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

Cover art for Spirits Burning & Clearlight The Roadmap In Your Head

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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.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.