Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mother Gong - 1981 - Robot Woman

Mother Gong
Robot Woman

01. Disco At The End Of The World
02. Robot Woman
03. Machine Song
04. The Sea
05. Searching The Airwaves
06. Billli Bunker's Blues
07. Military Procession
08. Customs Man - Rapist
09. Fire
10. Red Alert
11. Stars
12. Australia

- Dane Cranenberg / bass
- Didier Malherbe / saxophones, flute
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Guy Evans / drums
- Harry Williamson / guitars, vocals, keyboards
- Hugh Hopper / bass
- Yan Emeric Vagh / guitars

This is the first and best album of Mother Gong's Robot Woman trilogy. It features Guy Evans of Van der Graaf Generator on drums and Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine as guest musician on some tracks. It is about the adventures of Beta the robot woman, who wants to become a real woman. Itstarts with an unusually funky track, Disco at the End of the World. However funky it is though, this is not disco music at all. Yan Emeric adds some good guitar licks to the funky bass of Dane Cronenberg, and Didier Malherbe is just his usual self, which means excellent. The second track Robot Woman has something zappaesque to it and, although musically excellent, is definitely on the funny side too; you can almost hear Malherbe laughing on his sax. Machine Song features Steve Hillage of Gong and Nik Turner of Hawkwind and has a lot of Gilli's trademark space whisper (she never sighed that erotically before, in my opinion). Good guitar solo of Hillage too in that song. It floats into The Sea, which is more space whisper over drones, and then continues into Searching the Airwaves, which again is quite funky with some great sax by Didier Malherbe. Side two starts with Billy Bunker's Blues; think of the cowboy from Dr. Strangelove riding on the atomic bomb to earth singing a country song about the importance of his mission, and you get the impression. Good guitar picking by Yan Emeric. Military Procession is exactly that: marching drums and piccolo flute, with Gilly Smythe ranting about the stupidity of the arm's race until she gets grabbed by the crocodile-faced Customs Man. This leads into a number of that title, the middle of which is an instrumental freak out which lends the musical background to a monologue of the Customs Man, during which he rapes Beta. The song concludes with a great guitar solo by Yan Emeric which is among my top ten guitar solos of all time. The shamed and enraged Beta sets fire to the town in the next song, which is another monologue over instrumental freak-out. It leads into Red Alert; Billy Bunker seems to have launched his rockets. However, in Stars the world and all the rockets are frozen and turned into ice cream, and the world is given a second chance. The final song Australia is a satirical dub reggae in which Australia is praised for its safety of nuclear bombs. While the album is not as coherent as the predecessor Fairy Tales and has a few little downs the overall material is excellent

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