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Dashiell Hedayat - Obsolete CD (album) cover


Dashiell Hedayat


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.21 | 85 ratings

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Retired Admin
5 stars Lost cheese in time

You gotta wonder how on earth a cult classic like Obsolete, an album generally believed by many Gong fans and French psych music fans alike to be the best Gong album out there - why in the name of Zorro and all that's holy this gem hasn't been reviewed since my dear friend Tom Ozric rightfully so awarded it 5 stars in late November 2007?!?!??! What the blue feck is going on?!?!?

Released as a solo album by French beat figure Dashiell Hedayatt in 1971, Obsolete offers up a musical polaroid picture of Gong metamorphosing from whimsical slightly clumsy psych rock act to the floating space creature that went on to make Camembert Electrique and the Radio Gnome Invincible Trilogy.

Without the loud and fretting fireball weaponry of Steve Hillage, we additionally get to hear what Daevid Allen is really made of - and surprise surprise if he doesn't wield that wah wah guitar like a genuine prince of marmalade. Fantastic rhythmic intonation as well as a frail melodic sense about him when soloing that really connects with me on a personal level. This album is full of understated solos and beautifully wandering riffing that Daevid does so incredible well, and you just gotta love how the band responds to his playing too. There's indeed a symbioses going down, beautiful as bees.

Together with Gilli Smythe, Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe and Daevid Allen, Dashiel Hedayat succeeds in making one of the most sought out psychedelia remnants of the early seventies(especially if you're looking for the vinyl version), and jolly well if the reputation isn't fully deserved. This record is as charming as a pooch poo in a creme shop. The laid back almost talkative French vocals makes it feel as a refined hippie chill out album, and the foggy bass and slow swoop of the guitars certainly doesn't change this album's obvious dreamy character, yet with a fickle yet abnormally acute sense of dynamics Obsolete seems forever loveable in it's expression. It genuinely feels like the Gong boys, and girl, found their mojo on the path to making an album without their name on it. It literally oozes out of your speakers.

Adding to the counter culture imagery and the whole beatnik reverence, the dark Frankenstein and always astonishingly humorous Bill Burroughs comes in to lend a helping hand on Long Song For Zelda. Joyous irreverent as his usual self - Burroughs' small cameo somehow makes the album shift into overdrive, taking the remaining part of the album from breathtaking pulsing musical scenery to terrific jam parts that foresaw the coming supersonic 5th gear of the later Radio Gnome Invincible days. Especially the side long Cielo Drive 17 pips the atmospheres from backyard dreamings to full solar voyages peeping awkwardly out the periscope - with Daevid Allen at his most relentless and Malherbe on a most inspired flute stint waaaay above the music like a distant satellite.

I rate this among the most important French rock releases - up there with Gainsbourg and Vannier's Histoire de Melody Nelson, Igor Wakhevitch's Logos and Magma's MDK. If you're sitting out there beyond the screen thinking that you've never really heard about this Hedayatt fella, though still a major fan of the bright n orangy serpentlike Gong with all their mad gorgeous playfulness - then BROTHER you've been missing out on one of the most benign addictions known to mankind!

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


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