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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Yasnaïa - Oniro [Zoharum - 2021]

Originally released back in 1996 Oniro is a heady and largely oriental focused blend of ethno ambient, unwell new age music, post-industrial sound-scaping and darkly psychedelic-to-sensual female vocalizing. Here from Zoharum is a recent double CD reissue of the album, adding in a live set/ rare tracks on the second CD.

The two-discs come in a fold-out six-panel digipak- this features the original cover artwork of a topless Yasnaïa, with her head and hair flowing horizontally. The rest of the panels feature blossom gardens adorned with superimposed statutes- be it Asian religious figures, or mythical creatures with shields.
 
Yasnaïa( aka Leen Smets) was until the year 2000 , one of the singers with Belgium ethno ambient project Hybryds. Oniro was her one and only solo album, and it was originally released by troubled UK post-industrial label World Serpent. The original ten-track album is a darkly playful, if at points slightly busy/ over layered- if enjoyable ethnic ambient album, with surreal edges.
 
The album moves from clunking 'n' chugging gamelan drums, oriental witch vocals, layered chatter, and moody-if-creepy female vocalising of “One Thousand Angles Dancing On A Pins Head”. Onto the wondering lose paino ornateness meets ethno chant & stuck/ looped percussive clutter of “Aizen Myoo”. Through to the bouncing digeridoo synth tone meets sensual female moaning vocals & male sample spoken word of “Who Am I”- which does start to get slightly too crowded later on as sailing ‘n’ wailing choir samples, distant crying babies, and revibrating percussive are added in. 
 
On the second disc we get eleven tracks in total- seven live tracks, and four B side/ unreleased tracks. The live set from 1997 was recorded in München Germany- the tracks have runtimes between thirty-three seconds and seven minutes. We get live versions three album tracks, a intro track, and two other tracks- once again the sound here is very layer dense, and I’m afraid as a live set it doesn’t flow as well as the album, but there are some worthy moments here. The four extra tracks are also interesting enough, though once again not quite up to the main album tracks. So this second CD is a good bonus to the original album.
 
It’s great to see Zoharum putting out this rather obscure and distinct slice of ethno ambient, and once again the label has done a nice job with the double CD reissue format. Certainly of interest to Hybryds fans, but also those who like oriental focused ambient/ post-industrial sound making.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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