Exposé Online banner

Chris Béya Atoll — Illian, J’entends gronder la Terre
(Musea FGBG 4531.AR, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01

Illian, J’entends gronder la Terre Cover art

There are several reasons to expect the worst from this release. Many “reunions” and “reformations” of bands from the 70s have not turned out well; a look at the credits shows none of the other members of Atoll in spite of the name on the cover; and Atoll guitarist Béya has not really done anything of note since Tertio in 1977. On the other hand, Béya’s guitar playing was one of the best things about Atoll, and he had a hand in writing some of the band’s best material. Well, the proof is in the hearing, and I was pleasantly surprised – there’s quite a bit to like on this CD, and I’ve enjoyed it more the more I’ve listened. The music varies widely, from delicate acoustic numbers nicely arranged with flute and strings to energetic fusion workouts featuring Béya’s great playing. The only real drawbacks are the vocals, which are thin and undistinctive (it’s a pity he didn’t recruit his old Atoll bandmate André Balzer), and the keyboard sounds, which have the slick sound often present in digital instruments. It’s some sort of concept album, but the music works aside from that. The bottom line is that this is a worthy effort perhaps more likely to appeal to fans of good neo-prog than to fans of the old Atoll. Beya’s backing band navigate the complex arrangements well, though it is the guitar that shines, whether based in rock, blues, folk, or classical.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Atoll, Christian Béya

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Covenant - Nature's Divine Reflection – It seems that the one-man band is making a comeback in the American mid-west. Whether this is a positive happening or not, I will leave to the individual listener. Covenant consists solely of one Dave...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues