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Gong: Family Jewels (2-CD, 95:01); Outer Music OM2007CD, 1998 Pangea Music International Ph: (831) 425-0270 Fax: (831) 425-3874 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: www.pangeamusic.com This Gong-laden treasury is divided into CD 1: Thinky Disc and CD 2: Feely Disc and is full of, yes, the rare and unreleased solo Gongmate goodies. Some is classic Gong and some not so Gongish. But what is Gong anyway? This rocky, jazzy, space-brained, psychedelic, electronica, and ambient mixed bag reflects the quicksilver mutations Gong exudes forever. On disc one, 50:30, there are many 1997 live out takes and some studio work. I find myself at a loss to attempt describing all this “out-there” variety. I can say, Gong devotees will dig this and those of you unitiated ones will get a good taste of all the bizarre spectrum Gong covers. I hear Flying Teapot and Angel’s Egg diversity and stylings here but there is much more. You’ll find the excellent Pierre Moerlen percussives of his Gong daze and several live You-tribute “Master Builder” cuts, (sans Hillage). Steffe Sharpstrings aka Stephan Lewry does a good job on guitars and keys. Exhausting mind-food! On disc two, 44:31, we get a tad mellow with Malherbe jazzy grooves. Get tranced out on electronica via Steffe Sharpstrings doing that guitar/ synth, Hillage-styled slant with Gilli Smyth doing space whispering that shatters the ice fields of Pluto. Enjoy beautiful acoustic guitar and violin with Daevid Allen vox doing another weird-lyric thing. Hop-dance to ethnic wind instruments and tribal percussives with Malherbe. Float in Gilli Smyth vox-aqua-space echoes. Hear unreleased Howlett new agey synths. Get ambient with Smyth and Sharpstrings. Do more eclectic Malherbe jazz. Lastly, you outro for 8:12 of full glissando-mantra-chant-drone-Allen- Smyth vox and cosmic babblings on “The Voice of Om”. Oodles of liner notes and Gong-certified doodlings fill a 16 page CD insert. You are now ready for lift off into Gongspace. You will be you and return yesterday as we. And we were you. You see? Ah, the effect of way too many ‘shrooms is obvious in the mushroom-headed vibrations of Gong. ~ John W. Patterson
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Album: Money Doesn't Make It Artist: Daevid Allen's University Of Errors Label: innerSPACE Records. © 1999 innerSPACE Records © 1999 University of Errors P O Box 411241 San Francisco, CA 94141-1241 Daevid Allen is a strange progressive music icon, being both a founder of Soft Machine and Gong, and he has joined forces here with musicians from the San Francisco based band Mushroom and a few others to produce an album of live insanity - all of which was recorded over one weekend in September of 1998. It is noteworthy to realize that Daevid Allen doesn't exactly sing his music, he chants or speaks the words. There is some melodic motion, but not much. This isn't the narrow range of a Bob Dylan or a Pete Seeger, but more of a deliberate drone style of voice. Track by Track Analysis: "Money Doesn't Make It" is an indictment of materialism to a strong guitar riff. There is some nice improvisation here, but don't expect extreme inventiveness. The bass line doesn't change one bit from start to finish. This can best be described as the anti-money mantra. "Prince Of Sidewalk Scooter" is a spoken story (about technology) told with a musical accompaniment. There is no melody used here. Once again the bass and drums hold everything together without significant changes. The guitar player noodles around with a distorted solo hovering in the background. The effect is almost trance inducing. As the longest piece presented, it does leave you with plenty of room to zone out. You get the feeling that they didn't rehearse this one, they just ran the tapes and let it flow. It works. "False Teacher" also starts out trancelike. There is a definite Indian music feel here, done to underscore the message which is about religion and false prophets. ("Save us from the teachers who ask for all my money.") "Involve Me" is a short ditty about learning by doing instead of being told. Nice message presented with minimal frills. By this time the essential sound of this group has been established. Everything is mixed with the guitars underscoring the vocals. "Mullumbimby Mother" opens with a flanged guitar riff paired with the other guitar on accompaniment. The Mother in question seems to be a representation of the earth mother, and the song about a return to a natural innocence. All done to the quiet but distorted background. "Submarine Of Salt" is a short riff explored quickly. Add four lines of beat poetry at the end and run directly to the next tune. "Prof. Improbable's Preambule" which opens with the closest thing I've heard to a full fledged guitar solo. It is also the first time I've noticed that there is a bass player on the album as well. It turns out that the entire piece is a guitar solo, which is sandwiched between the poetic ramblings of Mr. Allen. "Cunning Style Construct" is more beat poetry. Punctuated by occasional hits on the drums. "Talkwind Upswerve" is another instrumental interlude, very improvisational, leading into a full band jam. "Wedding Music" - or not, depending upon what you would walk down the aisle listening to. Dissonant guitar feedback, anyone? "Burn Your Money", a rehash of "Money Doesn't Make It", brings our little excursion full circle. The guitar riffs are the same, as is the message. "Can't Buy Me Sex" - It sounds like a computer-generated voice looking for an orgasm. Very strange...which is par for the course with this album. Daevid Allen's University Of Errors are definitely an acquired taste, careening madcap through many different musical styles. But if you are looking for stuff that is really out there, this disk will fit the bill. Fans of Soft Machine and Gong will want this just to keep up on the artistic output of their many members. The trance inducing sound does grow on you, but I find myself in search of a bit more melodic inventiveness. Star rating: 3 out of 5. Faculty: Daevid Allen - Guitar & Vocals Josh Pollock - Guitar Michael Clare - Bass Pat Thomas - Drums & Percussion Jay Radford - Guitar & Sax Erik Pearson - Flute Produced by Michael Clare. The Tunes: 1. Money Doesn't Make It [4:20] 2. Prince Of Sidewalk Scooter [8:58] 3. False Teacher [5:52] 4. Involve Me [2:24] 5. Mullumbimby Mother [7:10] 6. Submarine Of Salt [1:15] 7. Prof. Improbable's Preambule [4:52] 8. Cunning Style Construct [2:24] 9. Talkwind Upswerve [2:43] 10. Wedding Music [1:16] 11. Burn Your Money [2:38] 12. Can't Buy Me Sex [0:12] Gregory M. Amov (GMA) -- If it ain't MIDI, it must be actual live musicians, who'da thunk it? email@example.com http://systemstheory.net
Editor's Note: I want to thank Greg for "bridging the gap" and helping his "partner-in-crime" Steven Davies-Morris make this review a reality. Good job! Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here
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