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2032

Gong

Canterbury Scene


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3 stars This album far exceeded hopes or expectations. Having said that, it is the first Gong material since 1975 to involve all the most creative and accomplished Gong members (in my opinion), albeit without Pierre Moerlen sadly. That team always has for a long time had the potential to return together to produce top notch recordings as they had rarely, if ever, failed to do so in the past.

Compared to all the other post-Trilogy output, the key for me is the return of Hillage, for his superlative guitar riffs and the soaring fortification of the cosmos these can provide. Despite the years, Allen sounds as fresh, insane and articulate as ever, whilst Hillage plays with an enhanced focus and precision and is meatier here - whilst somehow embracing many of his signature riff sequences from the past.

I would rate this album as four stars were it not for two aspects: Firstly, I miss the complexity and brilliance of Pierre Moerlen on drums and percussion. Without him 2032 can rock solidly where appropriate, but it does miss out on those special little flourishes, especially on quieter or transitional passages where he could turn the tempo on its head or intertwine with Didier Malerbe's jamming on saxophone. So its a bit leaner and less multi-dimensional in that respect, but in all others the musicanship, compositions and content are as rich as ever.

Secondly, some of the ravings of Gilli Smith, although no-doubt good for you in the right measure, are likely to scare small children or lead to use of the skip button. I am using a new Genre tag for "Yoni Poem" of "Weird Shit"..i have quite a lot of Prog that probably qualifies as such (in a nice way), but nothing to match that. After repeated plays, i would rate about half the tracks as standouts and with each listen more get added stars. I remember it took me a number of plays to get into some of the Trilogy (Flying Teapot in particular), and the same applies to this album. My current favourites include Escape Control Delete, Waccy Baccy Banker (with great lyrics and an unexpected nod to "No Future" by the Sex Pistols perhaps), The Year 2032 (with musical references to Pot Head Pixies from Flying Teapot), Guitar Hero (Hillage & Didier at best), The Gris Gris Girl (some pastoral Allen+flute, plus more Hillage) and Portal (Hillage and Didier at best again).

The first three tracks are also strong and provide a great opening sequence, including an updated fusion of styles including, for a brief period, some rapping by Allen on City Of Self Fascination. How To Stay Alive is another highpoint, with some great floating spacy passages that would not have been out of place on You. Theres a video on youtube for a shortened version of this track.

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Send comments to Dragontrouser (BETA) | Report this review (#242346)
Posted Thursday, October 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well what can I say, this certainly had the potential to be a good record. After all it is as close to a full classic line up as is possible, minis Hi T. Moonweed of course. This missing member should have tipped me off, but more of that later. In some ways it works although the music is admittedly rather repetitive. Daevid Allen indeed seems ageless, a clear indication of a mind that has been freed of many errors. However Gilli seems to have morphed into a completely different animal (I am your animal) her lyrics on yoni poem, made me want to puke my dinner up. What has she become seems she is intent on leading people up the garden path. Yoni poem is so unpleasant that it's a wonder that Allen, Melherbe, Hillage etc are willing to work with her. Look kids the php on your computer has nothing to do with gong, don't get sucked into her mind games she is a nasty woman IMHO. So shocked and put off was I by this one abuse of the recording studio that I turned it off and didn't go near it again for a couple of days "that record did my head in "said my wife and I agree it was not a pleasant experience. Otherwise the music is often simplistic and there are many references to old Gong numbers. Hillage is most often mixed to far back and the lyrics are used , it seems to make up for the lack of compositional skills on offer. A 100% Gong nutter will likely find plenty to encourage them to buy further outpourings. Sadly as far as I am concerned "You" remains the last truly worthy recording by this band. I cannot of course speak for Tim Blake, but I do note that he continues to cut decent records that display a good heart. To be honest this record has some good moments but the moment the lyrics start to bite, its time to switch off. Frankly kids this band is past its sell by date, and no I am not simply being a critic, there is something unhealthy about the lyrics of Ms Smyth and really there always was, but she used to hide them deep in the echo units. Don't get pulled into the planet gong story it's a counter-fiat nonsense spread to keep you off the scent. There is far to much of this kind of thing in modern music, Gong may not sound like a classic Satanic rock band, but this is Shiva worship designed to part you of your hard earned cash. This is the work of wrong headed and deeply cynical people, with the sole intention of fathering their own retirements. If you have any kind of common sense you will give this record a miss. Wish I had!

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#250616)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars The return of Hillage in the band was written maybe as early as the Gong Unconvention in the winter of 2006 in Amsterdam's Melkweg, but it obviously took time to mature as in early summer of 08, Steve joined Gong on stage for two shows in London with a couple new songs, but it would be another big year before this album would see the light of day in the fall of of 09. Sooo Steve and wife Lmiquette Giraudy came back and in terms of the line-up, if the Daevid & Gilly pair are obvious, Malherbe is only a guest, reoplaced by now-usual Theo Travis, the drum stool is still under Chris Taylor and veteran Howlett on bass. Looking at the credits of the songs, it is unsurprisingly mostly an affair of the Steve/Miquette and Daevid/Gilly pairs that dominate the songwriting, even though the girls collaborate on three tracks throughout the album.

2032 is a long (almost filled to the brim) album, made from 14 songs, a few lasting between 7 and 8 minutes, and by the time you're nearing the end of the disc, it is almost 2031, so this album is aptly titled, especially if you stopped for loo emergencies. The least that can be said is that all tracks arewell-made and finely crafted, filled with a certain kind of lunacy (an updated version of early Hillage solo delirium and Daevidian madness)

Well the Pothead Pixie will find the usual Planet Gong universe, but in a violuntary updated manner, both musically, butr lyrically as well. Tracks like Digital Girl and Escape Control Delete are obvious shots at modern technology, but more annoying are the purposely light- handed pop songwriting, sometimes bordering on the silly, but not in the hilarious 70's style. The two distinctive signature lead guitars are generally working well together, Daevid's glissando solos matching Steve's delay-saturated riffs. More interesting is to try to pick out the Malherbe wind intervbention from Travis'. The album is extremely wordy with only one near-instumental (Guitar Zero) and sometimes reaches almost Kraftwerk-style of electro-pop (in Robo-Warriors) and sometimes the group sounds like another Tentacle. Overal, the most frustrating thing about this album is that such a talented, round and jazzy drummer such as Chris Taylor is held in such a binary role, no doubt a decision coming from Hillage, an inheritance from his System Taha 7 days, which are still all too fresh nor to reappear at places.

Personally I thought that Zero To Infinitea was a much worthier album in the Radio Gnome Invisible saga, but it was also playing much safer. 2032 is full of risk-taking, which is always a double edged sword, but these quirky songs might seem fresh and even bring a new blood in the Gong planet, I'm not sure that they'll age as gracefully as the previous material. Personally I consider this album as quite a deception, but let's see how it ages with successive listens, which obviously won't be as frequent after the first two months.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#251711)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars GonG are back! And this time for real - there's enough of (one of the) original line-ups to truly say this is utterly "GonG" - not Planet Gong, New York Gong, Gongmaison etc.. etc..

And this is truly a cracking album that rewards multiple listens. I had to listen to it lots very rapidly in order to prepare myself for the Bristol Gong gig. It was well worth it - they blended these new songs beautifully into their old stuff fantastically. Oh boy! What a gig! - they were truly fantastic and entertaining - the musicianship was awesome - the new(ish) band members Theo Travis and Chris Taylor are really good.

Poor old Chris Taylor - I think it's too hard for anyone to follow in the footsteps of the mighty sadly-missed Pierre Moerlen, but he does well thankyou. Theo has Robert Fripp and Porcupine Tree connections and is a superb musician - to compete with Didier Malherbe (who contributes to 4 tracks on this album).

It's so so good to hear Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage working together again!

I don't care what anybody else says, this follows on really well from the Radio Gnome trilogy, and brings you right back to those good old days - it consists of that same old spacey fun, funky jazzy stuff with some punk (Waccy Baccy Banker) and rap like stuff too - fantastically well composed and considering their age it's an amazing effort - Daevid Allen sounds young again.

My favourite "Dance with the Pixies" ends up with a superb Irish-type jig on the violin (which Hillage, Travis, Howlett cover brilliantly live). Mike Howlet's bass playing throughout the album is pure joy.

Waccy Baccy is my second favourite (shame about the swear words), but this Sex Pistols sounding track is a true gem - and finishes in space...

Zero the Hero is back! - I'm sorry you're no GonG fan unless you have this.

I haven't given it a 5, because it's not quite as good as the Masterpieces - Angel's Egg and You - but I really think it's not far behind and is in the same vein.

WELL RECOMMENDED - but give it a chance - lots of listens needed and be in a fun silly mood before you start to spin it!

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Send comments to PinkPangolin (BETA) | Report this review (#252937)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Old-fashioned, but highly attractive

2032 is the latter album from Radio Gnome Trylogy by british Canterbury scene band Gong. This album can be considered as a quite experimental album with all these variations in genres. The title of the album refers to year of 2032, which was mentioned in some of the earlier recordings about the planet Gong. This is the year, when the planet Gong finally make contact with Earth. I'm not quite familiar with this wonderful band Gong, but I'll change this in near future, exactly because of this reunion album of the classic line-up. Despite, not being something special 2032 reveals strong 60's psychedelic influence in very good manner. It's well-forgotten way of creating music and that's increases the value of this recording. Regretfully, I can't give it 4 stars, because it contains moments for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars, so it will be 3,3 stars. Highly recommended for 60's psychedelic and experimental lovers.

Highlights in 2032:

1. Wacky Baccy Banker

2. Portal

3. The Year 2032

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#261119)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very nice surprise - new Gong's album, and not just Gong, but "classic early GonG", it's a big difference! If Pierre Moerlene's Gong after few first strong albums became a funny money maker very soon, Allen's Gong (and related projects) still often can attract listener with some good music.

There you can hear Daevid himself plus Trilogy-time guitarist Steve Hillage, bassist Mike Howlett and even Gilli Smyth's whisperings! It's true Gong, even if few decades is gone!

And from very first sounds you will realize that they sound as true Gong! Spacey dreamy airy electronic sounds, some nice guitar pieces, plenty of violin and characteristic Gilli's spoken vocals ("whisperings"). Album is long, but no way boring. Interesting, that musicians introduced some risky elements to their music, as almost hip-hop vocals, some modern, almost danceable rhythms, Santana-like Latin guitar,etc.

Possibly, all music doesn't sound such authentic, as in early 70-s ( no strange, isn't it?), but they doesn't sound as self-parody, or as self-selling attraction as well. I think all this album could be characterised as slightly modernised Gong Trilogy's sound for the new millennium. They will hardly find new listeners with this album, but from another hand it is really great release for old fans. And great not only as souvenir or nostalgic listening, no - it's real album with new music.

My rating is 3,25.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#276564)
Posted Tuesday, April 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Gong is back and the band is in great shape! Since I haven't heard any of the Allen albums since the 1974 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You I had no idea what to expect from this incarnation of Gong after 35 years! Therefore an open minded approach seemed to be the best way to tackle this material.

2032 might not be a complete masterpiece of an album but it's highly enjoyable and the time goes by very quickly with it on the playlist. The band tries a few new approaches to the music where at one point we even get something that resembles rap vocals from Daevid Allen. Other styles we get to hear are Hard Rock and even electronica! This combination might put most people off due to the lack of a clear direction but Gong has never been a linear act and following them requires the listener to accept whatever new addition to the sound the band decides to incorporate next.

There are some questionable choices regarding some particular song arrangements that have already been mentioned in other reviews but that doesn't distract me from the overall feel and flow of this album. The only really horrendous moments for me were the two 2 minute tracks titled Yoni Poem and Wave And A Particle that come off as incoherent rambling by Gilli Smyth which I end up skipping through whenever listening to 2032. The band finally gets back to the earlier music style towards the end of the album and we actually get a few neat moments that resemble the great material from Vol.3. Still it's not enough to make this release into an excellent performance.

Even though I realize that Gong has never been a linear act I think that this release would have been better if the band skipped all of their attempts at sounding hip and modern and instead just did what they did so well back in the day. After all, it's unlikely that this music was composed to attract any new fans since the only ones who would ever know of this album's existence are the people who have already heard their '70s albums.

***** star songs: City Of Self Fascination (6:04)

**** star songs: Digital Girl (4:23) How To Stay Alive (8:06) Escape Control Delete (7:58) Wacky Baccy Banker (8:21) The Year 2032 (5:39) Guitar Zero (4:55) The Gris Gris Girl (6:29) Pinkle Ponkle (4:35) Portal (7:08)

*** star songs: Dance With The Pixies (4:37) Robo-Warriors (3:00)

** star songs: Yoni Poem (2:09) Wave And A Particle (2:05)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#279339)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars So last year when this album came out, I was incredibly excited. Almost the entire "greatest" Gong lineup (in my opinion, at least) were releasing a new album tying into the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy! Naturally, I HAD to pre-order the album so I'd get it right around when it was released. I've been listening to the album semi-regularly since then, and while it is good I must say it is a bit of a letdown. It's still got some of the Gong zaniness I love, but something's missing, and the band decided to make up for that missing bit by making the album just about as long as it could be (75 minutes!). Unfortunately, the quantity of material almost works against the album. There are some tracks I would have specifically cut to make it a bit shorter (namely the Gilli Smyth solo bits, I like them on the RGI trilogy but here they're unexciting). So far I've managed to say why I don't like the album, I suppose I should move on to why I DO like it. Most of the non-Gilli tracks are anything from good to great; generally the longest songs were my favorite, especially "Escape Control Delete", "How to Stay Alive" (Daevid Allen is secretly a rapper as well, apparently) and "Portal". Most of the members don't show their age very much (especially Daevid Allen, I'm pretty sure he could keep making music for the next 50 years and not sound any worse). Steve's back with his great guitar playing, which is a plus to any album. Like everyone else, I'm sure, I miss Pierre Moerlen's drumming on the album, though. Unfortunately he was taken from us too early.

So because of the excessive length and the few undesirable tracks, I don't think this is a good starting point to the wonderful planet of Gong, but if you like their style in general you'd probably enjoy the album. As of now it's getting three stars from me. I think that's the most fitting rating for it (Good, but not essential).

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#284769)
Posted Thursday, June 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Now i really didnt like this album..i mean REALLY didnt like it, and its nothing personal to the band after all this is my first abum by Gong, and it really wont put me off buying any of their other albums, this one just felt very annoying and i just couldnt get into it no matter how much i tried (believe me ive tried to listen to this album a total of 8 times now and i couldnt get through it once, although i have listened to every song in one shape or another to do this review) Some parts are cool and kinda remind me of The Flower Kings but theres other parts where im kinda like 'What is he doing??' There are rap parts in it and just downright strange bits altogether, just not something i can 100% commit to, i did like the production though and like i said musically its cool, there is just something that annoys me about it;

City Of Self Fascination - 7/10 Digital Girl - 5/10 How To Stay Alive - 5/10 Escape Control Delete - 6/10 Yoni Poem - 5/10 Dance With The Pixies - 7/10 Wacky Baccy Banker - 6/10 The Year 2032 - 6/10 Robo-Warriors - 5/10 Guitar Zero - 5/10 The Gris Gris Girl- 6/10 Wave And A Particle - 6/10 Pinkle Ponkle - 5/10 Portal- 5/10

MY CONCLUSION? this album isnt that great and it didnt do much for me, if you a fan awsome but i just didnt enjoy this album, i may have to buy another one of their albums just to be sure if it was just this album that didnt do it for me

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Send comments to FarBeyondProg (BETA) | Report this review (#289874)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Much anticipated recent album from the 'classic' line-up of this most unique of bands.

All the ingredients are there. Spiralling guitar lines courtesy of Mr. Hillage, space whispery from Gilli Smyth, tales of Radio Gnomes & Octave Doctors from the irrepressible Daevid Allen.....but (there's often a 'but' isn't there) some how the ingredients don't quite mix into an Angel's Egg.

I have thought long about this and I think a lot of the appeal of Gong is hearing them for the first time and once enamoured with the amazing combination of music-hall, jazz, psychedelica, rock etc. that defines them musically, you can take your wellies off and dive into their incredible world of PHP's, Zero the Hero and the other cast members. Then you can tell your mates and it becomes a cult, a nudge nudge thing, an in-joke if you like.

But now things have moved on and there's other things to become immersed in. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that Gong are a nostalgia act (NOT dated) and return us to an age of innocence.

Some tracks stand out such as Escape Control Delete and the whimsy of Dance With The Pixies but it's nothing new.

I love this album and I love Daevid (in his many forms) for his inexorable march onwards, head held high and pointy hat set jauntily on his knowing forehead, but at the end of the day it's my copies of Radio Gnome, Angel's Egg, Gong Est Mort etc. that I'll be returning to.

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Send comments to raggleman (BETA) | Report this review (#292118)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2032 is another charming release from the kings of crazy, Gong. This release is yet another instalment of the infamous "Radio Gnome Trilogy". Here we find out that in the year 2032 the Pot Head Pixies will make contact with planet earth and teach human beings "How to survive without killing the planet". The album is jam-packed with the sweetness of Daevid and co, but the sound is slightly grating and over compressed.

I have very much enjoyed this album. It is very fun to listen to. There are quite a few excellent tracks, for example "How To Stay Alive", "Escape Control Delete" and "Guitar Zero". There are also some pretty bad tracks as well, such as "Yoni Poem", though even these are charming.

This release is a fun listen, but certainly non-essential. I recommend to fans of "Angel's Egg", as there are many musical similarities here.

P.S. I do not think I have listened to any song as much as I have listened to "How To Stay Alive". I have had this track on constant repeat. It is very funky and listenable. All my friends sing along when I put this one on.

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Send comments to The Mystical (BETA) | Report this review (#928071)
Posted Sunday, March 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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