Sunday, March 11, 2018

Horse Head Vinyl...Dig and Spin - "Shamal" Gong (1975)

"Shamal"  -  Gong (1975)
prog jazz, prog rock, fusion
6th album.
Virgin Records
6 tracks. 

Horse Head Vinyl..."Dig and Spin" (#1)

Co-founder and gnome-king Daevid Allen had flown the coop at this point...and he took his trippy, space-psych with him.

On Gong's sixth album..."Shamal"...the band flies into a more proggier jazz direction.  This time, the music is being guided, in no small part, by percussionist Pierre Moerlen.

And here's a scary word for you.  "Fusion."
Fusion is a musical fence that's very hard to walk without losing your balance.
Sure, it looks easy.  Starting out.  But it's extremely hard to stay up and your friends will get bored watching, if not careful.

"Shamal"  -  Gong (back cover)

Fortunately, Gong succeeds on this offering.
Mostly.
There's lots of nice flute, vibraphone, xylophone. Quite a bit of tasty percussive tinkerings. An occasional sax.
And just a wee bit of guitar. So little, in fact, the instrument really stands out when it joins the fray. I wish there had been more.

Virgin Records (colored twins w/serpent)

It's doubtful you will ever hear any of this album on "The Psychedelic Experience." Not like their earlier stuff.
But this is pretty good...for what it is.
Knowing that going in and you stumble upon this cheap. Pick it up.

For Cherry-pickers:
"Chandra"...Lots of things going on. Very Zappa-esque.
"Bambooji"...flavors of the Orient abound before a welcome (if short) Steve Hillage guitar break midway. Fantastic tone.  Sadly, he only appears on 2 tracks.
"Mandrake"...this one spoke to me. Felt like I took a complete journey in 5 minutes.

I picked up this album simply because it was Gong.
And I didn't own any.
This wasn't exactly what I was expecting.
But sometimes...you get what you need.

TRACK LIST
A1.  "Wingful of Eyes"  -- 6:20
A2.  "Chandra"  -- 7:18
A3.  "Bombooji"  -- 5:13
B1.  "Cat in Clark's Shoes"  -- 7:43
B2.  "Mandrake"  -- 5:04
B3.  "Shamal"  -- 9:00

"Bambooji" - Gong / "Shamal" (1975)


PERSONNEL:

  • Mike Howlett – bass guitar, vocals
  • Didier Malherbe – tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, bansuri, gongs
  • Mireille Bauer – marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, percussion, gongs
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, vibraphone, tubular bells
  • Patrice Lemoine – organ, piano, synthesizer


GUESTS:

  • Steve Hillage – guitars ("Bambooji" & "Wingful of Eyes")
  • Miquette Giraudy – vocals ("Bambooji")
  • Jorge Pinchevsky – violin
  • Sandy Colley – vocals ("Shamal")
Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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