VALENSIA – Valensia VI • Gaia III • Aglaea • Legacy [Japanese release]
Aldous Byron Valensia Clarkson, in short VALENSIA, has been created unique music since the ’90s. If you never heard about him, his compositional style does not differ much to the other famous Dutch genius: Robby Valentine. In fact, Valensia / Valentine have released a couple of albums together.
Ten years after the release of his latest solo album, Valensia returned with a new opus; “Valensia VI : Gaia III • Aglaea • Legacy“, only released in Asia on physical CD.
As happen with Robby Valentine, Valensia’s music is strongly influenced by Queen and all the ’80s culture, blended with a fascinating classical / Rock&pop / orchestral crossover.
At the age of 21, Valensia was signed by with Universal Music back in 1992, and released the single ‘Gaia’. This song, being released in the winter of 1993 in an era where grunge, Brit pop and techno was on the radio, broke all the rules by shooting straight at #1 in most of the European territories and sold over 1 million copies the first week after it’s release.
When Valensia’s debut album ‘Valensia’ was released, the Dutch artist became a sensation in Japan and Southern East Asia, as well as in the Netherlands. Strangely enough in a time where this type of music was completely out of vogue.
Valensia’s music has been described as ‘the most innovative composing since The Beatles’ because of his new standards of chords no composer had ever used in rock&pop music.
It’s not hard rock, it’s not AOR or Melodic Rock, but has some of these genres elements, sometimes little experimental, absurdly symphonic and progressive, which for many is difficult to digest, but always intriguing and surprising.
“Valensia VI : Gaia III • Aglaea • Legacy”, as most Valensia albums, it’s entirely composed, performed and produced by himself with a superb sound. He claims that this is the last album of his career because of high production costs. The man is a perfectionist.
This CD is some kind of a masterpiece, especially for those who like Queen and original, symphonic music with melody. The disc has the best ‘Valensia style’ and begins with 9 and a half minute song, which is part of a series held in other discs: “Tere III”.
Next, “Seven Ways To be Loved” twist everything using a pop cadence mixed with strings and percussion. In every song is worth paying close attention to each of the arrangements worked out in every detail, and systematic work in the harmonies / choirs of Queen style.
This is the case for example of “The Cabinet Of Curiosities” one of the best songs on the album.
“Finca Paris” is one of the most melodic songs with a very sweet and beautiful verses. “Carolina” is another of my favorites, which uses a base of Tango with a bandoneon sound mixed with ’80s Rock&Pop and massive choruses. The mix of styles is unique, and Valensia does everything with class.
“The Candle” was the first cut off the album, a rock/waltz again with a twist, while “Holland” is a very relaxed song which speaks highly of his native country.
“Here Comes The Moron” is another high point, with a strong Beatles influence of the last albums and ironic lyrics. The work on the details of this song is amazing, which includes little sounds of different instruments and voices in a very subtle way.
“God’s Lesser Creatin (Spo0k)” is the most introspective song on the disc, chaotic and pretty experimental. That is because it’s part of the soundtrack of the Dutch Film titled ‘Spook’, for which Valensia composed the score.
“The Miracle” is the most similar to Valensia early works (especially the first ‘Gaia’) melodic and pompous. Then “Serious” is strongly influenced by ’80s pop, yet with the typical Valensia touch.
The album closes with “Aglaea”, another song blending rock / pop / classical, guitars & grand piano, plus symphonic instruments (all performed by Valensia). A terrific piece of work.
This Dutch multi-instrumentalist is able to write, compose, perform, arrange and produce his own albums with an impressive quality, not only musically, but also technically.
Valensia officially stopped making albums for record companies in 2005 but released this last farewell by himself for all his fans. And you can’t call this ‘indie’, believe me. The sound is incredible pristine and pure on “Valensia VI : Gaia III • Aglaea • Legacy”.
This is an album to listen several times and discover new nuances with each. It’s different, unique, and surprises you all the time.
Avalon / Marquee Japan ~ MICP-11175
01 – Tere III
02 – 7 Ways to Be Loved
03 – The Cabinet of Curiosities
04 – Finca Paris
05 – Carolina
06 – The Candle
07 – Holland
08 – Here Comes the Moron
09 – God’s Lesser Creation (Spo0k)
10 – A Miracle
11 – Serious
12 – Aglaea
Valensia: lead & harmony vocals, all instruments
Fernando Ortega: bass on 5
Jesus Maria Ruiz: drums on 5
Jose Arturo Garbazo: bandoneon on 5
Kees Verschuren, Eddie Wierga: guitar on 5
BUY T !