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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anyone's Daughter - First Five Reissued – Anyone's Daughter was one of a group of late 70s German symphonic bands who brought forth a highly melodic rock, colorful and saturated with emotion. Their vocal harmonies were strong, and...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues