Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clair Obscur (FR)


CLAIR OBSCUR is a French group which started out in 1981 and it's still active. It was founded in Creil by Thierry Damerval (bass), Christophe Demarthe (vocals) and Nicolas Demarthe (guitar).

La cassette noire was released in 1982 together with texts and photos in a black plastic bag. Cover design by Clair Obscur. Drawing adapted from Edvard Munch, "The scream".

Contained 9 tracks, first limited edition of 200 copies Pleasantly Surprised (UK) cassette 1985

on the cover:
Edvard Munch - The Scream

In 1983 Clair Obscur were invited to play at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris as well as to support Killing Joke at Le Palace in Paris. The stage was cluttered with furniture and domestic objects - between the drums and the amplifiers a couple lived their daily life. Their first single Santa Maria was released the same year.

Released in a 18,5cm x 25cm cover together with six 10,5cm x 15cm photos. On the cover you can see a tribute to Edvard Munch and one of his paintings titled Madonna

It contains Santa Maria (4:27) and Toundra (3:25). I ripped the vinyl twice and fixed the sound a bit, then played Toundra at the Cold Gothic Night in Cracow. Because the song appears to be very dark and trully underground, people were asking about it all the time :)

ARTWORK of Santa Maria:

photos : Philippe Lobgeois, Miloud J.sculpture,

paintings : Armelle Avrilcouverture : d'après Edvard Munch, La Madone

In 1984 Clair Obscur published the 12" single Dansez and created a show at the Théâtre du Forum des Halles in Paris.

In a hall transformed into a forest the four musicians of the group became actors to tell a social fable, The Pilgrim's Progress. The recording of this concert was published by All the Madmen (England) in 1985.

After a year, the label Cathexis Recordings published the 12" single Smurf in the Gulag which was 'a wink at disco music, the genuine industrial music.' I trully admire this song, it's very exceptional, has a strong beat, very good to dance to. I often play it at the parties and watch the dancefloor becomes crowded though nobody knows the song (I bet!).

Clair Obscur - Smurf in the Gulag song

Cover design by Philippe Touzard

In October 1986 the théâtre Déjazet in Paris, an Italian style theatre, became the pretext of a feigned bucolic decorum, featuring a chamber orchestra and replicas of famous impressionist paintings, which happened only to be destroyed immediately after. This gave birth to the LP In Out recorded thanks to the French national radio France Culture and published by V.i.S.A. (France) in 1988.

Cover of IN OUT, featuring Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe by Manet.

In 1989 Thierry left Clair Obscur.

Christophe composed a piece of music for a drama performance of Sophocles’ Antigone. In 1990 new musicians coming from rock, jazz and classical music joined the group.


Anonymous said...

hey, great blog!
how about fixing this one (clair obscur)? zshare sucks!!!

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