XII ALFONSO got to be one of the "greatest" bands of international Progressive rock, thanks to their first album issued in 1996 and called "The Lost Frontier". Supported by a dream-guest list and a perfect production, this concept album was only the first part of a now prestigious discography! It is about Hadrian's Wall, in Scotland, which separated the civilized world from the barbarian countries during the Roman times. Led by Philippe CLAERHOUT, the musicians from Bordeaux have built a superb work with long instrumental parts, some female vocals (That can evoke Annie HASLAM), and a Celtic-influenced atmosphere sometimes reminding of Mike OLDFIELD. It also reminds of CAMEL in “Harbour of Tears” issued at the same time about. Mickey SIMMONDS, the then CAMEL keyboards player, helps with his wonderful symphonic sounds while guitarist Dan AR BRAS (From Brittany) brings a noticeable Celtic touch of good taste. A remarkable work ! "This Is" is the name of a previously unreleased album, recorded live during the year 1998. One can find the whole crew, including Thierry & Jean-Luc PAYSSAN (The complete VITAL DUO). A carefully packaged CD, with a crystal-clear sound. The following release, a year later, was "Odyssées", in a similar style as that of the previous album, but with a little more colourful majestic music. Dan AR BRAS & Mickey SIMMONDS (CAMEL) are once again invited here, accompanied among others by singer Antoine TOME and VITAL DUO. A number of fans had been pleased with the Paleolithic music track performed on this album. This first experience also inspired a Spanish museum that ordered an album based on the enchanting lithophone sounds. Then, "El Canto De Las Piedras - Le Chant Des Pierres - Song Of The Stones" was recorded in 2001. A wonderful trip into time and history ! Claude Monet - Volume Un, 1883-1889" (2002) is the first part of an ambitious three-CD series dedicated to the famous French painter. The object is superb, presented in a cardboard cover, with a wonderfully illustrated 52-page bilingual book. A lot of guest were invited (A good habit !), including guitar player Ian BAIRNSON (Alan PARSONS PROJECT) and female singer BEVINDA. Sounding delightfully old, this music wants to evoke carefree days and times of countryside living. Mostly instrumental, this album passes through original territories, when four French songs from the beginning of the Twentieth Century are reinterpreted with a XII ALFONSO trademark. The shadow of the mysterious French female singer BARBARA is always present on this album which could well become a landmark... After three years of hard work and a first live album ("This Is"), XII ALFONSO offers us the second part of its trilogy: "Claude Monet - Volume Deux, 1889-1904". As luxuous as it was, the layout displays the same standards as its predecessor. And the music follows the same path. Once more, the band creates a very original instrumental piece of work, seventeen musical fragments mixing symphonic, neo-classic, experimental and French popular music. XII ALFONSO can't be linked with anything else, even if its musical approach has some common points with ISILDURS BANE for instance.
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