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DAEVID ALLEN, GILLI SMYTH & HARRY WILLIAMSON: ‎STROKING THE TAIL OF THE BIRD

Daevid Allen

Canterbury Scene


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Daevid Allen Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth & Harry Williamson: ‎Stroking The Tail Of The Bird album cover
3.08 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stroking The Tail Of The Bird Part 1 (10:01)
2. Stroking The Tail Of The Bird Part 2 (15:50)
3. Moonpeople Gliss (10:25)
4. Deep Sea (12:59)

Total time 49:15

Bonus track on 1999 reissue:
5. Rainbow Meditation (9:57)

Line-up / Musicians

- Daevid Allen / glissando guitar
- Gilli Smyth / vocals
- Harry Williamson / keyboards

Releases information

Tracks 1-3 recorded 1987; 4 recorded at Banana Moon Observatory, Deya 1976; 5 recorded 1998

CD AMP Records ‎- AMP CD 011 (1990, UK)
CD Voiceprint ‎- VP207CD (1999, UK) With a bonus track and new cover art

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DAEVID ALLEN Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth & Harry Williamson: ‎Stroking The Tail Of The Bird ratings distribution


3.08
(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
29%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (36%)
36%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

DAEVID ALLEN Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth & Harry Williamson: ‎Stroking The Tail Of The Bird reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is an intriguing collection of a number of ambient and New Age experiments made by Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Harry Williamson over the years. In fact, of the three performers it's actually Harry who dominates this time around, with each track built to a large extent around his synthesisers and Daevid and Gilli contributing guitar and ethereal vocals respectively in a sparse, minimalistic manner. At its best, this combination is really quite excellent; the latter sections of Stroking the Tail of the Bird Part 1 remind me in some respects of the similar sonic territories explored by Dead Can Dance. Not an album that was ever going to set the ambient world on fire, but a very credible contribution to the genre nonetheless.
Review by patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Promotional material for Stroking the Tail of the Bird claims that it sounds like walking through a rainforest. That's probably as accurate a description as could fit in six or seven words. It's an exceedingly ambient recording - - most of the music here is rhythmless, and there's rarely anything approaching a lead instrument.

As is the case with many ambient works, this album is also an example of minimalism. Much of what we hear seems to be Williamson's synthesizers; minutes go by in which Allen's guitar and Smyth's "space whispers" are indiscernible amid the ambience, which is probably the goal. But this isn't a "headphones" album; repeated listens don't reveal many Easter eggs. It's more like Brian Eno's idea of "ignorable art." But there's a little more art here than on Eno's seminal Ambient 1: Music for Airports, for example, and I wouldn't call it ignorable.

Tracks like "Stroking the Tail of the Bird part 2," where the rainforest vibes are strongest, remind me of Wendy Carlos's 1972 album Sonic Seasonings, which is a good thing. But there's less to Stroking the Tail than to that Carlos classic. Appearing as it did in 1990, Stroking the Tail was surely tarred with the dreaded "new age" label. And rightly so in a few places, such as when the opening of "Moonpeople Bliss" features what sounds like a harp!

So who might enjoy this album? All three of the performers here are connected with Gong. I only know two songs by Gong, both of which are on compilations I own: "Perfect Mystery" and "Om Riff." Let me just say that Stroking the Tail of the Bird sounds nothing whatsoever like either of those, nor anything like "The House is Not the Same," a Mother Gong song led by Smyth and Williamson. So Stroking the Tail doesn't seem like a long-lost Gong album. Based on the classification scheme on Prog Archives, Stroking the Tail is listed under the Canterbury Scene subgenre. But as long as Canterbury is exemplified by albums like In the Land of Grey and Pink, Stroking the Tail is no Canterbury Scene album either.

To be fair, Stroking the Tail of the Bird is an inoffensive new-age album that you might chill out to after listening to Kitaro. But if you're looking for atmospheric, synth-based prog, I'll suggest Klaus Schulze's early work (although his first two albums weren't actually synth-based). And if you want serious minimalist electronic music, you can't go wrong with Sonic Seasonings.

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