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Gong New York Gong: About Time album cover
3.21 | 84 ratings | 4 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Preface (Allen/Beinhiorn) (1:28)
2. Much Too Old (Allen/Laswell) (2:43)
3. Black September (Allen/Cultreri) (4:03)
4. Materialism (Laswell/Cultreri) (3:12)
5. Strong Woman (Allen/Bacon) (4:30)
6. I Am A Freud (Allen) (1:46)
7. My Photograph (Allen) (9:10)
8. Jungle Windo(w) (Allen) (6:19)
9. Hours Gone (Allen) (4:05)

Total Time: 36:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Daevid Allen / rhythm & glissando (4,5,7) guitars, vocals, producer
- Cliff Cultreri / lead guitar (2-4,6,7)
- Bill Laswell / bass
- Bill Bacon / drums (excl. 7)
- Fred Maher / drums (excl. 5)

- Michael Beinhorn / synthesizer (1)
- Mark Kramer / organ (9)
- Don Davis / alto saxophone (6)
- Gary Windo / tenor saxophone (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Felipe Orrego (photo)

LP Charly Records ‎- CRL 5021 (1980, UK)

CD Decal ‎- CD LIK 73 (1990, UK)

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GONG New York Gong: About Time ratings distribution

(84 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

GONG New York Gong: About Time reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album has nothing too much in common with classic Gong albums. In fact, it is "New York Gong", something like Daevid Allen solo project.

Whenever the year is 1980, don't be surprised to find there ... punk music. OK, it is far from usual punk, but Daevid Allen punk - synthesizer based , but with fast and simplistic punk rhythm. Songs are short, melodic, full of craziness and energy. Plus saxes and often speaking Daevid vocal. Plus political lyrics.

Very light traces of spacy psychedelia there. In fact, this is something should be named "prog- punk". Or you can name it kind of RIO/avant as well, with very NY downtown atmosphere ( John Cale sometimes sounds like this).

Quite interesting album, but far from Gong or usual progressive rock. For Daevid Allen fans and Gong collectors.

Review by Warthur
3 stars More interesting by far than the Expresso II-based rut that Pierre Moerlen's Gong had worked themselves into by this point, About Time sees Daevid Allen team up with a new Gong lineup headed by Bill Laswell - once they and Allen parted ways this group would become legendary industrial/funk pioneers Material. On here, however, they're engaged with investing some exciting New Wave energy into Allen's songwriting. Allen tackles most of the usual hippy topics he's fond of - feminism, environmentalism and so on - but the New Wave mode sees him address them more directly and bluntly than he usually does.

In principle, this should have been a shot in the arm for Allen; however, perhaps because the impetus for forming the band came not from Allen himself but from Giorgio Gomelsky, who at the time was embarking on a doomed attempt to sell RIO-ish fusion acts like Magma and Henry Cow to an American audience via his New York "Zu Club", Allen doesn't quite seem to fit into this musical context and a lot of his lyrics here seem to recognise this. Ultimately, Allen and this new backing band would part ways, and Material's best days would come after the divorce when they were free to really spread their wings. Still, for those who are really interested in the history of the extended Gong family tree, this is a fascinating musical collaboration which set the stage for Bill Laswell's own groundbreaking career, as well as keeping Allen's ticking over.

Review by HolyMoly
4 stars Daevid Allen + Material = New York Gong

Another one of the dozen versions of "Gong" out there, and while it has very little to do with the far out space jazz rock of the classic period, this is actually a very good late 70s album that shows Daevid Allen's adaptability to playing with different people in different styles. In this case, it's the hot underground avant-funk band Material from New York City. And this being the late 70s in New York, there's an unmistakable punk flavor to this album too. Allen, always the affably cynical observer, partakes in the zeitgeist of the times while poking fun at it, resulting in an album that's of its time but has a little bit of ironic distance from it too. Daevid had seen many scenes in many different countries by then, and while he understood the excitement of his environment, he also understood it to be just a phase on its way to something else.

As is the case with many older Gong albums, this one begins with a short sound-effect/tape loop introductory piece, here simply called "Preface". Then the band rips right into the hard-chargin' "Much too Old", where Allen winkingly rips New York City a new one. (Best line: "You can look for a place, but space is rare / Better take up smoking cause there ain't no air"). He even rhymes "Chick Corea" with "diarrhea". It's a simple, funny tune that gets the blood moving. Rather than let up, though, the band charges even harder into the next number, "Black September", an apocalyptic song about ecological disaster (from acid rain, chemical warfare, or perhaps both). At the climax of the song, Allen sneers "Don't Worry! Be Happy!" like he's Johnny Rotten. You go, dude. Always wondered where Bobby McFerrin got that idea.

Finally we get a break from the intensity, with the arty instrumental "Materialism" showing off the backing band's skills. "Strong Woman" is a laid back midtempo rocker with sympathetic, feminist lyrics from Daevid. "I Am a Freud" is the kind of Gong song we're usually accustomed to hearing from Daevid Allen, a brief bit of goofy fun that showed up often on the early Gong records.

Side Two begins with my personal favorite part of the album, the lengthy "Oh My Photograph". This nine-minute piece is actually in three parts: first, an instrumental section with a driving punky rhythm, but topped with an odd lead guitar line that seems to move in an opposite direction - almost kind of "no-wave", and really effective; second, a vocal section featuring the same galloping rhythm but a different melody - the lyrics seem to be about Daevid hating a picture of himself (?); and then the last section, a repetitive instrumental vamp that goes on just a bit too long for my liking. But those first six minutes are gold. The album continues the hot streak with a new rendition of an older number "Jungle Windo(w)", previously known as "Big City Energy" (see my review for the archival release "Camembert Eclectique"). This is a highly rhythmic ranting number featuring guest sax player Gary Windo (thus the joke in the spelling of the song title). Finally, we have another reworked old song, "Hours Gong" (aka Hours Gone, or Where Have all the Flowers Gone, or.....). It makes a great closer -- ending the album on a dead serious note, with it's funeral march tempo and firmly anti-drug message, as if cautioning the New York punk scene not to get too out of hand. It kind of works as an inspirational song to take control of your life. Right on.

I love this album and have loved it for many years; still, if it has any flaws, it's probably the relatively rough recording quality (sounds like a cheaply produced job to me), and the relatively non-adventurous music involved, which doesn't sound like it took a whole lot of time to write or record. But overall I have no qualms awarding this four stars -- Daevid Allen the veteran pro exchanging energetic vibes with some young snots from NYC, with both sides teaching the other a thing or two in the process.

Latest members reviews

4 stars What a corking change of direction this record was after David's last few spacey and inconsistent records we suddenly get this. A new set of Musicians and a new city are the back drop for this studio LP. Right from the Greetings of the first track we are warned that a change is coming. Much To ... (read more)

Report this review (#93027) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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