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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Clearlight: Les Contes Du Singes Fou 1977 - Forever Blowing Bubbles 1975


CLEARLIGHT - LES CONTES DU SINGES FOU 1977

Clearlight is a French progressive rock band from the 1970s, although their best known work was produced in England, and released by a major British record company. While progressive rock is an appropriate overall genre for the band, much of their work delves into other genres including psychedelic music, jam band music, symphonic rock, space rock, jazz fusion, and new-age music.


Clearlight consists of pianist and composer Cyrille Verdeaux alongside other musicians, who are usually guest participants with no compositional input, except on a couple of occasions, like the second album Forever Blowing Bubbles, where bassist Joël Dugrenot had virtual co-leader status, composing two of the tracks, or Visions, which prominently featured Didier Malherbe (formerly of Gong) and Didier Lockwood (formerly of Magma and Zao) as soloists. 


Clearlight has rarely performed live. In 1975, Virgin sent a variation of the Forever Blowing Bubbles band on the road supporting Gong, but it broke up soon afterwards following Verdeaux's decision not to relocate to England as Virgin insisted he did - which ended his relationship with the label.
Les Contes du Singe Fou (roughly translated, Tales of the Mad Monkey) is a progressive rock album by Clearlight, released in 1977 on Isadora Records in France.


Returning again to France, Clearlight turned to conceptual space rock with science fiction lyrics. (The lyrics do not have anything to do with a mad monkey, however.) Les Contes du Singe Fou is the only Clearlight album in which vocals and lyrics play a significant role. In reverse of the previous album, the title is in French, but all lyrics are in English. This is not apparent from the cover, which contains no song titles on the outside. English Lyrics with French translations are printed on the cover's gatefold. Musically, the album contains psychedelic, new age, and jazz fusion elements.


In April 1978, a new version of the band was unveiled at the Olympia in Paris, a performance intended to be followed by a proper tour to promote Visions, but lack of interest from promoters dictated otherwise. In the 1980s, the name was largely retired as Verdeaux concentrated on albums released under his own name, although there was another one-off performance at an electronic music festival in 1988 featuring Verdeaux and regular collaborators Christian Boulé and Tim Blake. In the 1990s, Verdeaux began recording under the Clearlight name again.


His latest release, 2014's Impressionist Symphony, again features all three Gong members who had appeared on Clearlight Symphony.

TRACKS

01. The Key - The Outsider     [0:05:17.49]
02. The Key - A Trip To The Orient     [0:05:45.04]
03. The Key - Lightsleeper's Despair     [0:02:40.06]
04. Solioque    [0:05:21.09]
05. Time Skater - Prelude    [0:01:50.44]
06. Time Skater - Countdown To Eternity    [0:04:28.73]
07. Time Skater - The Cosmic Crusaders    [0:09:11.66]
08. Stargazer    [0:02:32.42]
09. Return To The Source    [0:03:41.13]


Personnel

Cyrille Verdeaux – piano, harpsichord, organ, ARP Odyssey, timbales
Ian Bellamy – vocals
Didier Lockwood – violin, bass violin
Yves Chouard – guitars
Francis Mandin – ARP Odyssey
Tim Blake – EMS and VCS3 synthesizers
Joël Dugrenot – bass
Serge Aouzi – drums, percussion
Produced by Joël Dugrenot

Flac Size: 241 MB
MP3 @ 320 Size: 97.8MB

CLEARLIGHT - FOREVER BLOWING BUBBLES 1975


Forever Blowing Bubbles ditched the Gong members of Clearlight Symphony and now included a bunch of new musicians, who I'm not familiar with. But there are guests, including none other than King Crimson violinist David Cross, plus the Northettes (Amanda Parsons, Ann Rosenthal), some female vocalists, Bruno Verdeaux (presumably Cyrille's brother), Christian Boule, Gilbert Artman (Lard Free, he also appeared on Clearlight Symphony, as well as Boule) etc.


Clearlight  was mainly a project of keyboardist Cyrille Verdeaux. Forever Blowing Bubbles ditched the Gong members of Clearlight Symphony and now included a bunch of new musicians, who I'm not familiar with. But there are guests, including none other than King Crimson violinist David Cross, plus the Northettes (Amanda Parsons, Ann Rosenthal), some female vocalists, Bruno Verdeaux (presumably Cyrille's brother), Christian Boule, Gilbert Artman (Lard Free, he also appeared on Clearlight Symphony, as well as Boule) etc. 


Just imagine what would happed if Steve Hillage's albums had a more symphonic bent and included piano and Mellotron. The first cut, "Chanson" is a vocal track, but the next piece, "Without Words" features some nice use of electric piano and ARP 2600 synth, before going in to a Hillage-like jam. At the end it ends with some Hammond organ that makes me think of Pink Floyd. "Way" starts off with Mellotron and wordless voices, before the piano and David Cross' violin kicks in. I really love how those synths kick in near the end and everything starts speeding up (thanks to speeding up the tape).


Just imagine what would happed if Steve Hillage's albums had a more symphonic bent and included piano and Mellotron. The first cut, "Chanson" is a vocal track, but the next piece, "Without Words" features some nice use of electric piano and ARP 2600 synth, before going in to a Hillage-like jam. At the end it ends with some Hammond organ that makes me think of Pink Floyd. "Way" starts off with Mellotron and wordless voices, before the piano and David Cross' violin kicks in. I really love how those synths kick in near the end and everything starts speeding up (thanks to speeding up the tape).


The second half of the album don't quite live up to the greatness of the first half, still not bad. "Et Pendant Ce Temps La" seems to be a Clearlight theme that gets recycles, because I heard that theme used on the Delired Cameleon Family album (which is basically another Clearlight album, which is a no-brainer, if you enjoy Clearlight, you'll enjoy Delired Cameleon Family, simple as that). "Narcisse et Goldmund" finds the band exploring a chanson style of music, with female vocals (in French), but what serparates this song from real French chanson is the presence of Mellotron. The last cut, "Jungle Bubbles" is basically synth bubble sounds.


TRACKS

01. Chanson
02. Without Words
03. Way
04. Ergotrip
05. Et Pendant Ce Temps La
06. Narcisse et Goldmund
07. Jungle Bubbles
08. Sweet Abisinthe (Bonus Track)
09. Without Words (Melotron Remix) (Bonus Track)
10. Flute Aquatique (Bonus Track)

Import reissue of keyboardist Cyrille Verdeaux's second album as Clearlight Symphony, originally released in 1975. Forever Blowing Bubbles release in the UK gave Clearlight the international recognition they deserved. Featuring Joel Dugrenot (ex-Zao), violinist David Cross (King Crimson) & guitarist/flutist Jean Claude d'Agostini (Magic Circus).
 Featuring the bonus tracks 'Sweet Absinthe', 'Without Words' (Mellotron Remix) & 'Flute Aquatique'. 2001.


 Personnel

Cyrille Verdeaux – grand piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, organ, glockenspiel, Mellotron, gongs, congas
Joël Dugrenot (ex-Zao) – bass, lead vocals
Jean-Claude d'Agostini ( Magic Circus) – electric guitar, 12-string guitar, flute in C
François Jeanneau – saxophones, flutes
Bob Boisadan – electric piano, organ, synthesizer
Chris Stassinopoulos – drums, congas
David Cross ( King Krimson) – violin, electric violin
Christian Boulé – cosmic guitar
Gilbert Artman – percussion, drums, maracas, vibraphone
Amanda (Parsons) and Ann (Rosenthal, of the Northettes who are mentioned in the thank-yous; see Hatfield and the North) – celestial choir
Bruno Verdeaux – synthesizer, aquatic congas
Brigitte Roy – vocals (on "Narcisse et Goldmund")



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