Aphélandra - Aphélandra

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Mellow Records
Catalog Number: MMP 407
Format: CD
Total Time: 34:43:00

The French symphonic rock landscape is often disfigured by the lengthy, melodramatic French vocals that for non-French listeners often turn out to be true torture instead of the relief it is supposed to be. Luckily things go rather well with this Aphélandra release because of the long instrumental passages. Here keyboard player Philippe Grancher is helped out by Clearlight member Cyrille Verdeaux on piano and synth and by Didier Lockwood on violin (with Zao at time). This album would have been released towards the end of the seventies, yet due to the ridiculously low offer from the record company, the tapes kept on gathering dust in Grancher's attic. The Italian Mellow label unearthed this material and only recently released this rather short (34-minute) album. The mainly symphonic nature of the music is interrupted now and again by solitary piano that gives the music a distinct feel. A song like "Belladonne" sounds rather dated and could be placed on a timescale around a fairly young Soft Machine. The organ in "Pat" sounds false, yet maybe that's the main reason why this song sounds even more mysterious. The final piece, "Corinthe" again is typical French elegy backed by organ. In the end, only the long opening track "Airs" really is worth your money but, even then, you'd probably wait best until you find this release in the cut-out bin.

We managed to have a small discussion with drummer Dominique Iroz about this release. Dominique now works for BNP Paribas Security Services and has left the music industry altogether, as have all of the other musicians. (Dominique probably refers to the "actual" members in the band but not the guests, as Didier Lockwood now runs a music centre (info at http://cmdl.free.fr/index.html and Cyrille Verdeaux is still the driving force behind Clearlight, see http://www.clearlight888music.com ).

Did you know the Aphélandra music got finally released on CD?

Yes, of course!

What exactly is the meaning behind the name Aphélandra?

I'm the one thinking of the name. Aph´landra is the name of a flower.

Looking at the rather short playing time, was this the only material which was recorded?

Yes this was the only material which was recorded. In those days, playing time for an album was between 30 and 45 minutes, which was the length of a vinyl album. If you look at most of the Italian re-releases on Mellow they all range between 30 and 35 minutes.

Could you tell us a little more about who wrote what for the album?

Philippe Grancher wrote all of the material, yet we wrote our own parts.

How did people like Cyrille Verdeaux and Didier Lockwood get involved?

They are friends of Philippe Grancher, it's that simple.

Finally, rumours have it that Grancher didn't want to sell the rights to a record company because they didn't offer enough money, which is why it gathered dust for over twenty five years before it finally got released ?

That's true. He offered the tape to Pole records but, as you said, they didn't offer enough money, so Philippe kept it in his vaults before it got released on Mellow. Needless to say it wasn't pleasant for us to play on an album and never seeing any release. However after more than twenty five years we are pleased we can finally listen to "our" music!

Airs (17:58) / Belladonne (4:52) / Pat (5:25) / Aphélandra (3:34) / Corinthe (2:50)

Philippe Grancher - piano, organ, electric piano, mellotron, clavinet, synthesizer
Pierre Videcoq - vocals, flute, tenor sax
Gérard Perret - electric guitar
Philippe Herbin - bass
Dominique Iroz - drums, percussion
Clément Duventru - drums


Didier Lockwood - violin
Cyrille Verdeaux - piano, synthesizer

Aphélandra - Aphélandra (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: November 25th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
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Language: english


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