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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Moraine - Manifest Density – Moraine is a new Seattle-based five-piece led by guitarist Dennis Rea (please refer to our feature on Mr. Rea in issue 23 for more background), joined by a rhythm section of bass and drums, plus a...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues