Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Gong Est Mort, Vive Gong – Gong [#537]

Gong_Gong_Est_MortWhile, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong were churning out jazzy numbers and being all “normal” and long after teapots were flown about by pixies and Zero the Hero’s head floated up the vagina of a witch, Daevid Allen and chums had a bit of a break and entered a period of releasing “best of” compilations, live gig recordings and other such lazy productions.

Gong Est Mort, Vive Gong is one such live compilation from Allen’s Gong. Included are tracks from Flying Teapot and Angels Egg as well as a few tracks from You from the Radio Gnome cycle and some from Camembert Electrique.

Unfortunately, there is a wife imposed jazz embargo at Gnomepant’s cottage at present, so I am unable to report on the more jazzy tracks, however I did manage a good listen of the less jazzy tracks, and, do you know? I wish I had gone to see the band back in 1992.

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Flying Teapot: Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 – Gong [#484]

220px-Gong_Flying_TeapotDave Allen, Steve Hillage and friends float about in a gnome filled teapot with some pot head pixies and a witch.

Back in the nineties when I was experimenting with life, my former acquaintance, Shitbag, introduced me to this album, stating as he did with Pink Floyd’s Animals that the album was rare and not available on CD except to an elite group of music lovers. In fact, he added, the band had floated away with pot head pixies so would never be seen live or in any branch of HMV.

Not only was I able to gather myself a copy of Flying Teapot, but I was also able to gain a copy of the follow-up album, Angel’s Egg using patience and a twenty pound note from the HMV in Church Street Liverpool. I like proving people wrong.

I regret never being able to see Gong live. Flying Teapot is one of those eye opening albums that bring a whole new experience to prog and the band, together with Pink Floyd, held my hand through my musical development into the mid to late nineties. Indeed, whenever I wanted some music to enhance my mood and spiritual yearnings, I’d choose Flying Teapot first, as a result, the album features heavily in my life soundtrack of that time. Which, on reflection, is bizarre when considering the concept behind Flying Teapot draws from Russell’s Teapot idea. Sadly, due to my introduction to darker, goth music, and exploration of new progressive rock, my appreciation of later chapters in the Radio Gnome story was missed. Not helped by frequent cries of “This is a right racket can we turn it off now please”.

Not an album for haters of jazz.

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Fish Rising – Steve Hillage [#476]

220px-Steve_Hillage_Fish_RisingUncelebrated guitar king and one time Gong member, Steve Hillage’s first solo album following his departure from Gong.

By all other regards, this really sounds like a Gong album. It has Gong members Howlett, Moerlen, Blake and Malherbe but also features Dave “no the other one” Stewart who you might know from helping to arrange Fear of a Blank Planet or his work with Barbara “Spirogyra” Gaskin or his TV work.

This is exactly what I like about prog. Former band mates, guys you meet in the pub and pals from different groups getting together to make music. You don’t get that in modern times. You never see the likes of Gary Barlow getting together with say, H from Steps, Noel from Oasis and Mel C to do an album about a fish. For a start their agents and recording labels wouldn’t allow it but also it’d be complete bollocks.

As I said, Fish Rising by all accounts sounds like a Gong album but without the Gnomes, Pixies and Flying Teapots. A more relaxed background album than a fully fledged “concentrate or you’ll miss it” progressive concept album. It is however something you – if you’re a fan of Gong, Hillage or embarking on a life changing journey through prog – might want to listen to as an appreciation exercise to see if you can detect distinctive musical styles and flourishes. Or maybe you’re just high on something and have the old oil projection lamps going and need something to help you focus on.

 

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Dreamtime Submersible – Evan Marc & Steve Hillage [#395]

Dreamtime submersibleEvery so often during my exploration of the aural soundscape, I find interesting albums. Usually they are collaborations of some artist I like or a member of a band I like getting together with another band or artist that I like.

This is an example find.

Steve Hillage, formerly of Gong, plays guitar along side Evan “Bluetech” Marc, a chap who has made a living out of playing records at people. Of course such a collaboration is either going to be mind-blowing or a pile of steaming manure.

I guess my aural rhubarb is going to be bountiful.

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