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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tribal Hybrid Concept: US review


Title - 'Tribal Hybrid Concept' (Gonzo Multimedia)
Artist - Cyrille Verdeaux & Pascal Menetry


In 1975 Virgin Records released the first album of Cyrille Verdeaux compositions entitled, Clearwater Symphony. It was the first in a series of albums by a project led by pianist Verdeaux with the participation of other musicians; including in this case three members of Gong on one side, and two other French musicians, Gilbert Artman (of Lard Free and later Urban Sax) and Christian Boulé (formerly with Verdeaux in the band Babylone, and a later Steve Hillage sideman) on the other. 

Primarily psychedelic, but also serving as a forerunner of new-age music, Clearlight became the first French progressive rock band signed to a major British record label.

Their secret? Well, Clearlight certainly went the other direction of many of their prog contemporaries of the late 70's. While a band like Eloy started relying much more heavily on synthesizers than ever before (with albums like Dawn and Ocean), Clearlight cut back on the synthesizers, mostly just the occasional synth effects from Tim Blake or some minor use of ARP Odyssey. 

Ergo, with most albums dominated by Verdeaux's piano, Clearwater were head and shoulders above the other prog bands then, and upcoming also. And having made remarkable music ever since, give or take a few years in between albums, the band once as managed by the great Jacques Reland (now a lecturer at the London Metropolitan University and Head of European Research at the Global Policy Institute) can honestly say they still have their finger on the musical pulse of world music. 

And so to this new album, Tribal Hybrid Concept where the music is always powerful and selected to illustrate the yang side of the first chakra; the one in charge of life and death energies; designed to energize the body and to celebrate life. Samples of Inuits, Papoos, Tuvas, Ethiopian and Kurdish singers as well as samples of various wild animals facing extinction collected one per one by Pascal Menetrey between 1992 and 1999 are musically shaped by Verdeaux to boogie for the pleasure of the ears. 

Indeed, Verdeaux himself has said, "It hosts the one and only song ever recorded by the Amazonian Chief Raoni, former protégé of Sting in the 80's and the old chief is still struggling and still in trouble to keep his tribe alive in spite of the efforts of the Brazilian Govenment to make them disappear once and for all in the name of "ordem e progresso". So the more CDs will be sold, the more royalties Raoni will get to help him to resist to his fatal fate." 

Talking of "fatal fate," the chants of various tribes facing extinction represent the death aspect of this chakra. And since most of the beings heard on this album are probably already dead, well, this album is made particularly all that more poignant because, sadly, Pascal Menetrey passed away in 2006 - and so this Tribal Hybrid Concept album is dedicated to his memory. 



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