The second full length of the solo project Oberon comes after thirteen years of silence, during which the Norwegian Bard Titlestad has remained on the sidelines of the musical world while continuing to compose music. Much of this has flowed into Dream Awakening, a record that, after all, is the closing of a circle, since the label that licenses it is the same Prophecy that, in 1997, among the first productions on the market, published the mini Oberon. We say immediately that this album is yet another center from part of a label that, for years, continues to offer music always marked by an immeasurable artistic value. I must admit, without particular qualms, that before today the name Oberon was completely unknown to me, so it follows that the evaluation of this work and the sensations aroused by listening inevitably go beyond any comparison with past production. Bard, with this discographic return, obtains an excellent result putting on the plate a compositional fluidity that allows him to move without apparent jolts between neo folk moods, tips of darkness, progressive passages and songwriting references of noble lineage. A clear and evocative voice leads the listener along a path littered with enchanting moments, something close to the purity of water that flows from a source; this feature, which does not fail even when the sounds are strengthened, if anything further enhanced by this game of light and shadow. Empty And Marvelous opens this magnificent album with folk moods that are supplanted by the next masterpiece track Escape where, at times, is evoked no less than the unforgettable Jeff Buckley and, all in all, the never enough lamented American singer can be a good reference point to better understand what Bard is capable of in Dream Awakening. Of course, the voice of the Norwegian musician is not comparable to Jeff’s, but the compositional sensibility and the ability to outline songs of great emotional impact are not less. Even when folk takes over the songwriting, the result deserves our praise, but it’s certain that the episodes that remain most impressive are those in which are highlighted both a more distinct melodic soul (Flight Of Aeons), and an imprint of prog rock (I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart). The disturbing atmospheres of Machines are the penultimate pearl of a work that gives in closing another beautiful song (Age Of The Moon) in which the electric guitar carves out a last space within sounds that, if transposed visually, would take delicate pastel colors. Oberon has been a real thunderbolt, thanks to the discovery of a musician who had remained for years in a sort of oblivion: this is another good reason, among many, why no one should ever feel satisfied with the music he has heard in the past. For those who, like me, fell in love at first sight of this excellent musical entity, it will be nice to know that Prophecy has also planned the reissue of the entire production of Oberon, a good opportunity to deepen the knowledge and maybe find other forgotten gems composed by the excellent Bard.

2014 – Prophecy Productions