Charles Darwin

by XII Alfonso

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Inspired by the life of naturalist Charles Darwin, the French progressive group set out Alfonso XII was monumental task to Three Year fascinating life history set to music. The end result is a massive 3-CD collection by members Francois and Phillippe Claerhout, Thierry Moreno, and Stephane Ducasse, with a guest list of 50 fellow musicians performing on 70 assorted instruments; Creating 22 songs and 30 instrumental tracks totaling 180 minutes of finely crafted music, all packaged in year 76 page color booklet hard bound book.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Charles Darwin via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Track Listing Disc 1.

01. Collection One
02. Earliest Recollections
03. Stolen Fruit
04. Physics and Hunting
05. Silent Battle
06. Collection Two and Three
07. The Bump of Reverence
08. Leaving England (part 1)
09. Leaving England (part 2)
10. The Letter from Henslow
11. HMS Beagle
12. Collection Four
13. Captain Fitz-Roy
14. Straits of Magellan
15. Tierra del Fuego
16. Darwin’s Finches
17. Homeward Bound

Track Listing Disc 2.

18. Collection 5
19. So Many Years
20. Strange Fossil
21. Emma and Charles
22. The Coral of Life
23. Collection 6
24. Down House
25. The Island of Devil's Riding Scho
26. Annie (part 1)
27. Annie (part 2)
28. Collection 7
29. Beloved Cirripedia
30. An Ordinary Day
31. Salting the Seeds
32. Lenny
33. It's Time to Write
34. Collection 8

Track Listing Disc 3.

35. Missing Links
36. Collection 9
37. Bound Together
38. Descent with Modification
39. On The Origin Of Species
40. Controversy in Oxford
41. Ten Collection
42. Slave Makers
43. Human Last Common Ancestor
44. Dark Thoughts
45. Eleven Collection
46. Mysterious Illness
47. The Copley Medal
48. Vision of the Indian Mound
49. The Descent of Man
50. Struggle For Existence
51. Darwin's Burial


released February 2, 2012

The word 'epic' is Often Used When Describing progressive rock concept albums ... purpose in the case of Alfonso XII's Project "Charles Darwin", it's a bit of understatement year. Lets begin with the list of Contributing artists - are alumni Among Them Who Have Performed with the likes of Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Mike Oldfield, Camel, America, Earth Wind & Fire, Herbie Handcock, Bonnie Tyler, Renaissance, Robert Plant, Brand X Rick Wakeman, Alan Parsons Project, It Bites, Fish, Kate Bush, and members of Genesis - included are: John Helliwell (Supertramp saxophonist of), Maggie Reilly (vocals - Several Appeared on Mike Oldfield albums as well as a succession of great solo albums), Tim Renwick (guitarist - on stage with Pink Floyd), Mickey Simmonds (keyboards - Appeared with Mike Oldfield, Camel, Renaissance and Fish), Terry Oldfield (flute - Appeared with brother Mike Both history and sister Sally as well as over 30 albums), John Hackett (flute - Appeared with brother Steve Hackett history is over 20 albums, Nick Magnus, Anthony Phillips, Symbiosis, and five solo albums), Raphael Ravenscroft (sax - Appeared with Pink Floyd, Gerry Raferty on the tune "Baker Street", Brand X, America, Mike Oldfield, Robert Plant and Bonnie Tyler), Robin Boult (guitar - guitarist for Fish), Ian Bairnson (guitar - performing with Alan Parsons and Kate Bush), David Paton (bass player - Alan Parsons Project, Pilot, Camel, Fish, Rick Wakeman, and Kate Bush), Francis Dunnery (guitar - guitarist of It Bites), Ronnie Caryl (vocals - guitarist for Phil Collins), Amy Keys (vocals - chorus singer for Phil Collins, Herbie Hancock, and Earth Wind & Fire), Alistair Gordon and Jayney Klimek (vocals - Both Appearing on the Tony Banks's album "Bankstatement"), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards - Camel, Kayak, Earth & Fire, Ayreon, and film and television composer), Elliott Murphy (vocals - renown singer / songwriter with over 30 albums to credit history), Huong Thanh (vocals - acclaimed jazz vocalist Vietnamese) and her husband Nguyen Hong (Indian cythar) to name-drop a few.

Now lets touch on the musical instruments on the album Used, Including Both traditional rock instrumentation as well as exotic woodwinds, stringed, and percussion instruments from around the world - and Some truly weird organic tribal percussion from Yemen, Ethiopia, Argentina and That Probably Won 't make the PETA crowd too enthusiastic ... Such as the dolphinophone (the characteristics of, dolphin bones), pithecophone (a monkey skull), and goat nails rattling the teeth of animals: various Such as a warthog, crocodile and hippo.

The 76 page booklet is a beautifully illustrated presentation detailing the life of Charles Darwin Divided Into Three volumes. "Vol. I: 1809 - 1835" Focuses on the early years Which Helped Shape His Life Leading up to historical adventures of discovery aboard the HMS Beagle. "Vol. II: 1836 - 1858" Darwin presents the author, beginning with historical publication of "The Zoology Of The Voyage Of The HMS Beagle" and His Many Continued study of the sample ET Brought back from the trip. And "Vol. III: 1859 - 1882" which Begins with historical publication of "The Origin Of Species" and the backlash reaction to historical and controversial theory of evolution continued to this day Which Between Creationists and evolutionists Fundamental Christian.

The booklet has aussi reservations as we chronicle the making of the album, with six pages featuring the exotic instruments Used on the album, a five page photo collage of the participants in the project, and a breakdown of EACH song with performers and instrumentation.

The band XII Alfonso Have Been Creating sprawling self-produced concept albums for about 15 years In Their home studio in Bordeaux, France. The group is spear-headed by brothers Francois Claerhout (keyboards, percussion, programming) and Phillippe (guitar and assorted stringed instruments) along with Staphane Ducasse (flute / wind instruments) and Thierry Moreno (drums / percussion).

(Note: The band members dedicated the album to Thierry Moreno Who Passed away unexpectedly in September of 2011 Before the release of the album)

Over the years the group HAS Produced 7 Which albums include: "The Lost Frontier" (1996), "Odysseys" (2000), "Claude Monet Vol. I: 1883-1889 (2002)," This Is "(2003), "Claude Monet Vol. II: 1889 - 1904 "(2005), Under (2009"), and now "Charles Darwin" Vol. I - III "(2012).

The cinematic compositions on "Charles Darwin" are so varied it's impossible That to pigeon-hole the music of Alfonso XII Specific Into one category, Even in a genre Known for it's Many off-shoots and sub-categories. The 50 + Cdn alternate tracks from beautiful melodic ballads to percussive tribal rhythms, classically orchestral film scores to jazz fusion, dissonant avant-garde chamber music to electronic and traditional Middle Eastern ethnic grounds, and from age new age spacey ambience to mainstream rock and flamboyant art rock. It all plays like a travelogue cerebral full with sea shanties and south sea island music, hot blooded Spanish Flamenco, Gypsy violin driven nomadic music, modern Celtic, medieval Baroque, and the mystical music of the Orient; Capturing the Bohemian atmosphere of a jazz trio performing in a coffeehouse or indiscreet smoke filled nightclub, or a solitary Parisian accordionist strolling outside a French cafe.

And Because Of this musical diversity the album Should find favor to a wide-range of adventurous listeners. Purchasing It's like the ultimate iPod pre-loaded with a full library of progressive rock, jazz fusion, new age, world music, and orchestral film scores - then hitting shuffle and play.

As was the point of reference Elements of the Following bands are discernible on the song orientated vocal tracks like: Mandalaband IV, Alan Parsons Project, Mike And The Mechanics, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Barclay James Harvest, Renaissance, Peter Gabriel, and: various Rick Wakeman projects and the Oliver Wakeman and Clive Noland collaborations like "Hound Of The Baskervilles" and "Jabberwocky" - while the orchestral and jazz fusion instrumentals bring to mind the compositions of Ilildurs Bane, Jean Pascal Boffo, Halloween, Minimum Vital, Karda Estra, Frank Zappa, Carmen, Trans Siberian Orchestra, King Of Agogik, The Enid, Ankedoken, Mannheim Steamroller, Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, Gong, Jade Warrior, Passport, as well as film score composers Hans Zimmer, Phillip Glass, Bill Conti, Peter Rugolo, and Mark Isham, and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. My hat is off to the band for the hard work and dedication That Went Into this mind-boggling Undertaking Three Year Endeavor - which must have beens Production Logistical nightmare has to bring to fruition.

Everything about this album is epic - From The Work That Went into it's creation - to the music on the finished product. Quite impressive and highly recommended.

Reviewed by Joseph Singler on May 30th, 2012


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