XII Alfonso — Under
(Musea FGBG 4814, 2008, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01Apparently taking a break from their three-part tribute to painter Claude Monet, this French band has put out this lush instrumental concept album. You might typically say that an instrumental concept album is not really a concept album at all, since if you changed the titles, the concept would be completely altered without changing a note of the music. In this case, you would only be partly right; the music includes a lot of taped voices and other sounds, some of them quite lengthy, such as a large portion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Others include a reporter's description of Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped and a tedious scene from an old movie or TV show where a man claiming to be a law enforcement officer tries to convince a little boy. You get the concept now? Me neither. None of the recordings are credited, which seems a likely violation of copyright in some cases, but it's not my place to judge that. Anyway, the music on its own is interesting enough, ranging pretty widely, including mellow jazz with acoustic guitar, electronic ambiance, occasional flashes of progressive rock, and various kinds of world music. I'm reminded of Camel and mid-70s Jade Warrior. Normally I admire stylistic variety, but in this case, ironically for a concept album, the music is wandering and unfocused, pleasant but not memorable.
Related artist(s): XII Alfonso
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
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more