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WINGFUL OF EYES

Gong

Canterbury Scene


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Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars The sampler of Gong the jazz rock band, based on a goodly choice of sampler tracks taken the post-Hillage 70's line-ups. Released by Virgin Records along with half dozen other compilations of some of their poorer selling bands, with the intent of putting their back- catalogue back into the public's mind. It worked for me because I then went out and bought "Gazeuse" (and Van Der Graaf's "H to He") - and I don't listen to this sampler much any more!!!

Also recommended to those who have found Gongzilla's 4 or so albums in the last decade and wish to discover the band's roots.

Report this review (#27733)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This excellent mid price compilation gathers together the cream of the 3 post Daevid Allen Gong albums (sometimes credited to Pierre Moerlen's Gong) on Virgin. None of them could be called essential, but they are often unfairly dismissed. Following Allen's departure, Gong developed a jazz fusion sound that featured some superb playing, but which lacked the quirky humour and psychdelic touches of the previous incarnation. 'Shamal' was probably the closest in spirit to Allen's Gong, and four pieces are on here, including the title track (which also features this CDs only vocals). The remaining tracks are taken from 'Gazeuse' and 'Espresso 2', and it is on these tracks that Pierre Moerlen's leadership is stamped. They feature a percussion heavy sound, with vibes, marimba and glockenspiel playing intricate interlocking patterns. The other players, especially the excellent Allan Holdsworth, get to play complex solos above it all. If you like the kind of jazz fusion purveyed by the likes of Brand X, Mahavishnu Orchestra or later incarnations of Return to Forever there's a lot to enjoy on this collection. Just don't expect any pot head pixies or flying teapots.
Report this review (#27734)
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great selection of Gong's jazz-rock period, taken from "Shamal", "Gazeuse!" and "Expresso II", showing the fantastic musicianship of the band members (specially Holdsworth, Rowe and the great Pierre Moerlen) and their loving for precise arrangements. Former member Mike Howlett contributes with a brief note (I'm not sure if he played on any of these selections - he's not listed at the line-up above), which helps to set light at the confused history of Gong. If you don't want to buy the above mentioned three album, "A Wingful of Eyes" is a great pick. Highlights: "Heavy tune" (with a fantastic solo by Mick Taylor); "Cat in Clark's Shoes" (Didier Malherbe really shines on this one, showing his free jazz skills). "Wingful of Eyes" (a beautiful, jazzy, ballad); "Expresso" and "Soli" (which are almost perfect examples of Gong's sound at this time). This album isn't at the same vein of Daevid Allen's Gong, but it's still a worthwile addition to any prog-rock catalogue.
Report this review (#45258)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Loving the Flying Teapot series, I've thought for a long time about seeing what the post-Daevid Allen music was like. Luckily I found this "sampler" for just 7 quid which actually has about 2/3 of each of the next 3 Gong albums.

Consensus? Pretty good, but sadly lacking what made Gong great - crazy words and crazy stories and Steve Hillage's guitar. The music's good, but it's annoying when there's next to no singing. Some of the music - especially the sax and glockenspiel - reflect some of the old madness, but it's a bit too much like modern jazz for me.

I won't be buying the other albums, but don't let me put you off - if you are in the same situation as me and you see it cheap, by all means try it...

Report this review (#79450)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars While I like and appreciate Daevid Allen's lineups of this band, I love Pierre Moerlin's much more. I just enjoy the percussion based tight fusion much more than Allen's loose, pixie gnome fantasy silliness.

This collection takes all of it's tracks from the first three Moerlin led Gong albums, Shamal, Gazeuse (or Expresso) and Expresso II. When I purchased this collection, none of those albums were yet available on CD. This is a fine introduction to this version of Gong. The songs are all fantastic fusion, as good as any the famous fusion bands of the seventies were creating. Who says you have to come from a jazz background to be really good at this style? The Expresso album particularly are in a tuned percussion style that Bill Bruford also excelled in with his Holdsworth/Stewart/Berlin band around the same time.

So while I recommend getting the full albums, for a tight budget this is a good replacement.

Report this review (#260848)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink

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