Friday, March 13, 2015

Gong - 1976 - Shamal


01. Wingful of Eyes (6:20)
02. Chandra (7:18)
03. Bambooji (5:13)
04. Cat in Clark's Shoes (7:43)
05. Mandrake (5:04)
06. Shamal (9:00)

- Mike Howlett / bass, vocals
- Didier 'Bloom' Malherbe / tenor & soprano saxophones, flutes, bamboo flutes, gongs
- Mireille Bauer / marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, assorted percussions & gongs
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, vibraphone, tubular bells
- Patrice Lemoine / pianos, organ, Minimoog synth
- Steve Hillage / guitars ("Bambooji" & "Wingful of Eyes")
- Miquette Giraudy / vocals ("Bambooji")
- Sandy Colley / vocals ("Shamal")
- Jorge Pinchevsky / violin ("Cat in Clark's Shoes", "Bambooji", "Shamal", "Chandra")

Gong continued under Pierre Moerlen's direction after the legendary Radio Gnome trilogy with mixed reviews, heading towards a more fusion (and arguably less inspired) oriented sound that they previously had toyed with on 'You'. Both Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage were out of the band at this point (although Hillage guests on four of the tracks) and the whimsical elements are completely absent so don't expect another 'Flying Teapot' here, but the music is still of a high quality focusing more on percussive instrumentation which really adds here. The highlight here is new keyboardist Francis Moze's "Chandra", an instant favorite of mine and still one of my favorite prog songs to this date. This song sums up the entire album very effectively and really get's the album going after the easier and moodier opening track. The rest of the album is less focused and tends to drag after a while but ends on a high note with the excellent funk breakdowns of "Shamal", the albums longest but perhaps grooviest track.



  2. Of all the non-Allen albums, this is my fave. Mirielle Bauer's playing is fantastic. The album is tight as tacks and I totally dig it.