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Spirits Burning & Clearlight - The Roadmap In Your Head album review

No car sickness for the feted guests hitching a ride with the French prog vet

As one might expect when two collectives combine, things can get pretty crowded, even when one man, composing keyboardist Cyrille Verdeaux is at the heart of both. In Spirits Burning with Don Falcone, Verdeaux has previously released a dozen albums of jazz-informed, ambiently inclined space rock featuring contributions from Michael Moorcock, Steven Wilson, Simon House and even the significantly late Robert Calvert.

Meanwhile, his band Clearlight have been French prog scene stalwarts since ’75. As Verdeaux’s worlds collide we find Falcone and himself orchestrating a combination of players from Hawkwind, Gong and beyond. The Roadmap… combines the talents of, among others, Daevid Allen, Nik Turner, Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe, Kavis Torabi, Mike Howlett, Albert Bouchard and Judy Dyble – though sadly, never all at the same time. So this is no more a spaced-out Camembert Electrique for 2017 than the Ringo album that featured all the ex-Beatles was a Revolver for 1973. It is, however, more than worthy of your attention. Largely instrumental, informed by trance and with echoes of The Orb as resonant as those of Gong/’Wind, it’s chilled-out space rock nouveau, a different manner of ritual indeed.