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Clearlight - Clearlight Symphony CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 221 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Piano classical music meets electronic space rock

First and iconic album of CLEARLIGHT, signed by Virgin, "Clearlight Symphony" merges the piano composition and musicianship talents of classically trained keyboardist Cyril Verdeaux with the arrangements of space rock and early electronic technologies of the mid-70's. Cyril Verdeaux first recorded in 1973 two ambitious 20 minutes long piano suites. Prestigious guest musicians from GONG - Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe and Tim Blake - and LARD FREE were further invited to overdub the tracks by adding complex instrumentation and soli. However, the music, fully instrumental and piano-driven, do not resemble neither the psychedelic nonsense style of GONG nor the krautrock of LARD FREE.

Featuring the three members from GONG, the first movement is "clearlight-ly" the best. A bombastic and dreamy composition, with gorgeous arrangements. The epic beginning lifts you off from the ground to make you fly through the cosmos. Great! Then the music calms down and become relaxing, and even a little jazzy, in the style of SOFT MACHINE. After this passage, the piano get more nervous. Fasten your seatbelts for whirlwinding guitar and synthesizer wormholes! The track finishes by reusing the beautiful theme from the beginning. Wow! These 20 minutes were just perfect and mindblowing... A must listen for every space rock fan! 5 stars.

The second movement features LARD FREE's leader Gilbert Artman but is more uneven. Softer and lazier the than the first part, it alternates pleasant melancholic and spacey atmospheres with futuristic sounds and trippy guitar interventions, but also contains odd experimental and noisy passages. Lacking a bit of unity, it sometimes feels a little lengthy. As before, it concludes with the beginning theme of the first movement. Nonetheless, although not as impressive as the first one, this movement still remains rather nice. 3 stars.

"Clearlight Symphony" carries well its name. The music truly is an awaken dream, a journey into the magic cosmos. This fusion between piano classical music and space rock is quite unique in the progressive world. Cyrille Verdeaux's first opus already displays his musical identity and talent. Unfortunately, such inspiration won't be recovered in his next compositions...

CLEARLIGHT's best album, clearly essential for space rock lovers! Even classical piano fans can give it a try...

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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