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Gong trilogy, how did it sound in the 70's?

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Gerinski View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gong trilogy, how did it sound in the 70's?
    Posted: July 04 2013 at 07:31
In the early 70's I was still very young, via my older brothers and cousins I got exposed to the big Prog and Rock works of the time (ELP, Genesis, Yes, KC etc plus all the classic Rock of that period like Purple, The Who, Zeppelin, Bowie etc etc) but Gong (and many other bands) escaped me at that time, I only got to know them much later (and in fact even today I only own the 3 Radio Gnome trilogy albums).

My question is, for those who were around at that time, didn't this music sound outdated and possibly even a bit ridiculous at the time it was released? I mean, it was already the period of full-blown symphonic Prog, with works like Foxtrot, ELP's Trilogy, CTTE, KC's Larks Tongues In Aspic, DSOTM etc etc. Without meaning any pejorative aspect towards Gong's music which I really like, the music of that time had become already more 'sophisticated', it seems to me that Gong's trippy psychedelic style might have felt a bit out of date by that time, the trippy psychedelic stuff was a thing of the 2nd half of the 60's and by '73 ~ '74 it may have sounded a bit outdated. Adventurous and experimental music was also there of course (take early Henry Cow) but I see it also more sophisticated, not so much following the psychedelic trippy LSD path.

Again, with hindsight I really enjoy Gong's trilogy, that's not the point, but it's a question about timing, I feel that at the time these albums were released they might have sounded a bit out of date, like they should have been released somewhere around 1967 ~ 1969 and not 1973 ~ 1974.

Any of you who were there and can tell how did Gong's music feel at that time?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 09:31
I can't say. I'm probably your age it sounds like, but for comparison, the Lamb (1974) sides 3 and 4 sound pretty trippy too, don't you think? Good question, though. I love Gong too.

Edited by HackettFan - July 04 2013 at 09:33
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 10:09
Originally posted by HackettFan

I can't say. I'm probably your age it sounds like, but for comparison, the Lamb (1974) sides 3 and 4 sound pretty trippy too, don't you think? Good question, though. I love Gong too.
I'm born in '66 to make things precise. Well, The Lamb's 2nd disc has a clear experimental and surrealistic tone but it's quite different, more developed and sophisticated (without this word meaning 'better' or 'more worthy'), not the hippie-trippy-anarchic-psychedelic path followed by Allen & Co which feels more like a '60's thing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 10:39
Point well taken, and I was born in 66 too. There is a giggling humor to the Gong Trilogy that doesn't sound European at all, more west coast US sounding. It seems to have extratrial feel of some of the Lamb stuff with the sense of humor of Zappa's Apostrophe (1974 I believe) minus the social commentary.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TODDLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 10:52
Originally posted by Gerinski

In the early 70's I was still very young, via my older brothers and cousins I got exposed to the big Prog and Rock works of the time (ELP, Genesis, Yes, KC etc plus all the classic Rock of that period like Purple, The Who, Zeppelin, Bowie etc etc) but Gong (and many other bands) escaped me at that time, I only got to know them much later (and in fact even today I only own the 3 Radio Gnome trilogy albums).

My question is, for those who were around at that time, didn't this music sound outdated and possibly even a bit ridiculous at the time it was released? I mean, it was already the period of full-blown symphonic Prog, with works like Foxtrot, ELP's Trilogy, CTTE, KC's Larks Tongues In Aspic, DSOTM etc etc. Without meaning any pejorative aspect towards Gong's music which I really like, the music of that time had become already more 'sophisticated', it seems to me that Gong's trippy psychedelic style might have felt a bit out of date by that time, the trippy psychedelic stuff was a thing of the 2nd half of the 60's and by '73 ~ '74 it may have sounded a bit outdated. Adventurous and experimental music was also there of course (take early Henry Cow) but I see it also more sophisticated, not so much following the psychedelic trippy LSD path.

Again, with hindsight I really enjoy Gong's trilogy, that's not the point, but it's a question about timing, I feel that at the time these albums were released they might have sounded a bit out of date, like they should have been released somewhere around 1967 ~ 1969 and not 1973 ~ 1974.

Any of you who were there and can tell how did Gong's music feel at that time?

I was on the east coast of the U.S. when Angel's Egg and You were released and distributed through Jem Imports in North Plainfield N.J. People who in fact did like the music of Gong considered it a different style than psychedelic. People loved Gong often labeled it as Space Rock ..just as they did with Hawkwind, Amon Duul, Can, or even Man's Back Into The Future. The rest ofthe people considered itjust out-right strange as ifyou were a Residents fan or something ofthat nature. Not that they felt Gong were dated, butsimply just too strange and could not understand why anyone would like their music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tszirmay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 11:15
I think the context is ultra important as the early 70s were fueled by a music marketplace that had exploded into a myriad of styles and genres (whereas before Woodstock, rock was still 'roll' !) plus technological advances (synths especially) .  It was VERY common for a fan to enter a record store and buy say a Wishbone Ash, a Klaus Schulze, a King Crimson , a PFM , a Edgar Winter (yeah, I know) , a Wings and a Stealy Dan ! Very , very diverse, whereas today (and the last few decades) , the choices are very narrow . Case in point take a look at the top 100 chart for 1973! http://www.bobborst.com/popculture/top-100-songs-of-the-year/?year=1973, if that doesn't puzzle you, nothing will! 
Gong was viewed by the punkier progressive crowd as being more  'psychedelic' , a lifestyle non-conformist rebellious group of  exiled hippies, living in a commune in France etc....To be frank,  I do not recall anything being viewed outdated at the time, except for the "Tie a Yellow Ribbon around.."(#1 in 1973) and such bland pop fluff .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 04 2013 at 15:19
Hi,
 
Magnificent!
 
The best!
 
And one particular radio show!
 
It helped that we all spent time with a certain Divided Alien and had dinner and music with him!
 
But it was an album that was really late in arriving ... but it was one of the highest selling imports for a while, at least in Southern California!
 
As for the drugs ... by that time I was already reasing stuff that had "better drugs" and better stories. While the Gong Trilogy was nice and the analogies were well done, the whole thing and story was not as psychedelic as many would think, and it took its case to our ideas, intelligence and fears. But, if psychedelia is all we saw in the Trilogy, then we are seriously bad off and out of it.
 
Not even close to the better trippers and story tellers out there where psychedelia is a real way of life instead of some zen idology. BUT, it was an absolutely outstanding outlet for David, Gilly and others to produce their very own brand of "beat poetry in music" ...
 
To better get an idea why The Trilogy is more valuable in its conception, see Ken Kesey's film about "The Trip" which is a documentary ... and explores something that Daevid and his words, have forever been about ... and we don't even see it. On the Road ... with a guitar and a word or two! ... the only title missing in Daevid's work!


Edited by moshkito - July 04 2013 at 15:27
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 05 2013 at 08:48
I was in college from 69-75 and no one I knew was playing any Gong , Hatfield, Egg or National Health....Caravan and Soft machine were around though. I didn't discover many of the Canterbury bands until years later.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TODDLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 05 2013 at 23:32
Originally posted by dr wu23

I was in college from 69-75 and no one I knew was playing any Gong , Hatfield, Egg or National Health....Caravan and Soft machine were around though. I didn't discover many of the Canterbury bands until years later.
That's really interesting. In Philadelphia and N.Y. Pierre's Gong seemed to be more popular. Even when Allen's different line ups played in the big cities...people would often show up expecting to hear a kind of Jazz Rock and were totally disappointed to find out that what he was doing had nothing to do with that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2013 at 02:10
I don't know how it sounded in the 70's, but I sure know it was outrageously trippy in the late-80's Wacko
........and outright fantastic still Thumbs Up.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2013 at 06:48
It is a very difficult question to answer.
 
Social Context
First off, it didn't sound dated or old, quite the contrary in fact, nor did it come over as particularily psychedelic at the time. We'd all moved on from the '68 psych era by the early 70s though the post-hippy commune thing was still hanging on in there as an ethos - we still dressed a little like hippies back then even if the disolusion of the hippy optimism had taken a firm hold - ban the bomb was still prevalent but the flowers had wilted - the colours had taken a darker hue and the European take on Carnaby Street and Haight Ashbury was tinged with sinister foreboding - Gong et al were not about changing the world but escaping from it. This post-hippy era gave us King Crimson, The Nice/ELP and Van der Graaf Generator to scare the crap out of the summer of love.
 
Album Context
There were four very important "budget" releases in the early 1970s ("old" albums reissued for the price of a single) that I purchased as soon as they were released, they were:
 
Amon Düül II - Phallus Dei (1972 on Sunset)
Faust - The Faust Tapes (1973 on Virgin) [with the wonderful Bridget Riley cover]
Gong - Camembert Electrique (1974 on Virgin)
Can - Limited Edition (1974 on UA)
 
All of those spurred me to seek out albums by those bands, starting with Amon Düül II (who will always remain my favourite over the other three bands).
 
Another band to throw into that mix would be Hawkwind, but the 1975 Sunset budget reissue of their eponymous debut album was seen more as a bonus for old fans than an introduction for new fans - most Freaks in the UK (including myself) were well conversant with Hawkwind through In Search Of Space, Doremi Farsol Latido and Space Ritual by then. However, Hawkwind were the springboard for the enquiring music fan to explore stranger music. These were the days before Amazon's "People who bought Space Ritual also bought..." recomendations - we used budget albums and label samplers to try new music.
 
Effect
So by the time I heard Camembert Electrique (and then back-tracked to Flying Teapot and Angel's Egg) I was already engrosed in Hawkwind, Amon Düül II and Faust and that improvised rough-and-ready approach to music was a steep contrast to the carefully constructed music of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd and rather than being seen as dated it sounded fresh and new. Also the Space Rock of the mid-70s was a different style of music to earlier Space and Psych rock of say Ummagumma-era Floyd (IMO their only Space Rock album - it was also a transitional album for them - the live recordings marked the end of that era, the studio recording the beginning of the next) - the music had progressed.
 
 


Edited by Dean - July 06 2013 at 07:04


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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2013 at 15:31

Nice set of words, Dean

I see it similarly, though I (obviously) still have a nice feel and appreciation for a lot of it. I don't think that it was all that bad, but there was a lot that was wasted and the hippy bs, as you said, already saw the flowers wilt.  We know this was also important and even Amon Duul 2 and many other bands in Germany were not exactly immune to it, with a person having planted bombs in several places, thus showing their disillusion with the whole commune thing, up to and including its social/political context.

To me, the "post-hippy" ear/era gave us bands that did NOT scare me, or anyone I knew ... they merely illustrated, better, that in Europe there was much more appreciation for a piece of music and poetry, than in America, where it has been dis-respected and mis-trusted by hundreds of years of religious fanaticism. The same kind of fanaticism that one could find in the scene later called "new age" which was just a commercial excuse, and had less values than even the earlier hippy-dom did per se!

The album context, for me, is mostly visible with Amon Duul 1 and 2 ... and it goes like this ... let's say that AD1 is the old San Francisco thing, and AD2 is the new band, and way ... they did not wish to be mindless humanoids, doing nothing in music! In many ways, the theater in those days was like that ... if one can take Peter Handke and his word games, which are impossible to do on stage ... you don't have a point of reference to be able to learn those lines, and do them on stage ... there is no character ... there is no flow ... there is no importance on one word over the other ... and guess what Damo Suzuki did? ... and Malcom Mooney was studying! So was Fitzbender, who used to just turn on the camera and let it be ... literally! Some parts might relate to the "theme" and some not! ... and you never know which, or where it should be!

To me, that was a bit on the logical side, and it was neat to see ... but there were American bands that did the same thing, and they deserve credit ... I think Chicago is a perfect example, with 1 and 2, still their best work, and like the Europeans they were looking for meaning, which San Francisco loved to say ... hey man ... you ain't cool! ... and it was more fun to trip for the trip's sakes!

Gong, for me, might connect with the European scene in an artistic way, but other than the album "Floating Anarchy", I have never thought of GONG as a drug band at all ... even though people tend to think so. To me, all of GONG fits neatly into a poetry book, next to Ginsburg, Burroughs, Ayers, Harper, Kerouac, Kesey, Wyatt  ... and sometimes it's "story" and "meaning" is not as important as we think it is, but it is always full of moments that are important! I still love to laugh at the English style humor of ... I'm your witch ... I'm you pooooossie ... which is funny in the way she says it, except that Black Sabbath fans think that this is evil and Ozzie is not! (Hahahaha!!!!) Which shows you how distorted the whole thing becomes. I think the band KNEW what they were doing ... and drugs could have been a part of it, but NOT in the way that we would always associate with "psychedelia", of which the early GuruGuru is the ultimate, and both Mani and Helmut have admitted ... play something ... what? ... ok ... here we go ... and that is like ultimate psychedelia ... and it will go different directions every night ... there is a reason why it's called the LSD March!



Edited by moshkito - July 08 2013 at 14:06
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 09 2013 at 00:32
I got into classic prog (ELP, Yes, Tull, Genesis, etc) in '75 and didn't stumble across GonG and 'Angels Egg' until 1980.  I didn't think they sounded dated or < classic prog, just a bunch of crazy French space hippies and pothead pixies LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2013 at 16:26
Hi,
 
"...  ... play something ... what? ... ok ... here we go ... and that is like ultimate psychedelia ... and it will go different directions every night ... there is a reason why it's called the LSD March! ... "
 
And Woodstock, the movie.
 
The danger is that we think that everyone was ripped and no one, would care, or know any better, than all of us here at PA, for example. And you know that if all of us had a chance, we probably would have been there, because an event is an event, and is strictly once in a lifetime thing ... you will never see anything like it again on stage, or film! Too much other stuff will look cheap and boring, by comparison!
 
To many of us, the drugs were an excuse, and not par for the course. To most of us, we never did that much, except toke here and there on weekends at parties with schoolmates! To a few of us, we might have experimented more ... I did ... but kept the psychedelics to a personal level, and ONLY at home, and with the headset on and listening to music or writing something ... I already knew from reading that there was "another reality" and it was not the same thing that we all thought "socially" what it was ... a condition that imprisioned all of us, that even the Beatles were fighting against!
 
But, I got off the drugs sooner than I expected and believed I would ... I did not like one man's politics and his comments, and thought that the music was out of control in the drug thing ... and a lot of albums, like Gong's You, is a perfect anti-dote to the drug thing ... you don't even realize that you don't have to be stoned to enjoy that album ... it makes sense on its own ... but the pixies in this board that can not listen to free music (no constraints on the music design) would have a hard time enjoying two really long cuts that are really about ... the "zen" at the end of the rainbow. ... but we think that it is "drugs" because the lyrics are not some fandango that the top ten "tells you" the beginning, the middle and the end!
 
The drugs, for many of us folks, were not exactly something that we required. Some of us already knew what the whole thing was about, and I did not have to get ripped to appreciate any musician in Woodstock at all ... the single greatest and worst falacy of all, be it Woodstock or anything else at all! I didn't have to be drugged to get frisked by the National Guard for 2 weeks in Madison, as I went to work at my job at the Rathskeller! I didn't have to be stoned to know, how a couple of people died in another campus, that caused major havoc in some places in the country! I did not have to be stoned, to know the day that Martin Luther King died, that we lost someone that mattered. I didn't have to be stoned to know that what I saw at the Hollywood Bowl in Pink Floyd ... to know that this was major and neat, and soooooo different from all the radio popcrap!
 
You can't find an equivalent to all this today, I don't think!
 
But unlike a lot of literature, art, and movies, the music lost its "soul", because American arts are all top ten, and the rest is buried and made to look totally stupid and non-sensical by the media, and then you get clowns confusing people about "the media is the message", which is the same thing as saying you are too damn stupid th even know what the message is in the first place!
 
The medium, can be the message, let's say it is a "person" ... but without an inner viability and sense of expression, no one here will give a damn about the message! So the medium, ends up "hiding" a message, which is the myth of the social god and government, so they seem more important than they really are, and the "message" is forgotten, and never understood ... and I learned that drugs were helping me hide ... and not know anything inside!
 
I didn't have to be in the 60's to know that! I already knew that via literature by the time the 60's came around! And by the time someone wanted to convince me that Crosby, Still, Nash and Young were drugged out ... I believed it, but I knew it was fake ... because the Doors were far better psychedelisized than the others were! And you knew where money came in the scene, and where it all went ... and I like Ken Kesey's comment about it all ... "in the end we were afraid to learn something new, different" ... it's in the movie "The Trip" and I knew when I heard it ... the rest was just fun on the weekends, so to speak! With music, of course!


Edited by moshkito - July 27 2013 at 17:01
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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