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Gong - Shamal CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.82 | 331 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This was the first Gong album I heard and, being a fan of jazzrock with personality, I loved it. I bought the album on vinyl a long time ago and later gave away all of my records. Afterwards I bought Gazeuse! and found it a bit cold by comparison.

I long felt an ongoing hankering to hear some of these tunes, moods and textures again. All of the tracks have something to recommend them - the Zappa-esque madness and gorgeous violin by Jorge Pinchevshy in Cat in Clark's Shoes, the moody east Asian feel of Bambooji, the incredible fusion of Chandra with brilliant work from the rhythm section, Steve Hillage's Henrix-ish wawa solo on Wingful of Eyes. This is a band that can cleverly and seamlessly shift between radically varying moods, feels and rhythms and somehow make it sound organic and logical.

As a drummer, it's hard not to be inspired by Pierre Moerlen's efforts. He's just brilliant. However, all members are right up there; Mireille Bauer is almost as impressive as Ruth Underwood (high praise!).

After fruitless searches for an MP3 retailer who both stocked such obscure material and would actually lower themselves to sell their music to an Australian (I never knew I lived in such a backwater!) I ended up re-buying the album on CD from Amazon. Ahh, that feels better.

The weakest track is, ironically, the title track, which is mostly a staid funk groove, apart from a brief inspired bridge where Jorge P cuts loose with a wonderful violin solo.

Ignore the weak vocals and lyrics (Mike Howlett - great bass, shame about the voice), which are thankfully less featured than the instrumental passages and enjoy the music. Those who complain about Gong being caught between styles are also not worth worrying about. The Pot Head Pixies and co might be fun and clever, but they don't call me for repeat listens the way this album does. I care not a jot for a band's direction - just as long as there are great feels, textures, moods, melodies and rhythms and all of these can be found aplenty on this album.

If you like jazzrock with excellent musicianship and personality, then you won't be disappointed with Shamal.

Greta007 | 5/5 |


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