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Gong - Gazeuse! CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.93 | 391 ratings

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4 stars After both founding member Daevid Allen and guitarist Steve Hillage left the fold, the Anglo-French outfit Gong began a whole new phase of activity, leaving behind the singular brand of sixties-born cherubic psychedelia that adorned such albums as 'The Flying Teapot' and 'You' and instead embracing a bold new brand of intricate jazz-fusion with drummer Pierre Moerlen and Soft Machine guitarist Allan Holdsworth now leading the way. As new starts go it would prove a pretty radical one, bringing to mind Soft Machine's 1970 transformation that saw the British group morph from psychedelic jokers into serious-minded Miles Davis-style jazz-rock proponents between the albums 'Volume Two' and 'Third', breathing new life into the group and producing one of the key albums of their peak years. Issued in 1976, 'Gazeuse' was an entirely instrumental affair featuring a surprisingly guitar-heavy sound, some dazzling technical flourishes and at least one outstanding track in the shape of the two-part 'Percolations', the album's lengthiest track at just over ten minutes. Parlaying slick fusion ingredients into a shiny psychedelic jazz whole whilst starting cool and finishing hot, 'Percolations' is a fine example of the brand new Gong style, featuring all the hallmarks of their late- seventies output and of the fusion movement as a whole. Fans of John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Nucleus, If, Return To Forever and, of course, Soft Machine, should then find much to enjoy on 'Gazeuse', the only less-than-impressive moments on an otherwise high quality album found on the dull and classically-informed closer 'Mireille'. Exactly what fans of Gong's earlier material will make of it is unclear - this is almost a different group - though history tells us that Gong did manage to maintain their core support right through to the 1990's before eventually re-forming in 2009. Overall then, 'Gazeuse' proves an important addition to the Gong story and an impressive stylistic leap-of-faith from one of the more curious groups of the progressive rock genre's golden era. And alongside 'You', it's arguably one of their best. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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