Friday, March 13, 2015

Gong - 1992 - Shapeshifter


01. Gnomerique (0:07)
02. Shapeshifter (4:53)
03. Hymnalayas (7:38)
04. Dog-o-matic (3:00)
05. Spirit with me (2:27)
06. Mr. Albert Parkin (0:17)
07. Raindrop tablas (0:21)
08. Give my mother a soul cage (4:30)
09. Heaven's gate (4:49)
10. Snake tablas (0:34)
11. Loli (5:09)
12. Can you: you can (9:09)
13. Confiture de rhubarbier (1:18)
14. Parkin triumphant (0:06)
15. Elephant la tête (4:41)
16. Mother's gone (1:12)
17. Éléphant la cuisse (3:26)
18. White doves (5:24)
19. Gnomoutro (0:27)
20. Godess invocation om riff (12:58)

- David Allen / guitar, vocals
- Keith Bailey / bass, vocals
- Graham Clark / violin, voices
- Shyamal Maitra / tablas, ghatam, djembe, darbuka, techno percussion
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flutes, keyboards
- Pip Pyle / drums

 Shapeshifter is the first studio album under the GONG name since Expresso II (1978) and yet first including Daevid Allen since You (1974).

Although not entirely within the concept of Planet GonG, it includes many references to this space mythology, so it can be seen as Part 4 of the Radio Gnome Invisible cyclus. Allen, G. Smyth, Malherbe and Pyle remind us on their early career when they developed an original space-rock freak-out psychedelia.

The album can be listened nicely, albeit often interrupted with unnecessary short instrumental (tablas) or vocal breaks. There are certain Indian raga music influences along with unusual acoustic folk numbers (Spirit with Me with African kora sounds, White Doves). Still, the compositions like Shapeshifter, Hymnalayas, Give My Mother a Soul Call, Heaven's Gate or Loli are the top of GonG psychedelia where Allen presents himself as an excellent vocalist too. Among the guest players, the bassist and the violinist are amazing and their sound marks significantly this album.

Can You: You Can is a wild live performance where Malherbe's sax is brilliant. Another live recording is included as a bonus: Goddess Invocation/Om Riff contains parts of Magic Mother Invocation from You album, but is perhaps extended a little bit too much.

Although without Pot Head Pixies, this album featuring Xerox Mandelbrot character (a.k.a. Shapeshifter) is in every way valid addition to the classic trilogy. Go with it!