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Gong - Gazeuse CD (album) cover

GAZEUSE

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

3.92 | 264 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I salute you, Jos M, who first introduced me to this fabulous album, more than thirty years ago! You were the guy with the greatest HIFI-system (and the largest speakers!) I'd ever seen in a living room, and you used to play me GAZEUSE (together with ELP's "Tank" and Pink Floyd's "Several species of small furry animals...") to demonstrate that system's many virtues...

Well, GAZEUSE, we soon agreed, was the best-recorded album ever, and even after so many years I still feel it's got a special 'shine' which has never been equalled. Although the music you hear on GAZEUSE's successor, EXPRESSO II, may be livelier and more varied, the GAZEUSE incarnation of GONG sounds like a unique and precious beast: glossier and sleeker than anything else. Part of the explanation must lie with the soloists (guitar virtuoso Allan Holdsworth really steals the show here); another part lies with the producer and the engineers. I never got to see Gong live, but I saw Pierre Moerlen with Brand X just a few years before his death, and although he played magnificently, I couldn't understand why it just wasn't like GAZEUSE... (If you go and listen to Bill Bruford, for example, you'll get exactly the same sound as on CD.)

Moerlen definitely has a starring role on GAZEUSE, though. His extended drum solo must be one of the most exciting ever: one of the few that don't make me reach for the skip button - on the contrary, I always look forward to it. And then there are those gamelan-like sounds Moerlen produces on vibraphones and marimba (together with his brother Benoit and Mireille Bauer, on "Percolations Part One") - all wonderfully dreamy and clear, and it was a masterstroke to combine them with subtle washes of pedal steel guitar.

The most attractive compositions on GAZEUSE are the uptempo numbers "Expresso" and "Esnuria", both of which always got my friend and me nodding to each other and grinning with pure pleasure, as the rhythms are incredibly enticing, the melodies are full of good humour, ensemble-playing is first-rate, and both Holdsworth and Bloomdido-Bad-Grass come up with some of their greatest solos.

Finally, the semi-acoustic "Mireille" (on which the album ends) is a piece I never paid much attention to, but over the years it has grown on me, and now I feel it's a deeply moving love song.

If you've never heard GAZEUSE, you're in for a real treat. Get hold of a copy, sit back and ENJOY!

fuxi | 5/5 |

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