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Gong

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. ~ Jim Powers, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

blindrodie
I don't see Banana Moon either. The longest song in the world was a catcher every time. Good time in my life.
Holdsworth is one of the Best out there!
Wow very nice sounds like Alan Holdsworth
LOVE Gong sooooo much! No one matches them.
I saw them a couple or three years ago in Brighton, England. Steve Hillage joined them for the evening and wow I was in heaven!
donjdavis
There is some footage of the NY Gong tour in LA from 1979. Can be seen on the site called Dangerous Minds under Daevid Allen's name. I played sax on that tour. DD
I absolutely love this band. Spontaneous. Unafraid of defying convention. Prog to the core. Angel's Egg is amazing. Holdsworth's guitar contribution s to the band are delightful.
bevbevan
It was 1970 somewhere in Manhattan Beach,CA and a group of us were kicking back on a tab of Sunshine listening to everything from Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Traffic, and a group called Nektar from an album called (appropriate l y enough) A Tab In The Ocean. When it finished playing, I asked well, what do we follow this with?. Somebody put on Gong. I cannot remember the name of the album but it sure made an impression on me!
I was lucky enough to see them live in the mid 70s. Great concert with theater and lots humor mixed in. A very smokey auditorium and Steve Hillage in top form. Those were the days
One Nation Underground
Most recently, Gong released the wonderful new album 2032. Featuring Daevid, Gilly, Steve, Miquette, Didier and Mike Howlett, along with new Gong members Chris Taylor and Theo Travis and special friends.
manicliam
Daevid Allen and Gong...RULE. . .
strat811
Awesome
dbrown900
My only Gong album is "Gong Shamal". I don't see it listed here. The album cover is that of a desert sand dune. Great album!
Count me as a fan of both the trippy trilogy AND the Moerlen-led fusion band. I even like the in-between album "Shamal" (which I don't see here).
I'll listen to almost anything with Steve Hillage playing on it.
Way cool in every way and way off the beaten path. This group is great from the progressive stuff to the fusion sets in the late 70's. Weird and lovely.
very interesting stuff,define t l y not mainstream.. .
trpt7777
been a fan since MSU days 81 and got away from this great stuff since LP's went out God I'm old but the music still blossoms I hear new stuff each listen
Started listening to these guys in 1995. Still love the Trilogy! They were an awesome band that was more obscure than they deserved to be. Some of the stuff they did was ahead of it's time. It's a shame they went the way they did. I guess all great bands have great musicians, and great musicians can only get along for so long before they clash. Such is the way of music.
Where's Shamal in the discography? ! ? Good stuff!
I am so glad Pandora plays their catalog! Gong is such a cool band and they went years without being recognized like they should be. The "Trilogy" is a great set of albums and some of the best psychedelia you can find! Been a listener since 1993 and they still do not get old!
thanks to pandora iam listening my kind of music.
got some catching up to do
Sorry, dyergan: the Kevin Ayers album you're thinking of is "Bananamour" . "Bananamoon" was nominally a Daevid Allen solo album, but otherwise pretty much as described in the review.
farmingfanni e
When I first heard Gong, I felt my soul soaring high into the heavens. I still feel this way about their music.
I believe that there is an error in the BIO: Bananamoon was an album by Kevin Ayers, and had little or nothing to do with GONG. Also STEVE HILLAGE was perhaps one of the most important musicians to emerge from the cannabis haze that was GONG. Check out his album FISH RISING! -Big D-
TRY Z1+ RADIO
If you can get past the psychedelic, drug addled, mythologia - Gong made some absolutely wonderful music. the whole of the flying teapot trilogy is excellent but I think that musically they peaked with Shamal (sadly missing from this list).

After the big breakup when Pierre Moerlin put the band back together under his own leadership the band went sadly downhill; getting lost in the technicaliti e s of the compositions and, like so many great jazz musicians, completely lost track of the need to

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