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I Am Your Egg

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Album Review

Here they go again. The tireless Gilli Smyth, Daevid Allen, and Orlando Allen (aka for this date, Gong, that long-lived, acid-crazed hallucinatory wonder and nightmare), are back with I Am Your Egg. More a conceptual recording than a rock record, as if any of them ever were. Smyth, Daevid and Orlando recruit singer Clara Quennfranc, drummer Sam McClain, guitarist Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), and nearly a dozen others to help them realize their rather political vision. A spoken word sound sculpture called "End St. Station" ushers it all in, with Smyth narrating and Quennfranc singing a lonely Celtic song in the backdrop. On the very next track, she wails like a banshee with Allen on what amounts to a punk track called "Sacrifice," though it's certainly got its space-out aspect. Indian raga meets psychedelia in Orlando Allen's "Melting Love," with lyrics like "love is a glowing lamp in daylight..." with Smyth reciting the poetry before she and Allen get to singing in their damaged way. It's quite beautiful in its distorted non-narrative way. But what did you expect? Over seven minutes in length, it is the most musically satisfying thing here with jazz trumpets and Smyth's voice wailing in Arabic; it's a love song with real style and the proper sort of vulgarity; it's actually sensual as well as kooky. "Midnight Sun" is two minutes of fractured hippie craziness, but at least it's not Sunburned Hand of the Man going on for an hour without a clue and calling it an album. "Midnight Sun" is a lovely instrumental also by Orlando, full of acoustic guitars and sounds and spaced-out textural touches. "Time in Dilation" with Josh Pollock and Makoto on guitars is utterly glorious weirdness, with Smyth doing her best psychedelic recitation and wailing as the guitars simply pulse and drone; no six-string pyrotechnics here. There is a little more action on the closer, "Memory," where it's simply the guitarists with nothing else going on. But it's still a drone bliss-out, thankfully, rather an electric six-string wankfest. Ultimately, I Am Your Egg is as good a Gong album as you can expect, and that's saying a lot. It's an utterly seamless if fractured listen, and it proves without question that Smyth, Daevid, and Orlando still understand the true spirit of collaboration better than almost any other act.

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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I Am Your Egg, Gong
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