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The Mystery and the History of Planet Gong

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Album Review

This two-disc compilation provides a sketchy glimpse into the bizarre world of Daevid Allen and Gong. It features rare snippets from 1960s pre-Gong recordings, radio sessions, studio outtakes, and concert recordings from the '70s, as well as assorted tracks from the '80s. With an emphasis on guitarist Allen's psychedelic and flaky leanings, nary a hint of Gong's fusion-based period which included the likes of Allan Holdsworth and Pierre Moerlen is present on this collection. The later period tracks like "Red Alert" and "Chernobyl Rain" provide the band's most accessible rock moments, with the latter song mirroring Midnight Oil both musically and in urgency. Disc two is a reissue of the Daevid Allen and Mothergong late '80s album Owl & the Tree which further illustrates the unconformity of this individual. With a combination of flower child musings, narrative ramblings, and frequent saxophone accompaniment, the bonus CD is akin to an updated and jazzy equivalent of Incredible String Band.


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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The Mystery and the History of Planet Gong, Gong
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