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Open Sky [Original recording remastered]

Iona Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.69 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details

1. Woven Cord
2. Wave After Wave
3. Open Sky
4. Castlerigg
5. A Million Stars
6. Light Reflected
7. Hinba
8. Songs Of Ascent (Part 1)
9. Songs Of Ascent (Part 2)
10. Songs Of Ascent (Part 3)
11. Friendship's Door

Product Description

Re-issue from the 2001 release, 'Open Sky' contains a good mix of the progressive and ambient music that Iona has become well known for. Comes remastered and is available for the first time in years. Open Sky. 2005.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting used to it... May 6 2004
By Jenni
Format:Audio CD
This is my first experience with Iona and while I love Celtic music and have a few other selections in my music collection, I wasn't sure I liked this CD when I first bought it. From the other reviews on this site I see that perhaps this CD is a new sound??
In any regard, the first song starts out with a delicate, ethereal almost ghost melody that is outstanding but quickly builds to a very frenetic and heavy 70's type drum bit (and later a guitar solo) that throws your senses into complete opposition. My first bias was that this band is a bunch of old hippies who needed to move forward...but, it's grown on me. I am beginning to see the artistic value.
On a bad day I skip the first track entirely, on a good day it's palatable. As I skipped through the tracks I was also disappointed by the flat melodies that never seemed to resolve well-they always leave the listener grasping. Not an entirely disagreeable thing, but rather inconsistent with some of the musical phrasing. The overall clash of light and heavy elements is a stylistic eccentricity that takes some getting used to. (It's like a painting with a scattered/fractured "focal point")
Subtle tensions and variations that inculcate later songs on the album (that are not so heavily assaulted with the 70's infusion) are refreshing and spiritually uplifting. Tracks 4-9 are good, and 5 is awesome (simple with perfect tension/inflection). Joanne's vocals have also become more soothing and have a calming effect, generally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Songs Like a Healing Breeze May 15 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
To find music like this is a revelation. I don't ordinarily listen to "Christian contemporary" music and can't tell you why I wandered down that aisle of the store, or why this CD caught my eye. But what I found blew me away! The music is awesome -- similar maybe to Clannad and Capercaillie in their more pop-oriented incarnations, but with a heavier prog-rock side as well. And the lyrics -- I've heard nothing like them. Deeply Christian, but not at all in the shallow, sloganeering, sophomoric way that's typical of music that shares the bins where I found this. Deeply Christian, and so beautiful, so positive, so uplifting, so worshipful, so reverent, so filled with love for God and gratitude for the goodness of His creation and His people... It's music that will make your hair stand on end and put tears in your eyes. What grace to find something so precious -- yes, in this cynical, faithless world, where unbelievers and facile fundamentalists spar, there are still Christian arists whose faith just makes the beauty of truth flow out of their hearts! Iona, I love you -- thank you!
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Format:Audio CD
Iona is a band that demands attention and concentration. Sure, their striking mixture of Celtic melodies, progressive rock, and (in older releases) jazz sometimes produces serene pieces that serve as soothing, calming background music (as in Open Sky's denouement, "Friendship's Door"). But if you only let Iona play in the background you'll miss the richness and careful craft evidenced in each of their albums.
Each of Iona's studio albums (Iona, The Book of Kells, Beyond These Shores, Journey Into the Morn, and now Open Sky) deals with a different theme relating to Celtic Christian history. This time around, the band draws its inspiration from Columba's mystical experience with God on the isle of Hinba:"This is where you prayed and Heaven's light shone down/This is where you sang the angel song ... Here you came to make your fast/Prayed for mercy, 'til at last/You heard the word you waited for" (from "Hinba"). A liner note on the inside of the CD jacket provides the listener with additional information on this event. Listening to and reflecting on Iona's albums can be an educational experience!
But Iona is never satisfied to write just one song about such an event. Whatever they choose as the theme of their album becomes the inspiration for several tracks or even the entire album, with a mixture of songs both directly related to the subject matter and ones that indirectly draw contemporary applications from it. "Hinba," not surprisingly to long-time Iona listeners, is followed by the 3-part "Songs of Ascent," a musical exploration of Columba's prayers and, by extension, any prayers that draw us closer to God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album yet! May 4 2001
Format:Audio CD
This album, like all of Iona's work, is indescribably beautiful. On this release they refine every element of their sound, bring Joanne Hogg's haunting vocals to the forefront, and continue the simply unbelievable solo work. Iona's musicianship is probably the best there is -- I can think of no other group that can match them in that respect. They merge myriad styles in their music, most notably celtic, rock, progressive, new age, & of course the Christian faith that inspires it all. Contemplative, intelligent lyrics, soaring synth, guitar, and vocals, and the overwhelming feeling that you are listening to music that has been sent straight from heaven. People of any faith (or none at all) can enjoy this album equally, because the focus is on the beauty of the music, not converting or reaching out to people (though if you want it to, it is very capable of doing just that).
Here's a quick rundown of the tracks:
"Woven Cord" is a studio version of the title track from their live album of the same name. It's an instrumental, and a great opening point for the album.
"Wave After Wave" has a beautiful melody, great lyrics, and several impressive solos, especially the tin whistle.
The rythmic chorus in "Open Sky" will stay in your mind long after the CD stops spinning.
"Castlerigg" is by far my favorite track on the CD, opening slowly, then going into a chant/bagpipe sequence. Next a soft acoustic guitar and violin melody plays in the background as Joanne whispers. As the section picks up the bagpipes return in an unbelievably fast jig to close out the song.
The instrumental "A Million Stars" deftly conveys the feeling of floating out in space and seeing the wonders of the universe around you.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent exemple de Prog celtique
Le rock progressif à saveur Folk est bien représenté par ce groupe irlandais. Dans la foulée de Mostly Autumn, mais aussi d'Enya, la musique est... Read more
Published 22 months ago by JEAN ROBY
5.0 out of 5 stars If Genesis had been Irish . . .
A very nice recording by a group of people who convey their passion for their music. A little bit dated in style, reminiscent of 70's Genesis & Renaissance (both bands that I have... Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2010 by Upright Grand Master J
5.0 out of 5 stars Typically awesome worship from IONA
A friend of mine turned me on to Iona some years ago and I am so glad that he did. From the moment I started playing the first song of theirs I ever hear to this CD release I have... Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by Nathan P. Couch Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars alternately soothing and invigorating . . . just beautiful
A rare beauty of a CD . . . hauntingly beautiful, both calming and inspiring. Great for those of us who can't always fall asleep or wake up just when we'd like . . . Read more
Published on April 16 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a 5, but...
this newest release from Iona is more progressive with less singing & more instrumentals. Iona normally writes, or should I write "Uses" lyrics of the ancient Celtic Christian... Read more
Published on March 12 2003 by PhiloX
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime...
Sweeeeet... wonderful. Inexpensive transportation to the heart of Iona... another place, another time... beautiful pure voice, reverb as deep as the cover art... Rich. Lush. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2003 by Kevin M
....more guitars ? I SAY THATS GOOD more progressive ? YES PLEASE
more subtle references to Christ ? Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2002 by "purplexed"
3.0 out of 5 stars What were you thinking of?
I've been a big fan of Iona for the longest,and I have to say compare to their past albums this one really bombed. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by Gustavo Eduardo Carmona
5.0 out of 5 stars Iona's best yet
Iona continues to improve and to break new ground. I thought that Terl Bryant's departure would hurt the group but Van Essen is a suitable replacement; his less artistic drumming... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2001 by Silverhand
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened?
Up to this album I have absolutely loved Iona's music. They had a perfect mix of Rock and Celtic. On this album, almost every song has a screeching lead guitar overwhelming the... Read more
Published on July 11 2001 by Dean Robinson
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