Exposé Online banner

XII Alfonso — The Lost Frontier
(Musea FGBG 4183.AR, 1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1997-02-01:

The Lost Frontier Cover art

It's unclear from the booklet notes what actually constitutes the band proper, but it seems to be centered around two brothers François and Philippe Claerhout, on keyboard programming and guitars respectively, and keyboardist Stephane Merlin. Two bassists play on different songs, as well as two different drummers, while Caroline LaFue seems to be the de-facto lead vocalist, although she only appears on a few tracks. Laure Oltra contributes lyrics on those tracks which have them, although better than half of the album is instrumental. The music could be characterized as dreamy Celtic symphonic, perhaps a bit like Iona meets Minimum Vital, with heavy atmospherics, and a slight Oldfield-ian feel throughout many of the pieces. LaFue is a powerful singer, and certainly brightens up the music whenever she is utilized. The guest list is pretty impressive too: Mickey Simmonds (ex-Fish / Camel) contributes to several tracks, and guitarist Dan Ar Bras contributes to at least one. In all this is a fairly ambitious and successful debut, one that I'm certain most will enjoy.


by Henry Schneider, 1996-12-31:

XII Alfonso is a French band whose debut release The Lost Frontier is a concept album about Hadrian’s Wall. Similar to Musea’s other Celtic inspired band Kadwaladyr, XII Alfonso weaves a cinematic tapestry of ambient sounds and contemporary, Celtic, and medieval themes. Mostly instrumental, the music is relaxing and perfectly played at times reminding me of Anthony Phillips. Unfortunately XII Alfonso chose to include three vocal tracks by Caroline Lafue that detract from the music. Her voice does not have the depth necessary to deliver the lyrics and she occasionally slurs words. That minor gripe aside, The Lost Frontier is the perfect companion to snuggle up with in a blanket and a good book. Or you can close your eyes, let your mind drift with the music, and conjure your own “documentary” images of Hadrian’s Wall.


Filed under: New releases , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): XII Alfonso, Dan Ar Braz, Mickey Simmonds

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cro Magnon - Zapp! – An interesting newcomer in the 'Chamber Music Rock' subgenre, this is a Belgian five piece featuring a lineup of dual violins, keyboards, alto and baritone saxes, and bass. Naturally, as might be...  (1993) » Read more

Henry Cow - Concerts – Another Henry Cow re-release which has much more information in the expanded liner notes which detail the proceedings. The first four tracks were taken from a 1975 BBC Peel Session and features a...  (1996) » Read more

Glenn Hughes / Geoff Downes - The Work Tapes – Leave it to Geoff Downes to seek out another bassist, vocalist heavyweight talent as a possible big time collaborator. I honestly don't think the ex member of the Buggles and Yes has ever lived...  (2001) » Read more

Celeste - Celeste (AKA Principe di un Giorno) – Celeste's first album, also known as Principe di un Giorno, is an absolute gem, an overlooked classic that deserves a place among the best Italian releases of the classic period. Originally...  (1995) » Read more

NIMBY - Songs for Adults – Starting with their premise that most music is designed for teenagers, Songs for Adults on the surface seems to be an irreverent and playful stomp through the perplexities of middle age, with titles...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues