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Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg CD (album) cover

RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 2 - ANGEL'S EGG

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

4.14 | 666 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I distinctly recall the initial attraction I had towards Gong (a time period when experimentation was EVERYTHING!) and its pseudo-hippy-trippy progressive rock that had so many followers then and today. A tribe of British /Australian exiles living on a commune in France and creating loose insanity within jazz-rock magnificence.

When your line-up reads as follows in the booklet: 1- Ten/Sop sax floot & bi-focal vocal: Bloomdido Bad de Grasse (Malherbe) 2- Space whisper & loin cackle: Shakti Yoni (Smyth) 3- basso profundo: T.being esq (Moze) 4- Lewd guitar: Sub Capt Hillage 5- Cynthia "Size A" & lady voice : Hi T Moonweed (Blake) 6- Bread & Batteur drums, vibes and marimba: Pierre de Strasbourg (Moerlen) 7- Glockenspiel: Mireille de Strasbourg (Bauer) 8- Local vocals, aluminum croon & Glissando guitar: Dingo Virgin (Allen)

Well, you just know it's going to be one hell of a loopy ride, introducing Pot Head Pixies and Octave Doctors to a new fangled über-rock philosophy that was silliness incarnate wrapped around a spaced out chinchilla, a floating anarchy of social disobedience. Gong was certainly not impressed by right wing dynamics or even the more prevalent left ?wing stuff; they were flat out anti-government in whatever shape it came in. The first part of the trilogy is the rather spontaneous but trippy "Flying Teapot" and "Angel's Egg" is the masterblaster follow up. "You" will come soon later. The arrival of Hillage is highly significant as it gave the humor an electric fizz that appealed immediately to the "rock' crowd, hungry for new sonic adventures. Also noteworthy are Blake's insidiously bubbling synths that seem to attack from the opening "Other Side of the Sky", enveloping the listener in a coating of sweeping sound, hypnotizing sequencers blending with steady blasts of saxy sex (did I get it backwards?, its okay, I am bi-lingual) , an archetypical space jam that careens delightfully in bemused zaniness (goofy mumblings about Hurdy-hurdy supermarkets ?) and the first volume-pedal induced forays from Captain Hillfish with the legendary Moerlen bashing away like a true percussionaire. The curtly zany "Sold to the Highest Buddha" is a brief vocal intro of main protagonist Zero the Hero, lewd guitar glissandos (now, would that be slide gee-tar by any chance?) hanging on to your hair and oddball blowing from Malherbe morph into "Castles in the Clouds" which in turn passes the torch to the scrumptiously erotic and very French "Prostitute Poem", a sultry sonic striptease full of giggling irony ("sad not sad, chalant and nonchalant") , very red light district Pigalle ("hey there , ya wanna?"), croaking orgasmic complaints that swim in electronic agony and carnal confusion. I guess its kind of a "kinky-prog" anthem, composed at a time when censorship of sexual themes was the rigid norm. The classic Brit pub sing-along adds more weirdness to the deal, after which the brief "Selene" enters the orbital path of Planet Gong and being a Moon goddess, well you can guess the rest! The next series of pieces are the most remarkable, creating a splendid space-rock suite that stands the test of time, "Noisette, where is it?" kicks off the spectral "Flute Salad", a warbling quiver of slippery sounds and streaming synths, blending into the lubricious "Oily Way", a thrilling slice of voice-led psychedelia featuring sing along choruses, amazing drumming and raunchy sax ("it's not the English way"), Allen delivering his finest oral obsession with some of the oddest lyrics ever. Both "Inner" and "Outer Temple" delve into the galactic exploration for which Gong is famous for, Moze putting down a simple bass riff, the Blake synths swirling around like an opaque mist and the good Count caressing his brass instrument with utter glee. All is said through Hillage's screaming lead on the brilliant "I Never Glid Before", a substantial slab of guitar solo genius is on display here as his first dozen heavy notes kick in , propelled by the manic drums, certainly one of my fave Gong tracks (and prog axe solos) ever. "Eat that Phonebook Coda" sounds almost like Pink-Panther Inspector Clouseau outtake (think about it, a recurring Gong analogy with the rather disturbed Peter Sellers style of humor). While still preferring "You", this is a tremendous lesson in serious silliness that needs respect. 4.5 loin cackles (whatever that means)

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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