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Clearlight - Clearlight Visions (CD)

Genre: Prog rock
Release Date: 25th August 2014

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST211CD
Price: £7.99
Available: Sorry - Not currently available

Clearlight - Clearlight Visions

This is one of those exquisite records that somehow slipped through the gaps of public consciousness at the time. But now its back, and you have the chance to revel in a warm bath of psychedelic weirdness. CYRILLE VERDEAUX, native of France, was born July 31, 1949 in Paris. In 1963 at the age of 14, he entered the prestigious French National Conservatory of Music in Paris studying composition, harmony, and piano. From 1966 to 1968 he won first place in student composition three successive times. During the student uprisings of 1968 he was dismissed from the Conservatory for his revolutionary activities. He then attended the Nice Conservatory earning a Masters diploma, returning to Paris to form the band Babylone with guitarist Christian Boule.

In 1975 Virgin Records released the first album of Cyrille Verdeaux compositions titled CLEARLIGHT SYMPHONY. Clearlight became the first French progressive rock band signed to a major British record label. Gathering accolades for its unique compositions and keyboard stylings, the music spanned from classical romanticism to lush experimentation. Primarily psychedelic, but also serving as a forerunner of new age music, the album's musical style manages to blend seemingly contrary elements: the symphonic rock concept is flexible enough to permit extensive jamming in both rock and jazz fusion styles.Clearlight Symphony does not officially have an artist name, but is now regarded as the first album by Clearlight who adopted the name later that year, after briefly using the name Delired Cameleon Family. Side one features group member Cyrille Verdeaux and three members of Gong; side two features the group that would become Delired Cameleon Family (Clearlight). Neither group is explicitly named as the artist.

The album was recorded for Virgin Records in 1973 (and probably completed in 1974), after the label's first and highly successful release, Tubular Bells (1973) by Mike Oldfield, and was one of several subsequent Virgin albums that attempted to copy Tubular Bells' format of long pieces in a symphonic progressive rock style; in this case, exactly copying its structure of two pieces titled "part one" and "part two". Since the title Tubular Bells was initially better known to the general public than the name of its artist, Virgin Records decided that Clearlight Symphony would be a one-off album project with a title, but no artist name.

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. 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 Clearlight 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.

Thirty seven years on Clearlight Visions is clearly a project of which Cyrille is very proud. He told me: “…it was recorded in 1977 and this is my first album where I was 100% producing, recording, mixing...it was fun to be the decisions taker in the recording studio...It has been chosen also to be in the 100 best prog albums for the Billboard magazine guy


1. Spirale D'Amour

2. Messe Caline

3. Au Royaume des Mutants

4. Full Moon Raga

5. Guitare Elevation

6. Crystal City

7. Shanti Lotus (Bonus Track)

8. Heymae (Bonus Track)

9. Vision Nocturne (Bonus Track)

10. O Raga O Espioir (Bonus Track)

11. Songe De Cristal Remix (Bonus Track)

12. Gates of Time (Bonus Track)


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