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Gong Gazeuse! album cover
3.93 | 448 ratings | 31 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Expresso (5:58)
2. Night Illusion (3:42)
3. Percolations, Part 1 + Part 2 (10:00)
4. Shadows Of (7:48)
5. Esnuria (8:00)
6. Mireille (4:10)

Total Time: 39:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Didier Malherbe / tenor sax, flute (5)
- Francis Moze / fretless bass, acoustic & electric pianos (6), gong (3)
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, glockenspiel & vibes (3), marimba & timpani (3)
- Mireille Bauer / marimba (1,3,5), vibraphone (1,2,4), glockenspiel (5), tom toms (3)
- Benoit Moerlen / vibraphone (1-5)

- Allan Holdsworth / pedal steel (3), electric & acoustic guitars, violin
- Mino Cinelu / congas (1,4,5), gong (2,4), cuica, triangle, maracas (3), talking drum, temple blocks (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Jacques Moitoret

LP Virgin - V 2074 (1976, UK)
LP Virgin ‎- PZ 34428 (1976, US) Entitled "Expresso", with different cover art

CD Virgin - CDV 2074 (1989, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GONG Gazeuse! ratings distribution

(448 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GONG Gazeuse! reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!!

Before starting the review, this album was apparently released in the US under the name of Expresso, which will explain why the following album will bear the name Expresso II. After the still very GonG-ian Shamal, where the spirit of Daevid was not completely erased yet, as can be seen by constant traits of humour in the instrumental music, Gazeuse is a rather different object, retaining a certain form of rock in their jazz-rock, that they are very much comparable of Canterbury bands like Hatfield, Gilgamesh or National Health. Even though Hillage is gone and replaced by Alan Holdsworth (ex-Nucleus and Soft Machine), the group is now in majority French in its personnel, Howlett being replaced by ex-Magma Francis Moze (also playing keyboards).

Gong is now a full-blown jazz-rock outfit, a very percussive one at that with no less than four members playing percussion instruments as disparate as marimbas, congas, drums, glockenspiels, maracas and temple blocks (even leaving a lengthy percussion passage at the end of Night Illusion; thus leaving only Holdsworth (guitars & violin), Malherbe (winds) and Moze (pianos) front the septet with solo instruments. With a stupendous and colourful (dare I even say joyous) artwork, it is a little amazing to notice that the album is so serious: Shamal and Gazeuse should've traded artworks to fit better the musical content. Moze's Kobaian-speaking bass adds a little je-ne-sais-quoi to the music that makes this album quite enjoyable. Holdsworth's heavy guitars often take the group to a Canterburian trail (the future National Health and UK guitarist is clearly blossoming in Gazeuse), and his composition Shadow Of is one of the album's highlights. While Gazeuse has no links whatsoever to the Daevid-ian Gong, it is certainly no less an album, just as worthy but differently, but likely to appeal to a different kind of proghead.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Criminally underrated!

For Jazz-Rock fanatics, this album is a must buy. Gong really did a masterful work with this release and it quickly became one of my favourite Jazz-Rock recordings. The addition of Allan Holdsworth on guitars as a replacement for Steve Hillage really worked well here, giving the album a typical Holdsworth sounding appealing to it. His playing and solos flows together hand in hand with the elegant and jamming jazz-fusion music masterfully, and the overall mood features an unique and typical "late-night listening" atmosphere. The heavy use of marimbas, xylophones and glockenspiels has a colourful and relaxing effect on the music, something that obviously would be a trademark for Gong on later releases, but it works best here, "Percolations Part 1" being the best example of this, considering that the whole track is made with percussion instruments. Didier Malherbe is not so dominant here, contributing fewer saxophone parts than before, all being very good though. Pierre Moerlen's drumming is brilliant as always and his brilliant and incredibly tight drumming gives me goosebumps everytime.

Overall; a very colourful, percussion and guitar oriented jazz-rock release from Gong, backed up with the excellent playing from all musicians involved, very few weak moments. Actually, the only weak moment here is "Mirielle" which is a relaxing track and good in itself, only weaker than the rest of the album generally. Too bad this album is often overlooked and forgotten, because it's a great album and I would strongly recommend this album to any starving jazz-rock fanatic who looks after some more jazz-rock to listen to. Enjoy!

My rating: 4.6/5

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not really Prog, more jazz-rock fusion, but a fun and energetic album. A veritable percussionfest with Pierre Morelen in the drivers seat, Mirelle Bauer, Mino Cinelou and Benoit Morelen providing enough hammered instrumentation to satisfy anyone's "I just want to bang on the drum all day" sentiments. Marimba and Vibes add that color and flavor that sets this era of Gong history apart from the psychodelia-bizarro of previous incarnations. This is also the first album to feature Allan Holdsworth, giving his guitar and song-writing skills plenty of room for exploration.

Night Illusion and Shadows Of are tunes that Allan Holdsworth has recreated with other bands and different titles, but these recordings are among my favorites. Holdsworth's guitar work shines and weaves in and out of the mix. Very heady, indeed.

Percolations (part 1 and 2) is one huge drum solo. The first part being more band oriented, the second, pure Pierre Morelen in a classic workshop for percussion enthusiasts. Maybe not a tune for love making, but it will propel you down a highway nearly six inches above the pavement.

Expresso and Esnuria, penned by Morelen, follow the course with Francis Moze laying down some powerhouse bass lines, fretless howls and propulsive bottom. Didier Malherbe's sax work on Esnuria adds flavor to the track.

The final track Mireille is a soft melancholy end to an album that maintains high energy throughout, rather strange? It reminds me of the wind down after an all out Hurricane Party. Sleepy (no, that on the next album).

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
4 stars Some of Gong's releases prior to 1976's Gazeuse admittedly pass me by; the references to pot head pixies and general 'twee' ness tend to put me off, despite the undoubted high quality of musicianship.

But then, along comes Gazeuse - one of the finest, most enjoyable, and accessible jazz rock albums to force itself into my conciousness, with the added bonus of Allan Holdsworth taking guitar duties.

The album sways between guitar-led jazz fusion (the melodies reminiscent of the direction Zappa was taking around the same time) to all out percussion jams - interestingly, some of the marimba lines and drum patterns are suspiciously similar to those currently appearing during Neil Peart's drum solos - one suspects a certain Canadian owns a well played version of this album.

The closing track, Mireille is sometimes criticised for sticking out like a sore thumb, and being something of a time filler - I believe this sits well with the rest of the album, providing a welcome laid back, minimalist finale to the preceding jazz feast.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone interested in mid '70s jazz rock fusion, but not to someone expecting wistful dreams of flying teapots, or indeed to anyone expecting progressive rock - this is jazz fusion, pure, simple, and perfect.

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have the original U.S. vinyl pressing of this album entitled "Expresso." The entuty Gong had certainly changed by the time that this album came out. Daevid Allen, Gilli Smythe, and Steve Hillage (among others) had all left Gong because of the direction the band was heading in. On the previous album, "Shamal," the changes were definitle evident, but it wasn't until this album that the new and jazzier side Gong came through under the direction of the late, great Pierre Moerlen. Anyway, on to the review.

The track, "Expresso," starts out the album on a high note. The main theme is set and everything is based off of it. This theme is certainly catchy and will stay in your head for a long time. Next comes "Night Illusion," a Holdsworth tune. Holdsworth sets the mood on this one with his magnificent electric guitar playing. "Percolations (Pts. 1 and 2)" round off the first side of the album. The highlight of this track is Pierre Moerlen's wonderful solo at the end of the piece.

Side two starts out with "Shadows Of (Pts. 1 and 2), " another Holdsworth tune. Again, Holdsworth shines on this one, along with the percussionists. The next track, "Esnuria," is a good piece, but not the album's best. The album ends with "Mireille", whixh I'm guessing is a homage of sorts to Mireille Bauer, who played percussion on the album. Many think that this piece seems out of place on the album, but I disagree. I like the incorporation of the keyboards by Moze. It's a great way to finish off this excellent album.

Overall, this album can be seen as a true turning point for Gong. If you enjoy mallet-induced fusion with outstanding woodwind parts by Didier Malherebe and Holdsworthian guitar you probably would want to check this album out. Both Holdsworth and Malherbe contribute greatly on this album. Holdsworth also gets more say in writing and composing on this, which is why I think it is better than its successor, "Expresso II." My final verdict is four stars; if you know what to expect, you will most likely enjoy it.

Review by fuxi
5 stars I salute you, Jos M, who first introduced me to this fabulous album, more than thirty years ago! You were the guy with the greatest HIFI-system (and the largest speakers!) I'd ever seen in a living room, and you used to play me GAZEUSE (together with ELP's "Tank" and Pink Floyd's "Several species of small furry animals...") to demonstrate that system's many virtues...

Well, GAZEUSE, we soon agreed, was the best-recorded album ever, and even after so many years I still feel it's got a special 'shine' which has never been equalled. Although the music you hear on GAZEUSE's successor, EXPRESSO II, may be livelier and more varied, the GAZEUSE incarnation of GONG sounds like a unique and precious beast: glossier and sleeker than anything else. Part of the explanation must lie with the soloists (guitar virtuoso Allan Holdsworth really steals the show here); another part lies with the producer and the engineers. I never got to see Gong live, but I saw Pierre Moerlen with Brand X just a few years before his death, and although he played magnificently, I couldn't understand why it just wasn't like GAZEUSE... (If you go and listen to Bill Bruford, for example, you'll get exactly the same sound as on CD.)

Moerlen definitely has a starring role on GAZEUSE, though. His extended drum solo must be one of the most exciting ever: one of the few that don't make me reach for the skip button - on the contrary, I always look forward to it. And then there are those gamelan-like sounds Moerlen produces on vibraphones and marimba (together with his brother Benoit and Mireille Bauer, on "Percolations Part One") - all wonderfully dreamy and clear, and it was a masterstroke to combine them with subtle washes of pedal steel guitar.

The most attractive compositions on GAZEUSE are the uptempo numbers "Expresso" and "Esnuria", both of which always got my friend and me nodding to each other and grinning with pure pleasure, as the rhythms are incredibly enticing, the melodies are full of good humour, ensemble-playing is first-rate, and both Holdsworth and Bloomdido-Bad-Grass come up with some of their greatest solos.

Finally, the semi-acoustic "Mireille" (on which the album ends) is a piece I never paid much attention to, but over the years it has grown on me, and now I feel it's a deeply moving love song.

If you've never heard GAZEUSE, you're in for a real treat. Get hold of a copy, sit back and ENJOY!

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars I first came familiar with this album as a used promotional copy. Ir was named Expresso, but the CD version I picked up was called Gazuese! This Gong lineup is sometimes listed as Pierre Moerlen's Gong. I don't know if there was any friction between Moerlen and Daevid Allen, but it really doesn't matter because both heads made great music.

I still like the Moerlen version better than the Allen one. They are almost two completely different bands. Allen's Gong being more psychedelic and Moerlen's being more Jazzy. If you've had some disappointing jazz/rock fusion this is high caliber. What's really cool about this one is the presence or another Allan, Mr. Holdsworth. He doesn't sing, but is a much better prog guitarist. Holdsworth was party to some great sessions while he was drifting around from band to band to band. And, if you're fan of instrumental prog music, you really need to check out his solo albume.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Gazeuse! was my first GONG listening experience. Since I did not know the classic Daevid Allen-led Radio Gnome trilogy, I was pretty much impressed by the wonderful space/fusion sound of Gazeuse!, because I had no previous model to compare to.

Now, when I know well most of the GONG 70s releases, I can even more appreciate this album. Pierre Moerlen took the lead and backed by the enormous contribution of Malherbe's woodwinds, produced a jazz-rock masterpiece. Perhaps only on some of the MOTHERS OF INVENTION albums could I hear such a creative, playful and intelligent use of various percussions in the rock band format. Pierre and Benoit Moerlen, Mireille Bauer and Mino Cinelou act like a percussive symphonic orchestra, utilizing legions of instruments, some of which I never heard of before. Apart from Pierre's drum kit, you can hear vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, congas, African bell-gong, cuica, maracas, talking drum, vibra, timpani... The best example of their capabilities is a two-part percussion suite Percolations, which remind you that even the sole percussive rhythm instruments can create real music.

Another important contribution to this album is unbelievable lead guitar of Allan Holdsworth. The sound of his guitar is really unique and compositions where he gives his best like Expresso or Shadows Of are masterpieces of jazz-rock. Fans of LEB I SOL are strongly advised to listen to Holdsworth, because the undisputed ex-Yugoslav/Macedonian guitar genius Vlatko Stefanovski (ex leader of LEB I SOL) has repeatedly mentioned Holdsworth's influence on his own guitar technique.

Although the confirmed adherents to the earlier Radio Gnome Invisible space-rock mythology will probably dismiss Gazeuse! as ultimately a non-GonG record, other listeners (and specially jazz rock fans) are strongly advised to give it a try.


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars Fans of the wacky, psychedelic, Allen-era Gong may not be thrilled with this Gong, unless they already love Jazz/Fusion. The band, now led by Pierre Moerlen, is an instrumental Fusion group, but one that is far from ordinary. What makes this group special is their percussion ensemble. This may be the only drummer-fronted group I've heard that actually puts some extra emphasis on the percussion. Percolations, a two part, 10-minute piece played entirely by percussive instruments, is the highlight of this album as you get to hear the capabilities of a full percussion section in a brilliantly composed composition. The rest of the album is all at the same high level of quality, featuring more great percussion, and the smooth guitar phrases of Allan Holdsworth. This album has got to be in the top-tier of Fusion albums ever produced, and I would say of all drummer-led albums that I've heard, none compare (yes, I am saying this is better than Bill Bruford's solo work).
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is GONG ? I'm sure a lot of people have said that about this album over the last 30 years. Pierre Moerlen is the leader at this point as many of the originals have gone, including former leader Daevid Allen as well as Steve Hillage. Pierre has brought in Allan Holdsworth on guitar, and Francois Moze (ex- MAGMA) on bass and piano. Moerlen and Holdsworth compose all the songs except for the final track which was created by Moze. This would be the first all-instrumental album by GONG as well as their first Jazz Fusion release. The Psychedelic music is gone.

"Expresso" is jazzy right from the get go. Some tasteful guitar after a minute with light drums, vibes and bass. Great sound with the guitar leading the way for some time. Sax takes over for guitar after 3 minutes. Nice drum work 4 minutes in. Very good tune. "Night Illusion" opens with some heavy guitar from Holdsworth as drums pound it out. A calm comes in quickly with vibes, bass and light drums as guitar is tastefully played. This contrast continues. Another excellent song. "Percolations:Part 1&2" opens with sparse piano, vibes and a spacey mood. Gongs are hit occasionally. The tempo picks up with drums after 2 minutes, but it's brief. As the title suggests the song just sort of percolates slowly. Drums are back after 4 minutes as vibes go wild. The drums gradually take right over until we have a full blown drum solo. It isn't the type of drum solo that makes me roll my eyes either, this is amazing folks !

"Shadows Of" has Holdsworth back in the spotlight, although Moerlen is active on the drums. Flute, bass and vibes are all outstanding on this track. Guitar comes in as the tempo picks up 3 minutes in. Man this guy can play the guitar ! He just lights it up until 5 minutes in when we get a full band sound. A calm follows then flute, light drums and percussion take over. Some bass joins in and then guitar to end it. Fantastic track ! "Esnuria" opens with a catchy beat before some heavy guitar starts to lead the way. Vibes and sax come in. Just a collage of terrific sounds at this point. "Mireilie" is pastoral without much going on really. Liquid sounding keys from Moze with intricate acoustic guitar makes this a truly beautiful way to end the album.

A must for fans of Jazz Fusion.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gazeuse is the eight full-length studio album by French/ UK Jazz/ rock act Gong. The six first albums by Gong mixed psychadelic rock and Jazz/ rock but with the departure of founding member Daevid Allen and his wife Gilli Smyth the psychadelic elements diappeared from Gongīs music leaving them a Jazz/ rock act. Gongīs seventh full- length studio album Shamal (1976) was as a consequence a very different album than their previous efforts. Personally I really enjoyed that album and was looking forward to listen to Gazeuse.

The music on Gazeuse is Jazz/ rock but some new elements have been added to Gongīs sound since Shamal and those elements mean that Gazeuse is a very different album compared to Shamal. The first thing I noticed was the inclusion of guitarist Allan Holdsworth to the lineup. He has replaced Steve Hillage (Arzachel, Khan) who allthough been credited as a full-time member of the band on Shamal actually only guested on a couple of tracks on that album. Allan Holdsworth was fresh out of The Soft Machine where he had played on the Bundles (1975) album. The inclusion of Allan Holdsworth gives Gong a much more guitar oriented sound on Gazeuse. His style is unmistakable. His jazzy and adventurous soloing is dominant in songs like Expresso, Night Illusion and Shadows Of. His solo in the latter is nothing short of amazing IMO. There are only six songs on the album and besides the three above mentioned songs Percolations, Part 1 & 2 is also worth a special mention. Itīs a 10:00 minute long song which features the whole arsenal of Marimba, Vibraphone, Timpani and every other instrument of that kind that Gong can play. The song also features a drum solo. It should also be noted that the music on the album is entirely instrumental which means that Gazeuse is the first fully instrumental album by Gong.

The musicianship is outstanding. Didier Malherbeīs sax and flute playing isnīt as dominant on Gazeuse as it was on Shamal, but when it appears itīs great for the variation in the music. The rythm section of Pierre Moerlen on drums and Francis Moze on bass is also one of Gongīs biggest assets. Tight, fast and precise playing means that the music never gets boring or repetitive.

The production is excellent. It suits the music perfectly.

I was not happy the first couple of times I listened to Gazeuse and I was sure I was gonna rate it 3 stars. It simpy sounded too jazzy for my ears but itīs grown on me considerably with each new listen and now itīs a 4 star rating. I like Shamal better though and I do miss the vocals from that album.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Daevid Allen leaves with the charming wife Gilly Smith in tow and the rest of the planet Gong commune go their own way keeping only the moniker and after the previous Shamal , drummer extraordinaire Pierre Moerlen really took full control and shoved the concept into some of the finest jazz-rock (as it was called back then!), aided and abetted by his percussionist madman brother Benoit. Who do they pencil in as guitarist you ask? No other than the already prodigious and well respected axeslinger Allan Holdsworth , fresh from a successful stint with the legendary Soft Machine, who duels well with saxophonists by jazzy nature and here fools around with the splendid and unfairly underrated Didier Malherbe, while Mino Cinelou on various percussives , Mireille Bauer on more percussion and Francis Moze on bass (he of Magma fame) round out the crew. This is no easy listening pop adventure, clearly very bubbly ("Gazeuse!") and chock full of exclamations marks. The highlight track is the majestic "Percolations" the first and oh so successful rhythm epic, a 10 minute exploration of various percussion layers , with tender delicacies and high-toned detail , leading up to one of the most sulfuric drum entrance ever , a simple 2 beat shuffle that sears straight into the brain's pleasure centers. Contrasting pools of dual vibraphone twitch with effortless flow, Pierre blasts his way through like some French version of Billy Cobham , knocking sideways and ahead , ripping machine gun volleys with fiery abandon. Young aspiring drummers out there beware , you will never get this manically proficient if you do not study this piece intensely. An absolute drum encyclopedia is at your fingertips, run and get this! His pulsating drum solo is scintillating both in complex technique and in artistic expression, a whirlwind affair that was always the highlight at a good concert in Montreal, a city famous to all rock drummers as they were worshipped live beyond normalcy. The bulk of the remaining material is pure jazzy bliss, Holdsworth shining throughout, bending, thrashing, weaving and waving (the cheeky guy!) while Didier blows a mean flute on "Shadow of Gong", the beat relentless and verging on insane. This monument of jazz-rock prog sits on the celestial table of other masterful albums such as RTF's Romantic Warriors, Cobham's Spectrum, Mahavishu's Birds of Fire, Soft Machine's Bundles and Weather Report's Sweetnighter", among the most famous . "Esnuria" incorporates all the verve and bravado that formulated such a drastic musical direction change, from spacy zaniness to hyper-complex Brit jazz-rock! The lads really kick butt here, not afraid to discover new horizons as this was a burgeoning scene at the time, no one afraid of challenging the conservative jazz purists at the time (who could be and were snotty bastards!). They were stumped by the superlative playing and the dramatic euphoria stemming from their souls (this explains the Magma phenomenon, by the way!).A beautiful covert art scheme completes the deal for me. Not the easiest cup of tea but repeated revisits will create an ever positive impression, each time more confident in the assertion that this is a required jewel in any collection, all genres combined. Now perhaps people will comprehend why Moerlen (who died recently) is so highly revered. 5 French bubbles.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First album of really Moerlen's Gong. If six early albums from Gong were Daevid Allen's ,with Canterbury sound ,full of freaky psychedelia, seventh "Shamal" ( without Allen and Gilli Smyth) was something in transition, "Gazeuse" is first real Moerlen's Gong album. The music there is jazz-fusion of highest level!

Very complex,with large percussion/drums section, new line-up includes great guitarist Alan Holdsworth as well. No traces of psychedelia of early years, just very dynamic jazz-rock.

I think, many of early Gong lovers could be mistaken by this album. It's musical direction is so different, that in fact it is just another band ( line-up is almost new as well). But for jazz fusion lovers this recording is one of the best evidence from that time.

Should be presented in every jazz fusion fan collection!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I was living in the United States in the first semester of 1977 as an exchange estudent in California. Among the various Lps I bought on that trip was an album I found with the name Expresso by british/french band Gong. I eagerly bought it because their previous efford, Shamal, was one of my favorites in the year of ī76. When I got home and played i was quite disappointed: with some major line up changes their musical style changed a lot from one work to the other. In fact, with addtion of ex Soft Machine guitarrist Alan Holdsworth and bassist Francis Moze, they became a jazz rock /fusion band. A good one, by the way, but far from what one should expect from their name so far.

Gone were the psychodelic/spaced out experiments and the so called Cantenbury sound connections. Surely Pierre Moerlenīs jazz tendencies were highlighted here with the addition of Holdsworthīs guitar playing style. Fortunatly excellent percussionist Mirelle Bauer was still on board, and it is her creative use of a vast array of instruments that makes all the difference. As usual on these kind of records, the technique is impeccable, even if the compositions lack some originality, especially if you remember their earlier CDs (including Shamal). Vocals were also totally wiped out by now. But the overall sound is nice, with no fillers, a good production and it is a bit too short for my taste (just under the 40 minute mark).

Conclusion: not bad at all. If youīre into jazz rock/fusion, you should not miss Gazeuse/Expresso. But it is not Gong as we used to know. Be aware fo that. Because of the terrific musicanship displayed by all involved and the creative use of percussions I cannot rate this album with less than 3 stars. But I canīt afford it four because it is obvious something was lost along the way. So 3,5 stars is quite fitting. Very good, but not really essential.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This fusion period is my favorite era of Gong, and this is my favorite albums of the era. For a long time, this was the only Gong album I had heard. Who is that Daevid Allen guy anyway?

The music is pure, exciting fusion, driven mostly by Pierre Moerlin's superb drums and percussion and Mireille Bauer' fantastic marimba and vibe work. It also doesn't hurt to have the great Allan Holdsworth at his best here. The sound, being so percussion driven, is reminiscent of Bill Bruford's fusion band, if you need a reference point.

This would be a great place to start a fusion collection. It was for me.

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Any band + Allan Holdsworth = Quality Jazz Rock

Allan Holdsworth back in the mid-70's was at his peak proffessionally speaking, starting with his appearance on the killer Soft Machine album, Bundles, after that he had simply been put alongside the names of Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, participating on some very notable jazz fusion records like Believe it! by the Tony Williams Lifetime, Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford's solo albums, his surprising appearance with Gong on the album, Gazeuse!, and even playing with the progressive rock supergroup, UK, in all these records his unique timbre and way of soloing is featured.

Well, as I already have reviewed some of those works in which Allan participated, it was time to review this one, Gazeuse! by Gong, another high quality and very unique jazz rock effort.

First of all I'll make it clear that Gazeuse! is not the well-known psych/canterbury Gong that prog fans praise, the same goes for Bundles by Soft Machine. Gazeuse! is Gong turning to a more straight- forward Jazz Fusion band leaving the trippiness from their early albums behind.

However, this is not your typical jazz fusion; Gong uses an extensive use of vibes/marimba very alike that of Zappa's great use, which is an amazing feature of the music, just listen to the vibe fest on Percolations. Also, the addition of Allan is another obvious factor that this will not be your samey jazz fusion record, his playing is more loose and expressive from that featured in Bundles, simply listen to his great compositions in this album which are Shadow Of and Night Illusion, totally sublime.

The other three tracks maintain the top-notch musicianship and composition, so as a whole Gazeuse! is a very strong non-typical jazz fusion record which I recommend to anyone who is a fan of Allan Holdsoworth' playing and of Jazz Fusion. However, do not think that this album will be your entry to the classic Gong, since their classic records barely sound anything alike what Gazeuse! sounds like.

4 stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When Daevid Allen left Gong he must have snatched away every remaining leaf of weed he could find in Gong's rehearsal room. This is an entirely different band that gracefully landed back on earth after the preceding age of space trips.

Gazeuse is a sparkling record indeed, delivering energetic and focussed jazz-rock. The musicianship is stellar throughout. Especially the way they managed to balance out each member's contribution is noteworthy. Instead of going into an endless full frontal jazz-rock attack, each musician is allowed to shine, sometimes the guitar takes the lead, often the amazing percussion takes over and all the time, the drums and bass are stellar. The absence of synths is also a winner. Gong made good use of synths on previous albums, but dropping them here gives this album a timeless quality. The prominent percussion is a unique feature that makes this album stand out above many jazz-rock album that exploded onto the scene in those years.

This album is a jazz-rock masterpiece that should easily please fans of Mahavishnu, Brand X, Al Di Meola and other jazz-rock classics. I'm not very familiar yet with the Canterbury scene but I think this album deserves a high spot up there. 4 stars with growing potential.

Review by friso
3 stars Gong - Gazeuse (1976)

This record is often seen as a renaissance of the band and a visionary album of the jazz-rock genre. It's swirly cover is one of the best I've ever seen. This record is by no means a Canterbury record and it has none of it's typical musical elements, this is 100% jazz rock played by a super-group consisting of Pierre Moerlen on drums, Malherbe on wind-instruments and Allen Holdsworth on electric guitar among other lesser known professional musicians.

The main features of this recording are the up-tempo jazz rock compositions with vibraphone and drums playing a central role. The unbelievable, technical but emotionless guitar-solo's of Allen Holdsworth are particularly interesting on this album. Percolations on side one shows a focus on worldmusic-fusion with lot's of percussion and a an astonishing technical drum-solo of mister Moerlen. On side two we get some more up-tempo jazz rock, but the ending track shows a sensitive and intimate side of this super-group. This leaves us with a good impression of all qualities of this band.

Conclusion. Jazz-rock had left the free-jazz and bebop of Miles Davis and others and had become a genre on it's own with it's own licked productions and compositional values. A reference to Romantic Warrior seems to be a good one, although this record less emotionally involved. Still it's a pleasant affair, a bit disappointing for your own guitar playing motivation, but a great effort of this GONG reincarnation. For me this record could never be as interesting as the Radio Gnome trilogy and a feeling of emptiness arises from the lack of conceptual vision this record has when compared with early GONG music. This comparison is however totally uncalled for and even in-logical, this is an other band! Gazeuse is interesting for people interested in jazz rock with a focus on the technical aspects of the genre. For be-bop enthusiasts this might sound a bit too clean. Fans of the symphonic/eclectic progressive sub- genres might find an astonishing performance of this super-group. From me this get's thee stars because of the lack of an emotional attachment I experience while listening to the record.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gazeuse (a.k.a. Expresso) marked the point where Pierre Moerlen took over Gong and delivered a completely different album in comparison to everything else that we have heard from Gong up until now. Actually, seeing the name Allan Holdsworth should probably ring a bell with most fans of Soft Machine or Bruford conveying that there is going to be some Jazz Rock/Fusion featured on the album.

The songwriting is divided between Pierre Moerlen, who is credited for three compositions, Allan Holdsworth, credited for two, and Francis Moze, who is credited for Mireille. This is one of the main problems for me with Gazeuse because it doesn't add up to more than the individual performances that it incorporates. Holdsworth's tracks sound like classic Holdsworth guitar-driven mellow Jazz Rock/Fusion material, Moerlen's compositions are very rhythmically driven pieces, while Mireille is almost a Magma sounding work which just reminds us that Francis Moze was once a member of that band.

I'm sure that fans of Jazz Rock/Fusion will enjoy what this album has to offer and even though it might be considered the best introduction to Pierre Moerlen's Gong the whole experience falls short of the excellent mark due to the lack of a real band effort. I have previously mentioned my dislike for Allan Holdsworth who seems to be preoccupied with delivering the same stale performance on every album he is featured on. I've recently heard a Beatles tribute album where Holdsworth did his take on Michelle and I could pretty much foretell exactly which direction he would take the whole performance just by hearing the first couple of notes. My only question was: Why?

Now that I've done my regular Holdsworth-gripe let's move on to the stuff I really liked. Moerlen's compositions are easily the strongest pieces where each of the three tracks show a completely different side to the band's sound. Expresso and Mireille are definitely the most memorable pieces out of the bunch featuring a very playful and energetic style while Percolations Parts 1 And 2 starts, presumably with Part 1, slowly and only picks up pace towards the second half with some really pleasant sounds of vibraphone.

Overall Gazeuse is a pretty decent piece of Jazz Rock/Fusion that I'm sure the fans of the genre will be happy to experience. Personally I automatically knock off a star for the lack of a flow between the different compositions and Allan Holdsworth's usual esthetics. The second star goes because I don't hear any real stand-out compositions that would make me want to return to the album and make it an important part of my Jazz Rock/Fusion collection. Hence, good, but non-essential.

**** star songs: Expresso (5:58) Percolations Parts 1 And 2 (10:02) Shadows Of (7:48) Esnuria (8:02) Mireille (4:11)

*** star songs: Night Illusion (3:42)

Review by Negoba
4 stars Negoba's Favorite Holdsworth Album

As surely most know by the time they get to this review, Gong's album Gazeuse has absolutely nothing to do with the Pothead Pixies. Drummer Pierre Moerlen and merry band of percussionists remain from the Daevid Allen vehicle, but instead of a psychedelic journey we get one of the best fusion albums ever made. As I have often noted, 70's jazz fusion was the apex of drumming to my ear, a perfect storm of feel and technique. With no less than four percussionists on this album, Moerlen has taken the genre's forte and managed to put some slip in nerdy Allan Holdsworth's backbone.

Allan Holdsworth is one of the most influential and individual guitarists since Jimi Hendrix. His disdain for convential harmony and melody, his legato technique, his tight tone have found their way into most of the best guitarist's sound ever since. If one combines Holdsworth, Hendrix, and Yngwie Malmsteen, virtually every guitar sound in the modern guitar vocabulary is available. And yet, Holdsworth often bores me to tears. His sound is often cold, too cerebral, sometimes too perfect. It's no surprise that the young Eddie Van Halen was able to become a guitar superstar by simply adding a sense of danger and adventure to Holdworth's technique. (The extra finger didn't hurt but Steve Hackett, among others, had already been doing that on stage for some time.)

Gazeuse does not make Holdsworth into anything he is not, but it does harness his abilities in a musical stew better than anything else I've heard that features him. Soft Machine's Bundles from a few years before is much weaker. Bill Bruford's work with Holdsworth does almost nothing for me. Something about the musicians here makes me feel like Holdsworth is still hungry, or even still working to keep up. By 1980, it seems like he almost thinks (or knows) that he's the best musician in the room.

Track 1, "Expresso," is the best track on the album. Here all the elements work together so well. All the mallets, the slippery beats, the sax, the horn-like guitar combine on a great composition that grabs the ears and doesn't let go. Track 2, "Night Illusion," is a Holdsworth showcase that is virtually the blueprint for Steve Vai. It could have been a track off of FLEX-ABLE and no one would know the difference. A nasty rhythm sound, a taste for a riff, and even a little sense of adventure can be heard in Allan's playing here. And it's great counterpoint for the slippery beats that are delivered by Moerlen. The same sound returns on "Esnuria" with even more funk.

Track 3 is a nearly all-percussion track that works well during a quieter mallet section, but gets a bit overlong during the extended trap solo. The final quiet interlude, "Mirelle," is pleasant but unfocused. Holdsworth takes a stab at John McLaughlin's acoustic style and doesn't quite nail it. The song and album end with a bit of piano noodling that lets us off easy.

Whether to rate this excellent album 4 or 5 stars is difficult for me. I've picked up a lot of prog over the last few years, and this is one that I will reach for even when I'm not on a fusion binge. It's actually fun to listen to simply as a feel good mood maker. While the musician in me loves this album, one can put it on and just feel a little nod and a smile emerging. But when I pick up a 5 star album, I want to be blown away most if not all the way through. Gazeuse opens strong and maintains the energy, but never really delivers a complete knockout. 4 stars it is. Of course, it is still highly recommended.

Review by Warthur
3 stars This album is really the debut of the Gong spin-off known as "Pierre Moerlen's Gong" - they changed their name to that as soon as their contract with Virgin, and other Gong factions with other lineups performed parallel to them even before then - one wonders whether the name change would have happened sooner had Virgin Records been up for it.

The group plays a highly percussion-focused brand of fusion which at points is reminiscent of the work on Billy Cobham's Spectrum album. The lineup is structured around a core unit of no less than four percussionists, with a few other musicians to round out the sound - standouts here include Allan Holdsworth on guitar and Didier Malherbe on flute and sax. Though the band occasionally dip into 1970s rock/fusion cliches (a drum solo, when you have so many other awesome percussion instruments to play with? Really, Pierre?) but is otherwise a reasonably confident first draft of this Gong incarnation's distinctive style.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What have I done wrong? How come I have not written-up my views about an album that meant a lot to me being a symphonic prog loyalist who really love Gazeuse! album by Gong? I don't know why - it's probably I keep following recent developments in progressive music that makes me over look this album from any of my reviews so far. In fact I have not reviewed much about Gong. Well, my history about this album dated back to days when I was so amazed with the guitar work played by Allan Holdworth. I thought I knew him the first time when I purchased UK debut album. He's just a terrific guitar player who has his own style of playing - and quite unique in a sense. My colleague then introduced me with another album by Bill Bruford 'One of a Kind' where Holdsworth played guitar. And then finally this album by Gong.

It's just amazing ...!

That was my first impression the first time I played the cassette I purchased on this album. Even from the opening track I could sense how the music would flow through all tracks in the album. The album created a clear image of how great music should be composed and performed excellently to satisfy the listeners. I don't really care whether this is much more jazz-rock or prog. In fact I thought the album has many prog elements if you consider it as a pure jazz-rock fusion music.

The opening track Expresso (5:58) blew me away the first time I listened to it as what I would have expected, i.e. wonderful guitar work by Holdsworth satisfied my needs. He is just marvelous. The track is basically a relatively fast tempo kind of jazz-rock music style with strong accentuation of guitar riffs and solo. Not only that, the drumming wok by Pierre Moerlen is really great and it's becoming an important component of the music. There relatively many changes tempo and styles throughout this highly energetic track.

Night Illusion (3:42) follows beautifully with heavy riff guitar as intro part followed with guitar solo backed by solid basslines and dynamic drumming work. In some parts I find some similarity with Chick Corea music - even though it has different textures. The guitar solo by Allan Holdsworth is stunning.

The third track Percolations, Part 1 + Part 2 (10:00) is basically a very unique one as it combines the ambient style with energetic, high-energy type of music especially during the combined work of drums, vibra, marimba and vibraphone that makes this track is quite different from any typical jazz-rock composition. Right after first four minutes of mellow and ambient style, the song then moves into a highly energetic style where drums work collaboratively with timpani, marimba and vibraphone. I do enjoy this later part as it's basically an enhanced drums. Why do I say it's "enhanced"? It's predominantly due to its great combination with other instruments. Yes there is part where drums play by its own but at the end it's augmented by other instruments as well. I personally enjoy this track because it's energetic. I have to admit great guitar skills demonstrated by Pierre Moerlen.

Shadows Of (7:48) continues to indicate the jazz-rck nature of this album. Right after intro part, Holdsworth gives his guitar work. What follow is then a great flute solo that enriches the overall composition followed by long sustain flute work. The stunning guitar work by Holdsworth returns back to the music after flutework. I really enjoy the guitar solo part from this track.

Esnuria (8:00) is another excellent track opened beautifully by drums and percussion work in relatively long duration until the overall music starts to roll. Allan Holdsworth continues his virtuosity in playing his guitar. Tenor sax and vibraphone play critical roles in its overall composition. I really enjoy this track as it has great composition and performance. What's so important also is how bass guitar, vibraphone and drums create good platform for soloist - including tenor sax - to perform their respective contributions.

Mireille (4:10) is basically a mellow track that provides the opportunity for Allan to play his acoustic guitar work. In some parts the guitar playing style reminds me to Paco de Lucia style.

Highly Recommended album

Overall, this album is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection. If you love jazz-rock, this is definitely yours. But if you are not - I think you still can articulate the components of excellent music. It's a 4+ rating overall. Keep on proggin' ...!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by stefro
4 stars After both founding member Daevid Allen and guitarist Steve Hillage left the fold, the Anglo-French outfit Gong began a whole new phase of activity, leaving behind the singular brand of sixties-born cherubic psychedelia that adorned such albums as 'The Flying Teapot' and 'You' and instead embracing a bold new brand of intricate jazz-fusion with drummer Pierre Moerlen and Soft Machine guitarist Allan Holdsworth now leading the way. As new starts go it would prove a pretty radical one, bringing to mind Soft Machine's 1970 transformation that saw the British group morph from psychedelic jokers into serious-minded Miles Davis-style jazz-rock proponents between the albums 'Volume Two' and 'Third', breathing new life into the group and producing one of the key albums of their peak years. Issued in 1976, 'Gazeuse' was an entirely instrumental affair featuring a surprisingly guitar-heavy sound, some dazzling technical flourishes and at least one outstanding track in the shape of the two-part 'Percolations', the album's lengthiest track at just over ten minutes. Parlaying slick fusion ingredients into a shiny psychedelic jazz whole whilst starting cool and finishing hot, 'Percolations' is a fine example of the brand new Gong style, featuring all the hallmarks of their late- seventies output and of the fusion movement as a whole. Fans of John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Nucleus, If, Return To Forever and, of course, Soft Machine, should then find much to enjoy on 'Gazeuse', the only less-than-impressive moments on an otherwise high quality album found on the dull and classically-informed closer 'Mireille'. Exactly what fans of Gong's earlier material will make of it is unclear - this is almost a different group - though history tells us that Gong did manage to maintain their core support right through to the 1990's before eventually re-forming in 2009. Overall then, 'Gazeuse' proves an important addition to the Gong story and an impressive stylistic leap-of-faith from one of the more curious groups of the progressive rock genre's golden era. And alongside 'You', it's arguably one of their best. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars It was a sad day for GONG fans when Daevild Allen departed as he packed up and left and took his favorite space whisperer Gilli Smyth with him. It seemed inconceivable that the band could continue without him, but due to contractual obligations the band name had to go on although it would be under the helm of Pierre Moerlin, who would gently nudge the band's sound more into the jazz-fusion side of the GONG equation, only with less Canterbury influence and gradually a complete elimination of the whimsical space rock that had become Allen's signature. "Shamal" saw the first attempts at this new fangled jazz-fusion outfit but fell somewhere in between the psychedelic realms of "You" and the fully fueled jazz-fusion workouts that debut on GONG's seventh album GAZEUSE! (French for "sparkling, fizzy or effervescent").

The album title GAZEUSE! was the official title in Europe and elsewhere but for whatever reason the album was released as "Expresso" in the US which explains the mystery for most collectors of why the following album is titled "Expresso II" when no "Expresso I" can be found as modern day releases. The opening track, however is titled "Expresso" on both versions and begins the new journey in a Daevid Allen-free rendition of the new GONG. While the band would release GAZEUSE! and "Expresso II" under the GONG moniker, this version of the band would officially change to PIERRE MOERLON'S GONG thereafter and release several more albums. The original GONG would be resurrected but not until 1992's "Shapeshifter." This also marked the period where GONG bands were splintering off left and right and members from the past were embarking on stealthy solo careers.

Unlike every GONG album of the past including "Shamal," GAZEUSE! is a completely instrumental album that displays Morelon's firm control of jazz-fusion workouts on six tracks. While some stalwart band members such as Didier Malherbe (sax, flute) and Mireille Bauer (vibes, marimba, glockenspiel, toms) were still on board no matter what changes were in line, GAZEUSE! pretty much finds a whole new cast of musicians that gives this album a completely different sound than anything put out under the GONG moniker that preceded it. The legendary guitarist / violinist Allan Hodsworth who had played with Nucleus, Tempest and Soft Machine joined the band to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Steve Hillage. Francis Moze replaced Mike Howlett and brought an outstanding command of the fretless bass to the mix.

Also new to the scene was percussionist Mino Cinelu who would eventually go on to play with Weather Report and Miles Davis. Returning to the cast was Benoît Morelen who sat "Shamal" out after participating on "You," and back on vibraphones and on GAZEUSE! he gets to shine like never before. With all these changes, GAZEUSE! took on a completely new life of its own. While most hardcore GONG fans who couldn't imagine the band without Allen's zany antics at the helm left the band to dry, jazz-fusion fans had a very exquisitely designed album to sink their teeth into. With the virtuosic dexterity of Holdsworth, the slithery slinking fretless bass onslaughts of Moze and a plan of attack with the heavy malletted effects of the vibes, miramba and glockenspiel, GAZEUSE! finds itself in a sublimely meditative zone that runs the gamut of tender Weather Report inspired gentleness as well as Mahavishnu Orchestra frenzied outbursts, but mostly falls in between.

Overall GAZEUSE! is a stellar mix of jazz-fusion techniques with robust percussive drive, exciting delivery of multiple vibraphone parts and a unique fretless bass aspect that sets it apart from almost any other jazz-fusion album of the period that i can think of. Holdsworth's signature guitar style sets the jazzy tone that finds the other members falling into. While stylistically the album may harken back to early 70s greats such as Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, the idiosyncratic touches give it its own unique spin on past greats. One of the most unique of the tracks on board is the exquisite "Percolations Parts 1 and 2," one of the most magnanimous displays of vibraphone fueled jazz accompanied by hefty pummeling percussion and tantalizing toms. GAZEUSE! simply delivers all the jazz-fusion goods without missing a beat. There are no bad songs on this one and my love of vibraphones makes it an absolute pleasure to listen to and proof that GONG could carry on without Daevid Allen at the helm.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Why to give 5 stars to this album? Because It is the perfect Jazz/Rock Fusion album. So far It is my favourite CD from this group. It is a brand new group, different Gong, no Daevid Allen, no Steve Hillage but Holdsworth is different in a good way. Sorry, this is not Canterbury, this is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1325571) | Posted by steelyhead | Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great album and a strong fusion lineup. This album is a milestone in the history of the Gong family, as it marks the full transition into the lineup known as "Pierre Moerlen's Gong". The album is lush and groove heavy, and it is bursting with exotic fusion flavours. There is a definite step ... (read more)

Report this review (#916048) | Posted by The Mystical | Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The secon non Daevid Allen album. Gong post Daevid Allen means fusion in the Canterbury vein. Gilgamesh is a good reference for me. And so is most things Alan Gowen put his hands on. He is not involved here though. The music here is cleverly put together fusion with more jazz influences than ... (read more)

Report this review (#571888) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars SxE Gong - the Miracle Hair Restorer My sister once dated a Gnome Radio ham and when the relationship ended in tears (hers) she won custody of four Gong albums and bequeathed same to her little brother (moi) Forever hence, the original owner of said vinyl was referred to simply as 'the hairy s ... (read more)

Report this review (#253262) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, November 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Percolation's, Part 1 + Part 2 alone would make this a good purchase. Those hoping for a Gong album like YOU will be sadly disappointed but those with open ears will find this a very worthwhile and well played Jazz rock recording. The extensive use of vibraphones and other tuned percussion giv ... (read more)

Report this review (#91911) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Album "Gazeuse" released in 1976. Steve Hillage seceded completely by the former work. A this album became a jazz-rock album by a new member. It became a technical performance, and ethnical feeling of the former work was lost. However, there is a peculiar one to the sound. For instance, "Perco ... (read more)

Report this review (#43875) | Posted by braindamage | Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great jazz-rock album! This is probably my favourite release from GONG (i have not heard many albums from them, but whatever!). The songs and performance is excellent (Especially the drum solo from Pierre Moerlen) and Allan Holdsworth's guitar is amazing (as always), and the vibe work from t ... (read more)

Report this review (#27729) | Posted by | Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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