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Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.14 | 716 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm not sure why I never discovered the music of Gong in the first blush of my Prog Rock adolescence. Maybe the band was too openly druggy for my less tolerant teenage doppelgänger. Or perhaps the band's playful embrace of Buddhist philosophy was simply foreign to a sheltered young soul who hadn't yet shed his Episcopal blinders (I recall also having difficulties with John McLaughlin's MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, for similar reasons...)

Further evidence, if any more was needed, that youth is sometimes wasted on the young. Gong in its mid-seventies prime made some of the most contrary but playful music ever catalogued under the larger umbrella of Progressive Rock. And the middle album of the celebrated RGI album trilogy was where the band really hit its stride.

The sequel to 'Flying Teapot', relating the further adventures of Zero the hero and the Pothead Pixies, is more obviously musical than its predecessor, with the band performing more like real musicians instead of a hippie vaudeville act. Despite the shorter tracks the flow is smoother, and the fusions better fused. But the album is still eclectic beyond belief, able to turn on a whim from the Berlin cabaret melody of 'Prostitute Poem', with its shadows or Marlene Dietrich and Sally Bowles, to an unexpected interlude of Arabian harmonics (in the middle of the same song), and from there to something not unlike an English wartime pub sing-a-long.

In these pages the Gong collective flies a Multi-National flag of convenience, but the 'Radio Gnome' albums were always English to their psychedelic core, finding Ultimate Truth and Inner Wisdom at the bottom of a cup of tea. Head Gongster Daevid Allen was earlier a founding member of the original SOFT MACHINE, and the two bands shared a similar deadpan attitude of musical sedition. But in albums like 'Angel's Egg' Gong took the comic irreverence of the best Canterbury bands to a new level...nay, to another planet altogether.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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