This blog has now been going for a year! There is no better way to celebrate this anniversary than by posting one of my all time favourite albums.
This was released in 1974, and is third in a trilogy of albums that also includes 'Angel's Egg' and 'Flying Teapot', both of which are excellent, and highly recommended, as is 'Camembert Electrique' which precedes them. This album, though, I think is the pinnacle, both of Gong's output, and psychedelic/space rock in general. The playing throughout is absolutely masterful; and the arrangements are completely brilliant. There is a fair amount of silliness, it is true, but I love every second of it, and it helps create the dramatic dynamics that drive the album along. The way that the two short whimsical opening tracks segue into the very spaced out chanting of 'Magick Mother Invocation' which becomes the blistering, heavy progged out space rock of 'Master Builder' is magnificent. Steve Hillage is on fire here, and the bass and drums pretty much rival the heaviness and technical excellence of early 70s King Crimson. Also, the horn/wind playing of Didier Malherbe is an absolute delight. The key element that completes sound is the brilliant use of synths, which are particularly showcased on the next track 'A Sprinkling Of Clouds', where they beautifully build up a trippy spacescape which leads into another heavy freak out. The interplay of Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth's vocals, another great feature of Gong, is shown on the next short track 'Perfect Mystery', which also has some awesome drum fills from Pip Pyle. The last two tracks are an excellent long jam with a terrific groove, allowing some extended solos; then a real Gong masterpiece in 'You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever' winds down the album perfectly. Awesome stuff. I still get pure unadulterated joy from listening to this, 18 or so years after I first heard it.