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Gong - Gazeuse! CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.93 | 389 ratings

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5 stars Daevid Allen leaves with the charming wife Gilly Smith in tow and the rest of the planet Gong commune go their own way keeping only the moniker and after the previous Shamal , drummer extraordinaire Pierre Moerlen really took full control and shoved the concept into some of the finest jazz-rock (as it was called back then!), aided and abetted by his percussionist madman brother Benoit. Who do they pencil in as guitarist you ask? No other than the already prodigious and well respected axeslinger Allan Holdsworth , fresh from a successful stint with the legendary Soft Machine, who duels well with saxophonists by jazzy nature and here fools around with the splendid and unfairly underrated Didier Malherbe, while Mino Cinelou on various percussives , Mireille Bauer on more percussion and Francis Moze on bass (he of Magma fame) round out the crew. This is no easy listening pop adventure, clearly very bubbly ("Gazeuse!") and chock full of exclamations marks. The highlight track is the majestic "Percolations" the first and oh so successful rhythm epic, a 10 minute exploration of various percussion layers , with tender delicacies and high-toned detail , leading up to one of the most sulfuric drum entrance ever , a simple 2 beat shuffle that sears straight into the brain's pleasure centers. Contrasting pools of dual vibraphone twitch with effortless flow, Pierre blasts his way through like some French version of Billy Cobham , knocking sideways and ahead , ripping machine gun volleys with fiery abandon. Young aspiring drummers out there beware , you will never get this manically proficient if you do not study this piece intensely. An absolute drum encyclopedia is at your fingertips, run and get this! His pulsating drum solo is scintillating both in complex technique and in artistic expression, a whirlwind affair that was always the highlight at a good concert in Montreal, a city famous to all rock drummers as they were worshipped live beyond normalcy. The bulk of the remaining material is pure jazzy bliss, Holdsworth shining throughout, bending, thrashing, weaving and waving (the cheeky guy!) while Didier blows a mean flute on "Shadow of Gong", the beat relentless and verging on insane. This monument of jazz-rock prog sits on the celestial table of other masterful albums such as RTF's Romantic Warriors, Cobham's Spectrum, Mahavishu's Birds of Fire, Soft Machine's Bundles and Weather Report's Sweetnighter", among the most famous . "Esnuria" incorporates all the verve and bravado that formulated such a drastic musical direction change, from spacy zaniness to hyper-complex Brit jazz-rock! The lads really kick butt here, not afraid to discover new horizons as this was a burgeoning scene at the time, no one afraid of challenging the conservative jazz purists at the time (who could be and were snotty bastards!). They were stumped by the superlative playing and the dramatic euphoria stemming from their souls (this explains the Magma phenomenon, by the way!).A beautiful covert art scheme completes the deal for me. Not the easiest cup of tea but repeated revisits will create an ever positive impression, each time more confident in the assertion that this is a required jewel in any collection, all genres combined. Now perhaps people will comprehend why Moerlen (who died recently) is so highly revered. 5 French bubbles.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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