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Flying Teapot - Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 1

Gong

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Album Review

Produced by Giorgio Gomelsky, notable for his work with the Yardbirds, Brian Auger, and Magma, this relatively early Gong project is a great representation of the Daevid Allen-era Gong. Though not as intricate as its follow-up companion piece, Angel's Egg, The Flying Teapot is more of a true prog/space rock outing, where hippie-trippy lyrics and space whispering abound, as evidenced in the opening track, "Radio Gnome Invisible." The following cut, "Flying Teapot," is the sprawling highlight of the album. At times reminiscent of some early Weather Report jams, though not as jazzy, the tune features prominent bass, standout percussion/drums, and space whispering courtesy of Smyth. Improvisational groaning and percussion bring this jam to a close. "Pothead Pixies" is a fun pop (pot?) tune which probably received very little, if any, airplay due to the lyrics, followed by Blake's brief synth interlude, "The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine." "Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell," another lengthy composition, features Malherbe's sax playing, which, at this early point in the Gong evolution, is credited for most of the jazz sounds heard in the music (remember, Pierre Moerlen has yet to join the band). This cut becomes quite heavy near its end before making a clever transition into the final cut, "Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy." Here you hear Smyth's strange, sexually explicit lyrics, which she embellishes with ethereal voicings and cackling. This, combined with a jazzy sax from Malherbe and some very groovy musical lines near the closing, make for another fun tune.

Biography

Formed: 1968

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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 Soft Machine, Gary Wright from Spooky Tooth, and Maggie Bell. A steady lineup featuring Frenchman Didier Malherbe (sax and reeds), Christian Tritsch...
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