Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Canterbury Scene

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gong Time Is the Key album cover
3.01 | 143 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy GONG Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ard Na Greine (6:11)
2. Earthrise (2:25)
3. Supermarket (3:37)
4. Faerie Steps (5:34)
5. An American in England (2:57)
6. The Organ Grinder (3:57)
7. Sugar Street (2:22)
8. The Bender (3:20)
9. Arabesque Intro (3:23)
10. Arabesque (1:52)
11. Esnuria Two (5:35)
12. Time Is the Key (2:22)

Total Time 43:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Pierre Moerlen / drums, gong (2,5), vibraphone (1,3,4,9,10), electravibe (1,3,4), marimba (1,3-5,9-12), glockenspiel (1), timpani (1,9,10), darbourka (1,2), synthesizer (7,8), producer
- Bon Lozaga / lead (4,6,7), rhythm guitar (3,6,8-12) & acoustic (5) guitars
- Hansford Rowe / bass (3-12), acoustic guitar (5), bass synth (11), arrangement (5)

- Allan Holdsworth / lead guitar (9-12)
- Joe Kirby / acoustic bass (1,2)
- Nico Ramsden / lead & rhythm guitars (8)
- Peter Lemer / keyboards (2,4,5), electric piano (3,9-12), Polymoog (6-10), Yamaha CS-80 (6,11,12)
- Darryl Way / violin (1)

Releases information

Artwork: Julie Harris with Steve Ridgeway

LP Arista - AB 4255 (1979, US)
LP Arista ‎- SPART 1105 (1979, UK)

CD Great Expectations ‎- PIPCD 018 (1991, Europe)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC2236 (2010, UK) Remastered

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy GONG Time Is the Key Music

GONG Time Is the Key ratings distribution

(143 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

GONG Time Is the Key reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
2 stars Pierre Moerlen's Gong recorded some great albums (most notably GAZEUSE and EXPRESSO II) but this is not one of them. Its repetitive minimalism may remind you of New Age, or of Mike Oldfield's woollier moments. The A-side boast just ONE superb vibraphone solo (on 'Supermarket') and on the B-side there's a highly welcome appearance by Allan Holdsworth, but most of the remainder sounds like elevator muzak. I wish I could sound a little more upbeat, but I have to be honest. Incidentally, I've never had any problems enjoying Daevid Allen's Gong as well as Pierre Moerlen's. But this is definitely not one of Pierre's better efforts.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Second album under Moerlen's name, Time Is The Key is a controversial album because it shows that the 80's are very much behind the corner. Indeed compared tp Downwind, PM's G certainly changed their sound and also their line-up; bro Benoit is gone (as is Gausse), but returning to the fold (from Expresso II) are Lozaga (guitars) and Lemer (keyboards) and the sound and songwriting on TITK don't have a 70's feel, but a much more synthesised 80's production. And those who read me regularly know that this is no good news. A bit like the 80's version of Mahavishnu, Gong uses too much of the day's latest technology, which causes TITK to sound much more dated than their previous albums. We're not on the brink of Abacab or 90125, but nevertheless the production is also the culprit, but it doesn't apply for all of the tracks evenly.

Actually the album starts pretty damn well with Ard Na Greine, a great tense track that leads naturally into the following Earthrise, which continues more gently the sublime and subtle climate. And Earthrise linking into the next Supermarket (a bit too slick, but agreeable) and so on to Faerie Steps (a bit cheesy but it has something). So the quartet of tracks make a small So after this linked series of tracks things gradually degenerate with American In England, where synths take over and we suddenly fall into a new decade. Worse yet, we go into Organ Grinder without any organs (unless the Yamaha CS80 is one, but it sure doesn't sound like one) and completely and utterly awful synth funky beats; I spoke purposely of Abacab, as there is some kind of sound parallel, even if Gong is still progressive here. The rest of the album glides on smoothly if you like this stuff and will increasingly grate your patience to irritating levels, despite the musician's undeniable qualities. In The Bender, you'd never guess there are two guitars as they are completely muffled into dumb effect like the Synclavier and other such atrocious devices. But if you can get past those awful 80's musical twists, you will find still some interesting stuff (songwriting and structures) that should content some JR/F fans. Of the second part of the album, only Esnuria is rising above the waterline, but it's directly followed by the atrocious title track (the lowest of lows in the album), which closes the album much worse than it had started.

I am always tempted to take away a full rating point for these 80's, and I will certainly again do so here, at the risk of burying the first third of the album that deserves a better fate. Collateral damages I guess, but this album is best avoided unless. well I warned you, anyway.

Review by friso
1 stars Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Time is the Key (1979)

This record has really nothing to do with the Canterbury Gong tradition, nor with the Gazeuse- like fusion of Pierre Moerlen's Gong. This is just a solo project of percussionist Peirre Moerlen. There is simply no real jazz on this record. The first side has only metalophone and some bass,drums and synths. My overall impression is that this is suited for muzak only. Nothing of interest at all for people who like progressive music. It's just boring new age. On side two we get to listen to some jazz, but even then the production is horrible and the Alan Holdsworth part is but a joke. A bad piece of music with a mediocre solo. I just can't think of anyone who would want to listen to this record, including myself. So... one star then.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars Cheap Thrills.

That was the name of the record store where I first heard this album playing on their audio system. The year was 1979. Oddly enough the store sold records, cassettes, etc. and was a "head" shop (accessories for smoking pot.)

But that's neither here nor there other than Gong's many pothead lyrics that came before this album.

Pierre did make the distinction of labeling it "Pierre Moerlen's Gong". Daevid Allen has graciously stated that he considers all Gong lineups to be legitimate Gong even if he and Gilli weren't present.

So what do you get with this 1979 incarnation? Well, for me it was love at first hear. Fanatics of Daevid's period will likely never get it. The pieces are short and all instrumental and mellow. Maybe a bit too mellow for some. Some cameo appearances by Darryl Way and Allan Holdsworth. The most notable presence is Hansford Rowe on bass and Bon Lozaga on guitar who would go on to the offshoot Gongzilla and also played with Happy Rhodes.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This, the follow up to Downwind finds Pierre Moerlen and friends taking up where that album left off, and perhaps wisely ditching vocals altogether. Unfortunately there are insufficient ideas to fully carry off an entire album of instrumental music despite the best of intentions. The desir ... (read more)

Report this review (#512265) | Posted by beebfader | Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Can this really be described as a gong album ? Pierre Moerlen's claim to the name was always disputable. He was after all only the last in a very long line of drummers who had played on gong LP during their 60/70's hay day. Putting that aside this is a pretty good record and features some very ... (read more)

Report this review (#91313) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Time Is The Key" of GONG released in 1979. Bon Lozaga takes charge of the guitar again in place of Mr. record who assumes live to be not good. The sound is jazz-rock of the new age style. It is a cute work that made the best use of the repetition and the melody line that seems that it influen ... (read more)

Report this review (#54858) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of GONG "Time Is the Key"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.