Exposé Online banner

XII Alfonso — Under
(Musea FGBG 4814, 2008, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01

Under Cover artApparently 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.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): XII Alfonso

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lacrymosa - Joy of the Wrecked Ship – It’s been quite a long time since S. Chihiro (flip through an issue of Marquee, he's the one with the bass and the weird helmets) and company have released a full album – about ten...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues