Friday, March 13, 2015

Dashiell Hedayat - 1971 - Obsolete

Dashiell Hedayat

01. Eh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room ?     (19:40)
    I. Chrysler    
    II. Fille De L'Ombre    
    III. Long Song For Zelda    
02. Cello Drive / 17     (21:09)

    Backing Vocals [Baby Song] – Sam Wyatt
    Backing Vocals [Wet Pleasure Shout And Intergalactic-whisper] – Gilli Smyth
    Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Christian Tritsch
    Drums [Here There And Everywhere] – Pip Pyle
    Flute, Saxophone [Bloomdido-saxo], Featuring [Water Music] – Didier Malherbe
    Lead Guitar – Daevid Allen
    Written-By, Composed By, Lead Vocals, Keyboards – Dashiell Hedayat

French pseudo-beatnik Dashiell Hedayat persuaded the psychedelic, prog-rocking Gong to back him up on Obsolete, his second (and final) album project. This is the Continental Circus-era Gong, and the song structures here resemble that album's stripped-down sound. Propelled by Allen's spacy guitar and Malherbe's spicy sax, the tunes on Obsolete, though at times experimental, aren't as involving or full-blown as those on Gong's Camembert Electrique, recorded on the heels of Hedayat's album. Hedayat sings, or rather talks, in French on each piece. He wrote/composed all the "songs" in the autumn of 1969; the compositions were then recorded in May 1971. One of the most interesting and fleshed-out cuts is "Long Song for Zelda." Introductory acoustic guitar (courtesy of Tritsch) leads to actual singing from Hedayat before he breaks into his standard monologue. Allen conjures up mild guitar atmospherics which lend a lazy Traffic-like quality to the music, and William S. Burroughs brings the piece to a close with an obscure 12-second quote.

The group seem to be at recess on "Fille de L'ombre." Hedayat recites the title phrase repeatedly over a backdrop of musical "free play" featuring Gilli's "intergalactic whispers." The album ends with the lengthy "Cielo Drive/17," as close to a Gong song as it gets on a non-Gong album. More French babble from Hedayat, an excerpt of a baby singing, prominent flute and sax from Malherbe, and ample electric ambience from Allen are the order of the day in this mainly guitar-driven recording. The performance gets a bit loose in the middle, with some awkward time changes and unfocused (or confused) direction, and the composition is padded with a few long stretches of "interstellar matter," but the band somehow manages to make it all sound

New York Gong - 1979 - About Time

New York Gong
About Time

01. Preface (Allen/Beinhiorn) (1:28)
02. Much Too Old (Allen/Laswell) (2:43)
03. Black September (Allen/Cultreri) (4:03)
04. Materialism (Laswell/Cultreri) (3:12)
05. Strong Woman (Allen/Bacon) (4:30)
06. I Am A Freud (Allen) (1:46)
07. My Photograph (Allen) (9:10)
08. Jungle Windo(w) (Allen) (6:19)
09. Hours Gone (Allen) (4:05)

- Bill Laswell / bass
- Bill Bacon / drums
- Fred Maher / drums
- Cliff Cultreri / guitar
- Gary Windo / tenor saxophone
- Michael Beinhorn / synthesizer
- Don Davis / alto saxophone
- Mark Kramer / organ
- Daevid Allen / glissando guitar & vocals

nother one of the dozen versions of "Gong" out there, and while it has very little to do with the far out space jazz rock of the classic period, this is actually a very good late 70s album that shows Daevid Allen's adaptability to playing with different people in different styles. In this case, it's the hot underground avant-funk band Material from New York City. And this being the late 70s in New York, there's an unmistakable punk flavor to this album too. Allen, always the affably cynical observer, partakes in the zeitgeist of the times while poking fun at it, resulting in an album that's of its time but has a little bit of ironic distance from it too. Daevid had seen many scenes in many different countries by then, and while he understood the excitement of his environment, he also understood it to be just a phase on its way to something else.

As is the case with many older Gong albums, this one begins with a short sound-effect/tape loop introductory piece, here simply called "Preface". Then the band rips right into the hard-chargin' "Much too Old", where Allen winkingly rips New York City a new one. (Best line: "You can look for a place, but space is rare / Better take up smoking cause there ain't no air"). He even rhymes "Chick Corea" with "diarrhea". It's a simple, funny tune that gets the blood moving. Rather than let up, though, the band charges even harder into the next number, "Black September", an apocalyptic song about ecological disaster (from acid rain, chemical warfare, or perhaps both). At the climax of the song, Allen sneers "Don't Worry! Be Happy!" like he's Johnny Rotten. You go, dude. Always wondered where Bobby McFerrin got that idea.

Finally we get a break from the intensity, with the arty instrumental "Materialism" showing off the backing band's skills. "Strong Woman" is a laid back midtempo rocker with sympathetic, feminist lyrics from Daevid. "I Am a Freud" is the kind of Gong song we're usually accustomed to hearing from Daevid Allen, a brief bit of goofy fun that showed up often on the early Gong records.

Side Two begins with my personal favorite part of the album, the lengthy "Oh My Photograph". This nine-minute piece is actually in three parts: first, an instrumental section with a driving punky rhythm, but topped with an odd lead guitar line that seems to move in an opposite direction - almost kind of "no-wave", and really effective; second, a vocal section featuring the same galloping rhythm but a different melody - the lyrics seem to be about Daevid hating a picture of himself (?); and then the last section, a repetitive instrumental vamp that goes on just a bit too long for my liking. But those first six minutes are gold. The album continues the hot streak with a new rendition of an older number "Jungle Windo(w)", previously known as "Big City Energy" (see my review for the archival release "Camembert Eclectique"). This is a highly rhythmic ranting number featuring guest sax player Gary Windo (thus the joke in the spelling of the song title). Finally, we have another reworked old song, "Hours Gong" (aka Hours Gone, or Where Have all the Flowers Gone, or.....). It makes a great closer -- ending the album on a dead serious note, with it's funeral march tempo and firmly anti-drug message, as if cautioning the New York punk scene not to get too out of hand. It kind of works as an inspirational song to take control of your life. Right on.

I love this album and have loved it for many years; still, if it has any flaws, it's probably the relatively rough recording quality (sounds like a cheaply produced job to me), and the relatively non-adventurous music involved, which doesn't sound like it took a whole lot of time to write or record. But overall I have no qualms awarding this four stars -- Daevid Allen the veteran pro exchanging energetic vibes with some young snots from NYC, with both sides teaching the other a thing or two in the process.

Gong - 2014 - I See You

I See You

01. I See You (3:33)
02. Occupy (2:54)
03. When God Shakes Hands with the Devil (5:40)
04. The Eternal Wheel Spins (7:04)
05. Syllabub (4:32)
06. This Revolution (3:50)
07. You See Me (2:40)
08. Zion My T-shirt (6:18)
09. Pixielation (4:42)
10. A Brew of Special Tea (1:22)
11. Thank You (10:35)
12. Shakti Yoni & Dingo Virgin (9:30)

- Orlando Allen / drums, vocals (4)
- Dave Sturt / bass & computer samples
- Kavus Tobabi (Knifeworld) / neoprog smart guitar
- Fabio Golfetti / guitars
- Ian East / sax, flute
- Daevid Allen / gliss guitar and vocals

- Gilli Smyth / sprinkled space whisper
- Mark Robson / keyboards (11)

There had been rumours that this would be GONG's last album, at least with Daevid Allen involved. Sadly enough today we found out that it really might be. If that is so they went out on a high(haha). This might be my favourite release by them, i'm just so blown away by how innovative this is and i'm surprised at the variety as well. I can hear pieces that remind me of their glory years and also things that i've never heard from this band before. It's really cool that Kavus Tobabi(KNIFEWORLD) is part of this band playing guitar. The album cover is very classy as well.

"I See You" opens with spoken words and cymbals as the drums and bass join in then it kicks into a full sound before a minute. This is catchy stuff with a spacey ending. "Occupy" is urgent and uptempo to start as the vocals come and go. It settles back just before a minute with the sax standing out then it kicks back in. I really like the contrasts. "When God Shakes Hands With The Devil" has almost spoken vocals and I love the guitar tone and style. I have to comment on the excellent drum work here and throughout this album. The flute is a nice touch as well. Such a cool track. Strangely i'm reminded of GENESIS during the mellow sections. There's a surreal and hazy mood on those lighter pieces.

"The Eternal Wheel Spins" has the drummer on vocals and I can't help but think of their "Continental Circus" record here with that driving rhythm and spacey atmosphere. Again the guitar sounds great. The sax after 2 minutes plays over top. Check out the Gliss guitar after 4 minutes then the other guitar is back to the fore a minute later. "Syllabub" is another track with some cool contrasts including a section that reminds me of their trilogy. Check out the dreamy psychedelia led by the sax starting 2 1/2 minutes in.

"This Revolution" has this melancholic and spacey atmosphere as Daevid speaks the lyrics even mentioning Gil Scott- Heron's classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". "You See Me" is catchy with sax and some killer drum work. There's almost a VDGG-like feel after a minute. An excellent instrumental. "Zion My T-Shirt" opens with children singing then before a minute they stop as the guitar cries out in a spacey vibe. Reserved vocals join in as well. So freaking good. A change in the mood 2 1/2 minutes in but it's brief as the previous sound returns. It picks up 4 minutes inwith spacey flute and it's very spacey late to end it. "Pixielation" sounds like it could have been off one of the trilogy albums both lyrically and instrumentally. It turns very spacey a minute in but it's brief as themes are repeated.

"A Brew Of Special Tea" is a short piece that is also very spacey with spoken words bringing "Continental Circus" to mind. "Thank You" sure sounds like a farewell song from Daevid. A lazy summertime mood to this one to start then it changes before 4 minutes as the vocals stop and it settles right down. Back to that earlier sound though before 8 minutes with vocals. "Shakti Yoni & Dingo Virgin" sounds like it could have been done by THE INVISIBLE OPERA COMPANY OF TIBET a GONG off-shoot. This is extremely spacey with space whispers from Gilli Smyth. Just a gorgeous piece that is almost 10 minutes long.

Gong - 2005 - Live in Sherwood Forest '75

Live in Sherwood Forest '75

01 Master Builder 6:08
02 Chandra 6:31
03 Aftaglid 16:36
04 Cat in Clark's Shoes 9:03
05 Wingful of Eyes 7:40
06 The Salmon Song 11:09
07 Isle of Everywhere 12:50
08 Shamal 8:32

This is a pretty fascinating portrait of a band in transition:  Founding father, David Allen had recently departed and guitarist Steve Hillage was getting ready to follow suit, but the band was still featuring material from the final Allen era album, You, along with some tasty tracks from Hillage's soon to be recorded solo debut, Fish Rising, which featured many of the same players.  We also get some early versions of tracks from the forthcoming Shamal album, heralding their more prominent jazz fusion sound. 

On the whole, the band is in good form here, loose yet tight, and the audio quality is decent for a lost archival recording like this, though not outstanding.  Some of the new material sounds a bit tentative, but the Hillage tracks are pretty confident an fully formed.  I'm docking this one half a star for Steve's unbearably daffy hippy chatter in between songs.  Maybe he felt like he had to step in and fill the void left by Allen's departure, though it's to his credit that he ultimately decided to honor Allen's original vision and strike off on his own, rather than continuing on without him.

Gong - 2009 - 2032


01. City Of Self Fascination (6:04)
02. Digital Girl (4:23)
03. How To Stay Alive (8:06)
04. Escape Control Delete (7:58)
05. Yoni Poem (2:09)
06. Dance With The Pixies (4:37)
07. Wacky Baccy Banker (8:21)
08. The Year 2032 (5:39)
09. Robo-Warriors (3:00)
10. Guitar Zero (4:55)
11. The Gris Gris Girl (6:29)
12. Wave And A Particle (2:05)
13. Pinkle Ponkle (4:359
14. Portal (7:08)

- Daevid Allen / vocals, guitars
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Steve Hillage / guitar
- Miquette Giraudy / synthesizer, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Chris Taylor / drums
- Theo Travis / saxophone, flute

The return of Hillage in the band was written maybe as early as the Gong Unconvention in the winter of 2006 in Amsterdam's Melkweg, but it obviously took time to mature as in early summer of 08, Steve joined Gong on stage for two shows in London with a couple new songs, but it would be another big year before this album would see the light of day in the fall of of 09. Sooo Steve and wife Lmiquette Giraudy came back and in terms of the line-up, if the Daevid & Gilly pair are obvious, Malherbe is only a guest, reoplaced by now-usual Theo Travis, the drum stool is still under Chris Taylor and veteran Howlett on bass. Looking at the credits of the songs, it is unsurprisingly mostly an affair of the Steve/Miquette and Daevid/Gilly pairs that dominate the songwriting, even though the girls collaborate on three tracks throughout the album.

2032 is a long (almost filled to the brim) album, made from 14 songs, a few lasting between 7 and 8 minutes, and by the time you're nearing the end of the disc, it is almost 2031, so this album is aptly titled, especially if you stopped for loo emergencies. The least that can be said is that all tracks arewell-made and finely crafted, filled with a certain kind of lunacy (an updated version of early Hillage solo delirium and Daevidian madness)

Well the Pothead Pixie will find the usual Planet Gong universe, but in a violuntary updated manner, both musically, butr lyrically as well. Tracks like Digital Girl and Escape Control Delete are obvious shots at modern technology, but more annoying are the purposely light- handed pop songwriting, sometimes bordering on the silly, but not in the hilarious 70's style. The two distinctive signature lead guitars are generally working well together, Daevid's glissando solos matching Steve's delay-saturated riffs. More interesting is to try to pick out the Malherbe wind intervbention from Travis'. The album is extremely wordy with only one near-instumental (Guitar Zero) and sometimes reaches almost Kraftwerk-style of electro-pop (in Robo-Warriors) and sometimes the group sounds like another Tentacle. Overal, the most frustrating thing about this album is that such a talented, round and jazzy drummer such as Chris Taylor is held in such a binary role, no doubt a decision coming from Hillage, an inheritance from his System Taha 7 days, which are still all too fresh nor to reappear at places.

Personally I thought that Zero To Infinitea was a much worthier album in the Radio Gnome Invisible saga, but it was also playing much safer. 2032 is full of risk-taking, which is always a double edged sword, but these quirky songs might seem fresh and even bring a new blood in the Gong planet, I'm not sure that they'll age as gracefully as the previous material.

Gong - 2004 - Acid Motherhood

Acid Motherhood

01. Ocean Of Molasses (0:32)
02. Supercotton (8:36)
03. Olde Fooles Game (2:08)
04. Zeroina (2:56)
05. Brainwash Me (3:58)
06. Monstah! (2:31)
07. Bible Study (0:30)
08. Bazuki Logix (4:15)
09. Waving (4:05)
10. Makototen (13:36)
11. (Not credited) (0:10)
12. Schwitless In Molasses (4:35)

- Kawabata Makoto / guitar & bazouki
- Cotton Casino / synthesizer & voices
- Daevid Allen / guitars & vocals
- Josh Pollock / guitar
- Orlando Allen / drums
- Dharmawan Bradbridge / drums
- Gilli Smith / guest vocalist (2)
- Greg Sheeman / percussionist track 6, "hung" track 3

Though the album cover bills this one to Gong, I'm with the people who refer to this particular lineup as "Acid Mothers Gong" - so-called because of the inclusion of Acid Mothers Temple members Kawabata Makoto on guitar and Cotton Casino on synths and vocals. Truly, it doesn't sound like anything else in the Gong catalogue - and giving how diverse that is, that's saying a lot. Acid Mothers Temple are, of course, hugely influenced by not just Gong, but just about every countercultural band from the 1970s, as it witnessed by the brief instrumental introduction "Ocean of Molasses", which sounds like a Black Sabbath track reinterpreted by a schizophrenic.

The first full track, "Supercotton", is a dazzling opener, combining the best of Gong's past with a host of AMT's own musical ideas. You have Gilli Smith's ethereal wailing in the background occasionally to remind you that this is a Gong album, whilst the music lurches violently between passages which hark back to Gong classics like "You" and the modern reimagined psychedelia of Acid Mothers Temple, whilst Daevid's characteristically eccentric vocals are enhanced by some exciting exchanges between him and Casino Cotton. The members of both groups are clearly energised by the collaboration; the Acid Mothers Temple boys must be thrilled to be working with one of their heroes, whilst Daevid's vocal delivery shows more enthusiasm and energy than some of his work in his 1970s heyday, so clearly having the young upstarts on hand prompted him and the other Gong stalwarts present to give this one their all. By the time the track climaxes in a wailing guitar solo and swirling synthesiser effects from Kawabata and Cotton, I defy anyone to say that this particular experiment wasn't worthwhile.

Subsequent tracks do not disappoint either; the steel drum-driven "Olde Foole's Game" providing a more laid back and contemplative counterpoint to the frantic "Supercotton", before the instrumental "Zeroina" picks up the pace again with harsher and more aggressive guitar work than has appeared on any Gong album to date. Other highlights include "Brainwash Me", in which the band delivers an acid-soaked backing to Allen's punk- fuelled diatribe against the soulless Hollywood machine. "Bazuki Logix" is, of course, built around Bazuki's enchanting work on the Bazuki, whilst the epic "Makototen" adds heavy guitar work and freaked-out synths to a structure much like the longer, trancier tracks on "You".

Daevid Allen has always had a knack for bringing new talent into the wider Gong family to keep his music fresh and up to date; in that sense, Acid Mothers Gong can be compared to projects like New York Gong (the backing band on which ended up becoming the excellent Material), or Planet Gong in which Allen and Smith were backed by the members of Here and Now. It's an album in which a new generation's energy replenishes, nourishes and renews the Gong sound, and adds something brand new to it in the bargain - in fact, I'd say it's even more successful than either New York Gong or Planet Gong's albums at reinventing the Gong idea. It's both essential to Gong fans - if you're missing this, you're seriously missing out - and something I'd heartily recommend to any fans of the more psychedelic end of prog, even if you don't necessarily get on with other Gong albums, because it's just different and novel enough to be of universal interest. The cover art might be off-putting to some, but this is one album you don't want to judge by its cover.

Gong - 2002 - OK Friends

OK Friends

01. OK My Friends!
02. Arabie Soja Scatsop
03. Wise Man
04. Zeroid Interiors
05. Doudouk Bloomdido
06. 6/8 Confiture
07. Do You Believe in Magick?
08. Three Questions
09. Cycles
10. Violin Titties
11. Virtual Lover
12. Deep Fjord Restaurant
13. Can't Kill Me Sax
14. Es que je suis
15. Invisible Temple
16. Selene

    Daevid Allen {Vocal locum and lewd and gliss guitar}
    Gilli Smyth {Vocal freesong and words}
    Didier Malherbe {Saxes, Doudouk}
    Theo Travis {Saxes, Flute}
    Mike Howlett {Bass}
    Chris Taylor {Drums, Vocals}
    Gwyo Zepix {Keyboards, Synths, Vocals}

Guest on 'Violin Titties':

    Graham Clark {Violin}

 How exactly do you capture the essence of a Gong gig on tape?

Well, hoping for the best, you can plonk a whole gig or selection of tracks onto CD trusting that some of the indefinably unique ambience that so often suffuses a Gong concert makes it through the ruthless digital mesh. Or... if you want to try something different...for a little bit of can give the tapes to a Witch.

Let her peruse and contemplate, distill and concentrate, until...she 'horse whispers' a vibe, a glimpse, a 'rustle in the undergrowth' of something usually unfelt onto a medium that by all rights is really too coarse to carry it.

So... here are the juiciest bits of the 2001 autumn tour as selected by Gilli who was the only band member with the stamina to trawl through every recorded gig immediately after the tour, and listen with the ears of everybody...She has edited together and produced a collection of the most scintillating solos, the most atmospheric passages, and all those unexpected jams from the recordings she brought back....the parts of concerts that remain with you long after it's all over...not serving up yet more versions of much too well known songs.

However, the recording quality of the gigs was definitely variable and it required the masterly mastering skills and attuned sensibilities of Orlando Allen to clarify the sound and enhance the magic buried in the music. And he has succeeded certainly made these somewhat overgonged ears sit-up, take notice and smile.....if you would like smiling ears as well, then look no further.

All the musicians involved are well-represented and show just how each one of them sparkled on the tour. A beautiful photo rich booklet for this release has been put together by Daevid and Gong Dreaming Book I designer David Gregson in Australia.
As Daevid says...

    Welcome, my friends, to the very best moments, the organic gmo-free deranged juice of the longest and most intense Gong tour of recent years.

Gong - 2002 - Glastonbury Fayre 1971

Glastonbury Fayre 1971

01. Intro... (0:22)
02. It's Only The World Said The Girl (3:48)
03. Dexter (Electricity Cut...) (0:45)
04. Fun Gods (3:58)
- Ha Ha
- Name Game
- Toe Cake
- Awe Mantram
- Dingobox
05. John Peel's Judgement (0:04)
06. Divine Mother (8:41)
07. Radio Gnome (Explosion) (0:45)
08. Bambolay / Ya Sunne (3:56)
09. Applause / Dexter (0:17)

- Daevid Allen / guitar, Glissando guitar & vocals
- Gilli Smyth / spacewhisper & vocals
- Didier Malherbe / saxophones
- Christian Tritsch / bass
- Laurie Allen / drums
- Peter Pussydog / laughter

This is actually a very limited edition cd (500 copies) with music from gong, recorded live 1971.This was many people's vinyl introduction to the band and what an introduction it is. The perfect distillation of what it was to experience Gong in full flow in the late '60's and early '70's and even more. A Gong recording I never tire of and so little known by younger Gongsters due to the highly collectable nature and £150 price tag of a complete original Glastonbury Fayre triple LP set if you can find a copy. Hear it and be transformed.

Gong - 2000 - Zero To Infinity

Zero To Infinity

01. Foolfare (0:42)
02. Magdalene (3:57)
03. The invisible temple (11:35)
04. Zeroid (6:08)
05. Wise man in your heart (8:03)
06. The mad monk (3:24)
07. Yoni on mars (6:07)
08. Damaged man (5:13)
09. Bodilingus' (4:02)
10. Tali's song (6:25)
11. Infinitea (7:48)

- David Allen / vocals, guitar, piano
- Mike Howlett / basses
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flutes
- Gilli Smyth / voice, space whisper
- Chris Taylor / drums, percussion
- Theo Travis / keyboards, saxes, flutes

What a surpise! Some 25 years after ending the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy,, Gong is back with a new tome of the Pot Head Pixie and the planet Gong mythology . Although Daevid had reanimated GonG in the mid-90's and the PHP world was its "fond de commerce", there wasn't much in terms of new stuff for the group to expand upon. So the group went on to write another chapter of the RGI and to be honest, the coup is fairly succesful. The line-up helps a lot of course , with all of the major actors (bar the then-ever- absent Hillage and the fact that both now-deceased Moerlen and Pyle were then-busy), we can say that 02 Infinity is a classic by the classic. Indeed Malherbe leaves graciously space for newcomer Travis and then-third-string drummer Chris Taylor are today's first string players..... both of which will have their character in the mythology. While the artwork is unfortunately way too technological (but cosmic still), a superb Mike Howlett production, we'd be pretty well indecent not to enjoy this to the fullest the latest chapter of Zero's adventures.

After a short Gypsy-like intro, thegroup embarks with the funky flute, doudouk and sax- laden Magdalene track, before entering a You?like transe number with the Invisible Temple (already chanted via the Inner and Outer Temple of Egg) complete with space whispers, courtesy of Gilly. Zeroid and Wise Man are both among the harder-edged tracks with some solid guitar works, even some histrionics moments from Daevid. A bit later, Gilly Tyoni's passage on Mars is quite interesting and whisperless. A bit further down the Milky Way, Gong's musuc gets downright dissonant and weird with a some strange telephone calls and sometimes you can think of Devo in the beat of Damaged Man. The following Bodilingus is quite deceiving, despite being really too relaxed (think of I Talk To The Wind on Crimson's debut), and with too many tracks on this album, nothing exciting happens; Tali's Songis another one of those You-era groove, but it is almost a filler. Of course the new adventures of Zero could only end at tea break and savouring a cup of Infinitea.

The only other critic I can see with ZTI is that it doesn't bring anything new to the RGI world, except another chapter of adventures, but then again I'm not sure the goal was that much more ambitious. As for the commercial issues, I'm not sure that this album's kinship wuth the RGI trilogy will provoke a tsunam of sales that would suddendly make GonG members nababs. The music on it is often excellent, but not brilliant or exciting, despite not being groundbreaking, but the proghead's nostalgy should do the rest. This writer's usual aesthtetics would have him normally demolish such an easy touchdown, but then again, Gong was always among my weak and soft spot, which means that the group would really have screw up for me to reject an album of theirs.

Gong - 2000 - Live 2 Infinitea

Live 2 Infinitea

01. Foolfare (0:46)
02. Zeroid (6:08)
03. Magdalene - intro (2:15)
04. Magdalene (5:05)
05. Infinitea (3:58)
06. The Mad Monk (3:29)
07. Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell (9:26)
08. Bodilingus - intro (0:53)
09. Bodilingus (5:19)
10. Inner Temple (2:36)
11. Yoni on Mars (6:57)
12. Tropical Fish (3:42)
13. Invisible Temple (9:00)
14. Selene (6:50)

- Daft Alien / vocals, guitar, glissando guitar
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Theo Travis / tenor and soprano saxophones, flute
- Gwyo ze pix / keyboards, electronics, backing vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Chris Taylor / drums, backing vocals
- Didier Malherbe / alto and soprano saxophones, doudouk, flute
- Basil Brooks / additional bubbles on "Inner Temple"
- Live sound by David Id / the switchdoctor

 Great Gong album from year 2000. Mostly based on studio album "Zero To Infinity", but contains few older songs as well.

Even if many Gong fans are disappointed by last decades Gong works, including not too much successful Allen's Gong return with "Shapeshifter" in 1992, this album is really good! Even better then it studio companion "Zero to Infinity"!

For a very first time from early seventies you will feel full power of raw Gong sound! Far not so much polished as studio one, full on heavy guitar and sax improvs, album sounds unusually heavy and build a excellent atmosphere. No more polished arrangements, no more flirting with pop audience. Gong combines it's old freaky dreaminess, musical mystic and real rock sound there! Even if not too much different in sense of track list from studio "Zero to Infinity" ( but some old songs sound interesting included in one line between new ones), album has it attraction in energy and fantastic live show atmosphere.

If you're disappointed in Gong after it's classic period, just try this one. It is a big chance you will discover the band again.

Gong - 1998 - Family Jewels

Family Jewels

CD One: Thinky Disc:
101. Seven Year Itch: Pip Pyle
102. Second Wind Live: Pierre Moerlen's Gong
103. Cyberwhale: Gilli Smyth & Orlando
104. So What?: Daevid Allen
105. Zombie Woof (excerpt): Pierre
106. Radio Gnome Transmission: Gong Live 97
107. Steffe Guitar Solo: Gong Live 97
108. Farewell Flagship: Daevid
109. Say No More: Pierre Moerlen's Gong
110. bOm Riff Particle: Gong Live 97
111. Can't Kill Me Jam: Gong Live 97
112. You Am I & I: Gong Live 97

CD Two: Feely Disc:
201. Hadouk: Didier Malherbe
202. Lets GLO: Steffe & Gilli
203. Blame The Rich: Daevid
204. Back To The Sea: Steffe & Gilli
205. Zeff Dance: Didier
206. Stroking The Tail Of The Bird: Daevid, Gilli & Harry Williamson
207. Mountains Of Venus: Mike Howlett
208. Deia: Steffe & Gilli
209. Blues de L'Horizon: Didier
210. Voice of Om: Daevid

22 track, double CD collection of all aspects of the Gong Family. Solo tracks, unreleased tracks and live Gong 97 tracks. Selected by the musicians themselves and compiled by Daevid and all wrapped in one of the best Gong covers he has ever produced. Even if you have everything by the Gong Family you will not have over half these tracks.

Gong - 1995 - The Peel Sessions

The Peel Sessions 1971/1974

01. Magick brother (4:49)
02. Clarence in wonderland (4:41)
03. Tropical fish/Selene (11:45)
04. You can't kill me (6:59)
05. Radio gnome direct broadcast (0:53)
06. Crystal machine (9:02)
07. Zero the hero and the orgasm witch (11:09)
08. Captain capricorn Dream Saloon/ Radio gnome invisible (12:62)
09. Oily way (11:16)

- Christian Tritsch / bass (1 - 3)
- Mike Howlett / bass (4 - 9)
- Pierre Moerlen / drums (4 - 7 & 9)
- Pip Pyle / drums (1 - 3)
- Rob Tait / drums (8)
- Steve Hillage / guitar & vocals (4 - 9)
- Daevid Allen / guitar & vocals (1 - 3)
- Kevin Ayers / guitar & vocals (1 - 3)
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone
- Tim Blake / synthesizer (4 - 9)
- Di Bond / synthesizer (8)
- Gilli Smyth / vocals (1 - 7 & 9)

Maybe not too surprisingly, Gong sit at the very top of my Canterbury related bands. The thrilling concoction of space rock, at times akin to Krautrock, and strange British fusion with an interstellar Monty Python humour- more than adequately fits my tastes. As a matter of fact it just might be the perfect match for folks like myself with an affinity for the quirky, mad and spacey.

This 'live' document spans over a period of 4 years, which subsequently gives you access to the famous and much lauded Teapot trilogy and the time leading up to it. The shift that brought them close to the spacey British Krautrock didn't happen over night, and an album such as Camembert Electrique clearly shows signs of the impending psychedelic caterpillar about to immerse from its cocoon.

Some of the biggest, and also some of the most obscure artists, got to play on these (in)famous Peel Sessions, which basically just mean a BBC based live recording of a band - preferably during their heyday. This is very much the case with this one, and apart from the wonderful sticky and tight psychedelia of the latter tunes on feature here, we also get served the only tracks ever recorded with Kevin Ayers during his brief stint in Gong. Magick Brother that opens up the party - Clarence in Wonderland which is a composition by the man himself, as well as the jamming eccentricities of the dual track Tropical Fish/Selene, where Ayers gets to flex his guitar skills beyond what one would expect from the guy. He was actually a pretty saucy axeman - and these three historic recordings are testimony to that. Furthermore, these early live documents are actually the first real snippets of Gong to appear in Britain, as the band were based in France at the time.

The rest of this record is just a cornucopia of musical bliss that quite effortlessly conveys the true nature of the band. Much like the preceding decade's psych instrumentalists from the San Franciscan music scene did, the feel of Gong is rooted in the haphazardly and esoterically boosted jam. The free flight of a musical Icarus that speeds up and down in its intense drop towards the ground - gathering all kinds of unforeseeable pleasures on its way.

To those of you who are new to Gong, the music they wield is a combination of quirky sung bits, that not unlike the other Canterbury groups revolve around a distinctive British humour - some times coming off rather peculiarly. Whimsical is perhaps the best wording for it, but when you finally get your head around the mad ramblings of head honcho Daevid Allen - you suddenly get hit in the head with floating almost beautiful sections of music - that literally shoot you out into the solar system. The psychedelic guitar antics of Steve Hillage and the swarming oozing spaceyness of Tim Blake's electronics countering the steady and powerful drumming of either Pip Pyle or Pierre Moerlen - each of them having a way with rhythms that is so ingrained in- and integral to the band's sound. On the sideline you find the ethereal spacewhispers of Gili Smythe as well as the always impeccably played saxophone by Didier Malherbe, which ornaments the music when the moment calls for the effervescent and flying.

The quality of this thing is amazing! You can say a lot about the BBC, but the sound engineers back in those days really knew their way around intimacy, ambiances and microphone set-ups. -Which is why, I find it strange - no strike that - downright bizarre, that those first two Ayers' fuelled tunes sound like they were recorded from the insides of a plastic bathtub with equipment made out of cardboard and bark. Man what a bummer! Allright, you can hear what's going on - and who's doing what to what, but the closed and contained feel of the whole thing, betrays the band in a nasty way. Gong's music deserves open spaces - you need to hear it on a stereo in a huge room - or preferably out in a field on a banging sound system. There's a lot of 'space' in the music too, and though you're probably thinking about spacerock and psych right now, you couldn't be further from the truth. Here I am talking about the actual pauses between the chords, strikes and blows - where the instruments listen to one another, and a certain feel and mood suddenly blooms - it is here the real Gong shows itself like a regular sound of silence.

Apart from that little sonic mistake, this is truly a must for Gong fans, and a highly recommended entry for the uninitiated, Gong - The Peel Sessions should please either one of those camps like an avocado rubdown or a quick visit to the playground.

Gong - 1995 - 25th Birthday Party

25th Birthday Party

101. Thom Intro (1:20)
102. Floating into a Birthday Gig (5:44)
103. You Can't Kill Me (6:20)
104. Radio Gnome 25 (7:06)
105. I Am Your Pussy (4:52)
106. Pot Head Pixies (2:52)
107. Never Glid Before (5:43)
108. Sad Street (6:24)
109. Eat That Phonebook (3:27)
110. Gnomic Address (1:35)
111. Flute Salad (2:34)
112. Oily Way (3:30)
113. Outer Temple/Inner Temple (5:34)
114. She is the Great Goddess (3:12)
115. IAOM Riff (7:48)

201. Clouds Again (9:59)
202. Tri-Cycle Gliss (10:44)
203. Get a Dinner (2:02)
204. Zero Where are You? (1:29)
205. Be Who You Are My Friends (2:32)
206. It's the World of Illusion (2:58)
207. Why Don't You Try (2:18)
208. I Am You (6:34)
209. Introducing the Musicians (3:00)

- Daevid Allen / vocals, guitar, gliss guitar
- Tim Blake / synthesizer, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass guitar
- Didier Malherbe / saxophones, flute, vocals
- Pip Pyle / drums
- Steffi Sharpstrings / guitar, gliss guitar, vocals
- Gili Smyth / space whisper, vocals

 I had high hopes for this recording after all, its got Tim and steffi. Why doesnt it work after all it should be a classic. A big big problem is the sound this is incredible wearing to listen to. I have heard many way better boot legs and also way better sets than this. I believe a good time was had (i missed this) but if any magick was there that night it did not get into the recording. The high point is the Clouds again track which sprinkles almost but is over before it gets really going. At times steffy plays at his best, but at times he is not even close to his best. All in all a disappointing record and one that you are unlikely to want to listen to in one go. sample it a track at a time and perhaps you will find a little gong magick in here somewhere. Not as awful as some Late gong recordings it isn't quite cabaret night at Berlins but its not far off.

Gong - 1994 - Camembert Eclectique

Camembert Eclectique

01. Café Montelie Demos:
  a) Take A Little Trip
  b) Dynamite
  c) It's The Time Of Your Life
  d) Chelsa
  e) Big City Energy
02. Garcon ou Fille (alternate)
03. Dynamite / Goldilocks
04. Rock & Roll Angel & Nightmare of Mr. Respectable
05. Garcon ou Fille (submix)
06. Hyp Hypnotise You (submix)
07. Haunted Chateau Rehearsals
08. Big City Energy
09. Gongwash Indelible

- Christian Tritsch / bass
- Daevid Allen / guitar
- Daniel Laloux / horn, violin, vocals
- Didier Malherbe / saxophones, flute
- Dieter Gewissler / violin
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Raschid Houari /drums

This is a special fan-club release containing some rare odds and ends from the very early Gong lineups. The top of the cover warns "Not what you think", probably because the cover is very similar to the similarly titled "Camembert Electrique". So do not be misled by the cover. On the other hand, don't ask for your money back just yet, because there is some neat stuff on this disc.

One bit of Gong history I learned from this is that the song "Jungle Windo(w)" from the late 70s "New York Gong" album (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher) is actually a much older song, listed here as "Big City Energy", and sounding quite similar to the minimalist funk of the later rendition. Another thing I learned is that the "Gong Live" track called "Est Que Je Suis?" also had an earlier rendition, here titled "Garcon au Fille".

Two other tracks are of interest here: "Haunted Chateau Rehearsals" is a 12+ minute, creepy collage of spooky improvisations that will really get you out there. And to close things out, there is one of Daevid Allen's early pre-Gong tape manipulation experiments ("Gongwash Indelible"), a welcome look at Daevid's early avant-garde days.

Definitely for fans, but there's enough historically cool stuff that you probably won't find elsewhere to make this worthwhile for the fan.

Gong - 1993 - Haunted Chateau 1969

Haunted Chateau

01. Stoned Innocent Frankenstein Jam (4:39)
02. Hello There (1:42)
03. Tropical Fish (0:38)
04. Bloomdido's Rap (6:51)
05. Dreaming It (7:56)
06. Hypnotize Yer (4:12)
07. Mama Maya Mantrum (0:29)
08. Why Are We Sleeping? (4:09)
09. I Am Your Fantasy (2:23)
10. Gongsong (2:38)
11. Est Que Je Suis (6:08)
12. Ali Ba Ba (3:40)
13. Big City Cat (10:04)
14. Zero And The Spell Of The Good Witch (3:23)

Credits on cassette:


Notes & details:

Tracks 1 to 4 were later released as "Haunted Chateau Rehearsals" (one long 13 min. track) on Camembert Eclectique cd.

- Stoned Innocent Frankenstein Jam: not yet the song but including the intro riff and 5/8 coda.
- Hello There: basically the notes from "Camembert" coda repeated over and over, and "Three Blind Mice" quote.
- Tropical Fish: just the beginning of the song, fading soon and cut after "It's like that back in Sydney" verse.
- Bloomdido's Rap: featuring not Bloomdido but Daniel Laloux.
- Dreaming It: 1st part is an instrumental rehearsal, 2nd live part also on Mystery & History Of Planet G**G.
- Hypnotize Yer: same riff as on "Mr. Long Shanks".
- Mama Maya Mantrum: "Hole in the morning" later part of "Blow Yr Trip" on You and on Floating Anarchy.
- Why Are We Sleeping: "Perfect Mystery" end, unlisted between "Why Are We Sleeping" and "I'm your Fantasy".
- I Am Your Fantasy: "The Sea" recited (partly in french) over "I Am Your Fantasy".
- Ali Ba Ba: includes bits later in "Mr Longshanks" and "Perfect Mystery". Fades as "Waterloo" reprise is starting.
- Big City Cat: unlisted intro, "Radio Gnome Prediction" and early "P.H.P.'s". On Live At Angers tape, longer here.
- Zero And The Spell Of The Good Witch: "Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell". Also on Live At Angers tape.
Musicians: (*)

Daevid Allen
Gilli Smyth
Didier Malherbe
Rachid Houari
Christian Tritsch
Daniel Laloux (left March 1970)
+ possibly
Dieter Gewissler? (left end of 1969)
Gerry Fields? (from Jan 1970)
Barre Phillips?
Tasmin Smyth?

Rehearsal tracks recorded somewhere between Dec 1969 and May 1970 - Normandy, FR Château Du Thiel.
Exact date unknown, reference from Calyx website to Gong's winter stay at Chateau du Thiel.
Dates for live tracks (Side 1 track 5, 6, 7 & 8 and Side 2 tracks 1, 2, 3, 4) are unknown.

Side 2 tracks 5 & 6: Gong - Angers, France - Nov 8th 1972 (Confirmed by PlanetGong and Calyx websites)
(Daevid Allen, Gilli Smith, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch, Diane Bond, Rob Tait)

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!

Gong - 1991 - The Mushroom Tapes 1973-1974

The Mushroom Tapes 1973-1974

101. Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell (14:00)
102. Fohat Digs Holes In Space (16:59) *
103. 6/8 jam (6:41) **
104. The Other Side Of The Sky (8:19) #

201. jam > Why Are We Sleeping? (18:21) ***
202. Radio Gnome Invisible (0:07) $
203. jam - band intro - I Never Glid Before (16:12) =
204. Flute Salad - Love Is How Y Make It (6:18) + ##

* On the fast tempo coda - 13:18 - "Eat That Phonebook" is sung repeatedly.
** Sax intro at 6:05.
*** Why Are We Sleeping? at 4:29.
$ Teapot tape played at ridiculous speed - a perfect mystery.
= Glid at 5:45.
+ Slightly different than on "Angel's Egg".

Daevid Allen, Didier Malherbe, Tim Blake, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Rob Tait, Di Bond *
Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Tim Blake, Steve Hillage, Pierre Moerlen, Mike Howlett **
Didier Malherbe, Tim Blake, Steve Hillage, Pierre Moerlen, Mike Howlett ***

# Officially released on The 1991 GAS Tape cassette (both sbd but different mix). Date on GAS tape is 1974.
## Officially released on Angels Egg (same performance but very different mix).
Disc 1 tracks 1 to 3: line up 1 (Tait & Bond), from Brest 1974-02-06 (see show).
Disc 1 tracks 4: line up 2 (w/Pierre Moerlen). This tape has longer intro, The 1991 Gas Tape has longer coda.
Disc 2 tracks 1 & 3: line up 3 (Paragong). February to April 1973 from french live show(s).
Disc 2 track 2: mystery fragment; a bit of "Flying Teapot" (tape ridicolously speeded up).
Disc 2 track 4: Angels Egg sessions, August 1973 Pavillon du Hay, France.

Gong - 1990 - Live At Sheffield

Live At Sheffield 1974

01. Crystal Gnome
02. Radio Gnome I & II
03. Mister Pyxie
04. Deep In The Sky
05. Flying Teapot
06. Wet Drum Sandwich
07. Mange Ton Calepin
08. You Can't Kill Me
09. Titicaca / Flute Coda

- Daevid Allen / guitar
- Didier Malherbe / saxophones, flute
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, percussion
- Steve Hillage / guitar, vocals
- Tim Blake / synthesizers

 Another fab gig from back in the day.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave..."

In the long and bamboozling (to all of us) Gong tradition of, "you can't necessarily trust what it says on the tin", this release fits right in there. It has absolutely nothing to do with Sheffield (no idea where that came from?), nor indeed anything to do with 1974. The source gig is, I'm sure (as with 'Live au Bataclan'), the first half of 1973 in France. So where and when? Who knows? Who cares? What it certainly is, is the trilogy Gong band doing what they do best - there is some fabulous music here.

I'm not going to begin to try and sort out the mis-titled tracks, you'll recognise what they should be called when you hear them, because as with any prime-time Gong gig, to the listener it really doesn't matter what the songs are called. Once the Teapot is launched everything flows onwards merging together into one big (yep, I'm going to use the word) trip. It does it for me.

As with it's companion, 'Live au Bataclan', this release has not been sanctioned by the band and they can expect no income from it. To those making all the dosh - plant the odd tree at least please. I have just a handful of copies to sell.

As daevid says somewhere on the CD mid-gig, "And now we're going to sing a song about a clock made of ham." Wise words...

This version comes in a mini LP replica of the original gatefold LP cover (drawn by daevid), with a fold-out sheet containing some very entertaining notes by Didier Malherbe in English and French, plus a further sheet with the track info and drawing of the band by daevid.

Gong - 1990 - Live au Bataclan

Live au Bataclan

01. Introduction - Tout Va Bien (1:28)
02. Dynamite - I'm Your Animal (17:04)
03. Tic Toc ( 5:52)
04. Taliesin (6:58)
05. Inside Your Head (4:43)
06. You Can't Kill Me ( 7:04)
07. Flute Salad (4:26)
08. Pussy (5:55)
09. Radio Gnome I & II (7:00)
10. Flying Teapot (9:36)
11. Wet Drum Sandwich (Encore) (6:39)

- Daevid Allen / vocals, guitars
- Gilli Smyth / vocals, space whisper
- Tim Blake / synthesizer
- Steve Hillage / guitars
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Pierre Moerlen / drums
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone, flute

Excellent live album of Gong with a Pierre Moelen in überform. two of the tracks, "You can't Kill Me" and the track which is here listed as two tracks under the names "Tic-Toc" and "Taliesin" (which is in reality one track named "Zero the Hero") already appear on the "Live Etc." album which was published on the Virgin label, but for some strange reasons Virgin cut out parts of the sax and guitar solos from these tracks. on "Live au Bataclan" you can hear these solos in the full version. Gong were really inspired on that day, especially Moerlen who simply seems to burst with ideas, and I can fully understand why Friede chose him as her idol and personal drum God. the cheerful anarchy that always was a part of Gong is definitely present on this album; one can hear the musicians had lots of fun

Gong - 1989 - The History & The Mystery Of The Planet Gong

The History & The Mystery Of The Planet Gong

01. Intro (from Christmas Party 1973) (1:02)
02. Captain Shaw And Mr. Gilbert (Recorded by Daevid in 1964) (1:12)
03. Love Makes Sweet Music (Daevid Allen & Soft Machine Radio Broadcast 1968) (1:06)
04. Riot 1969 (with Soft Machine in France plus DLT Interview) (1:40)
05. Dreaming It (Earliest Live Recording of Gong 1969) (5:32)
06. I Feel So Lazy (Live in Los Angeles 1972) (4:25)
07. And I Tried So Hard (Live in Los Angeles 1972) (5:26)
08. Radio Gnome Pre-Mix (Studio Out Take 1973) (3:06)
09. Pot Head Pixies (Live 1973) (1:26)
10. Clarence In Wonderland (Radio Session with Kevin Ayers) (5:16)
11. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? (Recorded in Deya Spain 1976) (5:42)
12. Gong Poem (Recorded with Clive Williamson 1976) (1:40)
13. Deya Goddess (Recorded in Deya Spain 1976) (8:25)
14. Opium For The People (Studio Version Sung in French) (4:21)
15. Red Alert (Recorded in Wales 1980 with Mother Gong) (2:14)
16. 13-8 (Studio Session 1981 Featuring Guy Evans & Dave Sawyer) (3:58)
17. Gliss-U-Well (Studio Version 1981 with Dider from the Tape "Words Fail Me") (1:13)
18. Future (Taken from Australian Tape Only Release "Living on the Brink") (1:14)
19. The Dream (with Gilli Smyth & Tom the Poet Australia 1985) (4:06)
20. Chernobyl Rain (Kansas Mix Invisible Opera Co.) (3:48)
21. Let Me Be One (Recorded Live in Glastonbury 1988 (6:10)

My journey into Gong territory began rather inauspiciously in 1989 with this obscure little compilation. Actually, that's not entirely true - a few months earlier, I had come across the LP Expresso (the American pressing of Gazeuse!), by the Pierre Moerlen-led jazz/fusion version of the band. So to go from that to this... it was mighty confusing for a budding prog fan like me that didn't have the Internet yet to look these things up and make some sense of it. I think I even sold this a couple of years later, but I ended up missing it, and purchased it a second time. See, though it's a pretty random pick of outtakes of variable quality, there's actually quite a few songs on here I would not want to be without.

It takes about 5 tracks before any real music happens, as the first few opening tracks are mostly little soundbites meant to provide some slices of pre-Gong history -- such as a clip from when the police shut down a Soft Machine concert in France during some student riots (with Daevid (?) having some very choice words for the cops). But by track 5 we're into the early Gong, with the lovely, live "Dreaming It", a song I have not seen on any other album, though I did see a live clip from French television circa 1971. It's a simple bass-driven mantra number, with Allen's spiritual wailing, inspirational and yearning. Other great moments include Gong's Peel Session with Kevin Ayers, performing Kevin's now-classic "Clarence in Wonderland", a wonderfully raw take on the punky "Opium for the People"; some very lovely acoustic Daevid Allen solo material like "Deya Goddess" (pure bliss; also included on his Now Is the Happiest Time of Your Life LP), the superb ska-rocker "Chernobyl Rain" (with the Invisible Opera Company)....

Come to think of it, there's actually very little "Gong" on this CD, at least in the classic incarnation of which most prog fans are aware (Radio Gnome stuff y'know). But there's such a variety of stuff here that you're bound to find something you like, even if it's a comedy skit ("Captain Shaw and Mister Gilbert"... man is that wacky), a capella group chanting ("Let Me Be One"), spoken word poetry ("The Dream", "Gong Poem"), relaxing instrumentals ("13/8"), or what have you.

If you really want classic Gong stuff, and won't accept any substitutes, you're bound to be disappointed; however, this comp still throws you a few bones with rare versions of "Pot Head Pixies", "And I Tried So Hard", and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". But the focus here is on covering the breadth of Daevid Allen's many musical projects (not just Gong, either) over three decades. Not all of it is great, but don't dismiss it entirely, or you may find yourself buying it again like I did.

Gong - 1982 - Live At Mallacoff 1972

Live At Mallacoff 1972

01. PHP's (1:26)
02. This Microphone (2:38)
03. Zero The Hero (12:44)
04. I Am Your Animal / Bamboolay (9:31)
05. You Can't kill Me (5:55)
06. Dreaming it (4:49)
07. Tropical Fish (14:11)
08. The Pot Head Pixies (coda, starts fading in)
09. Impromptu
10. Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell
11. I Am Your Animal / Dynamyte
12. No Selene played here

This tape has no note about date and venue. Calyx Gong chronology states they played in Malakoff
(near Paris) on June 7th 1972 and on January 27th 1973 both times at the Théatre 71.
This tape is usually listed as 1972.

Gong - 1979 - You Do / Don't Have To Give Up Dope

You Do / Don't Have To Give Up Dope

01. Sprinkling Of Clouds
02. You Can't Kill Me
03. Isle Of Everywhere
04. Get It Inner
05. You Never Blow Your Trip Forever (intro)
06. You Never Blow Your Trip Forever (continued)
07. Flying Teapot
08. Haystack
09. I've Bin Stoned Before
10. Est-ce Que Je Suis?

Notes & details:

- You Can't Kill Me: ends with the usual "Camembert Electrique" coda.
- Isle Of Everywhere: Daevid sings on the intro (Oh Shiva, Shiva...).
- Get It Inner: this version differs from usual as it is played in 13/8 time rather than 12/8.
- You Never Blow Your Trip Forever: at the end there is a long audience call for an encore (almost 7 min.)
- Didier: "I mean, we are a bit tired (...) we are doing gigs all the time (...) tomorrow we play at the Melkweg".
- Flying Teapot: Steve asks: "Why don't you keep clapping?", later used by Daevid on "O Man" (N'Existe Pas).
- Est-ce Que Je Suis?: incomplete.

Date and Lineup:

Recorded in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Eksit - December 7th 1974 (except Side 2 tracks 3 & 4 which are live tracks from unknown date - circa 1970)

Note: This is from the December 7th gig, with Bill Bruford on drums filling in for Laurie Allan,not Pierre Moerlen.
Gilli Smyth is absent, Miquette Giraudy taking up her parts (You Can't Kill Me).
Didier says "Tomorrow we play at the Melkweg" (Amsterdam), which they did on Dec. 8th.

Source: PlanetGong gig history and Calyx Gong chronology.


Daevid Allen
Didier Malherbe
Tim Blake
Steve Hillage
Mike Howlett
Miquette Giraudy
Bill Bruford

This cassette was first issued by GAS in 1979 appearing for sale on Essential Gas 1979 list.
Great performance and a good stereo recording.
An essential addition for completists and classic Gong afecionados as it remains unreleased on other formats to this day and it's a rare chance to hear Bill Bruford performing with Gong.

This cassette was reissued in 1992 with slightly different content, omitting the early Gong live part. The lineup as printed on reissue is incorrect.
The last three early Gong live tracks are only available here, they are NOT present on the 1992 reissue.

Gong - 1978 - Gong Est Morte, Vive Gong

Gong Est Morte, Vive Gong

01. Can't Kill Me (7:52)
02. I've Been Stoned Before/Mr Longshanks/Oh Mother (6:39)
03. Radio Gnome Invisible (2:38)
04. Zero the Hero & the Witches Spell (10:04)
05. Flute Salad/Oily Way/Outer Temple (10:08)
06. Inner Temple (Zero Meets The Octave Doctor) (6:01)
07. IAO Chant & Master Builder (7:05)
08. Sprinkling of Clouds (4:49)
09. From the Isle of Everywhere to the End of the Styory of Zero the Hero (12:14)
10. You Never Blow Your Trip Forever (8:26)

- Daevid Allen / guitars, vocals
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flute, vocals
- Gilli Smyth / spacewhisper, vocals
- Tim Blake / synths, vocals
- Steve Hillage / guitar, vocals
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, percussion
- Mike Howlett / bass

 Similar to the GonG live. Unless you are a real Gnome one of the two is sufficient.I , as a Gnome , of course have both. Another live one is the Sheffield 74 but again unless you are a real Gnome..... The madness of those shows are not well transcripted on wax , but if you saw the band in the last seven years , you can take all of those live one and imagine

The core lineup of the Radio Gnome years had a reunion in Paris in 1977, the highlights of which are presented in Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong! Say what you like about the band: they certainly weren't overprotective of their name, allowing various spin-offs and factions to use it over the years - for instance, this reunion took place right when the Pierre Moerlen-led lineup hadn't yet officially changed their name to Pierre Morelen's Gong, but Moerlen, Howlett and Malherbe have no qualms about abandoning their fusion experiments in order to bring back the old pothead pixies magic.

Gong - 1978 - Expresso II

Expresso II

01. Heavy Tune (6:22)
02. Golden Dilemma (4:51)
03. Sleepy (7:17)
04. Soli )7:37)
05. Boring (6:23)
06. Three Blind Mice (4:47)

- Mireille Bauer / marimbas, vibraphone
- Francois Causse / congas
- Allan Holdsworth / rhythm guitar
- Bon Lozaga / acoustic guitar
- Benoit Moerlen / glockenspiel, vibes, xylophone, tubular bells, claves
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, glockenspiel, xylophone, tubular bells, timpani
- Hansford Rowe / bass, rhythm guitar
- Mick Taylor / electric guitar
- Darryl Way / violin

Just as a starter, this album wears the number II after its name, because Gong's previous album Gazeuse was marketed Stateside as Expresso. By the time of release of this album, Gong didn't have much to do with the unit that had recorded the RGI trilogy: they were more of rhythm section waiting for frontmen to come in the forefront. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't call this line-up Sly & Robbie (they're much too good for that), but let's face it: three percussionists and a bassist make the core of the Gong. Sure some very prestigious guest such as violinist Darryl Way or guitarist Holdsworth or more surprisingly ex-Stone Mick Taylor just to mention these few. And one wonders why Daevid was trying to get the name back. I'm not too sure how they went along, but this line-up's next album would go on to record as Pierre Moerlen's Gong and produce another string of albums under that moniker.

What strikes in this album is that we have already the first draft of Gongzilla and the music is extremely percussive, sounding a bit like Maneige circa Libre Service. Although at first one is taken aback with the aptly titled Heavy Tune that sounds like a quasi metallic blues-rock, with two guitars in tow, Holdsworth on the rhythm and Taylor pulling a brilliant solo on lead. The lengthy Sleepy is also quite a fine track and doesn't bear its name well as is Boring, which sports some of violist Darryl Way's best works ever, both sounding very Maneige like, if you'll except the violin. Another highlight is the 7-min+ Soli, which gives a few good examples of it. But overall, if you don't appreciate vibraphones or xylophones, you'd better steer clear ofd this album because it is loaded with them, which renders the music lively, but also tends to make the different tracks a bit uniform.

As can be obviously deducted, Expresso II is yet another fine jazz-rock album with many moments but its good dose of heard-elsewhere developments, the interest of every new album from Gong was getting lesser, partly because of the amount of groups that were around were becoming quite a crowd stepping on each other's toes, partly because musically, all the grounds that were to be discovered were for a while now. As flawlessly played as Expressso can be, even if Gong has their own typical sound and intricacies, they were sounding like "just another jazz-rock/fusion group" and therefore were losing much interest of many, and to the light of this album, I'd say that this was slightly unfair, but then again the same can be said of many other JR/F albums of these years. And things would get even harder with the passing of the decade, once these groups tried to adapt to the new decade by "innovating" on such ugly instruments so typical of the 80's, therefore starting to lose their soul. Anyway, coming back to this album: hardly essential, yet eavesdropping on it every now and then seems like a much tempting idea.

Gong - 1977 - Live Etc

Live Etc

01. You can kill me (5:50)
02. Zero the hero & the witch spell (11:08)
03. Flying Teapot (6:28)
04. Dynamite/I am your animal (5:44)
05. 6/8 (3:53)
06. Est-ce que je suis? (4:12)
07. Ooby-scooby doomsday or the D-Day DJ's got the D.D.T. blues (5:15)
08. Radio gnome invisible (7:35)
09. Oily way (3:20)
10. Outer temple (1:05)
11. Inner temple (5:15)
12. Where have all the flowers gone (3:07)
13. Isle of everywhere (10:24)
14. Get it inner (2:31)
15. Master builder (5:56)
16. Flying teapot (1:55)

- Daevid Allen / guitar, vocals (1 to 12)
- Mireille Bauer / percussion (13 to 16)
- Tim Blake / synthesizers, vocals (1 to 12)
- Miquette Giraudy / sonic voices (13 to 16)
- Steve Hillage / guitar, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass, vocals
- Patrice Lemoine / keyboards (13 to 16)
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flutes, percussion, vocals (13 to 16)
- Pierre Moerlen / drums (1 to 7, 12 to 16), percussion (13 to 16)
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper (1 to 12)
- Di Stewart / vocals, percussion (8 to 11)
- Rob Tate / drums (8 to 11)

 Live Etc is one of the only live albums of Gong and works as a kind of 'Best of Gong' encompasses three years in the life of the band. Angel's Egg highlights are here as well as tracks from You and Radio Gnome Invisible, the three best studio Gong albums in my opinion. The live versions of Going material encapsulates the high strangeness that we know and love about the group, sometimes they border on the satirical, at other times try to be serious, without success. Throughout we are treated to the driving rhythms that are present, notably from Hillage's guitar and Malherbe's saxophone and flute. This is definitely worth a listen and features some of the weirdest versions of beloved Gong tracks, for instance there is the lyric-less version of 'The Isle of Everywhere', and 'Oily Way' sounds even better than the original, with kookiness unprecedented on a stage, since Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention days.

Other highlights include 'You can kill me', 'Zero the hero & the witch spell', 'Flying Teapot', 'Ooby-scooby doomsday or the D-Day DJ's got the D.D.T. blues', 'Radio gnome invisible', and 'Inner temple'.

Gong are eternally surreal cosmic adventurers who always strive to produce the wackiest spaced out music on the planet and once again a live stage is the perfect venue for unleashing experimental music and bizarre lyrics, that have cemented the band's reputation as essential for prog rock fans. They have notably been referred to as 'an invisible ideological empire' more than a band and the live versions of their repertoire is no exception, approaching the improvisational at times, spiralling wildly out of control yet maintaining a calm insanity, if that were possible. Notably 'Ooby Scooby Doomsday' and 'The D-Day DJ's got the DDT Blues' are finally available after years in the aborted can, and were worth the wait in every respect.

If you are into Gong or prog that is totally off-kilter but brilliantly executed by virtuoso musicians don't bypass this CD.

Gong - 1977 - Gazeuse!


01. Expresso (5:58)
02. Night Illusion (3:42)
03. Percolations, Part 1 + Part 2 (10:00)
04. Shadows Of (7:48)
05. Esnuria (8:00)
06. Mireille (4:10)

- Mireille Bauer / marimba, vibraphone, glock, toms
- Allan Holdsworth / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, violin, pedal steel guitar
- Didier Malherbe / Tenor sax, flute
- Benoit Moerlen / vibra
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, glock, vibra, marimba, timpani
- Francis Moze / Fretless bass, gong, acoustic & electric piano

For Jazz-Rock fanatics, this album is a must buy. Gong really did a masterful work with this release and it quickly became one of my favourite Jazz-Rock recordings. The addition of Allan Holdsworth on guitars as a replacement for Steve Hillage really worked well here, giving the album a typical Holdsworth sounding appealing to it. His playing and solos flows together hand in hand with the elegant and jamming jazz-fusion music masterfully, and the overall mood features an unique and typical "late-night listening" atmosphere. The heavy use of marimbas, xylophones and glockenspiels has a colourful and relaxing effect on the music, something that obviously would be a trademark for Gong on later releases, but it works best here, "Percolations Part 1" being the best example of this, considering that the whole track is made with percussion instruments. Didier Malherbe is not so dominant here, contributing fewer saxophone parts than before, all being very good though. Pierre Moerlen's drumming is brilliant as always and his brilliant and incredibly tight drumming gives me goosebumps everytime.

Overall; a very colourful, percussion and guitar oriented jazz-rock release from Gong, backed up with the excellent playing from all musicians involved, very few weak moments. Actually, the only weak moment here is "Mirielle" which is a relaxing track and good in itself, only weaker than the rest of the album generally. Too bad this album is often overlooked and forgotten, because it's a great album and I would strongly recommend this album to any starving jazz-rock fanatic who looks after some more jazz-rock to listen to. Enjoy!

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.

Gong - 1974 - Radio Gnome Invisible Part 3 - You

Radio Gnome Invisible Part 3 - You

01. Thoughts for naught (1:30)
02. A P.H.P.'s advice (1:37)
03. Magick mother invocation (2:11)
04. Master builder (6:09)
05. A sprinkling of clouds (8:42)
06. Perfect mystery (2:25)
07. The isle of everywhere (10:21)
08. You never blow your trip forever (11:24)

- Daevid Allen / vocals, glissando guitar
- Mireille Bauer / percussion
- Tim Blake / Moog & EMS synths, Mellotron
- Steve Hillage / lead guitar
- Mike Howlett / bass guitar
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flute, vocals
- Benoît Moerlen / percussion
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, percussion
- Gilli Smyth / wee voices, chorus
- Shakti Yoni / poem & space whispers

The spacy province of Canterbury land was ruled by Daevid Allen-era Gong, and their "You" album is not only the definitive epitome of what Gong was all about, but also, IMHO, the absolute apex in their musical career. This album, which completes the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, encapsulates better than any other Gong record the perfect match between the band's ideology and spirit and the performers' sonic input. It is, to put it simply, their masterpiece. The ridiculously high-spirited lyrics about Zero's search for the ultimate key to mankind's freedom are perfectly complemented by the bizarre musical architecture that in "You" has found its more solid expression. The combination of avant-garde jazz's complexity, theatrical singing/chanting and electronic experimentation (synths, glissando guitars) have come to their ultimate fruition, something that can be easily noticeable thanks to the robust sound production and the sense of ordainment that seems to prevail in the album as a whole. Even though there's still lots of room for improvisation and expansion, it is clear that the anarchy and raw energy of their previous albums has been somewhat (not totally) subdued in favour of a bigger amount of cohesiveness in the band's functioning: it is clear that Allen and Mrs. Allen are the ideological captains of this ship, but it is also clear that their musical input has ceased to be a major asset in Gong's integral sound. Individually speaking, the most notable stuff is provided by lead guitarist Hillage, saxist/flutist Bloomdido, and the amazing rhythm section of Howlett and Moerlen. Hillage himself incarnates the mix of jazz and cosmic psychedelia that forms the core of Gong's instrumental facet (with his colleagues tending to trend toward one side or another); meanwhile Howlett and Moerlen have stopped being the "new kids on the block" and have already become a crucial part of the band's overall sound, serving as the main source of energy and bombast, especially during the jammed passages. Tim Blake's sonic provisions on synth and mellotron stand strongly on the most frontally cosmic side of things, serving as a powerful surrounding landscape for Hillage and Bloomdido's soloing excursions, touches of tuned percussion and male-and-female chanting. The album's segued repertoire kicks off with the funnily solemn brief intro 'Thoughts for Naught', followed by the Zappa- esque brief interlude 'A P.H.P.'s Advice'. Once 'Magick Mother Invocation' / 'Master Builder' begins, we are faced against one of the most overtly classic moments of Gong's history. The thing starts with an eerie, disturbing inscrutable invocation, until the fade- in brings a Hindu-like motif structured in a jazz fusion scheme: the successive sax and guitar solos are incredibly excellent, and finally, the climax is explosively captivating. Things get a bit less intense and much more ethereal for the instrumental 'A Sprinkling of Clouds', mainly a showcase for Blake's ability to create soundscapes and ambiences as well as to use his electronic ideas as a medium of interaction with some of his partners' virtuosity. Up to this point, everything has been awesome, and things will continue that way. Another brief Zappa-esque short song comes, which is 'Perfect Symmetry'. The segued 'Isle of Everywhere' is a jam that kind of resumes the combined spirits of 'Master Builder' and 'Sprinkling' in a funky jazz context. Once again, Hillage and Bloomdido share alternately the spotlight for their respective solos: meanwhile, Mrs. Allen (a.k.a. Bambaloni Yoni) delivers her spectral humming. Then comes the epic closure, the stunning suite titled 'You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever', an effective, enthusiastic number that somehow recaptures the overall ambience displayed in the band's previous two albums (the other two of the Radio Gnome Trilogy). The spirit of joy that is constantly anticipated during the first 10 minutes is ultimately exposed along the final litany, in which the final truth is revealed and celebrated: "You are I or I am You". This manifestation of the urgent need to recognize that our fellow man is but a real image of our own selves is cleverly delivered in this line and its subsequent lyrical variations right until the fade-out: the Arabesque motif is simply mesmerizing. It's just unbelievable how well Gong manage to make good use of their unabashed Dadaist sense of humor in order to create a real connection with the listener: the ultimate truth of universal love is seen through the eyes of a child and sung in a carefree, easy-going manner, and we're all invited to see and sing it that way. Aaah. those sensual flute lines and those final guitar flourishes. a greatest closure for a true prog masterpiece.

Gong - 1973 - Radio Gnome Invisible Part 2 - Angel's Egg

Radio Gnome Invisible Part 2 - Angel's Egg

01. Other Side of the Sky (7:40)
02. Sold on the Highest Buddha (4:25)
03. Castle in the Clouds (1:09)
04. Prostitute Poem (4:52)
05. Givin' My Love to You (0:43)
06. Selene (2:09)
07. Flute Salad (2:09)
08. Oily Way (3:37)
09. Outer Temple (1:09)
10. Inner Temple (2:34)
11. Percolations (0:46)
12. Love is How You Make It (3:27)
13. I Never Glid Before (5:36)
14. Eat that Phonebook Coda (3:12)

- Daevid Allen / vocals, guitar
- Tim Blake / VCS3 synth, vocals
- Steve Hillage / guitars, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass, vocals
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flute, vocals
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, vocals
- Gilli Smyth / vocals, space whispers

In this chapter of the greatest trilogy ever written, one finds Zero The Hero looking for ways to spread the good words taught to him from Planet GonG through this Radio Gnome Invisible, and he meets all sorts in that quest.

Angel's Egg sees two new members replacing Frenchmen Trisch and Moze: Pierre Moerlen and Mike Howlett and now the classic GonG line-up is present. However, unlike the previous Flying Teapot and the following You, the tracks here are fairly short (except for the opening track that clocks in at 8 min) barely exceeding 5 min at best.

Side 1 starts with a rare but superb almost-instrumental that is proof , if need be, that Gong is materful in all area including jazz-rock Canterbury style. All other numbers are very typical GonG athmospheres and climaxing in the Prostitute Poem where Malherbe answers so greatly to Gilly Smyth - delightful and dare I say Orgasmic. Only the drunken pub tune Givin My Luv sticks a bit out but it is short and can be easily skipped.

Side 2 starts with the real treasure of this album: it is the Flute Salad - Inner/Outer Temple suite only to be followed by concert fave Oily Way. Malherbe shows that he also masters the flute and the climaxes created is not only orgasmic but cosmic. Moerlen gives us a peak on future Gong music by putting in his great vibraphone playing in one of the last track. Many different facets of GonG are present in this album making probably their most impressive one ever.

Again for years the superb artwork sleeve had not been sufficiently respected, often suppressing most of the heavenly blue innerfold of the album. Charly Records via their subsidiary Victor label again released a mini-lp reissue (cat# 61173 , pricey but superb and essential for the understanding of this epic) and adjoining for the first time a booklet explainig the story and lyrics.