Exposé Online banner

Alain Markusfeld — Roll over the Eiger Trail
(Aloha Music no #, 2012, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-01-12

Roll over the Eiger Trail Cover artThis is kind of a confusing release, not only because Markusfeld hasn’t released any new full length recordings since his double Live album in 1981, but also because the track list showed several cuts that were on his late 70s albums Le Desert Noir and Platock. Those in the know have heard his releases on the now defunct Egg label, and as none of those have been reissued in digital format yet, so I sprung for it, figuring I had nothing to lose. So this CD turns out to be an archive, about half of the playing time (the first six cuts) comprise works heretofore unreleased from 1989 onwards, and the last seven are culled from the two aforementioned Egg label albums, just newly mastered versions of the same studio recordings. Since probably most are familiar with those older cuts, I won’t go into great length on them here, other than to say from Le Desert Noir we get the title track, “Bulgaro-Feld,” “Hot Love,” and “Atlantis Rock”; and from Platock we get “Fayava” and parts two and three of “Platock.” Full digital reissues of those albums (as well as the two later Egg albums) are still badly needed, but this best-of selection will certainly do for now. Launching the disc is “De Retour au Guerzido <<Tempete>>,” a piano based jazz piece from 2010 featuring plenty of hand percussion, string bass and some sax soloing, it’s a little reminiscent of the late Vince Guaraldi during his Peanuts period. We then move backward a couple years to 2008, for the the three minute introspective orchestrated piano lament “Automne à Bachalapsee,” the orchestrations provided by judicious applications of synthesizer. “Roll over the Eiger Trail” is the third cut, the longest (at 10+ minutes), and the newest, recorded in 2011. It’s a strong organ based jazz piece, in some ways similar to the opener, though one might rightfully suspect we have drum programs at work, and a mix of synthesized saxes along with the real deal, and synthesized orchestrations. Still, this is probably the strongest cut among the newer, previously unreleased material. 1989 is represented with parts 7, 8, and 9 of “Le Fleuve,” obviously a longer suite much of which remains unrecorded or unreleased. Here, Markusfeld is using a lot of synths in his jazz based compositions and some of that – especially on part 7 sounds fairly experimental for the time, possibly inspired somewhat by Zappa’s Jazz from Hell, though not as aggressive, and far more emotional and melodic. The latter two parts are also interesting, but the use of very obvious drum programs clouds the air; the music would have been served far better by the real thing rather than this electronic chatter. Still, this is all really good stuff, but any listener familiar with his pre-1981 material might be wondering why he no longer plays guitar. I am wondering the same thing too.

Filed under: Archives, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Alain Markusfeld

Latest news

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Electrum - Frames of Mind – Here are three guys who love Rush and decided to record an album together of songs influenced by the Canadian trio. It's a scenario I've seen played out over and over (see Afterlife in these...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues