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GONG

Canterbury Scene • Multi-National


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Gong biography
Formed in Paris, France in 1968 - Disbanded in 1976 - Reformed intermittently since 1990

GONG is a Space/Canterbury Rock group formed by Australian guitarist (formerly of SOFT MACHINE) Daevid Allen. 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 Allen (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:
- DASHIELL HEDAYATT "Obsolete"
- Mother Gong

Discography:
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GazeuseGazeuse
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$4.91
$8.02 (used)
Magick BrotherMagick Brother
Import
SNAPPER MUSIC LTD. 2017
Audio CD$6.57
$6.56 (used)
20322032
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Audio CD$8.76
$8.75 (used)
Continental CircusContinental Circus
Import
Flawed Gems
Audio CD$21.89
$103.00 (used)
Expresso 2Expresso 2
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$10.88
$9.25 (used)
Flying TeapotFlying Teapot
Import
SNAPPER MUSIC LTD. 2007
Audio CD$6.10
$6.09 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
T. REX 7" RECORD Bang A Gong + Raw Ramp single USD $4.00 [0 bids]
GONG & CLEARLIGHT ON TOUR ADVERT - 8 NOV 1975 USD $8.48 Buy It Now
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GONG - SHAMAL (NEW CD) USD $5.30 Buy It Now
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Steve Hillage - Not Fade Away (Glid Forever) UK 7 inch Single Like New ! Gong USD $9.99 Buy It Now
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Welcome to Jamrock [PA] by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley (CD, Sep-2005, Universal) USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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Pack 1 The Lonely and Great God Dokebi Goblin Guardian Tvn Drama OST Gong Yoo USD $28.00 [0 bids]
Poul Ruders: Solar Trilogy - Gong, Zenith, Corona (CD, Jun-1997, Dacapo) USD $7.99 Buy It Now
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Here & Now 'Standing Forever' 12" single,GONG USD $2.59 [0 bids]
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Gong LP Camembert electrique UK Virgin 1st Press LOVELY COPY & TOP SLEEVE ++++++ USD $25.23 [7 bids]
Gong LP Radio gnome invisible pt 1 UK Virgin 1973 Press NICE COPY ++++++ USD $19.25 [5 bids]
Gong LP Shamal UK Virgin 1st Press WONDERFUL COPY BE HARD TO FIND BETTER SWWWWW USD $33.20 [3 bids]
Gong LP Angels egg UK Virgin 1st Press & Booklet & stickered cover ++++++ USD $107.56 [8 bids]
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GONG YOU vinyl LP . UK 1ST PRESS IN NM Steve Hillage Space Rock TOP PROG USD $66.39 [0 bids]
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PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Time Is The Key ARISTA LP NM USD $8.00 [0 bids]
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IKETTES I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) 45 rpm WHITE LABEL PROMO Atco 1961 SOUL USD $19.95 [0 bids]
2h 45m
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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)

3.44 | 154 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.81 | 340 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.12 | 138 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.93 | 484 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.12 | 585 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.24 | 889 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.81 | 316 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.93 | 353 ratings
Gazeuse!
1976
3.73 | 241 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.48 | 153 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.92 | 104 ratings
Time Is The Key
1979
3.30 | 63 ratings
New York Gong: About Time
1979
2.99 | 57 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.51 | 45 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.53 | 44 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.81 | 34 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.49 | 69 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
2.21 | 30 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.51 | 96 ratings
Zero To Infinity
2000
3.80 | 76 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2003
2.95 | 48 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.14 | 122 ratings
2032
2009
3.95 | 154 ratings
I See You
2014
3.88 | 119 ratings
Rejoice! I'm Dead
2016

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

3.64 | 79 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.65 | 64 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.74 | 63 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.30 | 31 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.22 | 18 ratings
Live At Sheffield '74
1990
4.25 | 27 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.69 | 11 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
3.00 | 16 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.93 | 29 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
1995
3.73 | 12 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
1998
3.49 | 12 ratings
Live 2 Infinitea
2000
3.61 | 6 ratings
Glastonbury Fayre 1971
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
OK Friends
2002
3.65 | 21 ratings
Live In Sherwood Forest '75
2005
3.85 | 8 ratings
In the '70s
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sheffield City Hall 1976
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
Paris Bataclan 1976
2013

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

3.28 | 19 ratings
High Above the Subterania Club 2000
2000
3.94 | 15 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2000
2.90 | 12 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.18 | 11 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
3.80 | 5 ratings
Live At The Family Unconventional Gathering
2008
3.93 | 9 ratings
On French TV 1971 - 1973
2012

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

3.56 | 18 ratings
Wingful of Eyes
1986
3.02 | 10 ratings
The History and Mystery of the Planet Gong
1989
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Gong
1995
4.33 | 3 ratings
Radio Gnome Trilogy
1995
2.36 | 5 ratings
Family Jewels
1998
3.60 | 15 ratings
The Other Side Of The Sky (A Collection)
1999
3.27 | 11 ratings
The Best of Gong
2000
3.74 | 6 ratings
The World Of Daevid Allen and Gong
2003
4.08 | 3 ratings
Opium for the People (Compilation)
2006
2.00 | 1 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
3.00 | 2 ratings
Shamal
1976
3.08 | 4 ratings
Opium for the People
1978
2.00 | 3 ratings
Downwind
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
A Sprinkling Of Clouds
1997

GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.93 | 484 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Although he can take credit for founding Soft Machine and pretty much kickstarting the whole Canterbury Scene of progressive rock only to leave that very band before the debut recording emerged AND a lengthy career to follow as a solo artist and beyond, Daevid Allen aka Divided Alien would best be remembered for the three albums that make up the RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE trilogy which began with VOL 1 - FLYING TEAPOT released on 23 May 1973 and was quickly followed up by "Angel's Egg" released on 7 December 1973 and "You" in October 1974. After three albums of pretty much leading his infamous GONG which juxtaposed his beat inspired pixie poetry with the radical free spirit psychedelic swing, Allen pretty much shook the GONG tree only to watch old members fall as totally new ones joined the ranks.

FLYING TEAPOT was the first incarnation of the much larger "classic" GONG era which would only grow larger for the following albums that concluded the trilogy. The first thing that is evident is that FLYING TEAPOT greatly expands the overarching sound of the GONG universe not only conceptually but in the lineup expanding from a mere five band members to a whopping nine which would include newbie Steve Hillage on guitar and ex-Magma bassist Francis Moze (who also contributes piano). The zany antics of Daevid Allen with his psychedelic swing band of the early 70s GONG found their greatest success and legendary status with their RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE series which initiates the great GONG mythology and is about, and i have to quote here since i could not make this up any better:

"The story begins on the album Flying Teapot (1973) when a pig-farming Egyptologist called Mista T Being is sold a 'magick ear ring' by an 'antique teapot street vendor & tea label collector' called Fred the Fish. The ear ring is capable of receiving messages from the Planet Gong via a pirate radio station called Radio Gnome Invisible. Being and Fish head off to the hymnalayas of Tibet (sic) where they meet the 'great beer yogi' Banana Ananda in a cave. Ananda tends to chant 'Banana Nirvana Mañana' a lot and gets drunk on Foster's Australian Lager."

Carrying on with the Canterbury whimsical jazz-rock of his earlier albums, the new GONG becomes laced with more surreal bouts incorporating sudden diversions into serpentine psychedelic meanderings that add enough humor to swear you really did drink too much of the magic tea and went on a Monty Python binge watch. The album begins the trilogy with an instant dip into the devilishly deviated tripper's paradise of the track "Radio Gnome Invisible" which not only includes Allen's happy hippie-go-lucky jittery jaunts into frenetic little time signature freak outs but offers a true glimpse into the entire career of the Cardiacs with this one song. Yeah, the jazzy trade offs with the freak fueled vocal capers just reek of the 80s zolo merry pronk-sters who simply added a little punk, Cockney accented attitude and an upped appreciation for the frenzied off-kilter zaniness of it all.

"Flying Teapot" the track, takes a different approach and debuts the psychedelic spaced detached segments that would become a staple on the following "Angel's Egg" and "You" with Hillage and newbie synthesist Tim Blake cranking out some of the meanest free form space jazz augmented by the sax and flute flexibilities of Didier Malherbe who stuck around for the wild ride. Allen also displays some of his most adept vocal skills as he basically raps while the bass slowly descends into a funky groove that emerges from the formless spaciness that preceded. As the longest track on the album (12.5 min) this one offers the most variety of little silly scenarios and the most adept track of blending Allen's silly psych swing jazz-rock with the synthesized space wind sounds. This one actually has GONG (the instrument) sounds in it!!!

"The Pot Head Pixies" is a pure Allen concoction most like his former albums offering a glimpse of how the stoner beatnik existed before the transition into the higher realms of the FLYING TEAPOT universe which is followed by the short "The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine" which contrasts by going purely space synth. The true treat of the album comes at the end with the one / two punch of "Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell" immediately followed by the behexing charm of "Witch's Song / I Am Your Pussy" which together display the most sophisticated songwriting chops of the new band that show the evolution from the actors playing their respective parts to coming full force into a bona fide tour de force of a band sound that is the perfect teaser for the album's that follow. The former actually sounds more like a Pink Floyd track before it totally morphs into some fantastical tribal pixie world accompanied by some of the silkiest and smoothest sax blowing sessions on the album.

Gilli Smyth finally gets her day in the sun after being hidden behind the scenes for too long as she totally takes the bull by the horns and offers some of the swankiest poetic prowess permissible by law climaxing with orgasmic gleeful giggling as she narrates her promiscuous escapades with the sultry psychedelic swing jazz accompanying her seductive space whispers. FLYING TEAPOT is amazing! I totally concur that this is the weakest of the RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE trilogy but the first installment is never supposed to be that highlight or that would defeat the purpose! This one is totally satisfying and the absolute perfect album to whet the old appetite for the much grander and more sophisticated following albums that push the story and sound of GONG to higher dimensions. If this had been as good as those albums, the band would have blown their wad on this one album. Personally this one has been the hardest to get into mostly due to its poorer production compared to the next two, however this is one helluva fun album that is absolutely brilliant. If this didn't click the first time, do try again for it is one amazingly unique album even within the GONG universe itself.

 Continental Circus by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.12 | 138 ratings

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Continental Circus
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Tucked between the early days of GONG when every aspect of the band's direction was at the whim of founder Daevid Allen and the more group oriented Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy albums is the lesser celebrated CONTINENTAL CIRCUS which was in reality an original soundtrack of music for the 1972 film documentary of the same name that was directed by Jérôme Laperrousaz. The film (which i've never seen) is a race car flick about the 1970 Grands Prix 500cc and stars Jack Findlay and Giacomo Agostini. The album was technically released as GONG avec DAEVID ALLEN but is actually the same exact lineup as "Camembert Electrique" with Pip Pyle on drums, Christian Tritsch on bass, Didier Malherbe on sax and flute and Allen's life partner and space whisperer extraordinaire Gilli Smyth.

This soundtrack is basically three tracks and with an instrumental reprise of the opener "Blues For Friday" which is perhaps one of the tightest and heaviest type of songs that has been released in the greater GONG universe. The track is quite long for a heavy rocker at over eleven minutes long and sounds a lot more like a more melodic and upbeat track off of King Crimson's "Red." It contains a typical progressive rock jam type feel with heavy guitar and bass riffing, some jammy soloing and hard hitting drumming during the first part of the track but slowly turns into a Daevid Allen rap as he dishes out some mean verbal juggling for 1972! During this period he sounds a lot like Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground. The sax gives it a veritable jazzy vibe at times. Toward the end it becomes more psychedelic as the bass becomes more jittery and that recognizable space breeze whisks across the musical soundscape adding a whole layer of trippiness.

While the opener was a pretty cool prog rock type of tune about race car driving, the following "Continental Circus World" actually sounds like a sound collage of a race car movie with roaring engines whizzing by and anthemic track music blazing in the background. Emerging from the sampled sounds comes a psychedelic sound collage of spoken word parts, more race car engines and an energetic rock tune trying to dominate the soundscape but continually gets pushed back to reveal the spoken words and race cars. This one sounds more like an early Faust type of track than anything. "What Do You Want?" jumps back into the music with heavy bass and cymbal action as the guitar psychedelically slithers in as if it were a Pink Floyd reject looking for a new home but ultimately becomes one of those quirky Canterbury jazzy rocker tunes that Allen is so adept at crafting. He also pummels out some of his most intense guitar solos on this one, a feat he would never have the chance to do again once Steve Hillage joined the GONG gang. The "Blues For Findlay" reprise is nice as an instrumental but a little redundant.

When it comes to rating soundtracks i always have to keep in mind that what is excellent music for appearing on screen with the appropriate visuals does not automatically translate into an interesting listening experience without the visual context for which the tracks have been created. In the case of CONTINENTAL CIRCUS, the tunes do indeed hold up quite spectacularly on their own and sound superbly executed even if you have absolutely no idea what film they are supposed to supplement. This is very much a Daevid Allen led GONG album with no idiosyncrasies left behind for the sake of anonymity. This is the definitely the heaviest and most rocking album of the entire GONG canon and deserves kudos simply for that fact. Personally i love this a lot. Every track is great and the reprise of "Blues For Findlay" doesn't detract one little bit. The tune is so catchy and rocks out so intensely that i actually love hearing it a second time. This one is much better than many make it out to be. Excellent work by all musicians on board with an extra special shout out to Pip Pyle on drums.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.93 | 484 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by hi_t_moonweed

4 stars Funnily enough I managed to acquire this album in late 1973. I "found" it in a local record store while working in a small country town. As the cover suggests it is not most straight laced album or band on the planet and the store owners were as pleased to offload it as I was to buy it. This album was my first encounter with Gong and the band has never disappointed. TFTP is a very interesting album as there is as much going on, on the vinyl as there is on the gate fold (but that is another story). Every listener has their own tastes and opinions which is why albums like this one are not easy to review. Personally I very much enjoy this album, as it is light-hearted as well as musically sound as easy to digest. If you don't take the content too seriously, you may actually enjoy the journey to planet GonG. I am, you are, we are-crazy-.
 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 154 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars What an inspiration both Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth proved to be on their final Gong work together, 2014's `I See You'. The fact that they were able to contribute to an album during oncoming health issues is admirable enough, but the fact that it's a superb work almost on the same level of their defining Seventies discs is a very welcome miracle! Hardly some sad `old-man' retro excursion, `I See You' lovingly embraces all the classic Pothead Pixie-era elements that Gong-ladites love about the band, but roots it firmly in a modern sound delivered by a younger collection of musicians behind the older yet ageless Gong figureheads, and the results sound completely inspired and a band more focused and alive than ever.

So much to love about the classic Gong era permeates the self-titled opener, racing through everything from a loopy and playful Daevid Allen vocal so full of mischievous spirit, gnarling guitar twists, mysterious drifting voices to eerie glissando guitar tendrils. `Occupy' is a breakneck punk-rocking blast that cuts in and out of Ian East's dreamy sax wafts, and the psychedelic `God and the Devil Shake Hands' is lyrically cheeky and damning as it moves around reprising spiralling dirty flute and sax themes, Allen purring an almost rapping drowsy drawled vocal, and there's just a trace of King Crimson-esque metallic danger towards the end! Gilli's ethereal space whisper floats gracefully throughout the deep space-rock atmospheres of `The Eternal Wheel Spins', both Kavus Torabi and Fabio Golfetti's guitars moving between drifting ambient drones, urgent spasms, manic eastern flavoured motifs and Ozric Tentacles-like shimmerings.

`Syllabub' is a Zappa-inspired impish romp with a whimsical jazzy backing (just dig that supremely spacey instrumental break in the middle though!), `This Revolution' a political-themed spoken-word poetry interlude, and `You See Me' a spacey reprised improvisation highlighted by jagged guitars, Orlando Allen's skittering drumming and Dave Sturt's pumping bass. `Zion my T-Shirt' then proves to be a welcome come-down of reflective verses, darkness and sadness tinged spoken-word passages, murmuring bass ruminations and crystalline ambient caresses, with parts of the piece reminding of both Porcupine Tree's `Don't Hate Me' (which had its Gong-like elements as well) and the introspective thoughtfulness of `Wise Man in Your Heart' off Gong's superb 2000 album `Zero to Infinity'. The eccentric and joyful `Pixielation' jumps between bouncing Daevid loopiness and a range of cool instrumental interludes, and `A Brew of Special Tea' is a hypnotic and disorientating cut up tape- loop sound collage.

To end the disc, `Thank You' shambles with a delicious bluesy lurch and is a fond farewell to everyone ever involved with Gong and those who've embraced the spirit of the group over the decades, and `Shakto Yoni and Dingo Virgin' a final celestial glissando and wordless sighing voice drone that reaches the highest heavens. These two pieces could not make for a more dignified and appropriate send-off from both Daevid and Gilli, and it closes this era of Gong perfectly.

One of the absolute strongest releases to appear under the Gong tag since probably `You', and definitely the best Allen/Gong related work since `Zero 2 Infinity', `I See You' has all the psychedelic strangeness, satirical lyrics and unpredictable direction changes you could want to find on a Gong album, and the younger musicians (well, younger than Allen!) here proved to be the perfect musical contributors to support the stalwarts of the group. It's hard to think of a better farewell than this to Allen and Smyth (both who passed relatively soon after its release), and fans of the `Magick Brother' through to `You' era of the band that haven't looked into the group since those works should absolutely give this a shot.

Five flying teapots for a modern classic, and truly a work for Gong fans to treasure.

 Gongmaison: Gongmaison by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.81 | 34 ratings

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Gongmaison: Gongmaison
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Graham Clark!

I saw Daevid Allen live in Edinburgh in a small club in the fall of 1989, on his comeback tour where he introduced Gongmaison. He began the show with just himself in a Wizard costume, playing harmonium and then acoustic guitar, with the rest of the Gongmaison members slowly joining him. At the time, there were only a few members, including Graham Clark on violin, and Shamal Maitra on tabla and percussion. The songs he played are found on this album, on the Owl and the Tree album (with Gilly Smyth and Mother Gong), and on his Australia Aquaria album (brought together nicely in the collection "Gentle Genie"). These are all great tunes, clearly written over a number of years before these shows, except "Flying Teapot" of course - at the show I saw, Gilly Smyth and Mother Gong also got up and played a set, and they all came together at the end to play Flying Teapot. But the Gongmaison songs are all high quality. Graham Clark's violin playing is particularly wonderful. Daevid rarely played with a violin in his band, but the years with Clark produced some really great music (Clark co-wrote some of the music that appeared on Shapeshifter, as well as "Blame the Rich" on Gentle Genie). This Gongmaison album is pretty short, with only six songs and a short version of Flying Teapot, and so I can only give this 7.5 out of 10 (3 PA stars). Better to pick up the Gentle Genie album, which has most of this album plus the best tunes from those other two albums - that one is really worth it.

 Shamal by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 316 ratings

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Shamal
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Missing Daevid Allen.

While the band felt they could make excellent music with Daevid and Gilly gone (on break), and should have been able to, this album demonstrates just how important they were to the band in every way. Musically, the music is no longer zany and playful, but becomes more jazz-rock-fusion, and much less musical. But the real kicker is the singing. Daevid Allen not only wrote wonderful, fun, lyrics, but he was a great singer. The singing on this album is horrendous, and the lyrics are just as bad. This album would have been better as an instrumental, at least that way it would have been listenable all the way through (even if boring). Nick Mason produced this, and I am surprised he didn't make the band re-think the singing/lyrics here. As it is, songs like "Wingful of Eyes", "Bambooji" and "Shamal", which could have been decent enough, become unlistenable. I was almost tempted to give this 1 star, but there is some good musicianship in places here, and Steve Hillage's guitar solos are always great. But to think that this followed right after You - the two albums are so completely in different leagues in every way. Daevid Allen would thankfully return to the band, and they would make some great live albums in the late 1970s (and reform in the 1990s, and continue until his death). This album functions mainly to show how much of a contribution he really made. On balance, I give this album 4.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 2 PA stars. Only for true fans of the non-Allen Gong.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.93 | 484 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

5 stars Totally Original. Totally Fun.

Gong is one of the few bands/composers that can make one laugh just through strictly instrumental music, but of course there are also funny vocals!. Add in great musicianship, a willingness to go out on a limb (and enjoy it), Gilly Smyth's provocative space-whisper innuendo, and Daevid Allen's zany ideas and lyrics, and it adds up to a unique and original musical experience. Gong was/is a hugely innovative band, and Daevid Allen would continue making great (and sometimes not-so-great) music for another 40+ years (sometimes with Gong, his brainchild). This is the first of the Gong Radio Gnome 'trilogy' (with Angels Egg, and You), and it sets the tone, and the high standards, for those others. This music was written and rehearsed while the band were living communally in a rented house in rural France, sharing everything, and they really do seem to gel well together in the trilogy. While all three albums are really excellent, and each has their particular qualities ('Angels Egg' sticks more closely to its story, 'You' indulges in more psychedelic jams, etc), I like this one the best for its sheer originality. Every track is excellent and necessary to the album. The theme song still makes me laugh each time I hear it, and I have probably played this to death (to the point that my family won't let me or my son put this on any more!). Flying Teapot is such a classic jam (also with great instrumental humour!). The tunes that make up side 2 are either really musical ("Octave Doctors/Crystal Machine", "Witches Spell) or they are iconic countercultural rock statements (Witch's Song). I give this album 9.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which puts it in the 5 PA star range.

 Rejoice! I'm Dead by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 119 ratings

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Rejoice! I'm Dead
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A wonderful; gift was at my door today. Long live Gong! My first encounter was Expresso, then Shamal, then Time Is The Key. All incarnations are great in their wonderful way. My last encounter was Pwntanune. Daevid had nothing but respect for the uncarnatuins he wasn't in on and U think he'd totally enjoy this incarnatuin. I know there will no doubt be some fans of Daevid and Gillis' Gong but please listen to this with an open mind. Daevid left us in March of last year but he is still with us. He brought wonderful weirdness to music. While Kavus has carried on the legacy, He and Gilllie will be sorely misses. So long and thanks for all the tunes.
 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 340 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After the release of Gong's debut album, Magick Brother, in March 1970, the group moved to a 12-room hunting lodge, Pavillion du Hay, in the French countryside, located near Voisines and Sens. The band's drummer and percussionist, Rachid Houari, left and was replaced with an English musician, Pip Pyle, previously on drums with Delivery, Steve Hillage's Khan, and briefly with a blues rock outfit Chicken Shack. In the line-up consisting of Daevid Allen, Gill Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch, and Pip Pyle, the group recorded the official soundtrack to a film by Jérôme Laperrousaz, Continental Circus. In addition, they got to play at the Glastonbury Festival. In June of 1971, Gong entered the doors of Château d'Hérouville to record Camembert Electrique, which was released on the French BYG Actuel label in October of the same year.

First thing that catches one's eye before listening to the music on the album is its strange, eccentric art. The front cover portrays a black-and-white mandala with various comedic sketches, drawings, and captions around the name of the band and the album. On the back, we can see a photo of all the band members in strange outfits. The track and personnel listing as well as liner notes look to be handwritten with numerous rhymes and puns. The big signature strangely reads: "THIS IS THE FIRST ALBUM BY GONG THE BAND AND FAMILY RECORDED IN FRANCE IN 1971.". Furthermore, every musician gets their own nickname. Didier Malherbe, the saxophonist and flautist, gets the alias of "BLOOMDIDO BAD DE GRASSE" and is said to play "sassy sax" and "floating flute". Christian Tritsch, playing "aqualung bass", gets the title of "SUBMARINE CAPT." Pip Pyle's name does not change, but one will spot a caption "PIP THE HEEP" on the front cover. The instruments Pyle plays include "drumns" and "breakage". Daevid Allen names himself "BERT CAMEMBERT", while Francis Linon, the band's live sound engineer listed as "switch doctor and mix master" gets the moniker of "VENUX DE-LUXE." Gill Smyth, Allen's partner, is nicknamed "SHAKTI YONI". Robert Wyatt's son, Sam, is pictured with the band members. In addition, Gong invited two guests to help them record their album. Edouard Louise, nicknamed "EDDY LOUISS", plays Hammond organ and piano on one of the tracks. Constantin Simonovitch plays what is described as "phased piano" on one piece.

Daevid Allen's odd, comedic musical vision presented on Gong's first album, Magick Brother, is continued with Camembert Electrique. The cosmic, psychedelic atmosphere is omnipresent. In addition, the tongue-in-cheek arrangements, unorthodox harmonic solutions, and strange lyrics play a crucial role in the album's distinctive sound. Didier Malherbe recalls that one of the key elements to the unique character of Gong's music was the inexplicable doctrine, pataphysics. Although one will still be able to detect elements of the sixties' psychedelic boom, it is undoubtedly being estranged with more modern methods being put in the foreground. One thing that remains very similar is the application of influences from jazz, specifically artists such as Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Ornette Coleman. The overall delivery of the music seems to be aimed at approaching the listener with unexpected, startling, and at times even baffling and superficial moments. Although it may occasionally seem like it, Camembert Electrique is by no means a pretentious creation, with every idea or thought actually contributing to the final result.

The album opens with odd high-pitched voices and electronic effects of "Radio Gnome Prediction", which quickly dissolve into "You Can't Kill Me". The piece basically sets the mood for the rest of the album with its cosmic jazz-rock theme. One of the highlights of the track is the way Daevid Allen's singing matches the phrasing of his guitar and Didier Malherbe's saxophone parts on odd rhythm patterns. "I've Bin Stoned Before" begins as a slow, solemn, yet amusing march dominated by vocals and liturgical Hammond organ. The piece descends into psychedelic madness, which opens "Mister Long Shanks/O Mother/I Am Your Fantasy". This song has somewhat of a count-out-rhyme feel in its opening. The theme is quickly dropped for "O Mother", which sounds a bit like an avant-garde take on a simple pop song. "I Am Your Fantasy" part is much calmer, spacey, almost ambient with Gill Smyth's gentle, feminine voice. On the contrary, "Dynamite/I Am Your Animal" begins with a punchy motif that is repeated with new sounds added every four bars. Then, an ominous groove in an odd time signature kicks in, with Daevid Allen's whimsical, peculiar yelling and weeping. The motif from "You Can't Kill Me" appears towards the end of the song. "Wet Cheese Delirium" closes the side similarly to how it was opened, with sampled voices and electronic sounds. It also features a locked groove, which is especially interesting, if you are listening to the album on vinyl. Side two is opened with "Squeezing Sponges Over Policemen's Heads", which yet again consists of vocal and electronic samples. "Fohat Digs Holes In Space" begins with a cosmic jazz-rock jam. Then, the main theme is introduced, dissolving into a more song-oriented scenario. "And You Tried So Hard" has somewhat of the Revolver-era Beatles-like feel. That is until the more varied parts kick in. But even with that, it is clear that the song follows a more traditional pop pattern. "Tropical Fish/Selene", being the last true piece of the album, emphasizes all of Camembert Electrique's basic ingredients - psychedelic rock, quirky jazz, odd rhythmic patterns, odd lyrics, contrasted segments. Daevid Allen's last words on "Tropical Fish/Selene" are "Ca-mem-bert E-lec-trique", as if concluding and summing up the whole listening experience. Similarly to all other side openers and closers, "Gnome The Second" compiles odd samples and also features a locked groove.

Dripping with exaggerated psychedelic weirdness and unorthodox musicianship, Camembert Electrique witnesses the meeting of space rock, psychedelia, jazz-rock, and high-quality cabaret. The album is an incredibly fascinating and rewarding journey through the band's sophisticated, tangled fantasy. Furthermore, this release points the way towards what is known as Gong's "classic" era - the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy. A pivotal record and simply plain joy to listen to. Highly recommended!

 Magick Brother by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.44 | 154 ratings

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Magick Brother
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After touring Europe with Soft Machine in August 1967, Daevid Allen was rejected to enter the United Kingdom due to overstaying his visa on previous staying. Allen settled in Paris and together with his partner, Gilli Smyth, he formed a band called Gong along with a few other side projects such as the Bananamoon Band. The two also took part in the 1968 Paris protests and later settled in Deià, Mallorca, where they had met a poet Robert Graves on their previous visit. In August 1969, they returned to Paris and recorded their debut album Magick Brother with Gong, which was released under the BYG Actuel label. At the time, the group did not have a bass player, so it was up to Allen to play the instrument. He also invited guest musicians, notably Barre Phillips, a renowned double bass player, who had previously performed with Eric Dolphy, Jimmi Giuffre, and Archie Shepp, Burton Greene, a pianist, who had played with Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, and a wind player Didier Malherbe, who would later become one of the members of the "classic" Gong era.

Since his very first days in Soft Machine, it was clear that Daevid Allen was a forward-looking, unorthodox, and immensely original individual. Brian Hopper, formerly of the Wilde Flowers with Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, and Richard Sinclair to name a few, recalls meeting Allen for the first time: "[Daevid] showed up at Robert Wyatt's parents' house along with which he brought his own record collection, which was quite eclectic. And he was the first, I suppose, really hippie sort of person we'd met at that stage, you know, he was quite a sort of phenomenon, if you like, that arrived on the scene." Allen's musical vision comprises various diverse element, which fructify in a complex, odd, moody, tounge-in-cheek whole. Jazz influences are the most evident of all, reflected by swinging arrangements, free-jazz-like passages, and harmonic solutions. However, these only provides the basis for the music on Magick Brother. Avant-garde elements such as spoken word, storytelling, melody-less ambient parts, are introduced and play a crucial role in Gong's distinctive musical formula. Everything is topped with somewhat of a cosmic topping to it, whether it be lyrics, long reverb tails or quirky modulation effects. Most of all, the band builds on the legacy of the psychedelic boom of the sixties, with its escapist, hippie, trance-like feel.

Isn't it amazing that the first seconds of the very first Gong album are a sound of an oriental-sounding gong? "Mystic Sister/Magick Brother" is somewhat of a display of magic that one is dealing with on the album, being a hippie folk ballad opened by spacey ambient guitar parts with whistling, bird-like wind instruments somewhere in the distant background. "Glad To Say To Say" follows a rather simple psychedelic pop song pattern, featuring a catchy guitar riff and Daevid Allen's overdubbed vocals. Towards the end, the piece descends into trippy atonal mayhem. "Rational Anthem" is based around a quiet, blurry guitar motif with various ambient effects around. After the calm mood of the previous track, "Chainstore Chant/Pretty Miss Titty", a heavier psychedelic rock piece, offers more dynamically varied parts with Daevid Allen's guitar in the foreground. The song also features spoken word parts, delivered through Gilli Smyth's "space whisper". "Fredfish/Hope You Feel OK" opens with comedic spoken words, which sound as if broadcasted through a radio. Later, the track turns into a Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd-like ballad. Side two, labeled The Late Night (as opposed to side one, Early Morning), opens with "Ego", an avant-jazz statement with psychedelic rock influences, particularly on the sung parts. "Gong Song" tells a story of Pothead Pixie, a visitor from a distant planet, Gong. The concept would be continued on the following albums. Musically, it has somewhat of a Beatles-like sound, but with strong influences of jazz. "Princess Dreaming" opens with a repeating screech, an awfully unpleasant ear-sore, which later dissolves into a part spoken by Gilli Smyth. "5 & 20 Schoolgirls" is another piece kept in a psychedelic pop convention, but again with jazzy flavoring and a healthy dose of peculiarity. The album closes with a haunted ambient soundscape of "Cos You Got Green Hair", which seems to point the way towards the following works by Gong.

The Flying Teapot may yet be to take off to planet Gong, but Magick Brother, Gong's debut album, undoubtedly sets the stage for the band's next albums with its cosmic, trippy, escapist, and jazzy character. The release does have its flaws, poor studio recording being the most notable and disturbing, but is an incredibly rewarding and fascinating journey. Regardless of the style, whether it's a free-jazz workout, a spacey ambient trip or a psychedelic pop ballad, everything is played with great taste and precision. Highly recommended!

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