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 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.


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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 10 , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Chris Fournier (Fonya)

More info

Latest news

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

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Waiting – This is Porcupine Tree's latest three-song CD EP, appropriately titled I suppose, while we are waiting for the release of their next full length CD Signify this coming fall. The music here is a...  (1996) » Read more

Red Jasper - The Winter's Tale – Evidently you don't have to have a shred of originality, talent, or musicianship to be an active part of the SI (sonically insipid) band roster. Red Jasper continue on in the fine SI (simply...  (1994) » Read more

John Tchicai - Life Overflowing & Love Letters from the Madhouse – Tenor saxophonist John Tchicai is the leader or co-leader on two recent independent jazz releases. Life Overflowing is a quintet project, while the other is spoken word prose backed by reeds. The...  (2000) » Read more

Ut Gret - Time of the Grets – Here is a group that, like The Rascal Reporters, consists of two musicians who between them play about a billion instruments. Musically however we are talking about an entirely different ball game....  (1997) » Read more

Christian Décamps - Psychédelice – So... what to make of this? One of the most famous lead singers in the history of European prog has recorded a solo album... of instrumental music (well, almost – there’s one track with...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues