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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

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