Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

Ondine Cover art

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.


by Dan Casey, 1994-10-01:

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.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 5 , 1993 releases, 1984 releases

Related artist(s): Fromage

More info

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Azigza - From X to Y – This three-song CD is intended as a sort of preview of Azigza’s upcoming full-length release, which should be out sometime in 2003, hopefully before too late in the year. I first heard this San...  (2003) » Read more

Echolyn - As the World – First off, as promised this major-label debut (actually their third full album) is not a sell-out in any way, shape or form. Echolyn have maintained the essence of their sound as defined on the...  (1995) » Read more

Tristan Park - At the End of the Day – Hailing from the New England area, this six piece band is pushing for the arena rock sound that the late 70s and early 80s bands like Kansas and Rush made famous. Not exactly neo-prog, not exactly...  (1995) » Read more

Marvin Ayres - Cellosphere – Marvin Ayres is a string player (cello and violin here) who specializes in using electrified instruments to build ambient clouds of sound (see Neptune in New Releases). This is an early example of his...  (2005) » Read more

Fred Frith - The Previous Evening – Fred Frith has always been a very highly respected innovator and collaborator in various new music endeavors, and lately his talents have been sought out more and more for an ever broadening array of...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues