Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Clearlight — Les Contes du Singe Fou
(Clearlight Music C8M-003, 1976/2000, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2000-10-01
Finally, after almost a quarter-century, a reissue of the Clearlight classic! And make no mistake, this is a classic. Whether it be Cyrille Verdeaux’s rumbling piano work or Didier Lockwood’s mesmerizing violin playing, Les Contes du Singe Fou sits comfortably with other Clearlight classics such as Symphony and Forever Blowing Bubbles. The album is made up of two side-long suites, “The Key” and “Time Skater.” The foundation is Verdeaux and his multi-keyboard attack, although on this particular release the piano is emphasized. A number of musicians add the requisite space-rock pyrotechnics, most notably Lockwood, Tim Blake (synthesizer), and Joel Dugrenot (bass). If this album is marred by anything, it would be vocalist Ian Bellamy, who delivers the lyrics of “The Key” in silly, over-dramatic Jester fashion. Thankfully, the bulk of the album is pure instrumental bliss rivaling the best of Verdeaux’s work. Artifacts during the quiet piano playing which opens “Time Skater” suggest a vinyl transfer, but sound quality on the whole is quite good. Thanks to the reissues of Clearlight Music, more of the progressive world is waking up to this French group’s contributions. Keep them coming!
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