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Clearlight Les Contes Du Singe Fou album cover
3.36 | 63 ratings | 9 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. La Clť (The Key) (5:17)
2. A Trip To Orient (4:29)
3. Lightsleeper's Despair (3:33)
4. Soliloque (5:21)
5. Time Skater (1:50)
6. Prelude (4:29)
7. Cosmic Crusaders (9:01)
8. Rivers Of Time (2:42)
9. Return To The Source (3:37)

Total time 40:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Cyrille Verdeaux / piano, harpsichord, organ, ARP Odyssey synth, timbales

- Ian Bellamy / vocals
- Yves Chouard / guitar
- Tim Blake / EMS & VCS3 synths
- Francis Mandin / ARP Odyssey synth
- Didier Lockwood / violins
- JoŽl Dugrenot / bass, producer
- Serge Haouzi / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Jean Solť

LP Isadora ‎- ISA 9009 (1977, France)

CD Clearlight Music ‎- C8M-003 (2000, US)
CD Gonzo Multimedia ‎- HST210CD (2014, UK) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CLEARLIGHT Les Contes Du Singe Fou ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

CLEARLIGHT Les Contes Du Singe Fou reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars This isn't as good as the classic Clearlight Symphony but its a good cd if you want to get something new from clearlight. I like the intensity of the key part 1 and 2, especially as it picks up pace towards the end! - very nice. The difference between this cd and CS1 is this has vocals, but thats okay because they add to the overall appeal. Still, this loses a few points because it doesn't quite measure up to CS but a good effort and should be the 2nd cd ppl check out.
Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Third album following the cosmic masterpiece "Forever blowing bubbles", "Les contes du singe fou" released two years later in 1977, shows a new direction in Clearlight's music. The music is now dominated by piano and violin. It results in a more classical feel and a symphonic jazzrock orientation to the music. Another new element is the omnipresent English vocals by Ian Bellamy: A half success, giving a more conventional style to Clearlight's music. Another weak point is the drum which is binary and heavy in a pejorative way. A light cosmic touch is still present thanks to Tim Blake galactic synthe work and some instrumental moments remain quite good, despite the drum weakness. Overall, a disappointing album after the two first masterpieces.
Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Post hippie glam fantasy like cover art greets us and I have to say that it's ugly. Yes, it is, combination this "man" body (with big cleavage, so usual for this era - I simply don't get it) and on the top of this rotten decadency, head of an ape, looking clever as usual. Sinister combination, certainly not the one that I would be able to like.

Slowly building, then fading, while entertaining us along the way with what amuses us, prog listeners best - good deal of music. That's first song here is divided into three parts, but that doesn't matter, because they all sounds same. Soliouque is quite instrumental, cold as ice and as much artificial. Time Skater would be easily able to win some prize for some weird name competition, but the song itself provides just good prog of then time. As you can easily see, I'm not able to feel with these songs too well, but also I don't consider them so bad.

4(-), because some things simply has to be like that.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Don't let the monkey on the cover fool you - Les Contes du Singe Fou is Clearlight's attempt to get serious. A concept album with a nebulous sci-fi theme, the piece is once again dominated by Cyrille Verdeaux, whose piano is prominent to an extent unparalleled on any previous Clearlight album aside from Clearlight Symphony. Ian Bellamy, bless him, simply isn't as nice to listen to as the wonderful vocalists such as Brigitte Roy or (on loan from Hatfield and the North) Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal who featured on Forever Blowing Bubbles, and overall the music loses the unpredictable and whimsical edge that I associate with Clearlight. It's competently performed but I can't see any good reason to own it.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While Clearlight were dropped out of Virgin by mid-70's, there was no intention by Verdeaux to slow his project down.He was signed by the French label Isadora for the next album ''Les contes du singe fou'', which finds him supported by an almost brand new cast.Except bassist JoŽl Dugrenot, who played also previously with Clearlight, Didier Lockwood had replaced David Cross on violin, Yves Chouard (who previously played with Total Issue and Emmanuel Booz) was the new guitarist, Serge Aouzi was the new drummer and Tim Blake returns on synthesizer along with one Francis Mandin.Additionally Verdeaux had recruited last Zoo's singer Ian Bellamy to handle the vocal parts.The album came out in 1976.

The opening cut is a surprising piece by a band like Clearlight, because it sounds a lot like mid-70's GENESIS, especially taking the clean and non-accented vocals of Bellamy into consideration.It's lovely semi-theatrical Symphonic Rock with some beautiful organ parts and inventive melodies, definitely lacking the unique spark of Clearlight, on the other hand beeing extremely well-played and attractive with some superb instrumental work.But the familiar Clearlight will return with ''La cle part two'', which is exactly what the band was known for.Some sort of Symph/Jazz Rock with Lockwood being the main man here and for this reason this sounds a lot like MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA having a Classical-educated pianist, as Verdeaux delivers his known elegant piano lines next to some discreet organ themes.Very good Prog Fusion with some smoky interactions and solos.What's most impressive is the fact that Mandin was given composing rensponsibities in the album and ''Soliloque'' was his introduction, basically another symphonic-inclined instrumental piece with delicate piano work and a developing atmosphere with Lockwood entering at some point with his melancholic violin and the marching drumming making the atmosphere even more dramatic.Mandin's biggest bet though was the 15-min. ''Time skater'', which did not differ much from the structure of the opening side.It's very much GENESIS-influenced in its first minutes with theatrical vocals, Classical-spiced piano themes and some bombastic moments, but its longest part is more of a Jazz Fusion affair with sinister piano/violin battles and pounding bass and drum parts, featuring lots of solos and dark grooves.The closing and quite short ''Stargazer'' and ''Return to the source'' are hardly noticable, coming after the long tracks, but even these cuts present an interesting combination of Progressive Rock and Fusion with a dramatic edge and a light spacey atmosphere.

With the synthesizer dominance being quite reduced, Clearlight have taken a turn towards a more direct affair between Symphonic Rock and Jazz Fusion.It's like GENESIS sharing the stage with MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA piece after piece and the result is charming, demanding and pretty generous.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Through the years as a prog lover I have come across Clearlight a few times. I have listened to the first couple of albums, mainly because they've received quite good reviews. However, I have not fallen in love with those albums. And whether or not i has to do with not having listened enough or that it just doesn't appeal to me, I have found one album with Clearlight that I really like. Actually I love it. The ape on the cover might suggest that the music is not prog but rather some french funk disco explosion but it's not. This is serious progressive rock with a very nice and pompous symphonic edge.

One of the things I love is that it is a concept album. The theme is one grand scheme of events. Or something like that. I love concept albums but of course it means nothing if it's musically faulty. In this case it's not. "Les contes du singe fou" is unlike it's predecessors a more "common" prog album in the sense that it has vocals and more structured parts, balancing nicely between complexity and accessibility. There is a wonderful melodic nature to it all, which I like, in that symphonic sort of way. There are hints of Genesis at times but the omnipresent and wonderfully flowing piano gives it a classical feel. The two longer epics, "The key" (13.42 minutes) and "Time skater" (15.29 minutes), are the main performers of the album, not only because of their duration. It is multi-movement affairs that really grabs my attention. I will not go into detail discussing the different sections. I will make do by stating that they are fantastic creations that really gets my blood flowing. The shorter tracks are very good aswell. "Stargazer" is a lovely little piece, as is the instrumental "Soliloque" and the ending "Return to the source".

I like just about everything with this album. The intensity, the beauty, the classical feel, the spacey theme, the vocals and just to keep it short the rest of it. The vocalist Ian Bellamy may not have a powerful voice but a clean and slightly fragile one that fits in well with the music. Clearlight was, in my opinion, never better than on "Les contes du singe fou". This is the album where everything fell into place, at least for me. I was instantly hooked to it's melodic and dramatic majesty, pompous and overblown just the way I like it. Don't let the monkey fool fool you. Do let the ape lead you into the universe of Clearlight and it's opulent beauty and dramatic complexity.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Music should not be judged by its cover and this album confirms it. Sitting monkeys shouldn't put you off, enjoy the music scenery and mainly, the violin and keyboard interplay between Didier Lockwood and Cyrille. The immediate weakness of the album are dramatic vocals with unsuitable voice colou ... (read more)

Report this review (#2504020) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The name of the album is Les Contes du Singe Fou but all lyrics are sung in english. Maybe little despair for commercialism? Who knows. Anyways Clearlight is in my mind the best french-progressive band ever. While not alienating listeners with avant-garded obscurities theres still a fine progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#438000) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This lovely cd by Clearlight hasn't been reviewed on this website yet. Therefore, I have chosen to post my review. This album is a damn fine album by Clearlight, however , it has some vocals that aren't really good. They don't disturb or awful, it's just that they are not clear, and it's hard ... (read more)

Report this review (#44745) | Posted by Dan Yaron | Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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