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CLEARLIGHT

Symphonic Prog • France


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Clearlight biography
CLEARLIGHT is a project of French song-writer and composer Cyrille "CLEARLIGHT" Verdeaux, with a blend of classical romanticism and prog-rock experimentation. CLEARLIGHT was the name of Verdeaux's first 1975 released album, which was the first French progressive rock album signed under a major British label.

During the 1970's, the death of Verdeaux's 4-year-old son forced the composer to travel to India where he studied yoga and meditation which he has acknowledged profoundly influenced his later music. In 1980, CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY was reborn when Verdeaux released the album NOCTURNE DIGITALIS and later OFFRANDES.

In the mid-80's Cyrille Verdeaux released a succession of similar albums, as well as a cassette-only compilation release known as the KUNDALINI OPERA in 1984.

Cyrille Verdeaux's work is similar to ARJEN LUCASSEN'S AYREON albums because he has incorporated the talents of several other singers, songwriters, and composers such as David Cross of KING CRIMSON, Tim Blake and Steve Hillage of GONG, and jazz violinist Didier Malherbe.

Cyrille Verdeaux's CLEARLIGHT should be considered progressive rock because he conceptualizes meditation and incorporates complex musical ideas with his experiences with meditation and Indian music.

Joey Moore (CalamityDaemon)

Clearlight official website

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ClearlightClearlight
Import
Big Beat 2016
Audio CD$8.60
$8.59 (used)
Les Contes Du Singe FouLes Contes Du Singe Fou
Import
Gonzo 2014
Audio CD$12.12
$13.91 (used)
Clearlight SymphonyClearlight Symphony
Import
Gonzo 2014
Audio CD$19.34
$13.78 (used)
Impressionist SymphonyImpressionist Symphony
Import
Gonzo 2014
Audio CD$8.95
$9.49 (used)
Forever Blowing BubblesForever Blowing Bubbles
Import
Gonzo 2014
Audio CD$8.00
$22.68 (used)
Clearlight VisionsClearlight Visions
Import
Gonzo 2014
Audio CD$10.24
$9.49 (used)
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CLEARLIGHT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CLEARLIGHT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 173 ratings
Clearlight Symphony
1973
3.01 | 40 ratings
Delired Cameleon Family
1974
3.81 | 69 ratings
Forever Blowing Bubbles
1975
3.29 | 48 ratings
Les Contes du Singe Fou
1977
2.97 | 39 ratings
Visions
1978
3.77 | 28 ratings
Clearlight Symphony II
1990
4.22 | 9 ratings
Mosaique (In Your Hands)
1996
4.02 | 56 ratings
Infinite Symphony
2003
3.88 | 60 ratings
Impressionist Symphony
2014

CLEARLIGHT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CLEARLIGHT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CLEARLIGHT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Rainbow Music - Best Of 1975 - 2000
2000

CLEARLIGHT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
I Will Remember You
2001

CLEARLIGHT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Clearlight Symphony by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 173 ratings

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Clearlight Symphony
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
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...

 Clearlight Symphony by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 173 ratings

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Clearlight Symphony
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To be frank, I had never heard about Clearlight until I was scrolling through some projects Steve Hillage played on a few months ago. Cyril Verdeaux is the mastermind behind this album. It is mainly his project with guest musicians namely from Gong and a few other bands. This music comes close to the stuff that Gong played. The "symphonic" classical factor is mainly absent with jazz methods being put in the first plan. All this with a very spacey feel to it and electronic ambience, very much in vein of Tangerine Dream material of the time. "Clearlight Symphony" is divided into two basic movements. What is a big atribute about the album is that the music takes its time to build up, sort of like "Tubular Bells". Many of the parts include moody synthesizers and mellotron parts. This album will be quite pleasing to Canterbury scene and symphonic prog fans and will provide a unique experience to newcommers. I find this work quite soporific, but it still gets well deserved four stars. Recommended!
 Les Contes du Singe Fou by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Les Contes du Singe Fou
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

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.

 Impressionist Symphony by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 60 ratings

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Impressionist Symphony
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by DrŲmmarenAdrian

5 stars I would like an explosion of musical magic, a symphonic masterpiece from 2014. Does that excist somewhere? Yes it does. I have never heard anything from the french symphonic band Clearlight before but now did I listen two times at one time at the band's twentieth studio album "Improssionist Symphony". This album is close to perfection. I didn't thought music like this was being produced nowadys. Such wonderful pretentions and such a lovely result. Clearlight seems to shift between a Cyrille Verdeaux solo project and a full scale rock orchestra. This is an example of the last. Besides Verdeaux who plays piano and synthesizers there is Didier Malherbe (wind instruments), Craig Fry(violin), Vincent Thomas Penny(guitars), Paul Sears(drums & percussion), Linda Cushma(bass), Chris Kovacks(synthesizers), Remy Tran(synthesizers), Steve Hillage(guitars) and Tim Blake(xils synth and theremin). The record they have made must end up as one of (if not the) best albums of 2014. The entire record is instrumental and every track is inspired by impressionist paintors of the early 1900th such as Renoir, Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Van Gogh, Gaughin and Toulouse Lautrec. The music has strong impressionist connection but it is truely romantic too.

Perhaps you could say Clearlight has taken classical music into rock music without playing real classical music but real progressive rock. The cover shows a lot of birds in different sizes, biggest of them is a white swan. It's strange how few have reviewed this record when it is so good comparing with music of today. I have hard to pick the best tracks here for you because the album should be enjoyed as full but I think "Renoir En Coulour", "Pissarro King", "Gaughin Dans L'Autre" and "Lautrec Too Loose" are those I like most. Every aspect here is marvelous: the fantastic instruments, the guitar which sounds like Mike Oldfield at his best moments, the wind instruments, the crazu violin flying around and the massive wall of keyboards. This record is bright shining everywhere and I like you to get to know it you too. This is totally new to me but it reminds me of a lot of great music such as the Spanich group "Los Canarios" or "Harmonium" and some others. To argue about this could be hard but this record stands out. I recommend it warmly and I will return here very soon. Five stars!

 Forever Blowing Bubbles by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 69 ratings

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Forever Blowing Bubbles
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After his experimental work on ''Delired Cameleon Family'' Cyrille Verdeaux would regather Clearlight in 1975 for a second album on Virgin, entitled ''Forever blowing bubbles''.By the time the official line-up consisted of Cyrille Verdeaux on piano/keyboards, Bob Boisadan on electric piano/synthesizer, Jean-Claude d'Agostini on guitars/flute/sax, Christos Stapinopoulos on drums and JoŽl Dugrenot on bass/lead voices.However there are plenty of guest participants in the album like ex-King Crimson's David Cross on violin, Christian Boulť on guitar, Gilbert Artman on drums/percussion and Bruno Verdeaux on synthesizer and congas along with a couple of female singers.

This album is pretty much on par with ''Clearlight symphony'', maybe with a more pronounced jazzy flavor at moments, but still with plenty of Classical influences and intense, spacey soundscapes.What is really different from Clearlight's debut is the heavy amount of chaotic, Fusion-esque workouts, where the complex guitars of d'Agostini meet the electric piano of Boisadan and the heavy Mellotron of Cyrille Verdeaux.Still the music remains pretty much balanced between symphonic references, often colored with soft piano interludes and melodic guitar breaks or even some nice flute work, jazzy interludes with frenetic guitars and impressive executions on the rhythm section and cosmic explorations with synthesizers in evidence.They do sound pretty close to compatriots CARPE DIEM, but Clearlight (maybe along with GONG) were masters on producing somekind of Space Fusion, led by the distortions on guitars and the trully convincing synth drives over the sound of primordial analog keyboards.The odd violin and sax performances of David Cross and Jean-Claude d'Agostini strengthen further this unique flavor, but Cyrille Verdeaux'es orchestral background is still evident in plenty of the contained pieces, much in an early KING CRIMSON style with the Mellotron as the leading instrument.

Solid and at times trully demanding album.The amount of chaotic instrumental battles might be a bit disturbing, but the result is no less than intricate and satisfying.Plenty of reissues with additional material appear in the market.Strongly recommended to fans of Space, Symphonic and Jazz Rock...3.5 stars.

 Clearlight Symphony by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 173 ratings

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Clearlight Symphony
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Long before I heard the terms "art rock" or "progressive rock," if you had asked me what kind of music I liked, I would have told you that I like music with a large, full sound. Lots of instruments, lots of musical voices, lots of differing tones and timbres, lots of notes. And then I would have pointed to seminal prog bands like Yes or Genesis as examples of what I meant.

The Clearlight Symphony project takes what I like and exagerates it to an extreme. There are good musical ideas here, but too often they get hidden behind that large, full - shall we say way too busy? - sound. Too many musical voices, too many melodic lines, too many notes.... It is still a good piece of music but it requires far too much effort in listening for only a mediocre reward.

As I like to point out often, the French have never disappointed me in the relatively select company of albums I have from them. Clearlight Symphony is not a disappointment. It just fails to rise much beyond the mediocre. If you are going to try Clearlight, go for the much better Forever Blowing Bubbles first.

Three stars for this.

 Delired Cameleon Family   by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.01 | 40 ratings

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Delired Cameleon Family
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars In 1974 the film ''Visa de Censure n# X'' by Pierre Clementi was published.It was supported by a soundtrack entitled ''Delired Cameleon Family'' and released on EMI, behind which we find Clearlight's mastermind Cyrille Verdeaux, who composed the entire filmscore along with guitarist Ivan Coaquette.The album features notable appearances by Ariel Kalman (sax), Joel Dugrenot (vocals), Gilbert Artman (drums),Tim Blake (percussion) and Christian Boule (guitars) among others, all were past and future Clearlight members, thus this soundtrack is considered by many as the second actual Clearlight work.

A really unique, hard and cosmic listening experience, ''Delired Cameleon Family'' explores the world of long spacey synthesizer passages, weird jazzy improvisations, fiery Fusion guitar workouts and trippy, psychedelic soundscapes, almost like a cross between the cosmic Kraut madness of ASH RA TEMPEL and AMON DUUL and the more Fusion side of GONG.From its start to the very end the album swirls around outlandish and loose arrangements, which have a cosmic or jazzy feel, depending on the track, but the result is not very succesful, though the album rather serves the needs of the movie than comes as a typical music effort.From the several spacey parts I definitely give credit to the nice guitar work of Boule, Agostini and Coaquette with some sort of OLDFIELD-ian vibe, though much more jazzy in nature.The sax solos of Francois Jeaneau and Ariel Kalman are also passionate and dynamic, adding another dimension to this unique experience.But the majority of the arrangements are characterized by bizzarre abstract sections and stretched cosmic synths, that at the end prevent these nice parts to be fully appreciated.

This is an album for specific listenings, just when you need something very trippy to relax upon it.Musically though I would only recommend it to fans of GONG and Electronic/Kraut Rock...2.5 stars.

 Clearlight Symphony by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.91 | 173 ratings

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Clearlight Symphony
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Frequently stunning, often chaotic and noisy, but always fascinating, Cyrille Verdeaux's Clearlight project's debut album is a 40-minute instrumental progressive space-rock suite, overloaded with Mellotron, synths and spacey organ. His band never seemed to have many permanent members other than himself, but on this album he enlisted a bunch of familiar Gong members in Steve Hillage, Tim Blake and Didier Malherbe to complete part of his symphony. Although they make excellent contributions, none of the music actually sounds anything like Gong. Members of Lard Free contribute as well. It's a very grand, classical, gothic tinged jazzy symphonic suite, spread over two side-long pieces.

I don't think I've ever heard the Mellotron used so much on one album, and so frequently! There's waves of 'Tron strings and choirs over almost every inch of this album, sometimes it's magical and majestic, other times sinister and menacing. There's also cello, endless discordant piano, ragged guitar solos, complex drumming and shimmering synths. I think this album might have been an influence on similar styled modern bands such as Anglagard and Kotobel.

Side A's `1st Movement' introduces and reprises a somber, haunting piano melody that drifts in and out of the track, usually accompanied by the Mellotron. Baroque and medievil elements are interspersed with jazzy flourishes and spacey synths. However, there's several slightly sinister tones that show up throughout, with tuneless wailing horn instruments (likely from Malherbe!) and haunting voices, like something out of a horror movie. Ghostly off-key piano keys pound away, the chaos and noise reaching breaking point at several moments. Frantic and maddening! Pink Floyd like spacey effects and Blake's electronics purr along intermittently in the background, with Steve Hillage's signature sound on electric guitar wailing away through all the unfocused noise! Extremely unpleasant much of the time, fragile and beautiful the next, but very atmospheric and original!

With guest appearances by some Lard Free members, the first few minutes of `2nd Movement' sounds like a slightly more symphonic Magma, especially their early jazzier work. The Mellotron/piano combo melody gets very disorientating, and there's some definite fusion elements as well. The terrific drumming is extremely busy! About six minutes in the music turns very Canterbury, not unlike something from the two Hatfield and the North albums. The slight zeuhl influence kicks back in with a maddening and frantic guitar solo playing over the top of the insane drumming, chaotic piano and squealing sax. Plenty of that spectral weeping Mellotron again throughout numerous parts of this track too.

Special mention must go to the Jean Claude Michel's stunning painted artwork, a truely mind- blowing prog album cover! Only the vinyl edition will do to really appreciate how good it is! One of the best all-time prog album covers perhaps?

Unfortunately, the album itself is not a particular favourite of mine, there's probably more that I really admire than actually enjoy. I find there's so many individual incredible ideas that seem all thrown together, and the album is frequently cluttered and jarring to me. It's impossibly beautiful one minute, then tuneless and annoying the next. I would rather all the dark and noisy elements perhaps have been confined to one of the Movements, and the symphonic and uplifting ideas to the other. Would have made for a more focused listen, you can then choose which piece suited you best depending on what mood you're in! However, fans of grand symphonic prog, and perhaps gothic darkness tinged prog acts such as Present or even Anglagard may find much to enjoy here.

 Les Contes du Singe Fou by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Les Contes du Singe Fou
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Forever Blowing Bubbles by CLEARLIGHT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 69 ratings

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Forever Blowing Bubbles
Clearlight Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The third Clearlight album (if you count Delired Cameleon Family) shows the influence of a range of acts from the Virgin stable, but incorporates their sounds into an intriguing and original vision. Old pals Gong are of course a big influence, with many of the more guitar-dominated heavy sections reminiscent of the tripped-out instrumentals on You, whilst Way opens with a Robert Wyatt-influenced vocal section before developing (as Ergotrip does) into a frenzied crescendo dominated by Zeuhlish rhythms. Meanwhile, gentle songs like Narcisse et Goldmund add a medieval folk twist to proceedings. By the time the concluding synthesiser experiment of Jungle Bubbles is reached, the listener has been taken on a fast-paced tour of the weirder end of the prog world as it existed in 1975, but may be left wondering just where precisely Clearlight's heart lies.
Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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