigration (2009). Jon is in many ways a perfect addition to MG Music, since he has “that gentle & warm sound” this label has become so famous for. Together with the skilled studio crew here I’m sure we have many Richards albums to look forward to.
The album’s opening is extremely strong; as a radio host I know that these first few songs are winners. I could play them all day long and not loose many listeners, and get many new ones too. Gates of the Sun is the first song, starting with a nice acoustic guitar and then larger-than-life strings. The melody is light and warm, inviting you into a comfortable dream world. All songs here are long, the shortest being the almost 7 minute album opener. In other words; you have plenty of time to discover this musical dream world. The second track is Asphodel Meadows, with its laid-back rhythm and wonderfully mystical atmosphere.
Elysian Fields is as magical and wonderful as the flying white horse on the CD cover.
I don’t know if Jon Richards composed Elysian Fields especially to MG Music, but the two part Tir Na Nog is very Medwyn Goodal-ish in its sound – à la Clan series or Druid – something that is sure to give Richards many new fans. It is highly melodic and the attention to details, like small songs within the song, is very well done. Part 2 is more dreamy and thoughtful.
The overall sound quality is very good, as one would expect from a sequenced album. Some of the main instruments are quite dated though, which perhaps will limit the albums success among some audiences, but for us analogue synth fans this is only positive.
Yes, this album sure is magical; just put on the 10 minute long Jade Emporer. It is fantasy storytelling in music. But the interesting part is that the album is dreamy without lulling the listener to sleep. It has quite fast rhythm and equally upbeat melodies, and its magic is all in the spellbinding atmospheres.
I can only say that Jon Richards has done an amazing job. Elysian Fields is one of this year’s finest releases. It is like magical treasure chest waiting for you to open it, again and again, filled with the most wonderful creatures your mind can create.
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