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Alpha Ralpha - Alpha Ralpha CD (album) cover

ALPHA RALPHA

Alpha Ralpha

 

Eclectic Prog

4.07 | 39 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Every now and then I browse through the PA database to find rare but interesting albums to listen to from YouTube, preferably from the classic era. This time I stumbled upon this French one-timer. We're really talking of an obscure rarity. Released by Warner Bros, the vinyl is pretty hard to find, especially outside France or Canada, although its prize isn't very high (according to the first reviewer Progfan97402). No re-releases have been made. My review is only the third one here.

Guitarist Claude Alvarez-Pereyre came from the folk-oriented MALICORNE, and there are some connections to TAÏ PHONG as well. The music is instrumental with some occasional wordless singing. It's very melodic and quite accessible too, pretty much in the symphonic prog style of the mid-/late 70's, with an emphasis on guitars and keyboards. Their countrymen PULSAR had rather similar spacey sound. Some tracks have a light and breezy fusion flavour comparable to the Rain Dances era CAMEL. In my country (Finland) this type of instrumental progressive music was recorded in the late 70's by e.g. FAROUT and SUKELLUSVENE that are easy to place under Jazz Rock / Fusion. But once you've heard the whole album, the Eclectic Prog subgenre for Alpha Ralpha makes more sense, as for example the degree of jazziness alternates between the tracks, and also the arrangements have variety. First of all, sounds like there's a large selection of various synths such as Elka String, ARP and Moog.

The electric guitar on 'Nova' sounds a bit like Mike Oldfield. Mellow 8-minute track 'Genese' features Hackett-like guitar and marimba, the latter making a great reappearance on 'Lagune Ouest' (which, as Tszirmay said, has a strong reminiscence to Pierre Moerlin's GONG). 'Rez' proceeds from Camel-like synth intro to a tight fusion groove à la JEAN-LUC PONTY. 'Gothic' is a half- minute interlude for that wordless singing featured on a couple of earlier tracks. Perhaps the proggiest piece is 'Magellan' that has an epic sense within 7+ minutes. Ending with a cathartic 'Hymn', this album is a big positive surprise, a rarity definitely worth seeking out -- if only from YouTube -- for listeners enjoying the melodic Symph/Fusion -oriented instrumental prog of the era.

Matti | 4/5 |

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