Gong - The original Gong were formed in Paris, France in 1970 by Australian guitarist/vocalist David Allen, previously of Soft Machine fame who remained in France when he was refused re-entry into the UK following a Softs tour of France, and subsequently formed the band with contrabass players Carl Freeman, Dieter Gewissler and Bare Phillips, keyboard player Burton Green, drummer Rachid Houari, sax player Didier Malherbe and vocalists Gilli Smyth and Tasmin Smith. Gong were one of the most interesting and intriguing bands at the time, playing an amazing mix of psychedelic jazz/rock fusion not unlike Soft Machine and fellow Canterbury cohorts The Wilde Flowers, who later evolved into Caravan. They released their debut album, "Magick Brother, Mystic Sister" on the French Byg label and released a further two albums in 1971, but were virtually unknown in the UK until 1973 when they were signed to Virgin Records and released their immortal " The Flying Teapot" album. Many well known and accomplished musicians have passed through the Gong ranks over the years. Steve Hillage, Allan Holdsworth, Tim Blake and Pip Pyle are just a few who would go on to bigger things in their own right. Their history became decidedly confusing and difficult to properly document in the later years,( there was Gong, Mother Gong, New York Gong, Daevid Allen, Planet Gong and Pierre Moerlin's Gong), but drummer Moerlen, who joined the band in 1973, would later become the leader and would lead Gong through some of their best albums, more or less sticking to their tried and tested fusion/rock style. His prowess behind the drums is best demonstrated on this amazing album. He features with Benoit Moerlin and Stefan Traub on vibes, Hansford Rowe on bass and Ake Zieden on guitars. All in all, a stunning example of fusion/rock at its best.

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Biography by Jim Powers
Gong slowly came together in the late '60s when Australian guitarist Daevid Allen (ex-Soft Machine) began making music with his wife, singer Gilli Smyth, along with a shifting lineup of supporting musicians. Albums from this period include Magick Brother, Mystic Sister (1969) and the impromptu jam session Bananamoon (1971) featuring Robert Wyatt from the Soft Machine, Gary Wright from Spooky Tooth, and Maggie Bell. A steady lineup featuring Frenchman Didier Malherbe (sax and reeds), Christian Tritsch (bass), and Pip Pyle (drums) along with Allen (glissando guitar, vocals) and Gilli Smyth (space whisper vocals) was officially named Gong and released Camembert Electrique in late 1971, as well as providing the soundtrack to the film Continental Circus and music for the album Obsolete by French poet Dashiel Hedayat.

Camembert Electrique contained the first signs of the band's mythology of the peaceful Planet Gong populated by Radio Gnomes, Pothead Pixies, and Octave Doctors. These characters along with Zero the Hero are the focus of Gong's next three albums, the Radio Gnome Trilogy, consisting of Flying Teapot (1973), Angel's Egg (1974), and You (1975). On these albums, protagonist Zero the Hero is a space traveler from Earth who gets lost and finds the Planet Gong, is taught the ways of that world by the gnomes, pixies, and Octave Doctors and is sent back to Earth to spread the word about this mystical planet. The band themselves adopted nicknames — Allen was Bert Camembert or the Dingo Virgin, Smyth was Shakti Yoni, Malherbe was Bloomdido Bad de Grasse, Tritsch was the Submarine Captain and Pyle the Heap. Over the course of the trilogy, Tritsch and Pyle left and were replaced by Mike Howlett (bass) and Pierre Moerlen (drums). New members Steve Hillage (guitar) and Tim Blake (synthesizers) joined.

After You, Allen, Hillage, and Smyth left the group due to creative differences as well as fatigue. Guitarist Allen Holdsworth joined and the band drifted into virtuosic if unimaginative jazz fusion. Hillage and Allen each released several solo albums and Smyth formed Mothergong. Nevertheless the trilogy lineup has reunited for a few one-off concerts including a 1977 French concert documented on the excellent Gong Est Mort, Vive Gong album. Allen also reunited with Malherbe and Pyle as well as other musicians he had collaborated with over the years for 1992's Shapeshifter album. Hillage also worked as the ambient-techno alias System 7. A number of Gong-related bands have existed over the years, including Mothergong, Gongzilla, Pierre Moerlin's Gong, NY Gong, Planet Gong, and Gongmaison. During the new millennium Gong material continued to be released, including Live 2 Infinitea issued in fall 2000, as well as numerous reissues. I Am Your Egg appeared in 2006 from United States of Distribution. 

 

Bill Bruford
Steve Hillage
Allan Holdsworth
Burton Greene
Pete Lemer
Barre Phillips
Daevid Allen
Darryl Way
Tim Blake
Brian Davison
Laurie Allen
Mireille Bauer
Francois Chausse
Christian Tritsch
Mino Cinelu
Didier Malherbe
Dieter Gewissler
Gilli Smyth
Miquette Giraudy
Charles Hayward
Rachid Houari
Mike Howlett
Patrice Lemoine
Bon Lozaga
Benoit Moerlen
Pierre Moerlen
Francis Moze
Jorge Pinchevsky
Pip Pyle
Hansford Rowe
Tasmin Smyth
Daniel Lalou

Soft Machine
Slapp Happy
Egg
Robert Fripp
Matching Mole
Mike Oldfield
Kevin Ayers
Yes
Can
Caravan

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Gong - 1970 - Magick Brother (12 Tracks) - 2.5/5

Gong - 1971 - Camambert Electrique - 4.5/5

Gong - 1973 - Angel's Egg (Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 2 - 4/5

Gong - 1973 - The Flying Teapot (Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 1) - 4/5

Gong - 1974 - You (Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 3) - 3/5

Gong - 1976 - Gazeuse - 4.5/5

Gong - 1976 - Shamal - 3/5

Gong - 1978 - Expresso 2 - 4.5/5

Gong - 1979 - Downwind - 4.5/5

Gong - 1979 - Time is the Key - 4/5

Gong - 1986 - Breakthrough - 2/5

Gong - 1992 - Shapeshifter - 3/5

Gong - 2000 - Zeor to Infinity - 3/5

Gong - 2002 - From here to Eternitea - 4/5

Gong - 2003 - World of Daevid Allen and Gong - 4/5

Gong - 2004 - Acid Motherhood - 4.5/5

Gong - 2004 - Magick Invocations - 4/5

Gong - 2006 - I Am your Egg - 3/5

Gong - 2006 - Magick Brother (10 Tracks) - 4/5

Gong - 2006 - Opium for the People - 4/5

Rating

 

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