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MOTHER GONG

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Mother Gong biography
Active between 1979 and 1994 - Reunited in 2005/2006

Mother Gong is a spin-off of GONG (no surprise regarding the name), founded by Gilli Smyth and Hari Williamson. They produced a couple of excellent albums, most notably the outstanding "Fairy Tales", the "Robot Woman" trilogy (at least the first 2 parts) and "Wild Child". Guy Evans of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR was drummer for them on the first 2 parts of the "Robot Woman" trilogy. They continued making music in the spirit of the original GONG.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com:
MOTHER GONG was a space-rock band with elements of symphonic prog ("Fairy Tales" is symphonic prog, in my opinion).

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Live in the USA 1991Live in the USA 1991
Voiceprint Uk 2008
$2.63
$9.57 (used)
The Owl & The TreeThe Owl & The Tree
Remastered
Voiceprint Uk 2004
$4.99
$12.87 (used)
EyeEye
Voipr 2013
$4.81
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Tree in Fish by MOTHER GONG (2005-09-13)Tree in Fish by MOTHER GONG (2005-09-13)
Voiceprint UK
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Evangaline
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MOTHER GONG discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MOTHER GONG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 37 ratings
Fairy Tales
1979
3.26 | 11 ratings
Robot Woman
1981
2.38 | 9 ratings
Robot Woman 2
1982
1.80 | 7 ratings
Robot Woman 3
1986
5.00 | 1 ratings
Buddha's Birthday
1988
3.81 | 7 ratings
Fish In The Sky
1988
3.57 | 21 ratings
Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree
1990
3.21 | 9 ratings
Wild Child
1992
2.75 | 4 ratings
She Made The World Magenta
1993
2.07 | 6 ratings
Eye
1994
4.00 | 4 ratings
Tree In Fish
1994

MOTHER GONG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.27 | 2 ratings
Live 1991
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
Glastonbury '79 - '81
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Amsterdam
2007

MOTHER GONG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MOTHER GONG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.53 | 6 ratings
Best Of Mother Gong
1998

MOTHER GONG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MOTHER GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fairy Tales by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.11 | 37 ratings

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Fairy Tales
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Spoken fairy tales with musical accompaniment: Isn't this the perfect match for progressive rock artists? I think so! The music created to support Gilli's accomplished and very professional rendering of three fairy tales is the best Gong music I've ever heard! The recording and engineering is almost perfect, with only a few issues between the voice track levels and those of the instruments, otherwise this is just a delightful album of melodies, musicianship, and creativity, with the bonus that it's all in support of these wonderful, meaningful stories.

1. "Wassalisa" (22:28) is musically my favorite thing Gong (in any of its incarnations and offsprings) has ever done. It's just mesmerizing! While Gilli's story is wonderful and theatric, there are times when the vocal track is mixed too low (or Gilli's voice modulates into lower volumes) so that her story gets lost in the music. This is acceptable mostly because the music is SO amazing, so engaging. In my third listen through I'm still having a terrible time trying to focus on the story because I am so in love with the music. It's like listening to Anthony Phillips' "Geese and the Ghost" for the first time (only with better sound production). Didier Malherbe is wonderful, but then so are the rest of the musicians. Great art! (9.5/10)

2. "The Three Tongues" (12:43) is a nice story with a good moral that is much better mixed with its musical accompaniment. The music here draws quite a bit from classical traditions with many sections featuring single instruments carrying the melody or weight of the theatric support--classical guitar, piano, steel-stringed guitars, oboe, Uilleann pipes, harp, keyboards, and, of course, plenty of woodwinds. The theatric incidentals used for sound effects and accents (including crowd noises) are amazing and add a great deal to the rendering. (10/10)

3. "The Pied Piper" (14:38) is sonically the most well-balanced song as well as the most confidently rendered story from the storyteller. The GENTLE GIANT/GRYPHON/circus-like music is my least favorite, least engaging, but is perfectly performed and makes the best theatric companion to Gilli's story. (Could they be partially improvised?) How much fun these professionals must have had making this album! (9.5/10)

Whether this music and album were created as a vehicle for children stories or Wagnerian-like operas, this is brilliant, masterful music; an album to hear, to fall in love with.

 Fairy Tales by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.11 | 37 ratings

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Fairy Tales
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mother Gong - Gilli Smyth's own branch of the extended Gong family - started off humbly, offering up this triptych of fairy tales narrated by Gilli as a range of Gong and Hawkwind alumni jam away in the background in a broadly thematically and tonally appropriately manner. It's decent enough for what it is, though what it is is a collection of children's stories set to psychedelic music, and in some respects the formula trips itself up - the music distracts from the stories and at points overwhelms Gilli's narration, whilst Gilli's narration often obscures some of the more interesting things the band are doing.
 Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.57 | 21 ratings

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Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Daevid Allen guests on this album, but as with all Mother Gong releases it's very much Gilli Smyth's show. The inclusion of Catapilla saxophonist Robert Calvert (not to be confused with the poet, solo artist and occasional Hawkwind vocalist!) enables Smyth to explore a different avenue of jazz-influenced Canterbury than the fusion-oriented Pierre Morelen's Gong; Mother Gong's music here is more based around spacey free jazz and gentle, organic atmospheres. It's undoubtedly a good album, but the particular musical vision it's chasing isn't quite my cup of tea, and the material isn't quite strong enough to overcome that. A worthwhile piece chasing up if you liked the dreamy space whisper segments from classic Gong albums and think an entire album along the same vein would be an awesome idea.
 Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.57 | 21 ratings

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Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars I am not entirely sure about the whole Gong history here. But as far as I understand it, Gong went with Moerlin's jazz and the original Gong weirdo sound became homeless. Well, until Gilli Smyth established Mother Gong, that is.

On this album at least, you will find a lot of Gong's weirdness from the Teapot Trilogy era. The jazz is still there, but in a much more pastoral elegant form. This has a lot to do with Robert Calvert (Catapilla) and his saxophone. He gets a lot of space on this album. He and Gilli Smyth's vocals. Her lyrics is spaced out to say at least. Some of the lyrics is also very serious. The song Hands is a prime example. Daevid Allen's guest contribution to this album is a bit wild though. But this album most of all about Gilli Smyth and Robert Calvert. In particular Gilli Smyth is really defining this album. She is also the mother gong so no wonder.

I am surprising myself when I admit I really likes this album. Mother Gong is not a bad constellation and Gilli Smyth really gets everything together here and comes up with an ace. Well, close enough that is. The songs here are really great and should appeal to all Gong and Canterbury scene fans. There are some stunning great spaced out jazz here. Mostly on saxophone. Thank you, Robert Calvert !

In short, this is a great album well worth checking out and one of the better albums Gong almost released.

4 stars

 Wild Child by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.21 | 9 ratings

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Wild Child
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For those unfamiliar with the GonG story, during the late 70's, Daevid Allen and his partner Gilli Smyth parted company for some time, Allen following his muse in various Gong-related projects, and Gilli releasing a solo album (Mother) and shortly after assembling the band MOTHER GONG with her new partner Harry Williamson. After a most wonderful album which fused some well arranged Space-Rock with child-like stories narrated by Gilli (Fairy-Tales), the 'Robot Woman' trilogy followed. The trilogy was a lot of fun, though marred with much of what we all dislike within music of the early-to-mid 80's. 'Wild Child' was recorded during 1989, and received a vinyl release on Dave Anderson's 'Demi Monde' label. The LP features 7, mainly 6-8 minute cuts, as opposed to the 10 tracks which appeared on the CD. The overall production is a lot smoother and cleaner, the band well-honed players, including Robert Calvert providing some excellent sax work (not the famous Hawkwind member, but the less famous guy from the great CATAPILLA), Rob George on drums, Conrad Henderson on basses as well as Harry (gtrs/keys) and Gilli on voices and space-whisper. She can't really sing, but rather 'speaks' her texts, and that is possibly an acquired taste for many. Her space whispers are never an issue. Compositionally, we're not far away from what made up Robot Woman 2 and 3, the notable difference here is that the music veers toward a more jazz-prog form with some psychedelic twists and quirky turns, and without some of the New-Wavey elements which infected those earlier albums. No one track stands out over the other so it's a fairly consistent listen, but nothing overly wild or spectacular which really reaches out and shakes you. A very good album - 3.5 stars !!
 Fairy Tales by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.11 | 37 ratings

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Fairy Tales
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album is unlike anything i've ever heard before in my life. Gilli Smyth from GONG and Harry Williamson have created something very special here.Three Fairy Tales are told with samples, affects and most importantly with some incredible music. Nik Turner (HAWKWIND) plays aboe, Didier Mahlerbe (GONG) adds woodwinds and reeds, Eduardo Niebla (ATILA) guitar plus there are many other guests. It's difficult to describe what's going on here because I won't do it justice. Gilli is simply perfect as the narrator for these three stories. And while I pretend to be an adult I am completely taken in by these stories. Who doesn't love hearing a good story right ? And as I mentioned the music is fantastic as we get guitars, drums, uilleann pipes, woodwinds, bass, harp and keyboards. Everything is done so extremely well i'm a little bit at a loss to know what to say here. I just wish I had this when my kids were younger, but you know what I still think they'd like this.

This is a one of kind album in my collection that is done perfectly.

 Eye by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.07 | 6 ratings

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Eye
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars My first ever exposure to this Gong side project and not a meeting that inspires me.

I fully subscribe to the avant-garde and space rock ethos, minus the drugs part. But there are also some less good albums in both genres. Gili Smyth's band Mother Gong is missing the boat with this album which feels more like a piece of performance art than an album.

The mocking opening part is OK and the album then goes into a very attractive jazzy mode. Then we get some Australian didiroo or whatever that long piece of ancient aboriginal blowing instrument is called. It is one tone instrument and a good instrument. But some minutes of this becomes rather dull. Then we get some texts and poetry by Gili Smythe over some dissonant jazz and so this album continues to the end.

Put this on a stage and this will be just fine. But the lack of quality of this material really reveals itself in the album format. Frankly; this album is dull and featureless. It is also irritating taking into the account the purchase price. I am sure getting stoned would distort the qualities of this album and the stars would come flying. But as a cold sober reviewer; no stars for you........ sort of.

2 stars

 Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.57 | 21 ratings

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Mother Gong & Daevid Allen: The Owl And The Tree
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I really love Gong Egg's Trilogy - for their psychedelic craziness, few later PM Gong albums as excellent jazz fusion works. Numerous side-projects starting from late 70-s are of very different quality, from great to almost unlistenable.

Mother Gong is original Gong's singer Gilli Smyth side-project, based on participation of multi-instrumentalist Harry Williamson and some Gong family members. On "The Owl And The Tree" two more great artists participates - Daevid Allen and Catapilla's sax player Robert Calvert .

What we have here is excellent Gilli Smyth-led project - aerial, spacey music with touch of Canterbury, plenty of excellent jazzy sax soloing and psychedelic atmosphere. If you liked Gilli's moments on Egg Trilogy, but didn't had her participation enough, just take this album! Excellent concentrated Gilli's spoken/singing poetry, fantastic atmosphere, and less Allen's craziness. Fantastic light'n'bright poetic work, full of sax in air.

The only problem with this album for me is David Allen's two songs somewhere in the middle. Not like he sings badly, but his two compositions are out of place and destroy common album's atmosphere. Without these two songs, the album could be almost excellent. But Daevid's 14 minutes-long "I Am My Own Lover" ( the song that could be nicely placed on some Allen's solo album) just break that light and mystic atmosphere by it's regular craziness.

So - one of really great post original-Gong album, very recommended, especially to fans of Gilli's voice and spacey mystics.

 Robot Woman 3 by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1986
1.80 | 7 ratings

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Robot Woman 3
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BaldJean
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The third album of Mother Gong's Robot Woman trilogy is definitely the weakest. It suffers most severely from the absence of a drummer. Drum machines simply are horrible. I don't take the feminist lyrics of the Robot Woman albums too seriously; I think they are a bit tongue in cheek. While the first 2 albums told an abstruse yet coherent story though, the last one absolutely lacks coherence; it seems as if the band just put some snippets together for the third part. The sound of the synths is too 80s for my taste too. There are some good ideas here, so I won't give one star only, but on the other hand I can't give more than two either. Thankfully Mother Gong recovered with their following albums; there is some really excellent stuff among them, especially the album Wild Child.
 Robot Woman by MOTHER GONG album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.26 | 11 ratings

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Robot Woman
Mother Gong Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BaldFriede
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the first and best album of Mother Gong's Robot Woman trilogy. It features Guy Evans of Van der Graaf Generator on drums and Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine as guest musician on some tracks. It is about the adventures of Beta the robot woman, who wants to become a real woman. Itstarts with an unusually funky track, Disco at the End of the World. However funky it is though, this is not disco music at all. Yan Emeric adds some good guitar licks to the funky bass of Dane Cronenberg, and Didier Malherbe is just his usual self, which means excellent. The second track Robot Woman has something zappaesque to it and, although musically excellent, is definitely on the funny side too; you can almost hear Malherbe laughing on his sax. Machine Song features Steve Hillage of Gong and Nik Turner of Hawkwind and has a lot of Gilli's trademark space whisper (she never sighed that erotically before, in my opinion). Good guitar solo of Hillage too in that song. It floats into The Sea, which is more space whisper over drones, and then continues into Searching the Airwaves, which again is quite funky with some great sax by Didier Malherbe. Side two starts with Billy Bunker's Blues; think of the cowboy from Dr. Strangelove riding on the atomic bomb to earth singing a country song about the importance of his mission, and you get the impression. Good guitar picking by Yan Emeric. Military Procession is exactly that: marching drums and piccolo flute, with Gilly Smythe ranting about the stupidity of the arm's race until she gets grabbed by the crocodile-faced Customs Man. This leads into a number of that title, the middle of which is an instrumental freak out which lends the musical background to a monologue of the Customs Man, during which he rapes Beta. The song concludes with a great guitar solo by Yan Emeric which is among my top ten guitar solos of all time. The shamed and enraged Beta sets fire to the town in the next song, which is another monologue over instrumental freak-out. It leads into Red Alert; Billy Bunker seems to have launched his rockets. However, in Stars the world and all the rockets are frozen and turned into ice cream, and the world is given a second chance. The final song Australia is a satirical dub reggae in which Australia is praised for its safety of nuclear bombs. While the album is not as coherent as the predecessor Fairy Tales and has a few little downs the overall material is excellent, and I have to give it 4 stars.
Thanks to BaldJean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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