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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


GazeuseGazeuse
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$4.68
$4.19 (used)
YouYou
Extra tracks · Remastered
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$4.36
$5.98 (used)
Flying TeapotFlying Teapot
Snapper UK 2007
Audio CD$6.04
$7.28 (used)
Camembert ElectriqueCamembert Electrique
Snapper Music Group 2001
Audio CD$6.99
$6.40 (used)
Camembert ElectriqueCamembert Electrique
Snapper UK 2015
Audio CD$9.35
$9.36 (used)
Angels EggAngels Egg
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Virgin 2005
Audio CD$4.22
$4.48 (used)
20322032
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Audio CD$14.83
$15.94 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
David Robinson - Pay The Price/Version - Bad Gong(Ja) USD $7.80 [0 bids]
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MOTHER GONG 2006 11 track CD SEALED Daevid Allen USD $9.77 Buy It Now 6h 21m
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GONG THE FLYING TEAPOT / JPN GATEFOLD COVER / NM MINT- CLEAN VINYL GATEFOLD COV USD $219.99 Buy It Now 16h 37m
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GONG
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CD you
GONG
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GONG shows & tickets


  • GONG on 24 Oct 2015

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)

3.41 | 132 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.77 | 286 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.05 | 112 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.90 | 417 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.10 | 508 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.25 | 745 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.82 | 274 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.92 | 301 ratings
Gazeuse!
1976
3.73 | 192 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.45 | 121 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.90 | 84 ratings
Time Is The Key
1979
3.33 | 52 ratings
New York Gong - About Time
1979
2.98 | 47 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.49 | 33 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.55 | 32 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.74 | 24 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.46 | 53 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
2.13 | 23 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.54 | 75 ratings
Zero to Infinity
2000
3.77 | 58 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2003
2.93 | 37 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.10 | 99 ratings
2032
2009
3.91 | 87 ratings
I See You
2014

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

3.63 | 67 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.64 | 53 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.74 | 48 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.33 | 24 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.14 | 15 ratings
Live At Sheffield '74
1990
4.46 | 15 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.65 | 9 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
2.93 | 14 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.97 | 22 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
1995
3.72 | 11 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
1998
3.47 | 10 ratings
Live 2 Infinitea
2000
3.63 | 5 ratings
Glastonbury Fayre 1971
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
OK Friends
2002
3.67 | 16 ratings
Live In Sherwood Forest '75
2005
3.85 | 8 ratings
In the '70s
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sheffield City Hall 1976
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Paris Bataclan 1976
2013

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
2.96 | 7 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.50 | 8 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
4.04 | 5 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
3.02 | 10 ratings
The History and Mystery of the Planet Gong
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Gong
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Radio Gnome Trilogy
1995
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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Gong On Acid
2006
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sixty Minutes With Gong
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Soundcheck Preserves
2009

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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Shamal
1976
3.08 | 4 ratings
Opium for the People
1978
1.50 | 2 ratings
Downwind
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Sprinkling Of Clouds
1997

GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.77 | 286 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars No this isn't quite the "Radio Gnome Triology" despite the first short track being titled "Radio Gnome" but despite the lack of Steve Hillage's spaced out echo guitar trippiness, Daevid Allen in cahoots with Gilli Smyth manages to create a healthy dose of Canterbury psychedelia on his own terms. CAMBERT ELECTRIQUE is the second release by Daevid Allen's GONG and probably one of the most rockin' of the entire GONG discography. On this release it is Daevid Allen who plays guitar and bass as well as handling the expected vocal duties. BTW although my remastered copy says the first track is "Radio Gnome" i see it listed as "Radio Gnome Prediction" on the very first vinyl release as well as other subsequent releases. How clever, hmmm?

This is an interesting transition album that feels like it has connections to the heavy psych of the 60s while branching out its tentacles into a new 70s space rock style garnished with all the zaniness and humor that the Canterbury scene was so famous for. If you listen to the old Wilde Flowers and Soft Machine demos with Daevid Allen still in the band, you can trace some of these riffs to those days, only with the addition of Gilli Smyth's famous space whispering and the excellent addition of Didier Malherbe's excellent sax and flute to create some really good solid musical madness on this one. This is a great example of how to combine the Canterbury whimsy with space rock, progressive heavy rock and healthy doses of anarchic psychedelia with totally original experimental elements.

This indeed was time of the birth of the space age hippie music and Daevid Allen's decade long roster of ideas that were suppressed and underdeveloped really were allowed to bloom for the first time on CAMBERT ELECTRIQUE. This is really a fun album! Musically, lyrically, rhythmically etc. Just look at the zany titles of the songs: "Mister Long Shanks, O Mother, I Am Your Fantasy," "Dynamite: I Am Your Animal," "Fohat Digs Holes In Space!" This is just wonderful music being melodic, demented, innovative, unique, experimental, daring, sacrilegious, comical, uproarious and above all spaced out, maaaan! While most of GONG's discography displays complex band interactions, this is the one that screams out that it's Daevid Allen's baby and what a cute and adorable little baby it is! Sadly Daevid passed away recently on 13 MARCH 2015. Thank you Daevid for all this excellent music and R.I.P. No doubt this music will entertain for a very long time to come :)

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 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 87 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Gong is a very different band. Their music is surely unique and something unlike other formations of musicians you can think about. Earlier this year one of the brightest brains in the band and the band's leader Daevid Allen died 77 years old and "I see you" from 2014 became his last Gong record. Gong has had a big influence in prog music and therefore it's interesting to listen and see what I think about their music. The band has made twenty- three studio albums since 1969 and earlier I have heard their perhaps most famous one "Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 ? You" which I partially liked and now I tried "I see you" a record from last year!

The album is a bit more than an hour in length and it features some talanted musicians: Daevid Allen (guitar, vocals), Orlando Allen(drums, vocals), Dave Stuart(bass), Kavus Torabi(guitar), Fabio Golfetti(guitars), Ian East(sax, flute), Gilli Smyth(voice) and Mark Robson(keyboards). It's strange because me last reviewed record was Torabi's Knifeworld! The cover picture is quite fine and interesting but the music intrigues me more.

I find Gong's music very uneven if I relate it to my taste and preferencies. Something they really amaze me and I could state that they are so good! But then it comes a weird and psychedelic passage I just can't stand. I have hard to understand this music as a whole but I really enjoy pieces of it. My favourites here could be found in the beginning: "Occupy"(8/10) with a lovely sax that leads a strong melody and "The Eternal Wheel Spins"(8/10) which is so well played! Some other pieces are interesting as well: "When god shakes hands with the devil"(7/10), a heavy track, "Syllabub"(7/10) where I especially like the instrumental parts, "You see me"(7/10) and "Pixielation"(7/10) which i found so different but a bit prilliant too. One thing you really should avoid though is the last track of noises, I would do so I I'd listen again.

So we conclude that Gong's latest album supports us with a lot of interesting and good music. Especially when they use as much instruments as possible the result is mighty. I have enjoyed what I have heard and I got some special songs I really liked. My song to song rating ends at 3.17 which means three stars for "I see you".

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 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.77 | 286 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Friday 13th March, 2015. Listening to this mind-blowing Space-Prog offering from Canterbury eccentric Daevid Allen, who has sadly passed away this day, I dedicate my rather simplistic review of this wonderfully joyous album in memory of him. In those heady, early-60's days of self-consciousness and discovery, guitarist Daevid Allen graced some of those Wilde Flowers/Soft Machine/Caravan members with his prescence and incredible knowledge of obscure music/artists of the past, and pointed out their revolutionary ideas, which wormed their way into the conciousness of all folks within miles of him. Soft Machine with Daevid were right up there with Syd Barrett Floyd and even further stretching than the revolutionary Beatles offerings. The first, entirely band oriented album, Camembert Electrique, sees Allen joined with his partner Gilli Smyth (under many 'Yoni' variations, on her psychedelic ooh's and aaah's, referred to as 'space-whisper'), Drummer Pip Pyle (from Carol Grimes' Delivery, at this time), bassist Christian Tristch, Sax-Jazzer Didier Malherbe, and various other communal, tech space-heads who helped shaped this final slab of futuristic, sonic art. Each musician is adventurous on their respective instruments, and display a solid understanding of more complex musical forms and scales etc. Allen even forming his unique, Glissando-guitar technique, adding amazingly spacious textures when applied to any given piece of music. This, at least to my ears, is a truly eccentric album fusing much humour, Psychedelia, hard-rock, and complexity, as well as vividly colourful sonic experimentation and Jazzy inclinations, making for something really special. Peppered throughout the album are such amusing, Zappa-esque 'doodles' as Radio Gnome Prediction, Wet Cheese Delerium, Squeezing Sponges Over Policemen's Heads and Gnome The Second, all displaying a background of zany sounds which have been sped-up and looped, with child-like rants from Allen. Let me say this ; if you don't have a sense of humour, then skip this album, skip Gong altogether, in fact. Without getting too immersed in this rather unknown album, there are some long-ish cuts, of which the classic, heavy riff-laden You Can't Kill Me (obviously penned without cancer in mind.....), is rather well known, and the total spacey, bliss fest known as Fohat Digs Holes In Space, should be enough for the listener to be transported from their everyday drudgery. I find this a totally flawless, varied, and exciting album from late-1971, with a very 'new' sound, and has always been with me since years. No doubt an excellent album, but I grant this piece of historic Prog a glowing 5 stars, with respect to Daevid. Bless your soul, musical friend.

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 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 87 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There have been rumours that this will be GONG's last album, at least with Daevid Allen involved. If that is so they went out on a high(haha). This might be my favourite release by them, i'm just so blown away by how innovative this is and i'm surprised at the variety as well. I can hear pieces that remind me of their glory years and also things that i've never heard from this band before. It's really cool that Kavus Tobabi(KNIFEWORLD) is part of this band playing guitar. The album cover is very classy as well.

"I See You" opens with spoken words and cymbals as the drums and bass join in then it kicks into a full sound before a minute. This is catchy stuff with a spacey ending. "Occupy" is urgent and uptempo to start as the vocals come and go. It settles back just before a minute with the sax standing out then it kicks back in. I really like the contrasts. "When God Shakes Hands With The Devil" has almost spoken vocals and I love the guitar tone and style. I have to comment on the excellent drum work here and throughout this album. The flute is a nice touch as well. Such a cool track. Strangely i'm reminded of GENESIS during the mellow sections. There's a surreal and hazy mood on those lighter pieces.

"The Eternal Wheel Spins" has the drummer on vocals and I can't help but think of their "Continental Circus" record here with that driving rhythm and spacey atmosphere. Again the guitar sounds great. The sax after 2 minutes plays over top. Check out the Gliss guitar after 4 minutes then the other guitar is back to the fore a minute later. "Syllabub" is another track with some cool contrasts including a section that reminds me of their trilogy. Check out the dreamy psychedelia led by the sax starting 2 1/2 minutes in.

"This Revolution" has this melancholic and spacey atmosphere as Daevid speaks the lyrics even mentioning Gil Scott- Heron's classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". "You See Me" is catchy with sax and some killer drum work. There's almost a VDGG-like feel after a minute. An excellent instrumental. "Zion My T-Shirt" opens with children singing then before a minute they stop as the guitar cries out in a spacey vibe. Reserved vocals join in as well. So freaking good. A change in the mood 2 1/2 minutes in but it's brief as the previous sound returns. It picks up 4 minutes inwith spacey flute and it's very spacey late to end it. "Pixielation" sounds like it could have been off one of the trilogy albums both lyrically and instrumentally. It turns very spacey a minute in but it's brief as themes are repeated.

"A Brew Of Special Tea" is a short piece that is also very spacey with spoken words bringing "Continental Circus" to mind. "Thank You" sure sounds like a farewell song from Daevid. A lazy summertime mood to this one to start then it changes before 4 minutes as the vocals stop and it settles right down. Back to that earlier sound though before 8 minutes with vocals. "Shakti Yoni & Dingo Virgin" sounds like it could have been done by THE INVISIBLE OPERA COMPANY OF TIBET a GONG off-shoot. This is extremely spacey with space whispers from Gilli Smyth. Just a gorgeous piece that is almost 10 minutes long. I will say also that this is Daevid's creative piece on what it will be like passing on to the other side.

I'm very shocked at how amazing this record is, I mean what band who began life in the seventies makes albums this good in 2015? I don't know of any. 5 stars all the way. P.S. Daevid Allen has passed away less than a week after this review, very sad. It's his son Orlando playing the drums on this record and he's amazing plus he's a huge fan of GONG's classic period. Kavus mentioned that Daevid simply asked him to play on this album and when Kavus said "You haven't heard me play?". Daevid said he didn't need to and that he hired Mike Howlett back in the day without hearing him play, he just knew both were right for the band.

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 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 745 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The end of the Radio Gnome Invisible concept and practically the dissolution of the classic Gong line-up comes in 1974 with the third part of the trilogy ''You''.Pierre Moerlen's younger brother Benoit joined the band on percussion and Daevid Allen decided that this would be more of a team effort.He recalls: ''...I was contributing a lot of the material, that it was too much my original creation. It was time we created something completely together, so we booked up a cottage in England...we connected so strongly together out of the improvisations, we just improvised and recorded it...''.The album was recorded at the Manor Studios in London in July 1974 and was released on Virgin in October.Simon Heyworth, who had collaborated with Mike Oldfield and Clearlight, was the producer of the album.

This was denitely the most intense of all Gong albums, extremely dense in sounds and sights and an amalgam of jazzy improvisations, spaced out experiments and psychedelic weirdness.Tim Blake offers some of his best synthesizer work to be delivered in a Gong album, very cosmic and cinematic with some nice guitar parts by Hillage and the occasional jazzy tastes as proposed by Didier Malherbe's elegant flute lines and powerful sax assaults.''Master builder'' is a masterpiece of the style with great sax work over the guitar and synth moves, while ''A sprinkling of clouds'' may sound a bit hypnotic with its extended synth soundscapes, but ends up to be another Gong weirdness with a full jazzy background and the flute/sax prevailing in the second half.Additionally the sweet vocal parts and the light interplays connect the band for the first time with the delicacy of the Canterbury scene.''The Isle of everywhere'' and ''You never blow yr trip forever'' are the two long cuts (over 10 minutes each) dominating the flipside of the original LP.You cannot blame Daevid Allen for carrying ''...some wonderful acid and we took this acid together as a group...'' back at the time, the result was a pair of cosmic, trippy and deeply psychedelic Jazz-oriented pieces with narcotic rhythms, some funky injections and excellent guitar work by Hillage, while the second cut contains some of the most complex themes executed by Gong in a combination of Heavy/Psych Rock, Fusion and Space Rock with ethereal female voices, flute-led soloing and intricate guitar/sax moves.

Epitomizing what Space Fusion is all about (along with Clearlight).Propably the best part of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, the team effort had done good to the final result, which contains all of the Gong familiar elements: Psychedelic colors, jazzy interventions, poppy vocals and spacious landscapes.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Gazeuse! by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.92 | 301 ratings

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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
3.77 | 286 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
3.91 | 87 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by LearsFool

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
3.41 | 132 ratings

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Magick Brother
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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
3.05 | 112 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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