Exposé Online banner

Fonya — Earth Shaper
(KDCD 1019, 1996, CD)

by Steve Robey, 1996-08-01:

Earth Shaper Cover art

Fonya is Chris Fournier, a multi-instrumentalist adept at making instrumental symphonic progressive rock in a variety of moods. The album is primarily keyboard-based, using modern keyboard sounds as well as Moog and Mellotron (I think). From my standpoint, this is quite an astonishing album, as Fournier avoids the boredom usually associated with instrumental keyboard efforts including enough variety and drama to hold the listener's interest. Earth Shaper includes two noteworthy suites, "The Valley of Lavon" and "Seeing Cape Cod Seas," which alternately find a hypnotic theme and stray away from it. The result is a highly atmospheric mix that combines the technology of modern progressive with the thematic complexity of classic progressive. The addition of ringing Fripp/Latimer style guitar in the background is also a plus. Perhaps if Peter Bardens had rejoined Camel and brought along his new age compositions with him, Camel may have sounded like this. This is not to say Fonya sounds like Camel, but the thematic structure and distinctly progressive chord changes carry that trademark. For those who like a bit of new-age atmosphere with a progressive bent, this album should work just fine.


by Dan Casey, 1996-08-01:

Fonya continues to be the solo vehicle for multi-instrumentalist Chris Fournier. His latest release is one that builds well on previous efforts, and is simultaneously familiar and accessible, not in the sense of commercial, but in the sense of inviting and approachable. The main instruments tend to be synths (mostly digital, but not unpleasantly so) but Fournier also adds some bass, drums, and guitar to flesh out the soundscape very well. In fact, this sounds more like a full band than almost any other project in this genre. It isn't intended to sound like a solo effort, despite that fact that it is one. The music moves between airy synth passages and addicting riff-based explorations. The highlights are when Fournier grabs a hold of a fluid riff and rides it through some developments. It's been proven over and over again that a full band can do more with this style of symphonic music than a single person usually can, and the same holds true here. Fournier is basically stretched so thin, that the songwriting suffers in places and sometimes just seems like ideas strung together without any larger purpose or sense of development. Furthermore, there aren't really any melodies that are strong enough to remain with you after the music's over. All in all, this is a very ambitious project, and is executed well enough to be recommended with the aforementioned shortcomings.


by Alain Lachapelle, 1996-08-01:

Earth Shaper is a travel into a fantasy land. A rather colorful travel where most of the times the instruments are equal in conveying the soundscapes to these imaginary places. It could be described by making a reference to Tangerine Dream's Tangram in its essence. We find voluptuous yet simple melodies surfacing here and there amongst waves of sequential rhythmic patterns and chording work. A comparison could locate Earth Shaper inbetween the aforementioned TD album and Jean Pascal Boffo's Carillons. A reverie is in the air, aptly forwarded in mostly open major modes by the keyboards, but also firmly supported by a very present percussive, yet flowing, approach on drums. The downside is that some passages are lacking the biting edge that would make them exceptional. But Fonya manages more often than not to maintain interest, mostly because there's an undeniable sense to the music, a coherence that reveals a direction, held together by a busy yet non-obstructive, flowing instrumentation. This album will be savored by listeners wanting a music that flows nicely by without apparent effort, although capable of letting itself be discovered in detail to an attentive ear. A fine album of instrumental 'vagabondage with a purpose' : a soothing and colorful magical voyage.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 10 , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Chris Fournier (Fonya)

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Noodle Project - And Life Goes On... – I’m not above enjoying a good clone band. I quite enjoy a lot of them. And Black Noodle Project may not necessarily be a complete Pink Floyd clone, but in the world of clonedom, some of these songs...  (2005) » Read more

Obscura - Le Città Invisibili – Le Città Invisibili is the debut release by Obscura, an Italian neo-prog band consisting of vocals, guitar, flute, bass, keyboards, and percussion. The title comes from the 1972 novel by Italian...  (2009) » Read more

Frigg - Frigg – Not to be confused with the German Frigg, a jazz quartet led by guitarist Bert Wrede, this Finnish seven-piece is an acoustic fiddle orgy. Five members play fiddle at least part-time, bringing to mind...  (2004) » Read more

Randone - Nuvole di Ieri, Ricordi & Hybla Act 1 – Oddly enough, for their first release on Electromantic, Randone was a trio: Nicola Randone on vocals and guitar (who had previously released material under his full name); Marco Crispi on lead guitar,...  (2006) » Read more

Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Space Metal – Arjen Lucassen is nothing if not prolific. His main project, Ayreon, has released six albums in the last seven years, including the two-disc concept album Universal Migrator in 2000, and he has put...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues