2 of 2 thought this review was well written
The second instalment of the Radio Gnome Invisible
trillogy has been lauded by many as Gong's greatest studio release, and I, for one, agree with them wholeheartedly. The arrival of bassist Mike Howlett and drummer Pierre Mowrlen completes the "classic" Gong lineup, and takes the band's musical virtuosity up a notch, especially in the case of Moerlen's great drumming and precussion effects.
Angel's egg kicks off with Other Side of the Sky
, a superb track which proves Gong's mastery of Canterbury style jazz-rock fusion, and displays excellent instrumental ability from all concerned. This seven minute almost-instrumental then progresses into Sold to the Highest Buddah
, another jazzy track with great guitar work on the part of Steve Hillage, along with Malherbe's ever present sax and the farmiliar synthesised stylings of Tim Blake. Castle In the Clouds
is a typical (if rather short) Gong atmosphere, which acts as a jazz coda to Buddah.
The best tracks on the album are saved until last, with Flute Salad
and concert favourite Oily Way
placed back to back, showing Malherbe's skill with the flute as well as the saxophone, as well as displaying the same tight rythm provided throughout the album by Moerlen and Howlett, and the idiosynchartically surreal lyrics that truly identify Gong. Oily Way is followed by the Outer Temple
and Inner Temple
suite, two short and spacy tracks which lead on to Love Is How You Make it
, the lyrics of which hint strongly to the drug use that was largely responsible for the bizzare composition of all three albums in the Trillogy, wirh Malherbe's flute and Moerlen's marimbas providing excellent backing for Allen's vocals.
The penultimate track is without a doubt the high point of the album, and it takes the form of Steve Hillage squired I Niver Glid Before
, which shows the guitarist at his finest, his amazing solo along with excellent work from the rest of the band (noteably Moerlen) and some amazingly insane lyrics (even by Gong standards) combine to make this song ono of Gong's greatest pieces. The outro track Eat That Phone Book Coda
again displays Malherbe's musical ability and brings the album to anexcellent close.
Overall, this is an immense album. It's tight, well recorded and perfect in almost every way. The only real complaint that can be made is against some of the shorter songs, especially Givin' my love to you
, a drunken pub tune which sticks out from the rest of the album like a sore thumb. This can, however, be skipped easily if you don't find it to your taste, and will not really detract from overall enjoyment of the album.
This is, in my opinion, Gong's greatest work, amd a masterpiece of progressive music. It is one of the most ambitious albums I have ever heard, whilst at the same time lacking the pretenteousness that on would otherwise expect.
- Daevid Allen: vocals, guitar
- Tim Blake: VCS3 synth, vocals
- Steve Hillage: guitars, vocals
- Mike Howlett: bass, vocals
- Didier Malherbe: sax, flute, vocals
- Pierre Moerlen: drums, vocals, precussion
- Gilli Smyth: Vocals, Effect vocals