Exposé Online banner

Fromage — Ondine
(Belle Antique 9458, 1984/1993, CD)

by Dan Casey, 1994-10-01:

Ondine Cover art Fromage. That's French for 'cheese.' This Fromage, however, are not French at all, but rather they are a Japanese five piece (g/k/d/b/v+flute) from the '80's. The keyword here is 80s. A very dated sound, typical of a lot of 80s prog. The all-too-nasal and thin vocals (in Japanese) are used in a very standard manner as the band marches seemingly happily through these traditionally-structured pop/prog anthems. The best moments are the extended instrumental passages, where occasionally the writing diverges into a more mellow, jazzy mold. Some nice acoustic/lead guitar work will surprise you amongst all the tired dribble, as on the lead cut "Extermination" and the lengthy symphonic "Ondine," which is by a longshot the album's strongest cut. The style here is formulaic 70s, but it's a welcome refresher compared to the rest of the cuts. At the other end of the scale, there is the following cut, "Color Vision Night," which is obviously inspired by Abacab-era Genesis and uses the pseudo-English chorus "Bye bye bye my love, see you again, and hello my love." Ouch. Belle Antique has certainly done better than this. Fromage. Cheese. Yep.

by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

Cheese jokes aside, this band was active throughout the eighties, and released two regular albums. Their approach was symphonic, featuring guitar, bass, keys, drums and flute, and female vocals, and on their first album, Ondine, they deliver a relatively poppy (and sometimes obnoxiously so) progressive sound, typically Japanese, comparable to bands like Novela in their commercial phase, or perhaps Tai-Phong. Yet on one track at least – the instrumental "Ultimate" – they clearly show that they can deliver the progressive goods without the pop baggage. There are some very nice moments on many of the other tracks as well, especially the lengthy "Tsuki-Ni-Hoeru," but a flash of brilliance here and there a great album doesn't make.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 9 , 1993 releases, 1984 releases

Related artist(s): Fromage

More info

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Transi – If this trio of all female musicians were a pop group, I doubt if anyone would think twice, but in the testosterone driven underground of Prog, the idea is practically a novelty (at least for...  (1995) » Read more

Christian Vander - Offering III-IV – Although this was released four years after the first Offering album, this Offering picks up right where that one left off, and is in many ways not much different at all. Only three tracks here, the...  (1995) » Read more

Steve Roach - Storm Surge: Steve Roach Live at NEARfest & Immersion: One – Steve Roach’s appearance at NEARfest 2005 was a landmark event. Any live performance by Roach is a rarity, but to be exposed to such a large audience — and one largely unfamiliar with his...  (2007) » Read more

Chimpan A - Chimpan A – Don’t read too much into the Simpsons reference in the name of this group. It’s all business with these guys, being Rob Reed (keyboards) from Magenta and Steve Balsamo (vocals) and Rob...  (2007) » Read more

In Cahoots - All That – The brilliant and fluid jazz, rock, and improvisational sensibilities of this outstanding lineup (now featuring new drummer Mark Fletcher, who played with them at Progman Cometh 2002, replacing Pip...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues