XII Alfonso, Charles Darwin, 2012
XII Alfsonso were an unknown force to me, yet this turns out to be their seventh release already. And still this French quartet sought after a topic to sink their teeth real deep into. Coming in a lavish digibook, with a 76 pages book the bar is raised high. In total 52 songs of which 30 are instrumental and a list of guest far beyond anything you have seen before. Some names: Iain Bairnson, Tim Renwick, Maggy Reilly, John Helliwell, Francis Dunnery, Mickey Simmonds and David Paton are among them. So with people involved that have ties to bands like Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parssons Project and Genesis, you get a little grasp of what is to be expected.
It is of course impossible to talk you through this lengthy work. It could never do this justice. I have a deep admiration for the band to even set out to do this. 3 years of recording 3 hours of music. All over the world. It must have been a logistic nightmare. And to keep your eye on your goal during all that time of writing and recording must have been daunting to say the least. Add to that the booklet. All lyrics, credits, and photo´s of everybody. And also a detailed insight in the story used. To top things off, all the instruments that were used, from bass, to acoustic guitars, to strange phenomenons like a dolphinophone, dan bao, or shekere, to a collection of recorders, mandolin and flutes. It is all there. If this stuns you, we have not yet talked music…
But that I will keep fairly short this time. Like I said, words could never do this justice. Believe me when I say this is a mind-blowing adventure that anyone into sophisticated pop, symphonic rock, world, and or folk should delve into. This is something you have to undergo yourself. Never matter what anyone says, just track it down and start exploring. It will not leave you untouched!