Title - 'Rejoice! I'm Dead!'
Artist - Gong
For those not in the know - which is perfectly fine, because I love Prog/Psych rock, and yet had no idea of this bands existence before the CD arrived here for review - Gong is an international psychedelic rock band known for incorporating elements of jazz and space rock into its musical style.
The group was formed in Paris in 1967 by Australian musician Daevid Allen and English vocalist Gilli Smyth. Notable band members have included Didier Malherbe, Pip Pyle, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Pierre Moerlen, Bill Laswell and Theo Travis. Others who have played on stage with Gong include Don Cherry, Chris Cutler, Bill Bruford, Brian Davison, Dave Stewart and Tatsuya Yoshida.
Gong released its debut album, Magick Brother, in 1970, which featured a psychedelic pop sound and the following year, the second album, Camembert Electrique was released, and featured the more psychedelic rock/space rock sound with which they would be most associated. Between 1973 and 1974, Gong released their best known work, the allegorical Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, describing the adventures of Zero the Hero, the Good Witch Yoni and the Pot Head Pixies from the Planet Gong.
In 1975, Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth left the band, which continued without them, releasing a series of jazz rock albums under the leadership of drummer Pierre Moerlen. This incarnation of the band became known as Pierre Moerlen's Gong. Meanwhile, Smyth formed Mother Gong while Allen initiated a series of spin-off groups, including Planet Gong, New York Gong and Gongmaison, before returning to lead Gong once again in 1990 until his death in March 2015.
And so, in a roundabout way, here we are today celebrating the release of Gong's brand new album Rejoice! I'm Dead!. RFeleased on September 16th, 2016, it has been made even more special by the fact that the new album came together with Allen's own encouragement. Thus, the band decided to continue and release this four-sided opus via Madfish Records.
1. 'The Thing That Should Be'
4. 'Model Village'
7. 'The Unspeakable Stands Revealed'
8. 'Through Restless Seas I Come'
9. 'Insert Yr Own Prophecy'
Some say it couldn't, or shouldn't, be done. How could Gong exist without Daevid Allen? But just a few minutes into listening to this entirely-brilliant new album, all your negative aspersions will be cast aside, trust me. New members and old coalesce. This is undeniably Gong.
Rejoice! I'm Dead! - released as a 9 track CD presented in a digipack with 16 page color booklet - is classified as the band's 28th album and the Gong legacy is the strongest it has been since 1974. Every member was key in the development of each new song - Kavus Torabi (vocals/guitar) formerly of The Cardiacs who joined Gong in 2014 in time for the last album unaware of the direction his new gig as a guitar player would take, Fabio Golfetti (guitar/vocals), Dave Sturt (bass/vocals), Ian East (sax/flute) and Cheb Nettles (Drum) take on the mantle of steering the Teapot further into outer space and the inner ear.
Indeed, the unique voice of Daevid Allen features on 2 songs, 'Model Village' and 'Beatrix'; and the album also features guests - Steve Hillage adding a guitar line on 'Rejoice!' and Didier Malherbe's duduk can be heard on both 'Model Village' and 'Through Restless Seas I Come'.
Rejoice! I'm Dead! was recorded in London in the spring of 2016 at Brixton Hill Studios, engineered by Nick Howiantz and Gong; mixed by Mark Cawthra (Infallible Ear) and Dave Sturt (Swimming Head).