Intro: Initially the album ‘Close To Nearby’ was destined to be the second ‘Potters Daughter album with a heavier, more orchestrated approach. A key to the realisation of such a distinctive adventurous move away from the normal ‘Potters Daughter’. Such output necessitated a creative drummer who could provide a dynamic input during the compositional and recording process. Subsequently, legendary drummer Simon Phillips, after hearing and liking the demo tracks, joined the band. Octarine Sky came into being.
Review: Being furnished with such an enormous wealth of information, from Dyanne, about her new and additional band ‘Octarine Sky’ has actually made the writing of this review slightly more difficult than normal. This, simply is because, the risk of repeating already published lines of information is so much greater than when intense research is needed. So in a sense, I need to apologise in advance if I am pilfering any of the facts or information already provided in the extensive press release notes. In addition, I must mention the most excellent of interviews carried out with Dyanne and published within Progressive Rock Central.com (alas this link takes you to the latest edition so you will need to search out the interview to which I refer)
Firstly, I am so very pleased that Dyanne has found, in ‘Octarine Sky’ an additional platform to display another side to her extraordinary talents, especially those which are keyboard related. But I cannot emphasise enough how special her ‘Potters Daughter’ forays are too and fortunately that they will remain as another side to her recorded and stage performances that is treading the boards with another side of her musical personality.
‘Octarine Sky’ –‘Close To the Sky’ is an album of incredible depth, flamboyance and imagination, therefore because of these factors. It is not an album that is instantly accessible. For the true beauty of its many component parts to be accessed, revealed and appreciated it requires the listener’s full attention and concentration. It is only then that the delicacy and ingeniousness of the instrumental and vocal arrangements can be fully absorbed. It is an album too that seems that has two distinctly different areas of musical productivity. One is a distinctive nod towards the classical juxtaposition of ELP and the other is the vocal ingenuity of Kate Bush. But not in a way that copies such musical directions, no, more a case of deft flavourings towards such classic performers.
In a sense, we have before us a genuine ‘US Super Group. The beautiful and quite incredible vocal delights of Dyanne Potter Voegtlin. Her sweet melodious tones not only creating remarkable vocal gymnastics but her veritable keyboard skills too transporting you to the pinnacle of classical piano excellence. The incredible energetic drumming of ‘Simon Phillips’ creating complex rhythmical patterns galore with a plethora of unpredictable time changes. Stunning well-considered lead guitar contributions from Guthrie Govan and Amit Chatterjee inserted into the scores in a dynamic and exciting fashion elevating the music to incredible heights and providing additional excitement to the proceedings. And then the final piece to this most interesting of delightful musical jigsaws are the melodic and precise bass lines from Jan Christiana.
Summary: An album that requires several plays in order to understand and appreciate the complexities and grandeur of the music. But so worthwhile, an album that will always remain within arm’s reach of your CD player. Fantastic musicianship throughout and amazing vocals.
1. One (Ginastera)
2. Rosewind (DPV + JCV)
3. Night Sky/Into the Dream (DPV + JCV, lyrics by DPV and Ronda Dubiel, feat. Guthrie Govan)
4. The Mask (DPV +JCV)
5. 5 (DPV + JCV, feat. Guthrie Govan)
6. Midnight (DPV + JCV, feat. Guthrie Govan, based on the poem by Edgar Allen Poe)
7. VII (Julia Schwartz, feat. Guthrie Govan)
8. Hold (DPV + JCV, lyrics by Ronda Dubiel and DPV, feat. Amit Chatterjee)
All compositions arranged and produced by Jan Christiana and Mixed by Simon Phillips
Plans for Octarine Sky to perform live in 2022 are being discussed. “It will be a challenge and a pleasure to perform the music from Close to Nearby”, Simon, Jan, and Dyanne agree.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to work on this album. Very challenging and ever so much fun.” Simon Phillips (drummer with Protocol, Toto, Hiromi, etc.)
The huge contribution of Simon’s playing to our music, together with the depth of his artistry and vision simply cannot be understated or exaggerated. He added a completely new dimension to each song. He is also down to earth, such a joy to work with! - Dyanne Potter Voegtlin and Jan Christiana
I was very happy to contribute to the record – it was a lot of fun!.” – Guthrie Govan (guitarist currently playing with The Aristocrats and Hans Zimmer)