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GONG

Canterbury Scene • Multi-National


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Gong biography
GONG is a Space/Canterbury Rock group formed by Australian guitarist (formerly of SOFT MACHINE) Daevid Allan in Paris, France in 1968. He did not do it alone though, he & his wife, Gilli Smyth are the whole nucleus of that band with numerous band line-ups. "Magick Brother, Mystic Sister" is GONG's first release & the line up consists of: Didier Malherbe (sax), Christian Tritsch (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums) & of course, Daevid Allan (guitar & lead vocals) while his wife Gilli performed the spacey vocals. GONG's second release: "Camembert Electrique" is the beginning of Allan's ideas of Pot Head pixies, Radio Gnome's, & Octave Doctor's featured on later albums of "The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy" along with the Protagonist Zero The Hero, which consisted of "Flying Teapot" (1972), "Angel's Egg" (1973) & "You" (1974). After "Camembert Electrique" release also saw a new line-up & a steady one. The line-up consisted of: Didier Malherbe (sax) Mike Howlett (bass), Pierre Moerlen (drums), Steve Hillage (guitar), Tim Blake (synthesizers) & of course, Daevid (vocals & guitar) & Gilli (space vocals). This line-up would last until "You". When Allen, Smyth, & Blake departed due to dissatisfaction of being an instrumental band this led Pierre to be the leader & released "Shamal" in 1976. Hillage lost faith in the group & departed as well.

All of the "Radio Gnome Trilogy" albums & "Camembert Electrique" are great places to start for anyone interesting in GONG. "Magick Brother, Mystic Sister" is very raw, & not as technical or jam worthy as later GONG, but the Canterbury humor is still there. "Shamal" is the beginning of their Fusion sound that would be later presented on later albums. "Gong Live" features a good compilation of tracks performed live would also be good starter album.

: : : Alexander Vogel : : :

See also:
- Mother Gong

Discography:
With original year of issue and format.
Basic, incomplete, GONG-named band discography.
A more advanced, far-reaching, super-hyperlinked and inaccurate version will be made eventually....

Studio albums, live albums and singles:
1969 - Magick Brother-Gong BYG LP
1970 - Est-ce-que je suis-Gong BYG 7"
1971 - Camembert Electrique-Gong BYG LP
1971 - Continental Circus-Gong Phillips LP
1972 - Glastonbury Fayre Revelation 3LP-1 side live Gong...
read more

Gong official website

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Buy GONG Music


I See YouI See You
Madfish Records 2014
Audio CD$12.88
$18.32 (used)
YouYou
Extra tracks · Remastered
Caroline 2004
Audio CD$4.88
$4.59 (used)
Camembert ElectriqueCamembert Electrique
Snapper Music Group 2001
Audio CD$6.55
$4.99 (used)
I See YouI See You
Import
Imports 2014
Vinyl$33.30
$32.15 (used)
Angels EggAngels Egg
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Virgin 2005
Audio CD$5.43
$9.04 (used)
Flying TeapotFlying Teapot
Snapper UK 2007
Audio CD$6.55
$9.78 (used)
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16h 39m
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18h 47m
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19h 5m
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CD continental circus + ~ USD $16.12
CD magic brother ~ USD $16.28
CD the history & the mystery ~ USD $15.01
CD you ~ USD $14.50


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GONG shows & tickets


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GONG discography


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

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

3.39 | 118 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.72 | 258 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.04 | 100 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.89 | 376 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.10 | 462 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.27 | 677 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.82 | 253 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.92 | 277 ratings
Gazeuse
1976
3.73 | 182 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.45 | 114 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.89 | 77 ratings
Time Is The Key
1979
3.35 | 47 ratings
New York Gong - About Time
1979
2.97 | 41 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.48 | 29 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.54 | 28 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.76 | 18 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.45 | 49 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
2.09 | 18 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.53 | 69 ratings
Zero to Infinity
2000
3.82 | 49 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2003
2.93 | 29 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.11 | 92 ratings
2032
2009
3.86 | 34 ratings
I See You
2014

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

3.62 | 64 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.62 | 50 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.74 | 45 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.33 | 24 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.12 | 13 ratings
Live At Sheffield '74
1990
4.43 | 14 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.65 | 9 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
2.88 | 13 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.88 | 26 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
1995
3.68 | 10 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
1998
3.46 | 9 ratings
Live 2 Infinitea
2000
3.63 | 5 ratings
Glastonbury Fayre 1971
2002
3.60 | 22 ratings
Live In Sherwood Forest '75
2005
3.83 | 6 ratings
In the '70s
2006

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

3.24 | 13 ratings
High Above the Subterania Club 2000
2000
3.98 | 11 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2000
2.98 | 6 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.50 | 8 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
4.04 | 4 ratings
On French TV 1971 - 1973
2012

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

3.54 | 16 ratings
Wingful of Eyes
1986
3.00 | 9 ratings
The History and Mystery of the Planet Gong
1989
2.31 | 4 ratings
Family Jewels
1998
3.60 | 18 ratings
The Other Side Of The Sky (A Collection)
1999
3.21 | 9 ratings
The Best of Gong
2000
3.73 | 5 ratings
The World Of Daevid Allen and Gong
2003
4.08 | 3 ratings
Opium for the People (Compilation)
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sixty Minutes With Gong
2007

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

3.29 | 5 ratings
Est-Ce-Que Je Suis / Hip Hypnotize You
1969
3.08 | 4 ratings
Opium for the People
1978
1.50 | 2 ratings
Downwind
1979

GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gazeuse by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.92 | 277 ratings

BUY
Gazeuse
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by steelyhead

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 group on fire with a fenomenal drummer at the helm (just listen to the first song It gives me chills everytime I listen to It).

A solid record from a group who has a lot to offer yet. No silly lyrics, in fact there is no lyrics at all but You will not need them. This is just perfect.

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 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.72 | 258 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by steelyhead

3 stars This is the work of a group looking their way in the midst of different musical styles. It is not perfect yet but You can hear some good songs in the middle (Fohat Digs Holes In Space). The group boast the best sax player in prog rock (Didier Malherbe) and He is in full form here. So, this is not a total waste but a good CD to have around in case You are tired of the magical trilogy they spawned later. I just cannot stand The Byrds songs here, but this is 1971 and the best is yet to come for this group.

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 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.86 | 34 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars Well, past the three "Expresso" era albums, there has been a steady trickle of albums by various bands part of the Gong collective, and for the longest time none were better than decent. Imagine my surprise at the release of "I See You", where in 2014 we have a new Gong masterpiece. The Divided Alien has brought together old friends and new for a new record that is able to stand near the six classics of the Gong Mythos. The album is excellent, psycadelic leaning Canterbury goodness lasting a whole blissful hour. The music sounds like the band picking back up on the Radio Gnome era sound right off of the fusion leaning trilogy, handing us a soup of grooves and jokes as if it was 1973 all over again. There isn't too much more to say, as these aren't so much groundbreaking or retreading, just high quality tracks that take the style we all have nostalgia for and putting it into new songs. More than worth a listen, this is Allen's and Gong's homecoming tea party.

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 Magick Brother by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.39 | 118 ratings

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Magick Brother
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After Daevid Allen left Soft Machine he spent a few years continuing his beatnik lifestyle traveling around Europe and getting into mischief before finally recording his first album under the GONG moniker. Despite the band name this is more of an Allen album with equal billing given to Gilly Smyth who makes her debut on this first GONG album as the trippy poet and space whisperer who graced not only the GONG albums of the Allen era but also many of the solo offerings from band's members. MAGICK BROTHER has also been released as MAGICK BROTHER, MYSTIC SISTER and was released early in 1970. The album is really an accumulation of musical ideas that had been with Allen since leaving Soft Machine and since those years took place in the tumultuous late 60s it is no surprise that this album has its sound firmly rooted in 60s psychedelia and the lyrics in that same idealist Utopian vision of the hippie movement.

This is in fact an interesting crossroads for Allen's career where he finally got to put to tape all of those latent ideas that didn't make it into Soft Machine that fully embraced the most psychedelic aspects that rock had to offer at that time and the more progressive ideas that were finding their way into the world. This album came out after all those groundbreaking releases of 1969 and the musical landscape was changing quickly but Allen was finding away to keep those space rock sounds going and evolving them into the next phase. On MAGICK BROTHER you can hear hippie peace protest songs "Rational Anthem" next to fully fueled freakouts that sound more like something on a Krautrock album and would make contemporary trippers like Pink Floyd proud. My guess is that many mind-altering substances were consumed in the making of this one. You think?!!

The album is divided into two sides. The first is "Early Morning" and the second is "Late Night" but to be honest I can't really tell any difference between the two as they both contain hippie folk type songs and freaked out bizarreness. This is one that I wasn't impressed with upon first listen coming to it after all the better releases that followed but it has grown on me and is in fact an interesting little album in its own right. I would not recommend skipping this one since it has a charm all its own and provides a glimpse of GONG's origins. The only problem I have is some of the folkier songs are a little lackluster and could have used a little more fine tuning but overall it doesn't diminish my listening experience. 3.5 rounded up

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 Continental Circus by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.04 | 100 ratings

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Continental Circus
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Daevid Allen was well aware that making a soundtrack for a film was one way to get some extra cash in the early days, much like PINK FLOYD did early in their careers. Of course Allen was part of SOFT MACHINE in the mid sixties playing with FLOYD at the UFO Club and no doubt he followed PINK FLOYD's career. The film "Continental Circus" was about the Grand Prix Motorcycle circuit and in particular Australian Jack Findlay who had a great career of 20 years which is incredible since he wasn't part of a sponsored team but privately funded. We get sort of a stripped down version of GONG here of five members with Gilli Smyth taking care of almost all of the compositions and adding her space whispers as well. At around 34 minutes this certainly was a full length album back in the day and it contains four tracks.

"Blues For Findlay" has such an infectious melody with vocals, a relentless beat from Pip Pyle, and it's very much guitar driven. The lyrics are lame or silly but hey it's GONG and they are known for this. You can't help but move to the music here as the vocals come and go. Check out the prominant bass before 6 minutes. The drum work and guitar continue to impress. We get some spacey guitar before 8 1/2 minutes as it settles back some then it kicks back in late. "Continental Circus World" is the only miss really. Although this track which splices bits from the film along with music does give us some context to what the movie is about, and at 4 minutes it's by far the shortest track. We get lots of motorcylce sounds and bits where the drivers speak about different things.

"What Do You Want?" is my favourite and it starts with a bass solo(nice) as light drums join in followed by spacey guitar sounds from Allen. I love this stuff. Vocals from Daevid 6 minutes in as the trippy instrumental sounds continue although it is softened here. The guitar then becomes more aggressive and we get backing vocals from Gilli that are GONG 101. Sounds like sax after 7 minutes that will continue to the end as the vocals stop. The guitar is the focus though and we get brief vocals to end it. "Blues For Findlay-Instrumental" ends it and is self explanatory really although while we get the same beat and melody the guitar is spacey this time throughout, plus we get sax on this one.

Like my buddy Tom Ozric I can't give anything less than 4 stars as we get three long tracks that in my opinion are as good as any GONG tracks that will follow in their career. Mind you I really like when bands jam in a spacey and psychedelic manner.

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 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.72 | 258 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gong - Camembert Electrique (1971)

I've been a longtime listener of the Radio Gnome Trilogy (RGT), but finding this record on a vinyl is a different game. I was excited at first listen and what suprised me is the fact that 'Camembert Electrique' sounds very professional and well recorded - perhaps even better then the first two installments of the RGT. Of these four records that share the same style and ethos I think this one is most intense & bizarre, almost like avant-prog sometimes.

The album has some clear Canterbury/Zappa influences, but Daevid Allen' craziness has its own flavour. The lyrics already hint towards the themes of the RGT on some tracks, on other tracks it just plain silly in a hippiej fashion like on 'I've been stone before'. The musicianship is quite frantic on some tracks 'You can't kill me' & 'Dynamite', on other tracks the vibes are more relaxing. The second side is overall a bit more attractive for the progressive rock listener, whilst the first side is more psychedelic and acadic.

Conclusion. Very good record, though I'd prefer the less frantic approach of 'Flying Teapot'. For fans of Gong this is not to be skipped, fans of Canterbury and psychedelic/space rock might also want to give this a spin. Four stars!

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 Leave It Open by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.97 | 41 ratings

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Leave It Open
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

4 stars The ugly duck of the pond? Perhaps not, but this album appears to be rather unloved in comparison with Pierre Moerlen's other works. Sure, in many places it's a lot more laid-back, almost meditative and different to masterpieces like "Gaseuse!", "Expresso II", or "Downwind", whilst retaining elements of those, nevertheless.

The musicianship is excellent, tight drums, great "angelic" vibraphones, good guitar bits and the surprise contribution by eminent Jazz veteran Charlie Mariano (saxes) fail to achieve a lasting impression. Just how is that possible?

There is nothing wrong with the music. I can only assume that the sonic qualities of the mix are perhaps too slick and rather thin, something that my old vinyl LP also displays. A real pity as it appears that the dynamics had been badly compromised in order to produce a crisp and overly transparent end product .

I like this work very much, but a thoughtful remaster would make it much more enjoyable. 4 stars as it is.

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 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.27 | 677 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by ebil0505

5 stars In order to first get the appropriate amount of appreciation for this album, it's highly recommended that whoever listens to Gong starts with the first of the RGI trilogy. Only once you've traversed through "Flying Teapot" and "Angel's Egg" can the ending of this album really hit home.

"Thoughts for Naught" is the blissfully meditative intro to the final chapter of Zero the Hero's journey. Here the sillyness and psychedelic music are toned down in a welcoming whisper that eases the listener into the right mindset for a Gong album. "A PHP's Advice" is reminiscent of the "Flying Teapot" album, with quirky saxophone and, of course, clear instructions on how to live, or something. The transition into "Magick Mother Invocation" is simply flawless, and completely teleports the listener right out of Earth and into the planet Gong. Here the spacious soundscapes that we've come to familiarize with this band come to life. "Master Builder" is where the real magick happens; the peak of these first four songs and one of Gong's best musical works. By now, there is no question that this is the ultimate Gong experience.

"A Sprinkling of Clouds" is the Tim Blake tour de force; witness the keyboardist come to life like never before in a soaring, ever-increasing, mind-bending, reality-forsaking synthesizer/keyboard hurricane. The clouds get sprinkled with every note, and the picture is clearly painted in the listener's mind. This is one prog song to never give up on.

"Perfect Mystery", like the "The Pot Head Pixies" and "Sold to the Highest Buddah"s before it, blend catchy rhythms with amusing song lyrics/singing styles. It is the short and enjoyable breather before the next plunge into psychedelic chaos and all-out jam seshing.

"The Isle of Everywhere" gets a lot more jazzy than one might expect, but that is not for the worse. Here a more serious song-writing emerges from Gong. Intended for us to set our minds adrift in the great sea of music that is this song, there is no shortage of pleasurable jamming melodies. All members of Gong perform at their utmost best here and before you even realize what's going on, you've segued into the magnum opus that is "You Never Blow Your Trip Forever".

The fondness for the characters of planet Gong are wrapped up in a perfect conclusion that, as some people might attest, resemble the experience of tripping rather accurately. Doused with several separate melodies, Gong spaces them out and delivers them with just the right intensity so it becomes the perfect balance of good song-writing and goofy storytelling all wrapped up in one big ending. The reprising of several other songs in the past two RGI albums towards the middle of the song is sure to give goosebumps to even the most timid of prog rock listeners.

All in all, this is an album everyone needs because it is simply too perfect to not ignore. Especially for pot-head pixies. 10/10

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 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.10 | 462 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The second part of the Radio Gnome trilogy sees Gong moving to France and recording it during August 73' at the Manor Mobile at Pavillon du Hay, but the album was finally mixed at the Manor Studios in Oxford.The basic line-up of the group welcomes some new entries.Drummer Laurie Allan parted ways with Gong and more or less quit from music at the start of the 80's, Christian Tritsch also left Gong, the same occurs also with Francis Moze, who would rejoin them a couple of years later.Their replacements were crazy drummer Pierre Moerlen, Australian bassist Mike Howlett and female percussionist Mireille Bauer.Under the title 'Angel's Egg '', Virgin released the album at the fall of 1973, both for the French and English market.

The sound of Gong on this album is a bit more cohesive, eclectic and versatile compared to ''Flying teapot'', although the general style hasn't changed much.The album is divided into 13 short pieces, which flow from one to the other as a constant work, alternating between the established Space-Fusion trademark sound of Gong and more psychedelic parts with a bit of a dated sound.Nevertheless to combine with comfort so many different styles was some sort of an achievement and Gong did this pretty well, offering often extended instrumental parts with jazzy saxes and solid drumming by Moerlen, while Hillage's spacey guitar chops take the sound to another level.Malherbe's sax work seems to have been slightly inspired by the French enviroment during the time of the recordings, as there are some strong 60's influences in his work, which can be both romantic and angular.Lots of spacey underlines around are definitely a good thing with some obscure synthesizers delivered by Tim Blake and Hillage's guitar work always being consistent.Even some sparse flute passages by Moerlen are nicely executed and well within the bizarre, genuine atmosphere of the album.The most lyrical textures and the sporadic touches of a psychedelic past seem the hardest to get into moments, sounding rather unrelated to the intricate mood of the rest of the album.Some of Gilli Smyth's vocal parts though remain absolutely great and quite personal.

This Radio Gnome sequel is certainly an improvement over the first, uneven part.Spacey Psych/Prog with impressive jazzy influences, a style well-established by Gong on this delicate and strongly recommended work...3.5 stars.

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 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.27 | 677 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's something about the planet Gong experience that reminds me (in a non-musical way) of The Grateful Dead, or maybe Rush: an entire cult surrounds the band and its music, making a newcomer feel like an intruder in an exclusive club with an unwritten charter discouraging trespassers.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. It may take a little effort to go with the flow and get into the whole Pothead Pixie cosmology. But the band's high-flying hippie idealism offers an open invitation to everyone, giving intrepid listeners the chance to negotiate a thrilling rite of passage across one of the more colorful and eclectic intersections along the Progressive Rock highway.

All of Gong's conflicting musical impulses found their perfect balance in the closing chapter of the RGI album trilogy, notably also the final effort of the classic Gong line-up before the first of many confusing fragmentations. Even a veteran Proghead would be challenged to name another group able to shift so effortlessly between silliness and sobriety, with so much as a hiccup. From the giddy kindergarten melody of "A P.H.P.'s Advice" (longstanding acolytes won't need help deciphering the acronym) to the awesome Tibetan mantra of "Magick Mother Invocation" to the killer spacer jams heard in "Master Builder" and beyond, this is truly exciting stuff, arranged and played with a fluency uncommon even for its time.

The ongoing saga of Zero the hero reads like a psychedelic catalogue of Flower Child philosophies, albeit told with enough tongue-in-cheek detail to suggest a metaphysical parody. The humor keeps the album fresh after forty years, but the music itself was even more ahead (while still a part) of its time, revealing the missing link between Jazz Rock fusion and Space Rock exploration, with the saxophone acting as a sort of glue between them. The longer, more dynamic instrumental passages even anticipate the cosmic Arabian ragas of Ozric Tentacles (and other modern Proggers) by several decades.

The only reason the album doesn't crack the five-star plateau is because it sounds even better when heard in the context of the full trilogy. Otherwise, it's a quintessential slice of the '70s counterculture, but one that transcends the nostalgia value of its age.

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