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Gong - Full Circle - Live 1988 CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.76 | 19 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This 1988 recording was first released ten years later, then again by Musea in 2001 and then again by Gonzo in 2013 which is the version I am listening to, although I do believe they are all exactly the same. Recorded direct to cassette, this featured the rather unusual instrumental line-up of the band featuring of course Pierre Moerlen on drums, alongside Benoit Moerlen and Stefan Traub who both provide vibraphone and synthesizer, and bassist Hansford Rowe and guitarist Ake Zieden. As one might expect, we get mostly songs from the more recent albums 'Second Wind', 'Breakthrough' and 'Leave It Open', but for anyone coming across this band for the first time then this is an absolute delight.

The recording has cleaned up incredibly well, and one would not think the source was a cassette from some years earlier, while the band are on fire and there is very strong interplay between them. Their style of fusion is incredibly accessible and interesting, and I cannot actually think of another band who would perform with two vibraphone players. This gives the music a very interesting dynamic, as while the sounds being produced are often similar to keyboards, the mallet strike is very different, and they change between using keyboards and vibes. The guitar often sits right at the back, almost invisible, just coming in when needed, while the bass is often in the front with complex lines, and Pierre keeps it all together with very powerful drumming.

Pierre Moerlen's Gong were a very different beast indeed to Gong, yet very much related, and to my ears one of the most important Gong offshoots. Even now, more than 30 years on from the original concert, it is fresh and exciting and something which will happily in any prog lover's collection.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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