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Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg CD (album) cover

RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 2 - ANGEL'S EGG

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

4.14 | 666 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Make sure you have the booklet when listening!

"Angels egg" is the second part of the trilogy of albums covered by the "Radio gnome invisible" title. The first thing that strikes you when approaching the album is the glorious artwork. The back cover especially has a wonderful track by track chart which offers diagrammatic views of the songs, plus brief descriptions of the ongoing story. The story itself is suitably warped: "Zero loses his head which flies away up through the quim of the moon and out the other side into seventh heaven where is perpetual orgasm..". As if this was not enough, we also find an accompanying booklet with the full story and lyrics. With this plethora of amusement, it is quite easy to forget that there is actually an album to be heard lurking inside the sleeve.

To the music we must though, and this is where things start to deteriorate a bit. The spacy opener "Other side of the sky" offers an intriguingly understated appetiser, but all too soon we are into the repetitively dull "Sold to the highest Buddah". Steve Hillage tries to stir things up a bit with his "lewd" guitar on the brief "Castle in the cloud". As Zero encounters a prostitute, who appears to be French, things turn decidedly weird when she recites her "Poem" backed by what sounds like a Parissienne bar band. This in turn becomes a brief barroom sing-a-long, good fun in the context of the album, but a complete waste of space otherwise.

Things pick up here though, with the almost Beatles like "Selene", a hymn to the moon goddess of that name. The two part "Flute salad/oily way" which opens the second side sets out in decidedly spacy fashion, Didier Mahlerbe's wispy flute playing leading into a semi-spoken song with a girlie refrain.

As we enter the temple, first outer then inner, the music becomes more relaxed and soothing, and indeed more melodic. A couple of more orthodox songs then materialise, "Love is how Y make it" being a light almost pop (or as near as Gong come to pop!) number. Steve Hillage's "I never did glid before" is one of the few longer tracks on the album, running to almost 5 minutes. As the song develops, hints of Hillage's solo works become apparent. The album closes with the oddly titled "Eat that phone book coda".

"Angels egg", and indeed its two sister albums, is in reality very reliant on the concept to pull it through. Heard in isolation, it is a mishmash of sounds and styles which fit rather awkwardly together. If reference is made to the booklet which explains the events of the associated story, a significant new dimension is added to the experience. This will never rank for me among the albums I rank highly. It is however a finely crafted work which when assessed as an overall package, has much to recommend it.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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