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XII Alfonso

Symphonic Prog

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XII Alfonso Odyssees album cover
3.24 | 32 ratings | 6 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Eclipse (7:26)
2. Odyssée (5:58)
3. Lithophonia (3:09)
4. Message 95 (4:15)
5. Tomorrow (1:43)
6. Où Vont Les Amants? (7:43)
7. La Révolution des Oeillets (8:25)
8. Nil (2:56)
9. Invisible Links (part 2) (4:30)
10. Tout Passe (4:35)
Bonus tracks:
11. Noria (5:07)
12. Le dernier voyage (2:11)
13. Dominique Larrey (8:26)
14. En Castille (live 10/10/98) (4:40)

Total Time: 71:04

Line-up / Musicians

- François Claerhout / keyboards, programming, lithophones, rainstick, jaleos, percussion
- Philippe Claerhout / vali, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, lithophones, vocoder, keyboards, Chapman stick, kora, balaphone, e bow, percussion
- Laurent Dupont / bass
- Laure Oltra / lyrics, voice
- Judith Robert / vocals
- Antoine Tome / vocals
- Stéphane Rolland / electric guitar
- Michael Geyre / keyboards
- Thierry Moreno / musical glasses, drums, percussions, lithophones
- Philippe Rougé / lithophones, flute
- Stephane Merlin / keyboards
- Bernard Ozerol / bass
- Sandrine Rougé / vocals
- Mickey Simmonds / keyboards
- Dan ar Braz / electric guitar
- Julio Presas / electric guitar, bass, vocals
- Tito Correa / lyrics
- Lionel Gibaudan / bass
- Stephane Barrincourt / electric guitar
- Jean Luc Payssan / mandolin, bass pedals (14)
- Thierry Payssan / organ (14)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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XII ALFONSO Odyssees ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

XII ALFONSO Odyssees reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars A cut above what you might expect from the "instrumental Celtic new age" categorization that somewhat accurately describes them, XII Alfonso nonetheless presents a style that might have limited appeal on this list. The music tends to the dreamy and hypnotic, with plenty of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, and a plethora of well known guests such as Dan Ar Braz and Mickey Simmonds. The variation is not as wide as it might be, and the CD is overly long, but there are a few surprises, such as the vocal piece "Invisible Dream", that sounds like something the Canadian group Cano might have done way back in the past, but freshly so in the overall context. Another fine piece is the elegant "Tout Passe", with a lovely melody played on acoustic guiitar, solidly accompanied by a variety of other instrumentation along its linear path. "Messge 95", "Eclipse", and "Ou Vont les Amants" are other highlights. Mildly recommended for those who like mellow soundscapes.
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars "XII Alfonso" is quite a discreet band from France.

I was not exaggeratedly enthusiastic about their debut album, and this follow-up effort is of no other texture. Quite conventional symph prog during the good opening number ("Eclipse") but the soufflé falls dramatically during the soft jazzy "Odysée". To tell you that the "lyrics" are rescuing this track is beyond my feeling.

Things get even worse when the next "tribal" tracks are under the laser of your CD player: if "Lithophonia" should have remained unreleased; I wouldn't have complained. "Message 95" starts almost the same, but fortunately it features some fine guitar break during the second half.

There are some improvements for "Où Vont les Amants » which is a fine and melodic track but vocals are almost not understandable (and I'm a French native speaker). Pleasant sax (very much Floydean-like) and moving piano are completing the picture. The closing guitar section is also very good and the whole is the best song available on this second album.

The new age oriented and long "Révolutions Des Oeillets" is a rather uniform and flat song. The acoustic "Nil" almost starts as "Jeux Interdits" and develops a fine mood even if not very personal. On the contrary, I am quite skeptic about "Invisible Links": the song evokes more Springsteen than prog (especially if you consider the vocal part).

The bonus tracks are not of great quality and can easily be skipped. As a conclusion, I can hardly rate this work with more than two stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Over the next years and through some significant line-up changes, XII Alfonso played live several times and were glad to welcome onstage many important figures like the Payssan brothers from Minimum vital.Their program even included their appearance in the famous Baja Prog Festival in 1998.Back in France the Claerhout brothers worked hard for almost a year to present the second album ''Odyssees'', finally released in 2000 on Musea.Again the list contains some well-known guest musicians, such as Mickey Simmonds, the aforementioned Payssan brothers, Dan Ar Braz and Julio Presas.

Over an hour of dreamy and etheral Prog Rock music with strong symphonic, Folk and New Age references is XII Alfonso's proposal in an album split in electric- and keyboard-led compositions.Influences are definitely acts and artists such as MIKE OLDFIELD, CAMEL, DAN AR BRAZ, while some tracks feature excellent vocal performances by Sandrine Rouge, Judith Robert and Laure Oltra in a very poetic way.''Odyssees'' is basically characterized by its laid-back, very sensitive and imaginery soundscapes created by the Claerhout brothers with the music being based on soft piano lines, synth explorations and delicate acoustic themes with a folky vibe.There are also lot of ethnic percussions among these New Age moments.On the contrary the group gives also rise to some excellent and ultra-melodic electric parts in specific moments, these have a nice refined sound with a bit of a CAMEL approach.Organs and synths are supporting instruments in these lovely instrumental pieces, which are definitely influenced by the Classic Prog era.Again the major problem seems to be the lack of some more energetic parts, as ''Odyssees'' sounds often like relaxed Soundtrack Music than an album created by a Rock group.

The Claerhout family affair seems like one of the best in creating minimalistic but trully outlandish music landscapes and this album is another major proof.Recommended, especially if acoustic textures and really atmospheric moods are among your preferences.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I was not that enthusiastic about their debut album and the follow up is not particular impressive either. XII Alfonso is a French symphonic prog/neo classic music ensemble with some albums on their conscience. They are known as a acoustic symphonic prog band. Which is a pretty accurate de ... (read more)

Report this review (#361961) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My opinion is that french band XII Alfonso is half-decently covered and rated... Under the Claerhout brothers (displaying guitar and keyboards main input), they have achieved all along their five recordings a high level of musicianship and integrity, if not total originalit ... (read more)

Report this review (#136016) | Posted by bertolino | Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In this great album from french band XII Alfonso you can find lots of different musical "atmospheres", starting with the superb song "eclipse", going trough some more quiet passages and ending with a more "celtic" style. Very touchy and beuatiful. Higly recommended! ... (read more)

Report this review (#7708) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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