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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 : : :

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 - ...
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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)

3.42 | 203 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.80 | 438 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.16 | 176 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.94 | 613 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.15 | 747 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.26 | 1102 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.81 | 400 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.93 | 433 ratings
Gazeuse!
1976
3.73 | 306 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.51 | 198 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.99 | 133 ratings
Time Is the Key
1979
3.23 | 79 ratings
New York Gong: About Time
1979
3.05 | 74 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.55 | 56 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.55 | 57 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.70 | 45 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.48 | 90 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
3.35 | 117 ratings
Zero To Infinity
2000
3.01 | 64 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.93 | 102 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2004
3.15 | 144 ratings
2032
2009
3.89 | 190 ratings
I See You
2014
3.94 | 175 ratings
Rejoice! I'm Dead
2016
3.68 | 71 ratings
The Universe Also Collapses
2019

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

3.62 | 98 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.68 | 73 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.57 | 79 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.34 | 40 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.78 | 26 ratings
Live at Sheffield '74
1990
4.22 | 40 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.80 | 16 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
3.08 | 25 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
3.88 | 7 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.94 | 36 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
1995
3.73 | 20 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
1998
3.45 | 19 ratings
Live 2 Infinitea
2000
3.56 | 7 ratings
Glastonbury Fayre 1971
2002
3.00 | 4 ratings
OK Friends
2002
3.66 | 30 ratings
Live In Sherwood Forest '75
2005
3.84 | 15 ratings
In the '70s
2006
3.25 | 4 ratings
Sheffield City Hall 1976
2013
3.67 | 3 ratings
Paris Bataclan 1976
2013
4.88 | 5 ratings
Live at the Gong Family Unconventional Gathering
2021
3.60 | 10 ratings
Pulsing Signals
2022

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

3.31 | 23 ratings
High Above the Subterania Club 2000
2000
3.95 | 19 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2000
2.92 | 15 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.21 | 14 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
3.88 | 8 ratings
Live At The Family Unconventional Gathering
2008
3.90 | 11 ratings
On French TV 1971 - 1973
2012

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

3.58 | 21 ratings
Wingful of Eyes
1986
3.04 | 12 ratings
The History and Mystery of the Planet Gong
1989
2.26 | 36 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Gong
1995
3.43 | 7 ratings
Radio Gnome Trilogy
1995
2.35 | 8 ratings
Family Jewels
1998
3.57 | 16 ratings
The Other Side Of The Sky (A Collection)
1999
3.22 | 13 ratings
The Best of Gong
2000
3.69 | 8 ratings
The World Of Daevid Allen and Gong
2003
3.85 | 4 ratings
Opium for the People (Compilation)
2006
1.50 | 4 ratings
Gong On Acid
2006
3.00 | 3 ratings
Sixty Minutes With Gong
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Soundcheck Preserves
2009
4.54 | 12 ratings
Love from the Planet Gong (The Virgin Years 1973-75)
2019

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

3.33 | 9 ratings
Est-Ce-Que Je Suis / Hip Hypnotize You
1969
3.75 | 4 ratings
Shamal
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
Opium for the People
1978
2.75 | 4 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
A Sprinkling Of Clouds
1997

GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live at the Gong Family Unconventional Gathering by GONG album cover Live, 2021
4.88 | 5 ratings

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Live at the Gong Family Unconventional Gathering
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars It is safe to say that anyone who can state which Gong members played on what albums, and what line-ups were deemed 'official' and possibly even name all the offshoot bands would be a certifiable but paid-up member of the Gong fan club, and probably made every effort to be at The Gong Family Unconvention at the Melkweg club in Amsterdam in November 2006. This was a unique 3-day event where all the surviving original members of the band came together (drummer Pierre Moerlen had died the previous year) to form a new line-up which I am sure had never previously shared a stage. After performing sets with their own bands, they came together to play for well over 2 hours, and anyone who enjoys this band is bound to find their own favourite on this set. 15 years to the day from the performance, this was made available both in audio and DVD, and while I only have the former I do already have plenty of Gong DVDs in my collection so was just able to sit back and really savour this.

For the aficionado, the line-up that night was Daevid Allen (guitar, vocals), Gilli Smyth (vocals, space whisper), Steve Hillage (guitar), Didier Malherbe (flute, soprano sax, duduk), Theo Travis (tenor sax), Tim Blake (synthesiser, vocals), Miquette Giraudy (synthesiser), Mike Howlett (bass), Chris Taylor (drums), and together they concentrated on the classic albums 'Camembert Electrique', 'Flying Teapot', 'Angel's Egg' and 'You' with just one song from 'Zero To Infinity' and nothing else. 18 tracks, classics all, with the band combining and creating something incredible special in the way that only Gong can. We get plenty of glissando, Gilli provides her poetry, and this is far more of an event or happening than just a gig. By concentrating on the second album and then the three which form the 'Radio Gnome Invisible' trilogy the band were giving the fans exactly what they wanted, even though the most recent of the albums was already more than 30 years old (and now nearly 50), yet it is striking at just how relevant and exciting they are even today.

Gong were a very special band indeed (yes, I know they are still in existence as Daevid Allen wanted them to continue after his death), and although there have been multiple line-ups over the years, for me it is when Daevid, Gilli and Steve were all playing together that this band became something very special indeed and this live recording captures all that and so much more. If you consider yourself a proghead but have never seriously investigated Gong, then this is the place to start.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.94 | 613 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by OctopusFive

4 stars For this album, I'll be quite generous, I like its style a lot, and the fact that it's a multi-national band arouses my interest. however, I don't quite recall how did sound Camembert electric or Magick Brother (I'd need to dive into it again).

The first track starts us off strong! with a rather colorful fanfare, with seemingly crazy lyrics that are quite surprising. For me, it is a superb title of psychedelic poetry, of successful experimentation and that made with a sense of the melody

Flying Teapot is a pleasant cosmic journey that seems to be less interesting nevertheless. The piece ends however on a maze of hallucinated piano which is not without reminding some previous works of the group.

The 3rd track "seems" more conventional, it is not. Suggestive voices repeating crazy, a small incursion of a few seconds in the music hall, and we come back to a rather jerky piece that would not have been out of place on a Syd Barrett album.

Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell", is maybe the most Canterbury track of all, but not by much because the cosmic journey of the Teapot continues towards distant and agitated galaxies...

The flying teapot closes on the last track which is not the most surprising, we end with a more academic touch, and a little more "calm".

I give a 4/5 to this excellent album of jazz and space rock, I think it will become one of my bedside CDs. I praise its universe, its sweet madness, the universe he built in only 35 minutes and which still seems to me very solid 49 years later. I don't give it a higher rating because the album has some weak moments (especially the last track), but overall it's still excellent and tasty to listen to for Canterbury/space rock fans.

By the way, the cover of the album was again a criterion of selection for me as often in this kind of music. This one is quite atypical. **A special mention for DAVID AELLEN, behind the majority of the songs as author or co-writer and who undeniably brings a poetic and melodic touch to this acid opus.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.94 | 613 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Absolutely brilliant! The 1973 'Flying Teapot' album by Gong is an astonishing space rock odyssey, a grand enjoyment from start to finish, and a must-have, whether you dive in for the masterful psych explorations, or because of the corky, yet quite entertaining Gong mythology, this third studio album of theirs is among the band's best all time offerings. The jazzy sound blends seamlessly with the spacey, adventurous and quite unsober meanderings, resulting in one of the most unique listening experiences one could ever have, as I am yet to discover a band that sounds anything like 70s Gong.

Daevid Allen and Co. (and what an impressive company he has on 'Flying Teapot' - Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage, Gilli Smyth, Tim Blake, and Francis Moze, among others) go all in on this epic but marvelously silly album that combines the love for psychedelia with the progressive leanings of these very gifted musicians, ultimately giving birth to one of the gems of the Canterbury Scene. The album is centered around the two longer pieces, both of which gradually develop until the reaching of the much-desired climax; simply, space rock classics! Opening track 'Radio Gnome Invisible' is certainly a goofier, borderline comical piece that sets the tone for the whole album (and dare I say, for the whole Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy) - far away from being too serious, always very trippy, but making no excuses when it comes to composing undeniably good musical landscapes, the 'principal rules' of Gong. Then comes the 12-minute 'Flying Teapot', the first real great composition by the band, an incredibly sophisticated psych-prog explosion.

Side two contains the catchy 'The Pot Head Pixies' and the idyllic 'The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine', both full of layers of synths and trippy sounds, maybe a bit corny, but ultimately enjoyable in the context of the record. The 10-minute long 'Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell' is the other big highlight, much in the spirit of 'Flying Teapot', it is a song that gradually builds up until the band start their unapologetically satiating cosmic explorations. Finally, there is 'Witch's Song / I Am Your Pussy', one of the weirdest songs I have ever heard, this is all I am going to say.

All in all, 'Flying Teapot' is a too excellent example of the silly cosmic rock side of prog; Of course, it should not be neglected because of this, as one would hear some of the most intricate and coherent music that has been composed during the early 70s, topped by the unmistakable atmosphere of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.26 | 1102 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by CabezaDePRog

5 stars IMO This Gong´s phase is paradigmatic of the Progressive Rock Genre itself. Ethereal Loops that grows in crescendo around some unknown dimension. The first 3 minutes are the premise of the entire album concept, they might sound silly for a first listener, but this kind of records are supposed to be listened in one stand. The sum of all the factors make the union to accomplish a great "ALL" . You is the epitome on Gong sound, lot of space sounds spiced with heavy synthesizers. This record is a MUST listen for everyone interested in travel to other planets easily.
 Zero To Infinity by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.35 | 117 ratings

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Zero To Infinity
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by DangHeck

2 stars [I'm pretty pissed because the server was overwhelmed and I somehow got logged out of my account and my very wordy review was lost, so now I'm just going to fill up the space thusly and try to remember exactly what it is that I had to say. Because I had things to say. Not every day I write a review of that caliber about an album I didn't even think was "all that". You get it. Onto the... thing...]

This is basically a classic Gong lineup, with not only Daevid ALLEN and Gilli SMYTH, but also Didier MALHERBE--sharing reeds responsibilities with now-Prog-household name, Theo TRAVIS who also plays keys, etc.--and Mike HOWLETT. They are joined then by drummer Chris Taylor, who really naturally fits the bill for a Gong drummer: jazzy, groovy, etc.

I did go on to describe every single song on here, to some extent before. Let's see what I can do in a lightning round:

"Foolfare" opens very nicely into "Magdalene", perhaps a highlight (there was really only one), which then goes into "The Invisible Temple", a classic space rock song. Don't remember what else to say (I don't have the time). "Zeroid" I would say is an oldhead's (sorry?) take on futurist something something. I dunno. I said it better before, I'm sure. "Wise Man in Your Heart" was kinda boring; kind of a smooth jazz thing, I think. "The Mad Monk" was almost good. "Yoni On Mars" I don't remember.

I'll break it up here, as "Damaged Man" was, if anything, the sure highlight: an eerie track that unfolds into this very complex avant-jazz space thing. I probably said it better before. Who cares? "Bodilingus" was some hippy- dippy bullsh*t about getting in touch with your body(?). If I had more psychedelic experiences, maybe I can get with it (I'm skeptical). "Tali's Song" was also boring. Nothing to say about it. And lastly "Infinitea" (love the name) is just a very straight-ahead space rock jam.

That's it. Nothing of note in terms of "new". I dunno. This is what you get lol.

True Rate: 2.5/5.0

 Full Circle - Live 1988 by GONG album cover Live, 1998
3.73 | 20 ratings

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Full Circle - Live 1988
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Clear through the 1980s, Gong lived on in this second iteration, and in my opinion, still nearly as strong as the mid-70s when Pierre took up the helm! I think what kept them alive, at least looking at them here, is that they were able to continue on, adjusting style appropriately, now in the age of Guitar Fusion. And of course, from Allan Holdsworth on, guitar was a necessary function to their sound, regardless of its (secondary) priority (after percussion, obviously).

Well performed British Fusion. They did, I think, generally help really drive the genre forward (Since when/who? NUCLEUS?!--I would see them as a continuation of Ian CARR's powerful legacy). Of course, this music is highlighted by the aforementioned percussion. Pierre is an excellent drummer, his brother Benoit and Stefan Traub share the responsibility of the necessarily-Gong vibes as well as synthesizer, and lastly we have the great bass-playing of Hansford Rowe. Not familiar with the latter, but he's a tethering force on "Leave It Open" and, as mentioned on the mic, he was the songwriter for "Soli".

At worst, we get some, to me, stale and boring tracks, like with "Deep End". I think where the band is weakest is in their synthesizer choices. A tad cheesy at times, perhaps. The guitaring is good, for sure, but unlike earlier iterations of the band, there aren't too many memorable riffs or whatnot (the closer, "Xtasea", is the exception). Is what it is. And maybe with that, it should be said, it's not as great as I was anticipating (or how I made it maybe seem above).

 Live au Bataclan 1973 by GONG album cover Live, 1990
4.22 | 40 ratings

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Live au Bataclan 1973
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If your thinking bout a live GONG album I would strongly recommend this one from 1973. This is actually an archival release that didn't see the light of day until 1990 or so. We have the classic lineup of Allen, Smyth, Hillage, Moerlen, Howlett, Blake and Malherbe. And I also like that this is from one show recorded in Paris, France. My biggest surprise was at how spacey and atmospheric this is. Tim Blake is busy. Gilli Smyth might be the star here though as she really offers up a performance vocally that needs to be heard.

The two tracks that standout for me are the longest piece "Dynamite-I'm Your Animal" at over 17 minutes and "Taliesin". Both feature that spacey atmosphere and Smyth doing her awesome vocal performance. I have to mention Malherbe too mostly for his sax work but also the flute on "Flute Salad" which is pretty cool. The other track making my top three is the closer and encore track "Wet Drum Sandwhich". I'm impressed with the second half of this song where it turns more serious. Some killer sax too.

A must for GONG fans.

 Zero To Infinity by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.35 | 117 ratings

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Zero To Infinity
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars As a fusion of the old Gong sound with electronic music trends from the 1990s, this works rather well in terms of all sides blending together rather evenly and fittingly, but the actual result just isn't too exciting, unfortunately. Theo Travis is just too cautious and shy as a soloist, and Daevid Allen's lead guitar playing just reminds me of why he usually left this job to more qualified people in the past. If you're a very big fan of Allen's philosophy, mythology and overall personality then this is a very solid addition to your collection; for everyone else I'd say this is pretty skippable.
 Expresso II by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.73 | 306 ratings

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Expresso II
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars To prevent disappointment, it must be said upfront that this album isn't as consistently enjoyable as its predecessor. The band's attempt at creating a "Heavy Tune" with a simplistic hard rock riff and a weak guitar solo by Mick Taylor turns out rather feeble, and the tracks "Sleepy" and "Boring" are unfortunately aptly titled as well: the former tries to recreate the feel of "Esnuria" from the last album but kind of falls flat, and the latter starts off as a cool violin-centred waltz before losing steam as it transforms into another funk jam. Both of these songs were written by Mireille Bauer; were the titles supposed to indicate her feelings towards the band on the last album before her departure? Ah well, it's not like they're annoying to listen to, and the other songs thankfully more than make up for it. "Soli" and "Three Blind Mice" stand out in particular as solid jazz fusion offerings: engaging memorable themes, shining Allan Holdsworth guitar solos and good use of the band's trademark mallet percussion all around. A very good effort.
 Shamal by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.81 | 400 ratings

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Shamal
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars The band is captured here in the middle of an awkward transition phase. The old Gong sound is gone, and there are glimpses here of the Gong sound to come, but it's unrefined and a little dull. The uninspired soul and funk excursions don't help matters, but the biggest problem is that there are just no truly outstanding instrumentalists present (except maybe Pierre Moerlen) who are able to make these tunes come to life; Didier Malherbe is a cute little fellow but he's clearly out of his element here. "Mandrake" and the first half of "Chandra" are highlights that point the way to Moerlen's future compositions, and "Cat In Clark's Shoes" is simply a hoot. Certainly not a bad album, but most listeners will probably find more of interest in its successors, most of which prominently feature ace jazz guitar players to liven up the experience.
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