Exposé Online banner

XII Alfonso — Claude Monet, Vol. 2 - 1889-1904
(Musea FGBG 4540.AR, 2006, CD)

by David Bischoff, Published 2008-01-01

Claude Monet, Vol.  2 - 1889-1904 Cover artGot a friend who only likes jazz or movie soundtrack music or both? Here's a disc to slip into their hands with a wink. It just might turn them into prog-heads. XII Alfonso have fashioned here a unique yet familiar blend of background music that improves upon foreground inspection. The French, of course, are crazy for jazz, and their take on jazz is often more melodious than improvisational. Still, as France is the birthplace of impressionism in the visual arts, what better way to put a Gallic spin on jazz and prog than to go "impressionistic." Thus that ever-listenable group XII Alfonso have summoned forth a strong wash of rich imagery by naming this set after one of Impressionism's greats, Claude Monet. What might become a mishigosh in the hands of lesser musicians, becomes a savory beef bourguignon as served up by XII Alfonso. The strong melodic sense of the composers, along with their encyclopedic access to musical styles is what makes this like screen music. One moment you are in the cheerful street-circus atmosphere of "Madrid 1904" with tubas and castanets, the next you're on a whimsical vibes, flute and accordion dream in "Partition pour Pinceaux et Coquelicots." And don't worry. There's enough strong electric guitar work herein to satisfy prog fans. If there's one CD that you can put in your player and set "repeat" with while you paint marigolds or loll about with a croissant and the thickest of Sunday papers, this is it.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): XII Alfonso

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Poor Richard - Knees, Reins & Feet – As the debate over the meaning of the word "progressive" (as it applies to rock music) continues, the loosest interpretations generally define it as anything that eschews the mainstream...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues