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Gong - Expresso II CD (album) cover

EXPRESSO II

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

3.79 | 176 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars I prefer this album to Gazeuse. This is called Expresso II because Gazeuse was called Expresso in the US. This is the first album without Didier Malherbe, the only remaining original member of Gong. This would also(for awhile) be the last album labelled 'Gong'. After this and throughout the 1980s they would be known as Pierre Moerlen's Gong. Pierre's brother Benoit is here on percussion. Allan Holdsworth remains but apparently he wasn't enough. They needed a former member of The Rolling Stones of all bands. Guitarist Mick Taylor plays here like you would never hear him on a Stones album.

Violinist Darryl Way, formerly of Curved Air, is here as well. His playing is some of the highlights of this album. What stands out about Pierre's drumming is that he will do a drum fill to indicate to the other members that the music is going to change. He also plays percussion instruments. Lots and lots of percussion here like glockenspiel, tubular bells, marimba, xylophone and vibraphone.The bass playing of Hansford Rowe also stands out. I'm not sure if he is using a fretless bass or not. Sometimes it sounds like he is. However he is definately using an auto-wah effect, most likely the Mu-Tron III which was popular with some bassists in the late 1970s.

"Heavy Tune" has a fantastic riff. First on bass and then guitar. Then vibes and lead guitar come in. Before 2 minutes music changes into a vibes lead groove. Then awesome auto- wahed bass and more lead guitar. Goes back to the beginning riff at the end. "Golden Dilemma" starts very fast and Zappa sounding. Stays in a funky Zappaesque mode for awhile. Halfway just funky guitar and bass, then drums and percussion come in. After a guitar solo.

"Sleepy" begins with bells or glockenspiel or whatever. Then drums and funky bass. Some guitar that sounds like a flock of birds. Then a guitar solo. More bird like noises and then heavy guitar before a violin solo. Later some great auto-wah bass. A more intense violin solo afterwards. "Soli" has bass, vibes and bells before some nice melodic guitar playing. Then goes into a disco beat before changing to a different section. Later a guitar solo. Disco beat comes back then changes back again. More harmonized melodic guitar playing at the end.

"Boring" is anything but. It starts with xylophone before bass and drums come in. Some bells and tympani and then violin. In the middle the music start/stops and you hear some "yeah" type voices. It then changes to a section with congas and an intense violin solo. Nice bass playing near the end. "Three Blind Mice" has glockenspiel or somesuch before the song goes Latin jazz. Then it changes to jazz-funk with hard rock guitar playing. Later some congas then back to the Latin jazz.

I've heard the follow up Downwind but don't enjoy it as much as this. I've never heard any of the albums after Downwind. But I have heard New York Gong and Mother Gong. Expresso II is some great percussion heavy and sometimes rockin' fusion when many fusion groups at the time were making 'fuzack'. Highly recommended to fusion fans but I don't know how much fans of the RGI trilogy would like this. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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