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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:
- DASHIELL HEDAYATT "Obsolete"
- 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-Go...
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Buy GONG Music


Angels EggAngels Egg
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Virgin 2005
Audio CD$3.49
$5.00 (used)
Very Best of GongVery Best of Gong
Import
Charly Records UK 2005
Audio CD$6.42
$6.41 (used)
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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)

3.43 | 145 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.82 | 320 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.07 | 128 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.91 | 456 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.11 | 553 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.24 | 815 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.84 | 295 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.93 | 330 ratings
Gazeuse!
1976
3.73 | 215 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.49 | 138 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.91 | 94 ratings
Time Is The Key
1979
3.34 | 59 ratings
New York Gong: About Time
1979
3.02 | 53 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.53 | 40 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.57 | 39 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.81 | 28 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.53 | 60 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
2.18 | 27 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.53 | 85 ratings
Zero To Infinity
2000
3.78 | 65 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2003
2.94 | 43 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.12 | 113 ratings
2032
2009
3.92 | 130 ratings
I See You
2014
3.00 | 1 ratings
Rejoice! I'm Dead
2016

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

3.63 | 71 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.64 | 56 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.75 | 52 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.37 | 27 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.23 | 16 ratings
Live At Sheffield '74
1990
4.32 | 19 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.65 | 9 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
2.98 | 15 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.97 | 23 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
3.66 | 17 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 | 16 ratings
High Above the Subterania Club 2000
2000
3.98 | 12 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2000
2.96 | 8 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.50 | 10 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
4.33 | 3 ratings
Live At The Family Unconventional Gathering
2008
4.04 | 6 ratings
On French TV 1971 - 1973
2012

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

3.54 | 15 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
2.36 | 5 ratings
Family Jewels
1998
3.60 | 14 ratings
The Other Side Of The Sky (A Collection)
1999
3.24 | 10 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
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
 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 320 ratings

BUY
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
3.43 | 145 ratings

BUY
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!

 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 320 ratings

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Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After recently enjoying "Obsolete" by Dashiell Hedayatt with pretty much this same lineup of GONG backing him up I had to finally review "Camembert Electrique" which was released the same year as "Obsolete". According to the liner notes this is the first "real" GONG album as "Magik Brother" was a solo Daevid Allen release although they put Gilli's name on the album cover too. Subsequent re-issues changed "Magik Brother" to being a GONG recording but in reality "Camembert Electrique" is the first true GONG record. This album really does fit in well with the trilogy that would follow. It's maybe less polished and as mentioned in the liner notes "... Camembert epitomises the early GONG, ie stoned loonies having a great time, who also happen to be excellent musicians. It's full of raw energy, more tape loops, space-whisper and glissando guitar, topped off with inspired sax playing. The later albums were more sophisticated and polished but they lack the edge and anarchy of Camembert."

"Radio Gnome Prediction" and the closer "Gnome The Second" are 27 second opening and closing bits with spoken words and strange sounds. "You Can't Kill Me" is a rock song with Daevid on vocals as Gilli helps out. Sax before a minute. Check out the guitar 2 minutes in on this great instrumental section that lasts until after 3 minutes. It turns instrumental again except for Gilli's whispers then Daevid returns on vocals while Pip keeps busy on the drums, lots of sax too. "I've Bin Stone Before" sounds like a Dylan song both vocally and the theme. This is like a hymn with that floating organ helping out. Sax eventually joins in and Daevid channels Wyatt briefly before 2 minutes.

"Mister Long Shanks/ O Mother/ I Am Your Fantasy" opens with a catchy sax led section that speeds up as the vocals join in. The "O Mother" section sounds like an early Zappa tune on the chorus part. The final section starts before 2 1/2 minutes and it's melancholic and mysterious as Gilli speaks the lyrics slowly in a haunting atmosphere. Love it! "Dynamite/ I am your Animal" has this line repeated over and over as drums and more help out. It kicks into a groove before a minute as the second part of this song arrives with Gilli on vocals as sax joins in in this determined and relentless passage. Contrasts between the two sections continue.

"Wet Cheese Delirium" is a very short piece with funny spoken words and sampled sounds. "Squeezing Sponges Over Policemen's Heads" is just over 10 seconds of sampled voices. The next three tracks are my top three tunes on here, so I imagine if I owned this on vinyl back in the day I'd have worn out side two. "Fohat Digs Holes In Space" features dramatic sounds as the drums pound and spacey synths help out. It settles in quickly though with bass, percussion and spacey sounds reminding me of "Continental Circus" a soundtrack that GONG released the same year. So good! Vocals after 4 minutes as Daevid and Gilli both sing. Sax before 5 minutes after the vocals have stopped. What a great track!

My favourite though is "And You Tried So Hard". It opens sounding like heaven and it builds. Daevid's vocals are so smooth and well done. This sounds like a 60's hit before theatrical vocals and a rougher sound take over. Back to that earlier sound 2 minutes in and Gilli sings a minute later. It ends like it began. "Tropical Fish/ Selene" has funny vocal sounds to start which are replaced by an uptempo instrumental section. Vocals join in reminding me of Syd-led FLOYD. I like the instrumental section starting before 2 minutes with lots of guitar and sax. This is so good as Gilli helps out. Daevid's back vocally after 4 minutes and I love the passage before 6 minutes as Gilli sings and the guitar riffs.

A very solid 4 stars. I just want to quote the liner notes about a second manager that GONG hired back then named Giorgio Gomelsky. "One day Gomelsky turned up babbling about this band he'd seen. Like GONG, they had their mythology, even their own language-MAGMA. In due course Gomelsky took them on as well and Daevid got to see them! As he recalls, "Incredible. All these men in black with inverted tantra symbols. Their music took the breath out of your lungs, it was like upside down Wagner. Christian Vander delivered imitation Hitler speeches in the middle of drum solos, and the singer looked like Valkyrie and had a four octave voice. Anyway they were like our shadow. There was GONG, colourful, anarchic, all going different directions, but trying to pull together. MAGMA were all incredible musicians, but totally disciplined, Vander would hit them with a stick if they played a wrong note. It was like ying and yang."" Gomelsky did put them on tour together with each alternating as the headline group but there was not a single night where both bands played well.

 Shapeshifter by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.53 | 60 ratings

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Shapeshifter
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars I love this album. After about 20 years the inhabitants of planet GonG are back to Earth with all the crazyness of the Flying Teapot trilogy. It was a great surprise for me when I bought it. I didn't even know that actually GonG were still alive, and after the jazzy albums like Shamal or the Pierre Moerlen's solo works, I wasn't expecting anything like this, especially at the beginning of the 90s.

Shapeshifter deserves to be considered a classic album in GonG's discography. Even without Hillage of the Bambaloni Yoni's weird vocals it's a natural follow up to the trilogy. Like George Lucas with the Anakin's trilogy 20 years after Star Wars, the epic story of Radio Gnome restarted. The world the teapot is flying on is different from the swinging London. This makes more difficult producing a so intelligent psychedelia and this is another point in favor of the recently passed away genius that was Daevid Allen.

Who is not familiar with this side of early GonG, can expect an album made of short length songs tied together by a concept, very skilfully played and arranged with an excellent clean production and influences from rock, jazz, indo, beat... well, influences is not the right word. Allen was a master in mixing all the ingredients into his musical teapot.

No track by track description. This is simply a 4 stars album and one of the GonG's best.

 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 130 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Daevid Allen (aka Dada Ali for this release) comes full circle in his GONG universe and dishes out his brilliant last gift to the musical world in the form of the retro-Canterbury introspective litany and slickly packaged I SEE YOU, sounding like a true throwback to the 70s and the logical conclusion of the Radio Gnome Triology evoking the best psychedelic Canterbury that the classic era of progressive rock had to offer. In a sub genre that seems to have fizzled out somewhere incrementally during the 20th century and waned into a new golden era, Allen has rustled up yet another stellar team of gifted musicians to bring his final musical statement as well as proving that the Canterbury sound can still sound fresh and exciting while evoking the best of his heyday.

Right from the very first glance of the band lined up against a wall in the beautifully packaged gatefold digipak, it is apparent that the whimsical playful spirit of 70s GONG is alive and well with a new cast of characters. Most prominently in the fashionable and stylistic apparel of the Grand Poobah of musical mischief, Mr Daevid Allen with his styling striped spandex pants gracing his 77 year old body and a T-shirt boldly stating that "NOBODY KNOWS I'M A LESBIAN." Apparently the cancerous tumors and endless surgical operations that had been plaguing his health hadn't dampened his spirit and his love light shines through on this musical goodbye to the world in his most passionate display of musical mojo since 1974's "YOU."

The cast includes a veritable smorgasbord of seasoned musicians including Allen's own son Orland (aka Flamedog Alien) who kicks, beats and crashes on the percussion but also handled the engineering, mixing and production duties at his Flamedog Records Studios back in the original Allen stomping grounds of Australia. Other musicians called to duty are bassist Dave Sturt (aka Unicorn Strut who has been associated with various artists including Steve Hillage and Jade Warrior), guitarist Fabio Golfetti (aka Fabuloso Golfcart associated with Violeta De Outono, Invisible Opera Country, Zero), saxist and flautist Ian East (aka Eastwinds i.e. Windows) and crunch box and scythe guitarist Kavus Torabi (aka Spiral K. Octoflash associated with a gazillion acts most notably for Knifeworld, Cardiacs, Monsoon Bassoon, Chrome Hoof, Guapo etc.). Torabi is purported to be the successor in the GONG family personally chosen by Allen to carry the torch into the next incarnation of the band after Allen's musical and Earthly retirement. And i could hardly forget our favorite 70s sprinkled space whisperer Gilli Smyth who rejoins the GONG team to haunt us with her angelic and ethereal vocal talents as well as contributing the final farewell track "Shakti Yoni & Dingo Virgin."

I SEE YOU is just chock full of classic GONG-isms and relevant contemporary ideas. From the very first words "I SEE YOU" on the opening title track we instantly get that Canterbury jazzy funfest that shows Allen's playful nature fully unfurl and instantly brings back the Gnome Radio Trilogy days in a good way. The psychedelic rock married with jazz-fusion and satirical whimsy is firing on all cylinders once again and after the initial first spin which had me instantly addicted it was like finally hearing the long lost archival audio files that was supposed to be inserted where "Shamal" appeared in the discography, but the truth be told this was a current band effort where each member channeled the best aspect of the Radio Gnome 70s and added a newly energized take on it. For example, on the second track "Occupy" we get an extremely heavy guitar riff that could possibly qualify as metal accompanied by sizzling sax solos but still with that nary-a-care free spirit nature that Allen always brings to the table.

The tracks vary quite a lot with some like "When God Shakes Hands With The Devil" which brings the rapping vocal antics of Daevid Allen in cahoots with a slap happy bass, sax and flute attack while the hypnotic and totally spaced out "The Eternal Wheel" showcasing Gilli Smyth's psychedelic siren skills complements it and one of the most classic sounding GONG tracks on board here with "Syllabub" which has all those wonderful musical gymnastic sessions with time signatures flying off of trapezes, stylistic changes, whimsical instrumental exchanges and of course Allen's spaced out lyrics about wanting to go far away like to the moon or something! "The Revolution" is a veritable spoken word sermon accompanied by spaced out ethereal sounds with Allen elucidating the evolution of the 60s revolution and how it has become an invisible force that guides us on a subliminal level. Other mentionable tracks include my favorite track of the lot "Pixielation" which has one of the coolest hooks ever! The track celebrates the nature of pixies and nature spirits but has the absolute coolest bouncy flute riff with the rest of the band weaving their magic around it as the backbone of the track. Allen's neo-Pagan lyrics are profound and celebratory with fun time signature changes, spastic bursts of energy and just chock filled with everything that makes progressive rock so much fun!

I have to state firstly that i did not first hear this album until after Allen had passed which occurred just a few months after its release and that obviously changes perspective dramatically regarding the depths and meaning of the lyrics as it is clear now that the album was designed to be a final farewell to the world of GONG and all those involved who jumped on the bandwagon decades earlier. No more is this apparent than on the final two closing tracks. "Thank You" is a heartfelt gesture of musical gratitude where Allen emphatically sends out his love under the guise of a steady rock riff, spaced out effects and interpolated progressive touches. After this nice steady jazzified rocker which gradually disintegrates towards the end into a more chaotic feel we reach the final track "Shakti Yoni & Dingo Virgin" which is a collaboration by Allen and Gilli Smyth creating one of the most haunting of sonic send offs of glissando guitar and vocally eerified pieces of music ever created which is perfect for bidding of farewells to Daevid Allen who would soon not only retire from one of the most famous collaborative band efforts in history but would pass away only a few months later after I SEE YOU's release thus transitioning from the "Angel's Egg" and being awarded that magic "Flying Teapot" in the sky. Not only is this album simply brilliant lyrically and musically but i can't think of a better tribute album to the career of one of the most unique visionaries in the musical world. This one only keeps growing on me upon every listen and am very stunned that this one has gone unnoticed by the larger prog world as it is one of the few contemporary examples of reviving that classic 70s sound and breathing new life into it all the while a legend is on the precipice of his last days as a carbon-based life form. A modern unknown classic here.

 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 320 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 :)

 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 130 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".

 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.82 | 320 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.
 I See You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 130 ratings

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I See You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4,5 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. 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.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.24 | 815 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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