Based out of Sydney, Australia, Ilias is a multi-talented new artist to watch for. The credits on his debut album Somewhere In Time tell the story. This is a one man show as Ilias did it all. Producer, composer, writer, engineer, mixer, you name it, he did it. The same goes for the instrumentation here as he also plays everything, drums, bass, keyboards, piano and guitars. The result is a refreshing sound, unlike most of what I have heard this year, and another to add to the list of impressive 2013 debuts.
Despite being released this year, Somewhere In Time is actually the result of a long period of hard work, written over ten years in fact. That amount of work and perfectionism is evident in the arrangements and production of these songs. Ilias lists among his influences and heroes Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, many jazz greats, modern R&B stars like Maxwell and, not surprisingly to me, Prince. He lists the Purple Legend as his favorite musician growing up and you can hear all these influences in his music. It is hard to categorize Somewhere In Time, and that is what I like about it the most, its eclecticism.
Opening track "Never Utter The Word Never" is a sensual ballad with jazzy guitar licks and Ilias showing off his falsetto. There are a number of other smooth sounding ballads including "One Of A Kind" and "If I See You" which really displays his guitar skills. There are dreamy pop pieces too like "This Life" and "Last Words", while "Sense" boasts one of the album's prettiest melodies. My personal favorites are "Lonely", which sounds like nothing else on here with its guitar bursts and electronic beat, and the glorious "September Memory", a mostly instrumental piece and guitar showcase that recently earned Ilias his first radio play in America on the great KCRW.
Although this album was released back in March, this was a timely discovery for me as Ilias has just released an all instrumental version of Somewhere In Time as well. It's a telling sign of the mastery at work here that the album works in both versions, there is a lot to discover both with and without vocals. It was a long time coming but Somewhere In Time was worth the wait, an album Ilias should be very proud of and one I highly recommend you check out.
Favorite tracks: "September Memory", "Lonely", "Never Utter The Word Never", "Sense"
Somewhere In Time was self-released as digital download March 1, 2013.