VALENSIA – Valensia Gaia [Japan HR/HM 1000 reissue series] (2018)
Universal Music Japan has started this year a curious but more than welcomed campaign: the reissue of long time out of print albums from their catalog titled ‘HR/HM 1000‘, that meaning Hard Rock / Heavy Metal at the price of 1000 Yen = about 9,5 USD.
Into these series, appear the 2 more celebrated (out of print) albums by talent Dutch artist VALENSIA Clarkson. His first solo effort is simply titled Valensia I, however in Japan it was also added “Gaia“.
Valensia met Robby Valentine (another Dutch genius) at an airport, as they were both listening to Queen´s Bohemian Rhapsody. After that, Valensia started sending demos to several record companies and producer John Sonneveld noticed him.
Then Valensia signed a record deal with Mercury Records and in 1993 his first album “Valensia” was released in Europe.
Influenced by Kate Bush and Queen, Valensia’s self-titled first album (known as “Gaia” in Japan) contained the hit single “Gaia” that, out of nowhere, reached #2 in the Dutch charts nd stayed in the charts for several weeks. “Gaia” had success in other countries too.
The album itself spent almost 20 weeks in the album charts and had excllent reviews. Four singles were released: Gaia, The Sun, Nathalie and Tere.
Valensia become a renowned artist in the Netherlands, but he had an even greater success in Japan.
It’s not rare to see Robby Valentine playing all pianos here. “Valensia Gaia” sounds pretty much like Valentine’s first albums.
However Robby had a more straight forward Pomp / AOR approach, while Valensia add much more proggy (lite) arrangements and dreamy poppy melodies.
Musically imagine a amalgam of the pomp and circumstance of Queen, add some Nik Kershaw’s pop sensibilities, and Robby Valentine’s epicness, all rolled into one and that may give you a vague idea of where this guy is coming from.
As happens with these series, “Valensia Gaia” is not remastered, but this Japanese 2018 reissue sounds fantastic, more punchy and better DR, thanks the new digital transfer technique – which augment the signal / Dynamic Range – so having this for less than ten bucks is a great deal.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
Universal Music Japan ～ 【UICY-78636】
Ｈ Ｒ / Ｈ Ｍ １０００ ＳＥＲＩＥＳ
01 – Tere
02 – The Sun
03 – Scaraboushka
04 – Nathalie
05 – Tango Tamara
06 – T’kylah II
07 – T’kylah
08 – Megalomania
09 – My Heart Is in Your Hands
10 – Mr. 1999
11 – Gaia
12 – 1997
Valensia Clarkson – vocals, all instruments
Robby Valentine – grand piano
Marcel Schimscheimer – bass
Hans Eijkeneer – drums
Juan Van Emmmerloot – drums
Marcel Serierse – drums
Emmy Verhey – violin
Philip Kold – sax
Eddie Conrad – percussion
Pim Koopman (Kayak) – percussion
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