Clearlight - Forever Blowing Bubbles

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Clearlight888music
Catalog Number: C8M 002
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:28:00

Having listened to a few Clearlight or Cyrille Verdeaux CDs over the past year, I thought I knew what to expect from Forever Blowing Bubbles (1975), the latest re-release from the Clearlight888Music. But Forever is, in some ways, quite different from Symphony and Les Contes de Singe Fou, and that is mainly down to the violin playing of David Cross ? whose playing I find to be much dryer and more shrill than Didier Lockwood's (on the others that I've reviewed). And while the guitar some times get a little shrill, the rest of the instruments are much warmer and friendlier than Cross' violin. His playing is amazing; it's the tone I don't care for. The star of these proceedings is Verdeaux about whose performance I have no criticisms.

The first track here "Chanson" sounds very Genesis-like, to the degree that vocalist Joel Dugrenot sounds more than a bit like Peter Gabriel. What makes it un-Genesis like is the guitar playing of Jean-Claude d'Agostino and the addition of Francois Jeanneau on flute. Otherwise, this could be an outtake from Foxtrot or Nursery Crime? well, really any early Genesis album, actually. Dugrenot isn't as strong a vocalist as Gabriel, and on this track he mixed very low throughout most of it. And despite his Gabriel-isms, I'm not overly fond of his voice.

"Without Words" is, as you might expect, an instrumental piece, built around keyboards, bass and percussion. One of the really nice sections of this track is when the keys swirl about the piano. D'Agostino plays busy guitar leads, really using a lot of the fretboard - speedy but not without some restraint. Although it starts out very calm and gentle, it slowly evolves into a jammin' tune, and other than from a rhythmic perspective, unlike Genesis. Yes does come to mind, though -- if Yes played jazz. It closes in a sea of calm, the storm having passed. "Without Words" has no need of them. One of the three bonus tracks is a Mellotron mix of this same track - the bonus version seems darker and warmer, especially the bass. The guitar solo is deeper in the mix, less prominent, and the keyboards and Mellotron are brought up.

"Way" follows and has a sense of the artists exploring sound, playing through an idea and seeing where it goes. I kept thinking of watercolours - until it takes on a rock aspect. Cross' violin screams. When I first thought about the term progressive rock, this is what I envisioned it to be - a band or artist picking a starting point and then letting the magic of creation take them. And you do get a sense of that here with D'Agostino's leads. When I first heard this it sounded chaotic and it does when you focus in on any one instrument, as the others don't seem to fit. But taken as a whole, it works. I don't, however, care for Cross' violin tone - a bit warmer and I'd have a different reaction. The tempo speeds up such that you feel they'll spin off into nothingness.

"Ergotrip" is trippy. That is, like an alien language - bleeps, blips, and swirls. Of course, the focus changes from percussion to guitar to piano. So much is going on that you have to hear it more than once just to follow each instrument. That is fairly true to say of the whole album as well. If "Ergotrip" is spacey, the mothership lands in "Et Pendant Ce Temps Là" Though there are times during it where I think of the theme to a 70's show, though at the moment I can't decide whether it's "Starsky and Hutch," "Streets of San Francisco" or "SWAT." I don't think it's deliberate, mind you, but just coincidence. Or just me.

"Narcisse et Goldmund" features Brigitte Roy on vocals with a voice that is light, lyrical. Think Annie Haslem, Sonja Nedelec (Minimum Vital), or Sylvia Erichsen (White Willow), though I won't go as far to say that her voice is as good as theirs, but it is in the same style, tone and range. "Jungle Bubbles" could be described as R2-D2 gargles and pips in ecstasy while the Ewoks drum and trill -- strangely, it made my cat anxious and alert, waking him from his snooze beside me. Apparently he didn't like it. Anyway, Jeanneau is certainly playing his Bubbles-synth ARP 2600, as there are bubble sounds. I imagine this is what it's like inside a fish tank where the fish are hyperventilating at a party where the guests sound like they've inhaled helium.

The other two bonus tracks added to this release are "Sweet Absinthe" - piano, guitar (Christian Boule), and percussion (Gilbert Artman), and keys in broad swoops of sound. My cat relaxed, though not fully. It is relaxing, even if there is a bit of tension?you expect something to break loose, to burst into bright colours of sound. The other is "Flute Aquatique (remix)" which has a middle-eastern feel with harsh, angular flutes and a very rhythmic beat provided by congas (Bruno Verdeaux);; it seems almost experimental in nature. It is a remix of "Jungle Bubbles."

Chanson (4:45) / Without Words (7:40) / Way (8:15) / Ergotrip (6:24) / Et Pendant Ce Temps La (4:42) / Narcisse Et Goldmund (2:39) / Jungle Bubbles (2:42) / Bonus tracks: Sweet Absinthe (7:48) / Without Words (Mellotron remix) (7:43) / Flute Aquatique (2:45)

Cyrille Verdeaux - grand piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, organ, mellotron, glockenspiel, gong, congas
Francois Jeanneau - soprano sax, flute in G, bubbles-synth ARP 2600
Bob Boisadan - electric piano, organ synthesizer
Jean-Claude d'Agostino - electric guitar, 12-string guitar, flute in C
Christos Stapinopoulos - drums and congas
Joel Dugrenot - bass and vocals


David Cross - violin, electric violin
Christian Boule - guitar (8)
Gilbert Artman - percussion, drums (8), maracas, vibraphone
Bruno Verdeaux - synthesizer and aquatic congas
Brigitte Roy - vocals (6)

Symphony (1973)
Forever Blowing Bubbles (1975)
Delired Cameleon Family (1974)
Les Contes De Singe Fou (1977)
Clearlight Visions (1978)
Offrandes (1980)
Nocturnes Digitales (1980)
Prophecy (1981)
Flowers From Heaven (1983)
Piano For The Third Ear (1983)
Journey To Tantraland (1984/1999/2001)
Complete Kundalini Opera Box Set (1984) (6 cassettes)
Messenger Of The Son (1985)
Rhapsody For The Blue Planet (1988)
Symphony II (1990)
In Your Hands (Les Contes De Singe Fou) (re-recording, 1994)
Impressionist Musique (1995)
Tribal Hybrid Concept (1998, w/Menestreyl)
Ethnicolours (1998, w/Menestreyl)
Best Of Rainbow (1999) (sampler of box set below)
Complete Rainbow Box Set (1999) (6 CDs)
Aerobix 99 (1998)
Best Of Kundalini Opera (1999) (sampler of box set below)
Complete Kundalini Opera Box Set (1999) (7 CDs)
Infinite Symphony (2003)
Impressionist Musique (tba)

Genre: Other

Origin VA

Added: March 27th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 878
Language: english


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