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Gong - 2032 CD (album) cover

2032

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

3.11 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 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. Personally I consider this album as quite a deception, but let's see how it ages with successive listens, which obviously won't be as frequent after the first two months.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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