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Gong - Shamal CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.82 | 340 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is my second favourite Gong album after You. Not as spacey as that album but not as fusion-y as the follow up Gazeuse. Founder Daevid Allen, his wife Gilli and Tim Blake are gone. Saxophonist/flutist Didier Malherbe is the only original member here. Considering the circumstances, this is a surprisingly great album. Shamal was produced by Nick Mason but the Floyd connections don't end there. Steve Hillage's girlfriend Miquette Giraudy was an assistant editor on the film More; she also played 'Monique' in the film La Vallee.

Hillage himself only appears on two songs. Bassist Mike Howlett does the majority of vocals. Patrice Lemoine replaces Blake in the keyboard department(using mostly Fender Rhodes). There is some great sax, flute, violin and vibes playing throughout the entire album. It starts off with "Wingful Of Eyes" which has great bass and guitar as well as adequate vocals from Howlett. "Chandra" is another highlight. At the end of the song there is a very piano-like sequencer part done on MiniMoog. "Bambooji" is a very Oriental sounding piece. Even Miquette does her best impression of Oriental singing. Hillage(I'm assuming) plays what sounds like a banjo or some kind of Chinese lute. Great flute here.

"Cat In Clark's Shoes" is the closest thing to later fusion Gong here. Some nice violin in this song. There is a part where you hear somebody talking in what sounds like Spanish. The title track was always my fave on the album. It has some good funky bass and some of Pierre Moerlen's best drumming on the album. The vocals are split between Howlett and Sandy Colley. She does an almost rapping part where the vibes mimic her vocals. The best part is the middle section with violin, wah-bass and Moerlen's intense drumming. Wow.

If you like You and Gazeuse about equally, you will dig this album. It's not jazzy enough for most fusion fans and not trippy enough for psych fans. But it's still a great transitional album. Mason's production is very good. Overall a solid 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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