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Tracklist: 1. Chanson 4:43 2. Without Words 7:40 3. Way 8:15 4. Ergotrip 4:24 5. Et pendant ce temps la 4:42 6. Narcisse et Goldmund 2:39 7. Jungle Bubbles 2:42 8. Sweet Absinthe 7:48 Bonus tracks: 9. Without Words 7:43 (Mellotron remix) 10. Jungle Bubbles 2:45 (as Flute Aquatique - remix) All music composed by C. Verdeaux, except tracks 1 & 3 - music & lyrics: by J. Dugrenot. Lyrics of track 6: by Beatrice D'Eaubonne. Line-up: Cyrille Verdeaux - Grand piano, synthesizer, organ, mellotron; harpsichord; glockenspiel, percussion Joel Dugrenot - bass guitar; vocals (the latter are featured only on track 1) Christos Stapiponopulos - drums & percussion Jean-Claude D'Agostini - electric & acoustic guitars, flute Francois Jeanneau - saxophone, flute; synthesizer Bob Boisadan - electric piano, organ, synthesizer Guest musicians: David Cross - acoustic & electric violins Gilbert Artman - vibraphone, percussion Bruno Verdeaux - synthesizer; congas Christian Boule - guitar (on 8) Brigitte Roy - vocals (on 6) Produced by C. Verdeaux. Recorded & mixed by Mick Glossop at "The Manor" studios, Shipton-on-Cherwell, UK. Tracks 9 & 10: mixed & co-produced by Dan Shapiro at "Penguin" studio, CA, USA. Mastered by Joe Steiner at "Velvet Grape Productions", Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
Prologue. "Forever Blowing Bubbles" is the second album by the famous French band, Clearlight. On LP, it was released in 1975. Last year, 'Clearlight Music' has reissued it on CD. In fact, this CD is 56 minutes long. However, both of the latest (bonus) tracks on the CD represent just a remix of compositions from the original "Forever Blowing Bubbles" album. Their total playing time is ten and a half minutes. Until now, I was not acquainted with the creation of Clearlight. However, it's really strange that I was unaware of the creation of such a mind-blowing band as Clearlight, at least in the 1990s, when I was coming to Moscow twice a month. (At that time, Moscow was kind of a Mecca for music lovers from all over the former USSR.)
The Album. First, it needs to be mentioned that each of the songs on the album begins with the gurgling of bubbles. Most of the compositions that are featured on "Forever Blowing Bubbles" conform to a unified stylistic concept, which is a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Space-Rock with the domination of the latter. A few tracks, however, are different from the others. In particular, Chanson (track 1) is the Classic Art-Rock piece with a few elements of Progressive Hard Rock. (Joel Durgenot sung it in English). The instrumental parts cover about two thirds of it, and the heavy guitar riffs are often heard there. However, the basic instrumental arrangements are truly symphonic. They consist of complex, diverse, and contrasting interplay between passages of piano, acoustic guitar, and violin, and solos of electric guitar and sax. All of the essential progressive ingredients that are typical of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock are present here in all their beauty. The sudden changes of tempo and mood, as well as the frequent use of complex time signatures, are especially evident among them. Narcisse et Goldmund (track 6) is another example of Classic Symphonic Progressive on this album. Performed without drums, this song features the beautiful female vocals (this time in French) and very diverse, tasteful, and impressive (just wonderful) interplay between passages of acoustic guitar, piano, and violin, and medieval-like solos of flute. Jungle Bubbles is a rather short instrumental representing kind of an ethnical Space music. With regard to the remixed version (track 10), it's much better than the original piece. (Remember this before programming your CD player.) The mid-tempo and fast solos of flute with a slight Eastern feel to them as if dance to the accompaniment of the African-like percussion and spacey chords-flashes of various synthesizers. All five of the remaining tracks on the album are instrumental compositions. All of them, namely, Without Words, Way, Ergotrip, Et pendant ce temps la, and Sweet Absinthe (tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, & 8), resemble most of the structural characteristics. (So, if I were at "Penguin" studio at the time when this CD was produced, I would have advised Dan to place Sweet Absinthe right after the first four of these tracks.) Each of the said five tracks represents a hard-edged Symphonic Space Rock jamming driven by virtuosi passages and solos of Cyrille Verdeaux's piano. The piano parts are in the center of a seemingly endless, incredibly diverse and contrasting, interplay between solos of electric and bass guitar, saxophone, and violin, and passages of other keyboards, namely, synthesizer, organ, and Mellotron. The arrangements develop constantly throughout each of these pieces, while two of them, - Without Words and Ergotrip, - were for the most part performed extremely rapidly (and, of course, extremely masterfully).
Summary. The compositional talents of Cyrille Verdeaux, as well as his performing skills along with all of the other musicians on the albums, are truly outstanding. In my view, this album is in some ways stronger than even "You" by Gong. Until now, I was considering the best album of 1975 "A Trick of the Tail" by Genesis (if you wish, see "Top Albums of Progressive Years" on the site's title page). Now, having listened to Clearlight's "Forever Blowing Bubbles", I think I must change its status.
VM. April 4, 2002
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