Clive Mitten - Suite Cryptique: Recomposing Twelfth Night review

Virtual baton in hand, the former Twelfth Nighter revisits the past.

Clive Mitten
(Image: © Clive Mitten)

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Clive Mitten has long dreamed of exploring the symphonic aspect of his former group Twelfth Night’s output. During lockdown he sat down at a computer heaving with orchestral samples, and set to work on Suite Cryptique.

This two-hour, five-part instrumental opus sees Mitten reimagine, reorchestrate and rearrange music from the band’s first three vinyl albums: Live At The Target, Fact And Fiction and Live And Let Live. But when he stresses this is not a covers album, he’s not kidding. Some parts are recognisably retained, but Mitten also painstakingly re-versions some passages as entirely new sequences. His ‘post-minimal’ style is inspired by everyone from Wagner to Reich, and these grandly cinematic pieces are rich with pizzicato strings, sweeping violins and burbling modern woodwinds. His clever programming successfully disguises the fact that it’s not the work of a real,
100-piece orchestra.

It remains to be seen whether ardent Twelfth Night fans will find his skew sacrilegious or fascinating. As a piece unto itself, though, Suite Cryptique is
involved, involving and clearly a labour of love.

Buy Suite Cryptique.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.