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
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
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
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