Exposé Online banner

Alan Simon — Big Bang
(Cherry Red , 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-07-30

Big Bang Cover art

So what is this? Alan Simon is a French composer with a varied career originally centered around Celtic flavored folk-rock music, but since around 1999, starting with Excalibur – The Legend of the Celts, he’s been better known for these grand bombastic rock operas that involve a hundred or more musicians, many of note, plus orchestras, choirs, and singers from across the rock and pop spectrum. At last check the Excalibur series was up to number IV plus a live version of the first, plus Anne de Bretagne, Gaia, Tristan et Yseult and many more, a dozen albums before this one. Less than a year ago I reviewed an excellent compilation by Simon titled Songwriter, a two-disc set that draws material from all these various rock operas without subjecting the listener to the entire complete works. Big Bang is Simon’s latest, released in early 2018 (although by the time you read this, he will probably have something else out), and this time out his music is focusing on the origins of the universe, with titles like “Seven Moons in the Sky,” “Andromeda,” “Prologue of the First Day,” and “The Waltz of the Universe,” again with 120-some musicians involved including an orchestra and choirs, fourteen tracks in all. Name performers include Celtic harpist Alan Stivell, who also sings, Supertramp’s sax player John Helliwell (always loved his sound and style), Saga singer Michael Sadler (at least on one track), and Simon plays acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica, percussion, and other odds and ends. Other players who I am unfamiliar with play bass, drums, percussion, electric guitar, keyboards, plus a couple different choirs, and a 30-piece orchestra. So what’s the difference between this and the work from his earlier rock operas? If you took away the vocals on “Seven Moons” and a few of the other non-instrumental cuts (most of what’s here is instrumental), and all of the sound samples he nicked from NASA’s archives that are intertwined with the music, this could easily be Excalibur V, that is to say, not much different, so if you like Simon’s previous grand scale epics, chances are good you will love this.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Alan Stivell, Alan Simon

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Time's Forgotten - A Relative Moment of Peace – Time’s Forgotten is a new progressive band from San Jose, Costa Rica. Formed in 2004, the band consists of Juan Pablo Calvo (keyboards, samples, background vocals, programming), Jorge Sobrado...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues