Léo Ferré (1916-1993) was a French-born Monégasque poet and composer, and a dynamic and controversial live performer, whose career in France dominated the years after the Second World War until his death. He released some forty albums over this period, composing the music and the majority of the lyrics. He released many hit singles, particularly between 1960 and the mid-seventies. Some of his songs have become classics of the French chanson.
Christophe Rousset's collection of overtures to 17 of Rameau's operas and opéra-ballets, played by his original instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, won a 1998 Gramophone award for best Baroque non-vocal CD, and it's easy to hear why this outstanding performance was recognized. The ensemble plays with unflagging liveliness and brilliant, clean tone. The rhythmic vitality Rousset coaxes from his players is toe-tappingly engaging; at the same time, he maintains a fluidity that avoids metronomic rigidity. The tempos he takes sometimes have a breathtaking fleetness that leaves the listener marveling at the players' virtuosity. The overtures are mostly brief, usually four or five minutes long, but they each contain a world of volatility and drama. Many of them are wonderfully eccentric, with startling juxtapositions and exotic orchestral combinations that keep them from ever settling into any kind of easy predictability.
Les Chants Magnetiques was the third of Jean Michel Jarre's albums in a row to update Tangerine Dream's atmospheric sequencer trance for a synth pop and mainstream crossover audience…
Les Contes du Singe Fou (roughly translated, Tales of the Mad Monkey) is a progressive rock album by Clearlight, released in 1976 on Isadora Records in France. Returning again to France, Clearlight turned to conceptual space rock with science fiction lyrics. (The lyrics do not have anything to do with a mad monkey, however.) Les Contes du Singe Fou is the only Clearlight album in which vocals and lyrics play a significant role. In reverse of the previous album, the title is in French, but all lyrics are in English. This is not apparent from the cover, which contains no song titles on the outside. English Lyrics with French translations are printed on the cover's gatefold. Musically, the album contains psychedelic, new age, and jazz fusion elements.