Review : Generator by Alfonse

It seems these days everyone has at least one alter ego, perhaps a necessary survival technique of the lockdown to manage our various pathologies and quieten the call of the disorder of multiple personalities. Indeed I have been a long term advocate and practitioner myself. Alfonse also it seems as he has existed since January 2011 and has multiple releases to this name. He is self-described as ‘Synth enthusiast and demonstrator of cult noise-making objects’ and is the very much not secret nor guilty pleasure of Bristol singer / songwriter Jonni Slater. This is relevant because his music is very much worth checking out also. There his pedigree is one of having the depth and breadth of one of the Great American Songbook writers, in the finest traditions of Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach and others.

This pedigree and a keen understanding of music history and influence is bought front and centre of his synth wave output and very much so for Generator. Combined with my admiration for his writing and rather liking synth music of all ages and many genres what could possibly go wrong? Well in theory plenty, in practice … well nothing!

Announced sweep of synth, rhythmed by a gentle sequencer and then underpinned with a prodigious electronic snare, it is then smothered (in a good way) with generous hunks and slabs of gorgeous synth. The whole things screams 80’s to me and the treated layered vocals give us another hook to hang our ears on. I was lucky enough to hear a pre-release and immediately said to Al (he said I can call him that ….) about the trigger for me of Howard Jones. He didn’t object and so I repeat it here. That vocal, those synths, the call and the response vocals recall the best of Mr Jones’ work. Were this release back then it would have been a hit. Now it still could be with the right promotion and play time. There is a lot of competition however this genre of dance and related music justifiably has a loyal following and there a number of artists working in a similar soundscape.

Alfonse is prolific also and other work all of the very highest quality, worth checking out. As well as his Jonni Slater material. He is a master of tech wizardry, brilliant instrumentalist and also produces work for other artists including the recently reviewed Dora Lachaise, so he is versatile as well. We love artists that cover a broad range of genres and styles like this. We love Jonni AND Al. Come join the love in.

Out now on all the usual suspects though as always we recommend downloading from Bandcamp, particularly on the first Friday of the month, as the best way to support non-label artists.

Published by SongSmith Global

SongSmith originated in Bristol where we ran singer / songwriter events for 13 years, including weekly at the famous Mr Wolf's. With the pandemic we have moved online and now focusing on digital content and some select streaming. Live music will return.

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