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Clearlight - Infinite Symphony CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 61 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Infinite Symphony is the last studio release to date of keyboardist/composer Cyrille Verdeaux's Clearlight, a collective of quality musicians that has enjoyed a quiet existence making contemporary progressive music for thirty-five years. Supporting Verdeaux this time is guitarist Peter McCarthy's hot chops, the multi-reed talents of Didier Malherbe, Shaun Guerin's distinct voice (and some pretty phenomenal drumming), and Dan Shapiro's rock solid bass and production. Plus another seven players on various strings, winds, percussion and synths. The work is a six movement symphonic fusion sprawl [chapter 7 of his Kundalini Opera] that takes to the air easily and stays aloft for most of the disc. On a certain level the album does bear comparison to the modern rock-fusion opuses of Isildurs Bane (though not as magisterial), Ayreon (but not as metallic), and Shaun Guerin's own excellent Book of the Dead with k2. A doppelganger for Genesis-era Peter Gabriel, Guerin's singing, though infrequent, is welcome and warms what could have been a chilly record with thoughtful lyrics and a breathy delivery.

And yet, Infinite Symphony is as often void of musical significance as it is filled with worthy material, tending to result in something made to be listened to but not carefully. To be appreciated more for its breadth, romance and stamina than compositional discourse, often slipping into a vast malaise that could be mistaken for easy listening if not careful; each of the six movements satisfying if forgettable yearnings of amethyst worlds, cryptic encodings, and distant time-space travels. Unfair perhaps, and 'Movement l' does pull you in to this flight over a shimmering alien landscape, Trevor Lloyd's electric violin mimicking the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, and is a fine 11-minute introduction that sets the tone for the rest of the session. 'Movement ll' begins flowery, sometimes trivial but still strong and builds to a furious rock finish, 'lll' a further thematic extension getting into some Floyd meets Lamb-period Genesis sounds at a stable twelve minutes. Pan's pipes lead 'Movement lV', Verdeaux straying into Liberace waters and 'V' is absolutely lovelorn with high-handed piano Romanticism and Toto-istic, Dune-like guitar harmonies.

A perfectly good and beautiful-sounding record but in the words of Dorothy Parker on a certain American city, "There isn't any there there", though perhaps that's too harsh an assessment of a rather good bit of music. Let's just say this one can be tossed back in the river till your taste for whitefish changes.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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