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Dashiell Hedayat - Obsolete CD (album) cover


Dashiell Hedayat

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk

Actually some Pot Head Pixies consider this album to be the best to ever come out out of Planet GonG. Without going that far , this is an exceptional album where GonG shines like the sun. Please note that Gong had yet to record Cammembert Electrique and The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, but by the time this album came out , GonG had become very capable musicians, and the "Hippy commune in Normady" was gradually phased out.

OK, now!! On with the music and Dashiell Hedayatt: After having won some litteracy prizes for his first album , Dashiell , a poet and counter-culture activist started this project that quickly involved all of Gong but also Beat Poet extraordinaire William Bourroughs - also known for his very influential books, one of which (The Naked Feast) spawned at least two group names: Soft Machine and Steely Dan . With this kind of line- up , one can only expect a total freak-out of an album , and the least we can say is that you shall not be disappointed: in the psych genre this is one of the summit. But also a strikening feature is thaty this is also a surprisingly and superbly melodic album , all this extreme zaniness is embellished by the Allen glissando guitars (at its debut only ) and Malherbe wind breaks.

The musical delire start with Dashiell singing out his hippy lifestyle living out of a pink 50's broken-down Chrysler asa his home in a back court and his troubles for tranquil love-making (this is where La Fille De L'Ombre comes in but we cannot be sure because Dashiell is not so sure himself.....) then comes in the pičce de résistance Long Song For Zelda complete with sireal travelling and ouyt of this world text from W Burroughs.

Side 2 will not give you a single momentsof rest as Gong his only getting warmed up and the side-long track Cielo Drive (Sky driving or space flying if yoiu wish) is the main theme. One comes to realize that this album is essential in the GonG metamorphosis from a clumsy hippy chysalis group (that had recoded the Brother album and signed an energetic Continental Circus movie soundtrack) to a superb and graceful space/prog butterfly that will take off through the RDI trilogy.

Obsolete is truely one of the most important album to ever having come out of France, especially true for rock fans. More than a forgotten token of a lost era , this album belong in a museum dedicated to psychadelia. I , unlike many , use rarely the word "masterpiece" , but in this case , I do!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#42582)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
5 stars Five-Star CLASSIC !!

Dashiell Hedayat's 'Obsolete' LP is a spectacular Space-Rock trip. French poet Dashiell H. latched onto the GONG commune of the time to bring to reality his artistic vision, presented through the medium of music, of his life and times during the beat/hippy era (not that I'd really know or fully understand), but on the back cover of the LP it states "Warning : This record must be played as loud as possible, must be heard as stoned as impossible and thank-you everybody" - I am no longer like this but the album is still part of my essential listening roster.

Needless to say, if you are a fan of Camembert/Continental Circus period Gong, then this album is totally ESSENTIAL. If you're not, then it's STILL totally essential !! Full-on tripped-out spacey jams full of cascading guitar glissando's and sharp soloing from DAEVID ALLEN, relentless Bass-riffs courtesy of Christian Tritsch and PIP PYLE's distinctively forceful and busy drum-work - add to that the creative sax and flute playing of one Didier (Bloomdido) Malherbe, makes for one monster of an album. Dash himself is credited with some solo guitar, keyboards, cosmic-Hedayat-rumble and cut-ups. Gilli Smyth's 'space-whisper' is noticeable at various points (credited as 'wet pleasure shout and intergalactic whisper'). All the material, 2 side-long pieces, is composed by Dashiell himself in Autumn '69, way ahead of schedule for this sort of thing, and hasn't been matched, unless one considers Radio-Gnome Gong as superlative. To this listener, 'Obsolete' is a truly must-have album, and worth its weight in gold.

Report this review (#152353)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
5 stars Lost cheese in time

You gotta wonder how on earth a cult classic like Obsolete, an album generally believed by many Gong fans and French psych music fans alike to be the best Gong album out there - why in the name of Zorro and all that's holy this gem hasn't been reviewed since my dear friend Tom Ozric rightfully so awarded it 5 stars in late November 2007?!?!??! What the blue feck is going on?!?!?

Released as a solo album by French beat figure Dashiell Hedayatt in 1971, Obsolete offers up a musical polaroid picture of Gong metamorphosing from whimsical slightly clumsy psych rock act to the floating space creature that went on to make Camembert Electrique and the Radio Gnome Invincible Trilogy.

Without the loud and fretting fireball weaponry of Steve Hillage, we additionally get to hear what Daevid Allen is really made of - and surprise surprise if he doesn't wield that wah wah guitar like a genuine prince of marmalade. Fantastic rhythmic intonation as well as a frail melodic sense about him when soloing that really connects with me on a personal level. This album is full of understated solos and beautifully wandering riffing that Daevid does so incredible well, and you just gotta love how the band responds to his playing too. There's indeed a symbioses going down, beautiful as bees.

Together with Gilli Smythe, Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe and Daevid Allen, Dashiel Hedayat succeeds in making one of the most sought out psychedelia remnants of the early seventies(especially if you're looking for the vinyl version), and jolly well if the reputation isn't fully deserved. This record is as charming as a pooch poo in a creme shop. The laid back almost talkative French vocals makes it feel as a refined hippie chill out album, and the foggy bass and slow swoop of the guitars certainly doesn't change this album's obvious dreamy character, yet with a fickle yet abnormally acute sense of dynamics Obsolete seems forever loveable in it's expression. It genuinely feels like the Gong boys, and girl, found their mojo on the path to making an album without their name on it. It literally oozes out of your speakers.

Adding to the counter culture imagery and the whole beatnik reverence, the dark Frankenstein and always astonishingly humorous Bill Burroughs comes in to lend a helping hand on Long Song For Zelda. Joyous irreverent as his usual self - Burroughs' small cameo somehow makes the album shift into overdrive, taking the remaining part of the album from breathtaking pulsing musical scenery to terrific jam parts that foresaw the coming supersonic 5th gear of the later Radio Gnome Invincible days. Especially the side long Cielo Drive 17 pips the atmospheres from backyard dreamings to full solar voyages peeping awkwardly out the periscope - with Daevid Allen at his most relentless and Malherbe on a most inspired flute stint waaaay above the music like a distant satellite.

I rate this among the most important French rock releases - up there with Gainsbourg and Vannier's Histoire de Melody Nelson, Igor Wakhevitch's Logos and Magma's MDK. If you're sitting out there beyond the screen thinking that you've never really heard about this Hedayatt fella, though still a major fan of the bright n orangy serpentlike Gong with all their mad gorgeous playfulness - then BROTHER you've been missing out on one of the most benign addictions known to mankind!

Report this review (#996121)
Posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dashiell Hedayat's Obsolete is in some respects a super-secret disguised Gong album, with Daevid Allen and cronies providing instrumental backing whilst Hedayat himself takes lead vocals. It's a slightly more rock-oriented brand of psychedelia than Gong's style of the era and has less jazz influence, but nonetheless is a hidden gem of the band's history. Canterbury historians will also be happy to note the presence of Robert Wyatt, Allen's old Soft Machine ally (as well as William Burroughs himself, who gave his blessing to Soft Machine naming themselves after one of his novels thanks to Allen getting his permission), making this something of a confluence of the radical countercultural end of Canterbury.
Report this review (#1122556)
Posted Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I remember someone posting an audio clip of Dashiell Hedayatt's "Cielo Drive" and before I was too far into the song I was writing down the information as I knew I had to have this. Unfortunately my cd liner notes are in French but at least the lineup and words on the back of the liner notes are in English. Dashiell is a French poet and writer who has enlisted the GONG lineup from the "Camembert Electrique" period, in fact that album along with GONG's "Continental Circus" and the album I am reviewing all were released in 1971 and they all have a similar vibe. Of note Robert Wyatt is not on this album as a few have stated but his son Sam who was 5 years old at the time does say some "baby" words on the closing number. Sam was raised by Pip Pyle and there's a great picture of the two in the centerfold of the "Camembert Electrique liner notes I have from the same period.

We get two long suites but the first one "Oh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room?" is divided into 3 tracks. Up first is "Chrysler" which reminds me of GURU GURU for some reason. Check out the psychedelic guitar in the intro as vocals, bass and drums kick in quickly. I like when the sax joins in, love that tone. Catchy stuff. It's like they jam the rest of the way but check out the bass before 6 minutes. Nice. "Fille De L'Ombre" opens with water sounds as percussion joins in. More water sounds then we get spoken words, guitar and some freak-out sounds. Insanity! "Long Song For Zelda" features strummed guitar and vocals to start and they sound so good here. Drums and bass join in then we get a second guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. Dashiell offers up some theatrical vocals sounds around 5 minutes then he continues to pretty much speak the words. Sax follows adding a sexy mood. It turns freaky after 7 minutes to end it including a spoken word bit by William S. Burroughs.

"Cielo Drive/17" is haunting to begin with and very psychedelic as this hypnotic bass line joins in before a minute. Eerie sounds continue but check out that bass! Drums and cymbals join in as well. Spoken words before 4 minutes, sax too. A guitar solo from Pip replaces the spoken words before 8 minutes but the words are back quickly as the guitar continues to light it up with bass and drums supporting. Around 11 1/2 minutes we're back to that haunting atmosphere with those hypnotic bass lines. Unreal! Drums help out and then those spoken baby words from Sam arrive before 12 1/2 minutes. Flute after 14 minutes as spoken words follow. The guitar is back before 16 minutes as the vocals and sound turn somewhat bombastic. It's starting to wind down at 16 1/2 minutes until we get a dreamy, folky soundscape with vocals as it drifts on to the end of this epic track.

I can't give this less than 5 stars, it's a Psychedelic masterpiece and better than my favourite GONG albums, all in my opinion of course.

Report this review (#1564976)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 1967, the Multi National Canterbury and Jazz rock band, Gong, was born. Truthfully I never really cared much about the band, heard a few songs but never found them worth investing. However today I learned a member of the band had a short solo career, but despite it being short it was relatively loved for progressive rock and psychedelic rock fans. One such album is considered his best, and it's Obsolete. I didn't know why but I just decided to hear it on a whim. For some reason, I just wanted to hear what this man can play and what he was capable of.

This is technically a Gong album, but I'd like to consider this more of a solo effort rather than something fully by the band. Like The Final Cut with Roger Waters at the helm of the ship with Pink Floyd as the crew members, however most likely less toxic. It is definitely an interesting project filled with 4 (2 if you wanna be a hipster) of jazzy, psychedelic and early progressive rock sounds that waste barely any time establishing the sound of Dashiell's music he was dabbling in at the time.

The album opens up with the first part of the Eh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room side, Chrysler. I must say, it's rather unique and a tad refreshing to hear a album with barely any singing. Definitely a neat sight for the ears to behold. Dashiell usually recites his poetry on this and the rest of the songs. I do not know what they are saying because they are in French, but I say they are a bit of charm to the experience. I do like the more rock oriented sound too. Very neat to hear a band like Gong take their jazzy sound and loosen it up a bit to give way for more rocking sounds. This is definitely not progressive rock in the normal sense, but in a more figurative sense, using more pop like music to progress the songs forwards and create a memorable experience. However a problem that is persisted in the album is the production quality. Even for a 70s album this is a bit poor in terms of quality, and sometimes the instrumentation can get very loud and obnoxious, which can get really tiring after the full listen.

Speaking of loud and obnoxious, track two, Fille de L'Ombre is exactly that. I know psychedelic rock in itself is meant to be really weird and complex in that aspect, but this feels a bit excessive almost. It's obnoxiously ear grading in the cries and talking, and it just never goes away, plus the rather poor production on top of that makes for a rather poor track.

However the album comes back around with Long Song For Zelda. A slow tempo a super smooth sounding song that feels like a drastic but welcome shift in tone for the album to take, which after the weird and unorthodox Fille de L'Ombre. It takes a back seat on the weirdness of the last two songs and makes something special out of it. This is definitely my favorite song off of the album. And now I feel like the subpar production quality adds a certain charm to this track unlike the last two. I feel a bit of nostalgia with this song, even if I wasn't born at the time this album was made, but it reminds me of the old, low quality songs my late grandpa used to play on his record player that always had a low quality sound to it. It's strangely makes the song beautiful.

The last song is the 21 minute tune, Cielo Drive / 17. You know how a movie has trailers that reveal somethings of the big picture but doesn't reveal all of it. The last three songs are like that because this long piece feels like the combination of the 3 songs put together in one long suite. It has those rocking moments that are less progressive in the aspect of a weird or symphonic sound, the weirdness that are still admittedly even here, inadequate to the rest of the sounds on this song and album, and it has those slower and more nostalgic sounding moments that have a certain charm. And honestly speaking, this is a pretty good long song, but it never has those moments that make you feel rewarded after enduring long amounts of music. I think that is the main problem with this album, even the strangest works of music like The Residents or early Pink Floyd has those moments that make you remember and love those songs, this album really does not which is quite sad to me because for an album that is rather good, it never leaves much of an impact on me, no matter how many times I hear this album.

So after hearing this album a few times, I feel like this album definitely has some good things going for it. It has a good psychedelic sound that definitely showcases the importance of psychedelic rock in our culture, however nothing really leaves a huge impact on me, and the production and type of weird the album gives off makes me feel like this album isn't the lost masterpiece that many Gong or heck many progressive rock fans says it is. So overall, it's a good album, but not my absolute favorite.

Report this review (#2696330)
Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | Review Permalink

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