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Opal Fire

Omar Akram

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Album Review

This one-name-only new age upstart — who, as the son of a UN diplomat, grew up in places like Cuba, Switzerland, and Afghanistan — creates a wide range of musical atmospheres and exotica around the core of his beautiful acoustic piano. Most of this kind of music is pleasant and very predictable, but Omar is more about unexpected twists and turns. The opening track, "Sugar Coated Love," begins gently and builds slowly toward a rich orchestral crescendo before exploding into a (synthesized) rhythmic jam featuring the sound of an oboe; what opens as a ballad becomes a spry piano number. "Morning Rain" doesn't get quite as bouncy, but breaks from the tender, melancholy opening into a pop/rock piece complete with electric guitar crackle. "Last Dance" incorporates a little flamenco, slightly reminiscent of some of Raúl DiBlasio's work. "Farewell for Now" draws more on Omar's classical background, but doesn't forsake his obvious passion for rock. Other numbers sound like pure, sweeping film scores. It's the rare new ager who can find unique ways to keep songs interesting all the way through, but Omar manages to do the trick. Very promising.

Biography

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

Experimental pianist Omar blends the unique sounds of various Asian and European countries into a lush and mystical New Age mix. He came upon these international flourishes earnestly; Omar was born to a UN diplomat and spent his youth moving from country to country. Training to become a classical pianist during this time, he came out of it a well-rounded musician that had the sort of exposure...
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Opal Fire, Omar Akram
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