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Gong - Acid Motherhood CD (album) cover

ACID MOTHERHOOD

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

3.82 | 48 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Though the album cover bills this one to Gong, I'm with the people who refer to this particular lineup as "Acid Mothers Gong" - so-called because of the inclusion of Acid Mothers Temple members Kawabata Makoto on guitar and Cotton Casino on synths and vocals. Truly, it doesn't sound like anything else in the Gong catalogue - and giving how diverse that is, that's saying a lot. Acid Mothers Temple are, of course, hugely influenced by not just Gong, but just about every countercultural band from the 1970s, as it witnessed by the brief instrumental introduction "Ocean of Molasses", which sounds like a Black Sabbath track reinterpreted by a schizophrenic.

The first full track, "Supercotton", is a dazzling opener, combining the best of Gong's past with a host of AMT's own musical ideas. You have Gilli Smith's ethereal wailing in the background occasionally to remind you that this is a Gong album, whilst the music lurches violently between passages which hark back to Gong classics like "You" and the modern reimagined psychedelia of Acid Mothers Temple, whilst Daevid's characteristically eccentric vocals are enhanced by some exciting exchanges between him and Casino Cotton. The members of both groups are clearly energised by the collaboration; the Acid Mothers Temple boys must be thrilled to be working with one of their heroes, whilst Daevid's vocal delivery shows more enthusiasm and energy than some of his work in his 1970s heyday, so clearly having the young upstarts on hand prompted him and the other Gong stalwarts present to give this one their all. By the time the track climaxes in a wailing guitar solo and swirling synthesiser effects from Kawabata and Cotton, I defy anyone to say that this particular experiment wasn't worthwhile.

Subsequent tracks do not disappoint either; the steel drum-driven "Olde Foole's Game" providing a more laid back and contemplative counterpoint to the frantic "Supercotton", before the instrumental "Zeroina" picks up the pace again with harsher and more aggressive guitar work than has appeared on any Gong album to date. Other highlights include "Brainwash Me", in which the band delivers an acid-soaked backing to Allen's punk- fuelled diatribe against the soulless Hollywood machine. "Bazuki Logix" is, of course, built around Bazuki's enchanting work on the Bazuki, whilst the epic "Makototen" adds heavy guitar work and freaked-out synths to a structure much like the longer, trancier tracks on "You".

Daevid Allen has always had a knack for bringing new talent into the wider Gong family to keep his music fresh and up to date; in that sense, Acid Mothers Gong can be compared to projects like New York Gong (the backing band on which ended up becoming the excellent Material), or Planet Gong in which Allen and Smith were backed by the members of Here and Now. It's an album in which a new generation's energy replenishes, nourishes and renews the Gong sound, and adds something brand new to it in the bargain - in fact, I'd say it's even more successful than either New York Gong or Planet Gong's albums at reinventing the Gong idea. It's both essential to Gong fans - if you're missing this, you're seriously missing out - and something I'd heartily recommend to any fans of the more psychedelic end of prog, even if you don't necessarily get on with other Gong albums, because it's just different and novel enough to be of universal interest. The cover art might be off-putting to some, but this is one album you don't want to judge by its cover.

Warthur | 5/5 |

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