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Gong - Shamal CD (album) cover

SHAMAL

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

3.82 | 246 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Shamal was my introduction to the world of Gong. It was the only album by this band that was released in Brazil and I won a copy of it at the time as a gift from 3 of my friends (yeah, we were just moneyless teens!). I still own that vinyl copy, for sentimental reasons. Only recently I did buy the CD version. The sound is great but unfortunatly there are no bonus tracks here.

The album was the first without their mentor and guiding light David Allen. Guitar wizzard Steve Hillage also bailed out (although he contributes on a couple of tracks). And it clearly shows. Even if the band is in fine form their sound was shifting away form that characteric spaced out jam to a much more jazz rock fusion direction. And would go even further towards that path by the next release. Not that Shamal is bad, much on the contrary, I always loved that disc. But the band changed. Didier 'Bloom' Malherbe did what he could to fill in the enourmous void left by Allen and Hillage, sometimes with the help of guest member violinist Jorge Pinchevesky. But the real strong point of the band here was the fantastic use of the percussion: new full time member Mireille Bauer proves to be one of the most skillful and creative percussionists of rock, leaving her mark on every track. the extensive use of the xylophone, marimba and glockenspiel made all the difference here.

The best tracks are the beautiful instrumental Mandrake (fine flute solos!) na the terrific title track (great bass, astonishing drums & violin and Bauer does one the best xylophone solos I´ve ever heard, if not the best). The jazz rock tunes like Chandra and the crazy Cat In Clark´s Shoes (with a tango part that catches anyone by surprise) are the ones I found less pleasing, but are still creative nad good. Wingful Of Eyes and Bambooj on the other side are melodic but shows the band a little lost. Teh production, done by Pink Floyd´s drummer Nick Mason, is very good.

Conclusion: a very fine album, even if a little uncharacteristic. My rating lies between 3,5 and 4 stars. But for personal reasons I will give it four solid ones. Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection indeed!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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