Clair Obscur – In out

Clair Obscur has always followed its own unconventional course. The French band was initiated in the wave/industrial scene of the early 80’s, but has never been limited to one distinct style. Especially their concerts have always been occasions for original stagings. Theatrical aspects also play a clear role on “In Out”, of which the music was composed for a performance at a festival.

The original LP was released around 1988, also with the famous Manet painting on the cover. There has been one previous cd reissue (Apocalyptic Vision, 1993), but this is long out of print, so this new cd on Infrastition is very welcome. On the eight tracks of “In Out”, Clair Obscur (founding members: singer Christophe Demarthe, Thierry Damerval on bass and guitarist Nicolas Demarthe) has been reinforced by a small chamber orchestra. Apart from own material, also texts from Robert Burns and Kafka are being used.

All this results in a melancholic classical sound, with theatrical vocals. First you might have to get used to the high falsetto voice on the opening track ‘Défini’. The best known track of the album is probably the moving ‘Blume’, which has been released by Clair Obscur in other versions before. Now and then the avantgarde wave origins of the band are clearer to be heard, like on the nervous ‘The last encounter’. There are also tranquil melancholic pieces, like the instrumental ‘Valse’.

“In Out” is a colourful short album, with nicely arranged classical compositions and an intimate atmosphere with a lot of feeling. The band seems to have been re-animated lately, so don’t hesitate when you have the chance of seeing Clair Obscur live.

artist: Clair Obscur
label: Infrastition
details: cd, 8 tracks, 32 min. [FIN 005]