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Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You CD (album) cover

RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 3 - YOU

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 659 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars You have to get Gong's 'You''

I have been wanting to get hold of this much esteemed, highly revered album in the weird world of prog for a long time; Gong's final part of the Radio Gnome Flying Teapot trilogy. After hearing the other two parts of the strange tale, 'You' hammers the final nail in the coffin for pot head pixies, octave doctor's, Zero the Hero and pussy witches everywhere. What were they on? From the very outset the album transports you into this drugged psychedelic universe where we land on planet Gong and experience dramatic shifts from accomplished musicianship to passionate flights into fantasy, where hallucinogenic drugs seem to take over.

'A PHP's advice' is simply weird, but it gets you in the right frame of mind and fires the imagination. "In case you don't remember this is what you do, get up out of bed... If you are a believer, what do you believe, why do you believe it.... let the Pot Head Pixies show them what to do.... if you've got a problem....remember you are me, I am you..." The lyrics are as quirky as ever, and almost non incidental, though inseparable from the musical ambience.

Gilli's space whispering is here again, on "Magick Mother Invocation" and those bizarre sound effects merge from the trees, and of course Daevid's idiosyncratic vocals that are pure Gong. The chanting Gregorian monks are unsettling but what more can any Gong addict ask for? Perhaps these aforementioned tracks are too peculiar or highly eccentric to be standouts on this album.

There are highlights here which have become part of Gong mythological folklore. These include 'A Sprinkling of Clouds', a lengthy but wonderful ambient mental instrumental, that is beautiful and haunting. A multi phased synthesizer pulsates and throbs along as spaced out effects echo. This is a bit like a vamped up version of Tangerine Dream in a sense. A very different approach from Gong, heavily reliant on keyboards, and fully instrumental. The icy glacial soundscapes transport us to another world with very effective ambient textures. Eventually a guitar lick locks in and a bass line that drives the track to its conclusion.

Also there is the compelling 'Master Builder'. This was segued from 'Magick..." and is like an alien tribal chant; a strange combination reminiscent of Magma meets Hawkwind. The spacey swooshes and piercing trills are off-kilter, and there is a pipe in their somewhere and a scorching saxophone solo. Glorious instrumental virtuosity with a wonderful bass line and off beat drumming keeping it all together. Then it stops and the birds are heard twittering in the trees as the track stops and starts, till it locks into a chant and phased guitar fret runs. The spacey effects are overkill at this point but its effective enough. Nonsensical lyrics propel it along and the sax builds to a climax.

But for any Gong Pot Head Pixie the quintessential tracks are 'The Isle of Everywhere' and the epic 'You Never blow Yr Trip Forever'. Both these tracks are arguably the best of Gong with spacey guitars and ethereal soundscapes that only Gong could create in their own inimitable style. 'The Isle of Everywhere' is quintessential Gong and is featured on all the best Gongompilations. 'You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever' features Daevid's wild jabbering and a quirky time sig and musical effects that sound childishly playful but like all Gong there is a dark undertone prevalent throughout, like a little innocent sweet girl in pigtails wielding a knife behind her back. This is as bizarre as you like Gong to be, beautiful flute and an ethereal keyboard create a feeling of morbid dread. The track plunges into an atonal shift into psychedelia "the more you know the more you don't know..." Daevid muses, and we are reintroduced to Zero the Hero, and the lyrics chatter about "the hole in the morning, dawning, ....around and round and round and round, ..maybe you like and maybe you won't and it's all the same it's all in the name... but you don't have to give up hope..." After this infantile but highly amusing section, we hear a narrative voice ending this bizarre trilogy, "Well there goes Zero The Hero turning around, and meanwhile all the characters of Planet Gong have to leave you now," they are farewelled, each one, and then Daevid asks the simple question and his farewell speech is basically "why don't you, why don't you, why don't you try, why don't you try, to try, oh why don't you tr-y-y-y-y-y-iyayiyi, why, why, don't you try". But there are no answers; the trilogy is over.

OK, It is not for all tastes certainly, perhaps too strange, off beat and downright unsettling, according to how jaded your sensibilities are, but if you allow it, Gong have an ability to captivate and finally entrance like no other. 'You' remains perhaps Gong's finest achievement along with the enthralling 'Angel's Egg' and mesmirising 'Flying Teapot'. Together they are the infamous and indispensable Flying Teapot Radio Gnome Invisible saga that every prog fan should experience at least once. A solid 5 stars. *****

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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