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Gong - Expresso II CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.71 | 260 ratings

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4 stars This is one of the best prog-fusion albums I know. Many fusion albums devised by prog rockers achieve amazing results with a line-up of guitars-keyboards-bass-drums (the classic Bruford and Brand X albums, for example) but there are none that consistently use guitars-bass-drums AS WELL AS vibraphone-xylophone-marimba, and to such sensational effect as well! None, apart from Pierre Moerlen's Gong (and their natural successor Gongzilla), and with EXPRESSO II this band delivered their most varied, most exciting album. "Sleepy", for example - the final piece on ESPRESSO's original A-side - is a masterpiece in miniature. Not only do Pierre Moerlen (drums), his brother Benoit (vibes and marimba), Mireille Bauer (vibes), Hansford Rowe (bass), Francois Causse (congas) and Bon Lagaza (rhythm guitar) get their chances to shine; there are also terrific solos on violin and electric guitar, by Darryl Way and Allan Holdsworth respectively. Believe me, EXPRESSO II is worth buying for this terrific track alone. But in fact most of the rest of the album is just as exciting. The only percussion-driven albums I know which resemble EXPRESSO II's energy and melodiousness are Gary Burton's mid-1970s albums on the ECM label (particularly THE NEW QUARTET, PASSENGERS and RING). But then Burton only had a single vibes player, i.e. himself...

In conclusion, I recommend this album without hesitation to anyone who enjoys busy, multi-coloured, jazzy (but never cacophonic) instrumental prog.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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