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GONG

Canterbury Scene • Multi-National


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Gong biography
Formed in Paris, France in 1968 - Disbanded in 1976 - Reformed intermittently since 1990

GONG is a Space/Canterbury Rock group formed by Australian guitarist (formerly of SOFT MACHINE) Daevid ALLEN. He did not do it alone though, he & his wife, Gilli Smyth are the whole nucleus of that band with numerous band line-ups. "Magick Brother, Mystic Sister" is GONG's first release & the line up consists of: Didier MALHERBE (sax), Christian Tritsch (guitar), Pip PYLE (drums) & of course, Daevid Allen (guitar & lead vocals) while his wife Gilli performed the spacey vocals. GONG's second release: "Camembert Electrique" is the beginning of Allan's ideas of Pot Head pixies, Radio Gnome's, & Octave Doctor's featured on later albums of "The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy" along with the Protagonist Zero The Hero, which consisted of "Flying Teapot" (1972), "Angel's Egg" (1973) & "You" (1974). After "Camembert Electrique" release also saw a new line-up & a steady one. The line-up consisted of: Didier Malherbe (sax) Mike Howlett (bass), Pierre Moerlen (drums), Steve HILLAGE (guitar), Tim Blake (synthesizers) & of course, Daevid (vocals & guitar) & Gilli (space vocals). This line-up would last until "You". When Allen, Smyth, & Blake departed due to dissatisfaction of being an instrumental band this led Pierre to be the leader & released "Shamal" in 1976. Hillage lost faith in the group & departed as well.

All of the "Radio Gnome Trilogy" albums & "Camembert Electrique" are great places to start for anyone interesting in GONG. "Magick Brother, Mystic Sister" is very raw, & not as technical or jam worthy as later GONG, but the Canterbury humor is still there. "Shamal" is the beginning of their Fusion sound that would be later presented on later albums. "Gong Live" features a good compilation of tracks performed live would also be good starter album.

: : : Alexander Vogel : : :

Discography:
With original year of issue and format.
Basic, incomplete, GONG-named band discography.
A more advanced, far-reaching, super-hyperlinked and inaccurate version will be made eventually....

Studio albums, live albums and singles:
1969 - ...
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GONG Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy GONG Music


Love From Planet GongLove From Planet Gong
Virgin Int'L 2019
$118.14
$114.29 (used)
Rejoice! I`m Dead! ( 2 CD & 5.1 Mix DVD Book )Rejoice! I`m Dead! ( 2 CD & 5.1 Mix DVD Book )
MADFISH 2017
$35.34
$37.87 (used)
Camembert Electrique ( Sleevepac )Camembert Electrique ( Sleevepac )
SNAPPER MUSIC LTD. 2017
$12.34
Angels EggAngels Egg
Remastered · Extra tracks
Virgin 2005
$5.48
$4.61 (used)
The Universe Also CollapsesThe Universe Also Collapses
KSCOPE 2019
$10.55
$9.03 (used)
GazeuseGazeuse
Emi Europe Generic 1990
$5.38
$9.58 (used)
Continental CircusContinental Circus
Mantra
$22.99
ShamalShamal
Emi Europe Generic 1990
$5.51
$9.58 (used)

More places to buy GONG music online Buy GONG & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

GONG discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GONG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 174 ratings
Magick Brother
1969
3.80 | 385 ratings
Camembert Electrique
1971
3.13 | 154 ratings
Continental Circus
1971
3.94 | 536 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
1973
4.13 | 659 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
1973
4.25 | 982 ratings
Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
1974
3.83 | 351 ratings
Shamal
1975
3.93 | 389 ratings
Gazeuse!
1976
3.71 | 269 ratings
Expresso II
1978
3.50 | 169 ratings
Downwind
1979
2.95 | 117 ratings
Time Is The Key
1979
3.27 | 69 ratings
New York Gong: About Time
1979
3.01 | 63 ratings
Leave It Open
1981
2.52 | 48 ratings
Breakthrough
1986
2.53 | 47 ratings
Second Wind
1988
2.77 | 37 ratings
Gongmaison: Gongmaison
1989
3.51 | 75 ratings
Shapeshifter
1992
2.26 | 36 ratings
Camembert Eclectique
1995
3.50 | 103 ratings
Zero To Infinity
2000
3.96 | 86 ratings
Acid Motherhood
2003
2.95 | 54 ratings
Pentanine
2004
3.15 | 133 ratings
2032
2009
3.94 | 174 ratings
I See You
2014
3.95 | 155 ratings
Rejoice! I'm Dead
2016
3.56 | 40 ratings
The Universe Also Collapses
2019

GONG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 85 ratings
Gong Live, Etc
1977
3.68 | 67 ratings
Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong!
1978
3.74 | 69 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1977
1978
3.28 | 34 ratings
Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
1980
2.26 | 22 ratings
Live At Sheffield '74
1990
4.29 | 30 ratings
Live au Bataclan 1973
1990
2.65 | 12 ratings
Live On T.V. 1990
1993
3.00 | 18 ratings
25th Birthday Party
1995
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live Floating Anarchy 1991
1995
3.94 | 32 ratings
The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
1995
3.83 | 15 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
1998
3.51 | 14 ratings
Live 2 Infinitea
2000
3.61 | 6 ratings
Glastonbury Fayre 1971
2002
3.50 | 2 ratings
OK Friends
2002
3.65 | 21 ratings
Live In Sherwood Forest '75
2005
3.86 | 11 ratings
In the '70s
2006
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sheffield City Hall 1976
2013
3.50 | 2 ratings
Paris Bataclan 1976
2013

GONG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.29 | 20 ratings
High Above the Subterania Club 2000
2000
3.93 | 18 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2000
2.90 | 12 ratings
Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories
2006
4.17 | 12 ratings
Live In Brazil: 20th November 2007
2007
3.80 | 5 ratings
Live At The Family Unconventional Gathering
2008
3.90 | 10 ratings
On French TV 1971 - 1973
2012

GONG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 19 ratings
Wingful of Eyes
1986
3.02 | 10 ratings
The History and Mystery of the Planet Gong
1989
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Gong
1995
4.33 | 3 ratings
Radio Gnome Trilogy
1995
2.40 | 6 ratings
Family Jewels
1998
3.60 | 15 ratings
The Other Side Of The Sky (A Collection)
1999
3.27 | 11 ratings
The Best of Gong
2000
3.74 | 6 ratings
The World Of Daevid Allen and Gong
2003
4.08 | 3 ratings
Opium for the People (Compilation)
2006
2.50 | 2 ratings
Gong On Acid
2006
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sixty Minutes With Gong
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Soundcheck Preserves
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Love from the Planet Gong (The Virgin Years 1973-75)
2019

GONG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 7 ratings
Est-Ce-Que Je Suis / Hip Hypnotize You
1969
3.33 | 3 ratings
Shamal
1976
3.08 | 4 ratings
Opium for the People
1978
2.00 | 3 ratings
Downwind
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
A Sprinkling Of Clouds
1997

GONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Peel Sessions 1971/1974 by GONG album cover Live, 1995
3.94 | 32 ratings

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The Peel Sessions 1971/1974
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A decent release of some BBC sessions from classic-era Gong. Whilst there's some overlap with the material on the new Love From the Planet Gong boxed set, and before that the Live Etc. double album, this isn't entirely redundant; in particular, to my knowledge this is the only official source of the 1971 Peel Session, featuring tracks from Camembert Electrique and the Magick Brother/Mystic Sister album. Live Gong can be a bit of an eye-opener if you're used to their studio albums - sure, Daevid Allen's sense of humour is present and correct and if anything has even more scope to run free, but the instrumentalists also have more room to breathe - and this is as good an introduction to that as any.
 Gong Live, Etc by GONG album cover Live, 1977
3.60 | 85 ratings

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Gong Live, Etc
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is one of those archival releases which was a must-have back when it was first came out but whose star has somewhat faded next to subsequent archive releases. Back when it came out, there was a scarcity of officially-released live Gong material from the Radio Gnome Invisible period out there, plus the two studio tracks here (Ooby Scooby Doomsday and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?) were floating around without a particular home.

However, with the Love From the Planet Gong comprehensively hollowing out the Virgin vault, Live Etc. is now a bit redundant. In particular, that boxed set has the complete recordings available from the concerts this set is drawn on. That's particularly important because Gong concerts incorporated a large amount of improvisation tied closely to the mood the band was presently in and the atmosphere at the venue, so you get more out of listening to the live sets in the form they were originally delivered, rather than cherry-picking songs from a great swathe of live performances.

The fact is that Live Etc., drawing from as many sources as it does, ends up feeling a bit disjointed, an issue exacerbated by the fact that major lineup changes were happening all across the period covered. (Hell, Daevid Allen himself isn't on some of these tracks, hailing as they do from a 1975 Marquee appearance from after his exit.) If you just want a glimmer of what the band from this era were like live, it'll still do the job - but if you want a better idea of the live Gong experience, the Love From the Planet Gong boxed set (or, if you can't shell out for that, the bonus discs on the new deluxe editions of the albums from Flying Teapot to Shamal, which offer extracts from concerts from the era of the album in question) will do a substantially better job.

 Live au Bataclan 1973 by GONG album cover Live, 1990
4.29 | 30 ratings

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Live au Bataclan 1973
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As with many bands of the era, if you've only heard Gong's studio efforts you've only really had half of the story on them. The Live Etc. double album release was ultimately a bit of a fragmentary affair, drawing on a swathe of different performances from a sequence of different Gong lineups, with the result that it didn't really reflect how their live shows actually went.

This recording of their 1973 show at the Bataclan - recorded just as Flying Teapot was on the cusp of release and featuring material from that, Camembert Electrique, and some early takes on pieces from Angel's Egg - goes some way to correcting that, offering a decent-sounding set which finds them expanding on their studio numbers organically as the mood takes them.

Note, however, that the truly definitive version of this gig isn't this set - it's the 2CD collection taking in the entire Bataclan set released in the recent Love From the Planet Gong box, which contains the entire, unexpurgated setlist with corrected track names. (Whoever was doing the track names on this one for Mantra was basically guessing half the time.)

 The Universe Also Collapses by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.56 | 40 ratings

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The Universe Also Collapses
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by hugo1995

5 stars I've heard every Gong album, and although so many of them are crap, I remain a big fan of the band. This album is one of the best. Sounds exactly like my favorite parts of Gong (synths from You and Angel's Egg), but morphed into an epic 20 minute track. It's crazy to think that a band that's long outstayed their welcome could still make a good album, but this album is proof. I'm giving this album a 5 Star because I really think it's a masterpiece in Gong's collection, and very reminiscent of 1974 Gong. This is one of two gong albums I have given a 5 star.
 Continental Circus by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.13 | 154 ratings

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Continental Circus
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by hugo1995

3 stars In my opinion, this album is only saved by its B side, which is an awesome alien synth track which the A side seems to really lack on. As for the rest of it, it's basically classic Gong. And by that, I mean, they're really talented musicians but they choose to waffle about and make a bunch of pitchy crap. I'm not saying Gong is crap, it's just classic Gong. Low to high on the soprano sax, epic drums, crazy synthesizers that all together take you to the planet Gong for 30 minutes. Continental Circus is a good name for this album, as it feels like such.
 The Universe Also Collapses by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.56 | 40 ratings

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The Universe Also Collapses
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars this review has been written originally for www.jazzmusicarchives.com

Founded in France in late 60s by Australian beatnik Daevid Allen Gong for decades was possible best known musical hippie commune, based in Europe. They never received a commercial success but after all these years there are still people around discussing their Radio Gnome Trilogy (I'm serious - I can even mention their names!).

So, right after the half of a century (serious age for active music collective, isn't it?) we get an offer to listen to the new music recorded by "Gong". What is in a menu?

Band's founder and spiritual/creative leader Daevid Allen passed away in 2015 and the yeasr after there was released an album contained his legacy (unfinished ideas and works and lot of music from his younger collaborators who played beside of him). It was quite a great memorial release if not really a Gong album. Now, three years later (and four years after Allen's death), we have an album of new material,not something from the vaults. I'm far not a person who idolize even a great artists, but in a case with Gong things are not so simple.

Original Gong has always been more then just a band, in fact at their best the were talented counter-couture commune playing for fun and time to time recording their hippie-dada-space tales to dedicated followers. There were lot of line-up changes and there were more then a few Gong versions as well. Even best of them (different then Allen "original" one) was a better-then-average jazz fusion band (I'm speaking about so-called "Pierre Moerlen Gong" and their "Shamal" and "Gazeuse!" albums from mid 70s), but they lost that Allen's childish playful freakiness from very first steps. It was Allen himself who saved this ingredient for any project ,he participated, no-one else.

Returning back to newest album,"The Universe Also Collapses" is surprisingly strong (for second decade of new Millennium) progressive rock release. Skilled musicians who all played on last Gong album with Allen still on board - "I See You"(2014) - do the great job here. From twenty-plus minute long space-rock opener "Forever Reoccurring" ("Hawkwind" fans must to hear it for sure)to short guitars driven well-arranged "If Never I'm And Ever You" (do you still remember American AOR bands from early 80s?)to "My Sawtooth Wake" (I really respect Steve Wilson music too)and finally the closer "The Elemental" (Jethro Tull goes AOR?)they play a high quality progressive rock of sort with enthusiasm and positive energy not so characteristic for the time when progressive rock too often become a form of self parody.

Still is it enough for calling themselves "Gong"?

 Rejoice! I'm Dead by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.95 | 155 ratings

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Rejoice! I'm Dead
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by stewe

5 stars With the onset of their new release ?The Universe Also Collapses" (awaiting eagerly to listen to it) I'd like to return to their previous album, which in my opinion deserves more attention here at PA. Since passing of Daevid Allen, the remaining members of the band took - with Allen's own blessings - the Gong's music further on.

Led now by immensely talented British-Iranian guitarist/vocalist Kavus Torabi, the band consists only of musicians involved in recent incarnation of Gong (accompanying Allen on his last album, 2014's "I See You") . The five musicians have found a new ground how to spread the wings to show their real potential. Far away from being just a supporting band, this is a tremendous effort full of great chemistry, interaction and inspiration.

Musically, "Rejoice I am Dead" offers a wide spectrum of moods with vintage atmosphere yet futuristic expressions. Album doesn't provide an instant gratification - it needs to be revealed by repeated listening. Still, at places it sticks very quickly in the head and desire for repetition comes naturally with further curiosity. There is quite strong old-school Canterbury vibe combined with jazz/fusion drive. Music is ranging from furious to dreamy with nearly-stoner passages. Ethereal, masterful glissandos of Fabio Golfetti (known from a Brazillian space-prog outfit Violeta de Outono) are contrasting with heavier, complex yet infectious Torabi's guitar parts.

Cheb Nettles and Dave Sturt form powerful and intricate rhythm section and Ian East's woodwinds intertwined in the structures are perfectly counterpointing the other instruments. The album is full of energy, dynamics, dazzling extensive build-ups and excellent pace without dull or too self-indulgent moments. "The Unspeakable Stands Revealed" is apparently a magnum opus here. Torabi's influence is dominant but apparently not as obvious as in his other band, Knifeworld. There is definitely a collaborative essence into it. Sturt is a main co-writer, with his own haunting piece "Model Village" - only song where lead vocals are traded to Golfetti. Even Steve Hillage makes cameo performance - extended trademark solo. And finally, there is Daevid Allen. Apart from his presence in spoken parts, it's his "spirit" that obviously drives the album very much. Let's also not forget his songwriting credits on couple of tracks.

Separate mention goes to lyrics. From highly abstract metaphors to the critique and analysis of today's system and direction of humanity - or rather dehumanization. Notions of "capitalism autopsy" or lines such as "Reflections that reveal the mystery further, Serve only to reflect the thing itself.." echoing profound philosophers such as Marx or Hegel.

Gong is one of the rare examples, when the band naturally transformed into larger-than-life entity. They can continue, evolve naturally with new generation of musicians, without losing its fundament, reason for the existence. The powerful combination of music and lyrics make this album truly a piece of art. It is a bit insane mix - thought-provoking, almost frightening and coldly realistic yet metaphysical, satirical, cynical, light-hearted and amusing.

Although it is hard, in a way, to draw direct comparisons, I consider "Rejoice I am Dead" as their most complete, balanced yet and thus also one of the best things ever made under Gong's name, alongside with "Radio Gnome Invisible: Angel's Egg".

 Acid Motherhood by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.96 | 86 ratings

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Acid Motherhood
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars After Daevid Allen left GONG following the completion of the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy in the 70s, the torch was passed to Pierre Moerlen who did a stellar job of shifting the band into a jazz-fusion band but all that wacky psychedelic Canterbury whimsy that Allen brought to the table was completely absent. While Allen himself would release some solo albums as well as explore other GONG splinter groups such as New York Gong and Gongmaison, the original GONG disappeared completely when Moerlen added his name to the band after "Shamal" and the original monosyllabic moniker was pretty much shelved until 1992's "Shapeshifter."

Upon returning to the UK, Allen resurrected his 70s creation simply by changing Gongmaison to GONG. Poof! It was so and the new GONG crafted the first album in almost 20 years and released "Shapeshifter" which boldly tackled the insurmountable task of trying to construct the fourth edition of Radio Gnome Invisible but sort of missed the mark. With this reunion the band was clearly reaching towards the past rather than reinventing themselves for the everything alternative 90s. While the prog revival was underway, bands like Dream Theater and Anglagard were taking it to new realities. GONG was sounding a bit dated. The 90s found a few archival releases as well as the cash in attempt of a remix of "You" and then another retro release in the form of "Zero To Infinity" in 2000. It seemed that GONG was forever stuck in the past.

But wait! Daevid Allen was all about progressing and after a decade of reliving the glory years without the expected results, he reinvented the whole GONG experience once again with 2003's most bizarre edition to the GONG universe of all, the mondo bizarro ACID MOTHERHOOD. Perhaps this album takes the Canterbury whimsy to its logical conclusion with the album cover of a smiling Allen whose is head attached to a pregnant woman's body and to make it even more ridiculous, there are two of them slapping each other's asses! LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! Yeah, it's a scary sight indeed but despite this rather unflattering display of psychedelic freakery run amok, ACID MOTHERHOOD was just what the doctor ordered to make GONG relevant in the 21st century.

ACID MOTHERHOOD was actually the bizarre fusion of three bands. Allen's classic 70s GONG, Japan's Acid Mothers Temple and Allen's American band University of Errors. From the GONG side of the equation it was only Allen himself and everyone's favorite space whisperer Gilli Smyth who were back in the driver's seat but more than cast their weight in this most psychedelic musical adventure. Kawabath Makoto (guitar, bouzouki) and Cotton Casino (synthesizer, vocals) were from Acid Mother's Temple and Josh Pollock (guitars, drums) and Allen's son Orlando Allen (drums) were from the University of Errors side of the table. The lineup was completed by bassist Dharmawan Bradbridge along with a few guest musicians including Greg Sheehan on hang and various percussive instruments as well as Kurt Schwitterse delivering some extra vocals.

While many supergroups fail to deliver the fusion goods of the respective bands from which they emerged, on ACID MOTHERHOOD all the musicians on board worked together so very well that the three bands merge into a whole for this magnificent 49 minute listening experience. Be warned though. If you take drugs and listen to this album while gazing at the album cover for too long. Your mind will explode! Given that there are three guitarists on board, ACID MOTHERHOOD is by far the noisiest and heaviest album within the entire extended GONG family's lofty canon. Allen was a master of attracting new to talent to his projects and this crazy romp through the psychedelic noise rock universe is perhaps one of my favorite GONG albums of all time!

"Oceans of Molasses" opens with a noisy mix of jangly glissando guitars that sound like John Cage during a bad trip as it sounds like a mix of psychedelic rock and doom metal. Scary stuff but the following "Supercotton" lightens things up with Allen's narration of silly stories along with Gilli Smyth's vocal antics. The music has a bouncy funky groove while the glissando guitars and psychedelic synth parts go gangbusters like fireworks. Allen raps the lyrics in almost a high school band marching band rhythmic drive while the track delve deeper into mind bending freakery but also includes some massive heavy guitar bombast that adds some serious punk and funk elements to the mix.

While "Supercotton" is clearly an Allen penned track, so too are "Olde Fooles Game," "Zeroina," "Brainwash Me" and "Waving" as they display all the zany whimsical wisdom along with Allen's vocal style and glissando guitar techniques taken to their logical conclusion. "Zeroina" in particular is a heavy punk infused beast with super crunchy guitars on steroids."Monstah!" follows suit with a punk infused brutal prog style penned by Pollack whereas "Bazuki Logix" and the lengthy 13 minute "Makototen" allow the Acid Mothers Temple elements to reign supreme that allow the hypnotic cyclical guitar and bouzouki riffs to lift off far from Earth's gravitational pull. The closing "Schwitless in Molasses" continues the doom laden antics of the first track and slow down to a snail's pace with heavy distorted echoey guitar chords, down-tuned bass runs and Kurt Schwitters playing the role of pixie with mischievous lyrics emerging from the fuzz.

Yeah, this is not your 70s GONG album by any stretch of the imagination. In fact there is really nothing else out there period that sounds like this one but this one works on so many levels. The tracks are all over the place which keeps the whole thing thoroughly entertaining and there's not one bad track on the entire album. The perfect mix of doomy despair mixed with the happy-go-lucky humor is a real treat. This is a woefully under-appreciated little slice of heaven in the greater GONG universe. Set your mind free and listen to this N-N-N-OOOOO-W-W-W !!!!

 The Universe Also Collapses by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.56 | 40 ratings

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The Universe Also Collapses
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars It's hard to believe that it's been four years since GONG founder Daevid Allen left this world and passed on into the eternal psychedelic haze that vibrates to form everything in the known universe but his legacy is strong as is the band that he founded way back in 1968 as it was his desire that new talent steer the psychedelic musical outfit into fresh new territories without losing the zeitgeist of the original intent. Following Allen's last album with GONG, the 2014 "I See You" came the 2016 "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" which showcased yet another version of GONG this time without Allen, without Pierre Moerlen and without any of the musicians that came and went throughout the band's lengthy existence.

While that album showcased that GONG was a viable unit taken into its next chapter of reality, the second post-Allen release THE UNIVERSE ALSO COLLAPSES pretty much leaves no doubt that GONG will continue on into the foreseeable future and seems to have found a new stable lineup with former Cardiacs and Knifeworld guitarist / vocalist Kavus Torabi, guitarist Fabio Golfetti, saxophonist / flautist / percussionist Ian East, ex-Jade Warrior bassist Dave Sturt and drummer / percussionist Cheb Nettles. While it's hard to imagine a post-Allen Gong actually pulling off the vision without one of the most unique personalities no longer in the scene, this new version of GONG has spent the last few years touring both by headlining as well as with another ex-GONG legend Steve Hillage.

Featuring only four tracks THE UNIVERSE ALSO COLLAPSES delves more into the classic psychedelic sounds of GONG's 70s period that incorporates funky bass grooves, glissando guitar, pulsing synth and haunting saxophone slides which takes a completely different approach than "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" Rather than developing the new sound set out on that album, THE UNIVERSE ALSO COLLAPSE casts its gaze into the classic GONG years for inspiration but in the process only displays why those classic albums are so classic and why this attempt to recapture those magical moments pales in comparison. While the band claims that the album aims to bridge the worlds of lysergic exploration and quantum physics, ultimately it fails to revive the golden years as its missing the whimsy and imaginative explorations that Allen along with his cosmic whisperer Gilli Smith were masters of.

The album starts with the 20 minute + "Forever Recurring" which insinuates some sort of multi-suite cosmic journey to planet Lysergia and back and to be honest it is the most psychedelic track on the album but after the slow brooding synthesized intro that slowly ushers in a rhythmic pulses and eventually lyrical content, the track just floats by without ever developing into anything more substantial. This is literally a 20 minute track that finds the same groove ad infinitum as the guitars, sax and heavier percussive forces join in. It's an ok track for sure but lacks the sheer variety of the classic years and becomes a tad monotonous even though it alternates between heavier and softer passages. Most of all it is woefully deprived of that playful introspective philosophical quandary and pixie fueled spontaneity of the Allen years.

"If Never I'm And Ever You" is a short intermission but a welcome dynamic relief with choppy guitar riffs and a heavier foray into the world of time signature rich progressive rock with stellar jazzy saxophone contributions. This track is much more interesting and i wish at least half of the time allotted for the first track was given to this one to develop as it has more potential. Next up is the second longest track "My Sawtooth Wake" which at slightly over 13 minutes sort of combines the psychedelic meandering of the first with the heavier punchiness of the second. Once again it's basically a repetitive cyclical loop of a bass groove, haunting synth and glissando guitar antics which after a couple minutes slows down and turns into a contemplative vocal sequence with different timing signatures and slow tempo. Much more interesting. Should've been the first track.

The finale "The Elemental" is completely different as it starts out with a clean rock guitar chord progression and instant vocals. The psychedelia has been replaced with more of a singer / songwriter approach which sets it apart from the rest of the album as well as pretty much anything in the known GONG universe. While it's not a bad song it does bring to focus Kavus Torabi's vocal style which unfortunately has neither sufficient charismatic magnetism nor the driving dynamics to really bring the track to full potential, which after a few listens to this album perfectly describes THE UNIVERSE ALSO COLLAPSES as an album. Despite the noble attempt to remain faithful to the band's overall vision, it feels like these guys are holding back from really making the band their own as if the great spirit of Allen watches in the background and remains steadfastly in the psyche of its current lineup.

Come on, guys! Let loose and let the creative juices flow. This sounds like a tribute band trying to capture GONG's glory days but without the wacky whimsy and dynamic sense of variety that made the Radio Gnome Trilogy years to special. The attempt to replicate Hillage's guitar style but not building upon it just sounds weak! This is a decent album but won't go down as one of the band's greatest achievements. Hopefully this new GONG will find a way to forge their way into the next chapter of the psychedelic music scene but they will have to step it up as there countless modern bands that have already found new directions to take psychedelic space rock. If you're hoping for a new album that will blow you away then look to the past but if you want a pleasant yet predictable slice of modern Canterbury infused psychedelic space rock then THE UNIVERSE ALSO COLLAPSES does satisfy on that level.

 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 659 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 2 - Angel's Egg
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by mariorockprog

5 stars is the fifth album by gong and his second album in his trilogy Radio Gnome. I considered it a really good album, the best of this band in fact, in contains a lot of passages of space rock, jazz, psychedelia and carterbury combination. Including more vocals that the third chapter, adding more variability, in fact that is the reason that mos of the members left after the following album. however the lyrics are not so deep and you are not going to find something meaningful, only a fictional history or maybe based in acid trips?. generally the quality maintains all over the album, and mainly the space rocks passages with the keyboards feels better made, the sounds are not monotone as in some part of their third one. A masterpiece of prog music and a must have album.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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