Since my appreciation of Gong came in the mid 2000’s when hearing their music on the Prog Archives website and being in awe of their Spacey, Jazzy, and Canterbury taste, I always wanted to know more of their music. My review of I See You which appeared on this blog site back in December of 2014, which was Daevid Allen’s last album with the group as it was a hard album for me to listen to, but a farewell and saying thank you to his fans for being on his ride before passing away after a battle with cancer on March 13, 2015.
But he wanted to make sure that the legacy will live on. When Kavus Torabi joined the band two years ago, the band would sent links or recordings to Daevid while he was in Australia, he praised and shown support of what the band is doing. They knew to carry on is a big leap forward and to fill in the shoes of Allen’s work. And then this year, Gilli Smyth passed away with pulmonary pneumonia on August 22nd. Carrying on Gong’s legacy, is a big challenge, and a leap forward to see where the band will go to next.
And they have done justice with the release of their new album on the Madfish label, Rejoice! I’m Dead! It came over several weeks in a rehearsal studio in East London as the songs and arranging is accommodating. When I heard they were doing a new album, I went ahead and bought the album on The Laser’s Edge website last week and I put the CD on, and I fell in love with it after listening to it three times now. It’s an emotional, beautiful, atmospheric, and mind-blowing album I’ve listened to.
As guitarist/vocalist Kavus Torabi, Fabio Golfetti on Guitar/Vocals, Dave Strut on Bass/Vocals, Ian East on Sax/Flute, and Cheb Nettles on Drums/Vocals, they want to make sure that the flying teapots are still operational to take the listener back up into outer space and the engines themselves are ready and good to go for lift-off. There’s also Gong alumni including Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe, and Graham Clark on here.
One of the tracks that is a chilling jazzy composition which features the last time of Allen’s voice singing in French through a demo recording as the music has a mournful atmosphere, you could feel the emotions and mourning arrangements between Dave’s acoustic bass, Ellis’ piano, and East’s tenor sax setting the tempo and knowing that near the end that you can hear that Allen has the humor in him. And he still has that with Beatrix.
There’s also the 11-minute groove that reminisces of The Isle of Everywhere from the Radio Gnome trilogy entitled, The Unspeakable Stands Revealed. Here, Strut and East do this amazing improvisation on their instruments channeling the You sessions with the mind of Fusion Space Rock as the sliding guitars take you back into the Flying teapots for another journey back into the milky-way.
With Kapital which is one of Daevid’s compositions, it’s Gong heading towards to prepare themselves to hurtle through the Cosmos (Ren & Stimpy quote for you). It’s the rockets ready for go up into the outer space with throttling guitars, blaring sax’s, reverb vocals of welcoming you to the dream world while the 10-minute voyages continue with Rejoice!
Featuring Steve Hillage’s extraterrestrial textures in the midsections as he slides and experiments throughout his ideas and it is a trip to another world that Gong go forwards into. I love how Cheb’s drumming is making the jump to light-speed and going through the tunnel of stars in various landscapes. It’s a requiem for Daevid Allen as the lines “And sometimes I can hold it in my hands/And nearly have a word for it/But then it slips away/And soon we’re gonna say/Rejoice, I’m dead/At last I’m free.” Shows that now he is in the heavens giving the angels a mind-blowing adventure with his music.
The fanfare opener, The Thing That Should Be begins with a blaring introduction from the rhythm guitars and drums about the afterlife. It has boundaries that shows the touch of the Syd Barrett-era of Pink Floyd in the styles of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and touches of Peter Hammill’s Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night thrown into the mix that gives it a welcoming introduction.
Gong is at their best. And I hope they will do more for many years and years to come and what will they think of next. I am still completely in awe of Rejoice! I’m Dead! So be prepare to join with them as Kavus is the new commander of the Pot Head Pixies as he and his crew mates take you on their flying teapots to boldly go where no man or Radio Gnome has gone before. It will rise to your expectations to see where they will go next.