Saturday, April 28, 2007


@ Wiki
Gong is a progressive/psychedelic rock band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen. Their music has also been described as space rock. Other notable band members include Allan Holdsworth , Tim Blake, Didier Malherbe, Pip Pyle, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett and Pierre Moerlen. Others who have, albeit briefly, played in Gong are Bill Bruford, Brian Davison and Chris Cutler. The various incarnations of Gong, its spin-offs and related bands have become known as the Gong Global Family.

Early years
Gong formed in 1967, after Allen—then a member of Soft Machine—was denied entry to the United Kingdom due to a visa complication. Allen remained in France where he and a London-born Sorbonne professor, Gilli Smyth, established the first incarnation of the band. This line-up fragmented during the 1968 student revolution, with Allen and Smyth forced to flee France for Deya in Majorca.

They found saxophonist Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before film director Jérôme Laperrousaz invited the band back to France to record the soundtrack of his movie Continental Circus. They were subsequently approached by the newly formed independent label BYG and signed up for two albums (Magick Brother, Mystic Sister and Bananamoon).

Gong played at the first Glastonbury Festival and were subsequently one of the first acts to sign to Virgin Records, getting first pick of the studio-time ahead of Mike Oldfield. By 1971, a regular line-up had established itself and Gong released their Camembert Electrique album. The UK release, put out by Virgin Records subsidiary Caroline Records in 1974, was priced at 59p (that is, the price of a typical single rather than an album), ensuring that sufficient numbers were sold for the album to chart had it not been barred from the charts for being so cheap.

Radio Gnome
Between 1973 and 1974, Gong, now augmented by guitarist Steve Hillage, released their best-known work, the Radio Gnome Trilogy—three records that expounded upon the (previously only hinted at) Gong mythology. At a gig in Cheltenham, in 1975, Allen refused to go on stage, claiming that a "wall of force" was preventing him. He left the band, as did Smyth, who wanted to spend more time with her two children. The band also lost keyboard player Tim Blake, replaced by Patrice Lemoine. The band continued, touring the UK in November 1975 (as documented on the 2005 release Live in Sherwood Forest '75) and working on their next album Shamal, but Hillage and Miquette Giraudy left before Shamal was released in 1976. They re-joined the band briefly for a 1977 live reunion.

Pierre Moerlen's Gong and other off-shoots
Gong continued, under the control of drummer Pierre Moerlen (died 2005) and without their two principal members, because of contractual obligations. They morphed into the jazz-rock outfit Pierre Moerlen's Gong, in this time the guitarrist Allan Holdsworth came into the band and contributed to give gong the new jazz-rock sonority.

Allen, however, continued to develop the Gong mythology from the late seventies up until the nineties in his solo work, and with bands such as Euterpe and Planet Gong (which comprised Allen and Smyth playing with the British festival band Here & Now), while Smyth formed a separate band: Mother Gong.

Reunions and Acid Mothers Gong
In 1992, Allen and Malherbe reformed Gong and released the album Shapeshifter, subsequently dubbed Radio Gnome part 4. In 2000, a fifth installment, Zero to Infinity was released, featuring Smyth and classic line-up bassist Mike Howlett. However, 2004 saw a radical new Gong line-up, sometimes called Acid Mothers Gong, including Acid Mothers Temple current member Kawabata Makoto and former member Cotton Casino. Allen and Smyth's son Orlando Allen joined on drums for the album Acid Motherhood and there were also live dates.

The classic Radio Gnome line-up have reunited on a number of occasions in the past. However, it was recently agreed that touring is unprofitable, so they organise an "unconventional" gathering in November each year instead. The first "Gong Family Unconvention" (Uncon) was held in 2004 in the Glastonbury Assembly rooms as a one day event. The 2005 Uncon was a 2-day affair featuring several Gong-related bands such as Here and Now, System 7, House of Thandoy and Kangaroo Moon. The most recent Uncon was a 3-day event held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on 3-5 November 2006, with practically all Gong-related bands present: classic Gong, System 7, Steve Hillage Band, Hadouk, Tim Blake & Jean-Philippe Rykiel, University of Errors, Here & Now, Mother Gong, Zorch, Eat Static, Acid Mothers Gong, Slack Baba, Kangaroo Moon and many others. These events have all been compèred by Thom the Poet.

Selected Discography
* 1969 - Magick Brother
* 1971 - Bananamoon (Daevid Allen solo)
* 1971 - Glastonbury Fayre (Gong contribute one side to this live triple album, including a piece that is interrupted by "the generator packing up".)
* 1971 - Camembert Electrique
* 1971 - Continental Circus
* 1971 - Obsolete (Dashiell Hedayat & Gong)
* 1973 - Flying Teapot (Radio Gnome trilogy, part 1)
* 1973 - Angel's Egg (Radio Gnome trilogy, part 2)
* 1973- Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall (Gong contribute one side to this double album along with Henry Cow, Camel and the Global Village Trucking Company. The Gong tracks are not in fact 'live' performances.)
* 1974 - You (Radio Gnome trilogy, part 3)
* 1976 - Shamal - Produced by Nick Mason (Pink Floyd).
* 1977 - Gazeuse!, also known as Expresso
* 1977- Gong est Mort—Viva la Gong! (French live album)
* 1977- Gong Live Etc (UK live album)
* 1978 - Expresso II
* 1979 - Downwind (as Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
* 1979 - Time is the Key (as Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
* 1980 - Pierre Moerlen's Gong: Live
* 1981 - Leave It Open (as Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
* 1986 - Breakthrough (as Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
* 1989 - Gong Maison (Gong Maison)
* 1992 - Shapeshifter
* 2000 - Zero to Infinity
* 2001 - Live to Infinity (UK live album)
* 2003 - The World of Daevid Allen and Gong (a 3 CD collection with no original material, but which includes almost all of the Radio Gnome trilogy, tracks from early albums including four each from Camembert Electrique and Bananamoon and selections of Daevid Allen's later work with Planet Gong and New York Gong.)
* 2004 - Acid Motherhood
* 2005 - I Am Your Egg (Mother Gong) =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Jim Powers @ All Music
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. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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