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Gong - Live Floating Anarchy 1977 CD (album) cover

LIVE FLOATING ANARCHY 1977

Gong

Canterbury Scene


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5 stars This is a powerful album, the classic start with an overture is followed by a pleasant rhythm in Floatin anarchy zero and then more space atmospheres as in the best Gong tradition characterize the subsequent songs. The excellence is reached in the last part with "Allez Ali Baba Black-Sheep Have You Any Bull Shit: Mama Maya Mantram Zero": 15 minutes of crescendo towards a unique final climax.
Report this review (#52744)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gong here made a live album with some very twisted cosmic & spacy sounds and effects plus some punk riffs and beat. The sound is awful, although the compositions are pretty complex and progressive: one could believe the record has been recorded live in a "Woodstock" event for the punk community. Well, if it can be classified as punk, then it is progressive punk with cosmic & spacy elements. The record contains no saxes, no percussions, no flute. The sexual voice of Gilli Smith, the cosmic VCS3-like arrangements and the electric guitar of Steve Hillage will remind you that it is still Gong who are concerned here. Obviously, the best passages are the most mellow and floating ones. The overall music still sounds like Ozric Tentacles and Steve Hillage's solo career, but it is less similar to the previous Gong, given that many regular musicians are absent here. The music is definitely very good, but the poor sound leads to a 0.5 star removal.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#78188)
Posted Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This albums is raw and exciting and captures David Allen, and Gilli Smyth with Here and now on their famous Floating anarchy tour. If you like Here and Now this is a great LP, if your really hooked on gong you may find this a little to raw and lacking in sophistication for your tastes. The songs almost all involve long and complex jamming with Steffi Sharp- strings utterly on top form and seemingly ecstatic to be playing with his personal hero. I think this hero worship may have fallen a little flat after this tour but that's just a guess. As far as I concerned the spirit overcomes the bands limitations and even kif kif cannot put a foot wrong on this tour da force. I only caught the very first gig that David did with here and now, at oxford with no time to rehearse that was a disappointment. Thankfully Tim Blake's crystal machine played and was exceptional that night. Somewhere between oxford and France things must have gelled and what we have here is the result of that marriage between professional musicians and extremely keen semi-professionals. What a great gig this must have been especially if you had invested in a nice micro-dot. An album for die hard hippy's only maybe but a corker all the same. Sadly this collaboration was not to last and here and now became what Gong had never truly been , ie a truly Anarchistic community the darlings of the free festival scene in the Uk.

Here and now probably deserve their own review page although if they could be termed prog is debatable...certainly (like hawkwind) they are an acid rock band. Later recording during this heady period suffer from kif Kif's annoying vocals and appalling drumming. Later after this classic line up split here and now became a very competent live band. These days some of the members have become part of the Butlins review style Gong that plays very safe versions of Gongs greatest hits to audiences of fans who seem not to notice how boring the music now sounds.

The Lp though is essential to Gong fans and remains sadly a great one off from a heady and truly amazing tour.

Report this review (#91307)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars How could this be anything but essential? At one time, everybody I knew had this album.

Just to clarify earlier reviews, this ain't Gong, this is another beast ... Planet Gong. Of the 'classic' Gong members, only Daevid Allen & Gilli Smyth are present, plus free fest squat rockers, Here & Now. (Having said that, Steffe Sharpstrings has played often in a sort of Steve Hillage role when Gong have been playing trilogy stuff, as has to a lesser extent Twink on synths, maybe some of the others have too?)

Right, so is this the greatest live recording of all time? Yes, possibly.

There are 6 great tracks here, out of 6 ... but when you suddenly find that Ali Baba has been playing for about 10 minutes, and it has just taken off through the roof, you know that this is some very, very strong stuff!

Yes, definitely!

My first 5 stars, even after the warning that flashes up about using them sparingly !!! Anyone got a star to spare to make it 6?

Report this review (#102195)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

I was never sure where this album ever stood in the Gong history, but I always perceived it as the first step of Daevid Allen to reclaim his Planet Gong property, since this album was released in 77 within weeks or months of the Live Etc (but recorded in 73) and the album Expresso II would be the last one named that way before Moerlen's gang would use Pierre Moerlen's Gong. So most likely, Daevid achieved his goal and probably partly due to this album. Outside his beloved Gilly, there is no-one else from the Gong history, and this album is the link between Here And Now and the Planet. But if the album does not really touch Gong mythology, it sure as hell relates, refers, cites, quotes and breathes, eat & sleeps to it as much as it can. As the title indicates, the album is live and recorded on one night and the artwork suggest stealing the album instead of paying more than their announced price. Truth must be told that Daevid was robbed many times of his rights by unscrupulous labels and managers.

There is a big difference, though between this album and the GonG galaxy. Here, this album could almost be classified as punk, if it was not for the sheer virtuoso qualities of Sharpstring and Keith Da Missile and Co. Indeed, the group is over exuberant and their energy not always "englishly contained" and the punk sometimes seeps through the pores of the songs. But unmistakably Gilly's intros bring us back to the RGI, even plunging a bit into You for a minute or two. To this Gonghead, the flipside is certainly more interesting with two full-blown psyched-out but tight jams. Drummer Kifkif (so-so in French) and Keith (bassist) indeed make an incredible bed so the rest of the group can sail on view and float at will. The almost binary rhythms can indeed bring you to Hawkwind's better moments as well.

But obviously the "Anarchy" deal is not to let ugly Pistols pull the blanket to them, and Daevid and the GanG (I just had to do that one ;o)) pull it ridiculously easily to their advantage. Sure, this album is a bit of "bastard son" of the GonG oeuvre, but it has no problem making recognized its parenthood either.

Report this review (#158152)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Don be fooled by the name: it is not Anarchy in UK for sure. It's not a Moerlen's Gong as well. It's Planet Gong : Daevid Allen transitional project between Canterbury Gong sound and his prog-punk era.

The music is dready and heavy space-psychedelic. No percussions, no saxes - no jazzy elements came here from Canterbury/jazz fusion Gong. But overload is coming from synthesizers, Gilli Smyth perfectly recogniseable voice and Daevid singing. Steve Hillage supply some guitars as well. But all this acid construction is build on freshly coming punk basement.

No way real punk ( punks hated synthesizers,long compositions, dreamy spacy sound,etc), but for sure uses some fashionable rhythms and sounds.

One of most psychedelic Allen album at all, what is a bit strange,speaking about date of release. Strange, but partially interesting album.

Should be interesting for Daevid Allen fans,early Gong fans, dready space rock lovers and Gong collectors. For Allen real prog punk better listen New York Gong.Between three and four, but because of my love to all Gong world,let it be 4.

Report this review (#252318)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not to be missed if you like any of the incarnations of Gong featuring Daevid Allen.

Not only does LIVE FLOATING ANARCHY contain loads of wild and bubbly space-rock, most notably the majestic fifteen-minute "Allez Ali Baba Black Sheep" which still carries me away every time I hear it (and which must have been a major influence on Ozric Tentacles); it also contains Daevid's triumphant attempt to outsnarl Johnny Rotten on a thoroughly enjoyable Sex Pistols parody called "Opium for the People". (Just why did you think the album was called "Live Floating ANARCHY"? It seems Allen was more than prepared to show those young upstarts who the true anarchists were!)

I can't imagine that anyone who likes BANANAMOON, CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE or even YOU would fail to appreciate this album. Just don't expect subtle soloing as provided by the likes of Pierre Moerlen or Didier Malherbe. What you get here is wild and spontaneous, but still rich, thanks to (among other things) esctatic drumming, oodles of whizzing synths and yes: that dratted space whisper!

N.B. Contrary to what certain reviewers have stated, Steve Hillage did not take part in this concert, as far as I'm aware. But professor Sharpstrings, whoever he is (I always suspected him of being Daevid Allen himself, but I must be wrong), does an excellent job at reminding you of the master.

Report this review (#263320)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If Gong is a mix of Canterbury and space at all as is mentioned in the band description then on this live album the space prevails very obviously. And second style isn't Canterbury here but more the punk style the band played at this particular moment in their career, a bit like a mix of Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles combined with some Sex Pistols I would say.

Maybe it doesn't have to be a big deal actually because what it really is at this moment in time is pretty interesting prog anyway: challenging and versatile it is for sure. Mainly the two longer, epical tracks really appeal to me. New Age Transformation and Allez Ali Baba ... are best digested with a nice joint between your lips. Ok, just kidding here but this is spacy stuff in just about the weirdest way you can think of. It's quite funny actually to listen to these two songs but what's most important is that it's very entertaining music, at least far from dull anyway.

The shorter songs at the beginning and in between the two epics of this live release are more in the mentioned punk style making the whole thing pretty diverse and all in all an enjoyable listening experience. It just goes a little bit too far for me to call it an excellent addition for any prog rock collection but it's not really far from it to be honest, so close to a 3,5 star rating I would say. In the end I will round down because the vocals are a bit over the top where bizarness is concerned so it has some flaws but if you get intrigued reading this review I can certainly recommend to check it out.

Report this review (#305171)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Gilli Smyth and Daevid Allen teamed up with the band who would become Here and Now to put out this album, which matches up some old Allen pieces from the likes of Camembert Electrique and Bananamoon with new pieces making their first appearance here. Here and Now play in a psychedelic style which would put them in good stead on the festival circuit which in a few years would spawn the likes of Ozric Tentacles, and indeed the overall impression is a lot like "Allen and Smyth meet the Ozrics". G-avin Da Blitz' keyboard skills are easily on a par with Tim Blake's, whilst the mysterious "Professor Sharpstrings" has a guitar style that is more aggressive and direct than Steve Hillage, but no less psychedelic - it's rather reminiscent of Hendrix in fact.

The new energy and directness brought to the table by Here and Now adds a new dimension to the usual Gong tomfoolery, and whilst it is expressed best (as usual for Gong) in the extended ten minute plus compositions, the shorter pieces also benefit from this added hippy- punk vibrancy. A short-lived subfaction of the Gong family, but arguably an important one, Planet Gong would prove to be Daevid Allen's jumping off point to incorporate the sounds of the New Wave into his music, which arguably came to a culmination in the startlingly different New York Gong album.

Report this review (#556968)
Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I was quite interested in how this revived version of Deavid Allen's Gong would sound in 1977. Don't be fooled by the band's timeline, this is no Pierre Moerlen's Gong record! This is Planet Gong, a reincarnation with Deavid Allen, Gilly Smith and a guitar player that sound a lot like Steve Hillage. The band updated its sound to stay interesting for the growing punk crowds whilst maintaining most of is spacey sound-effects. The band even expanded on its craziness, with lots of silly voices and almost no formal song-writing at all. The band also kept its jammy side on the two longer tracks, though with a more punk-based rhythmical approach (in stead of the fusion inspired rhythms on the earlier Gong records).

This could have all turned out fine, but in the end I want to listen to music that some good song-writing to offer along with instrumental prowess. On this album the shorter songs are all arguably weaker then even - for instance - the Gong debut album 'Magic Brother' (1969). Some passages just sound like crazy people acting crazy over a rather dull punkrock background. No song has a satisfying begin-end structure. Furthermore, the sound of this record is comparable to a strong bootleg album and when the music gets chaotic, it becomes just one big ugly woosh. The two longer instrumental jams are significantly better, especially the 15 minute long 'Allez Ali Baba' has some space rockin' moments. This tracks also sounds significantly better.

Conclusion. This falls way short of a live efforts like 'Live au Bataclan' or other Gong live-albums of the formal discography. It is mainly interesting because it offers an album full of new material from a period that didn't really produce a high quality studio album. Because of the lack of comfort in listening to this poorly produced live record I can't give more then two stars. I would however still recommend non-audiophile fans of Deavid Allen's Gong to give 'Live Floating Anarchy' a try. Somehow the price of the vinyl is also quite agreeable in Europe.

Report this review (#2278805)
Posted Thursday, November 7, 2019 | Review Permalink

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