Essentially French keyboardist Cyrille Verdeaux
and an ever-changing list of collaborators, among them Christian Boule and Gilbert Artman, Clearlight was among the most well-known French symphonic progressive rock bands of the 1970s.
Their massive, occasionally psychedelic sound showed a different side to Verdeaux than his later, more new age records. One of the first bands signed to the fledgling Virgin Records in the early 1970s, Clearlight has been compared to such progressive bands as Yes
as well as more experimental groups like Gong
. The first Clearlight album, 1973's Symphony, presents the band at the height of their grandeur, pursuing everything from modern experimentalism to more classically styled pieces. For the project, Verdeaux took on several members of Gong
as collaborators. It was later re-recorded with a great deal of new material in 1990 and released as Symphony II. Forever Blowing Bubbles was released in 1975 and found Clearlight slightly toning down the symphonic excess of Symphony with the addition of some jazz influences. 1977's Les Contes du Singe Fou was a collaboration with British vocalist/lyricist Ian Bellamy and was among the group's more psychedelic works. Clearlight Visions (1978) incorporated sitars and tablas and pointed the way toward Verdeaux's Indian-influenced solo career.In Your Hands, a remake of Les Contes du Singe Fou with vocalist/keyboardist Gunnar Amundson, was released in 1996. ~ Geoff Orens, Rovi