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Gong - A Wingful Of Eyes: A Retrospective '75-'78 - 1986 - Virgin

This is a compilation from three of Gong's mid-'70s releases, Shamal, Expresso II, and Gazuese!. There's not a weak song in the bunch, but then again all three of the aforementioned recordings were all excellent. This period for Gong found them playing mostly instrumentals with a heavy percussive sound which can be attributed to the leadership of drummer Pierre Moerlen. Although they are usually listed as one of the great progressive rock bands, closer inspection reveals that this lineup actually offered more to the jazz-rock fusion movement of the mid-'70s. Their contributions went largely unnoticed at the time, but it later became clear that they had carved out a unique and fresh approach to what had become a style bogged down in technical showmanship. It wasn't until bands such as Ozric Tentacles and later Phish, began to surface in the '80s and '90s that the influence of Gong began to be felt again. This is the original jam music. © Robert Taylor © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-wingful-of-eyes-r39153

Incredible progressive jazz fusion from the monumental Gong. This is a compilation album from Gong's "Shamal", Expresso II", and Gazuese!" albums. If you like Gong you are bound to have heard all these tracks. If not, listen to the brilliant musicianship involved in this music. "A Wingful Of Eyes" is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. If you would like to sample Gong's earlier work, you should listen to their their classic psychedelic "Camembert Electrique" album, from 1971. Check this blog for more Gong related releases, especially Gongzilla, and the late Pierre Moerlen


1 Heavy Tune - Moerlen 6:26
2 Cat In Clark's Shoes - Malherbe 7:43
3 Night Illusion - Holdsworth 3:48
4 Golden Dilemma - Rowe 4:55
5 Wingful Of Eyes - Howlett 6:23
6 Three Blind Mice - Moerlen 4:51
7 Expresso - Moerlen 6:00
8 Soli - Rowe 7:41
9 Shadows Of - Holdsworth 7:52
10 Mandrake - Moerlen 5:02
11 Bambouji - Malherbe 5:10

Recorded: Nov 1975-Aug 1977


Allan Holdsworth: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, violin, pedal steel guitar
Mick Taylor: lead guitar
Bon Lozaga: rhythm guitar, guitar
Francis Moze: Fretless bass, gong, acoustic & electric piano
Hansford Rowe: bass, rhythm guitar
Pierre Moerlen: drums, glock, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, timpani, tubular bells
Benoit Moerlen: vibra, marimba, percussion, tubular bells, glockenspiel, claves, xylophone
Mireille Bauer: marimba, vibraphone, glock, toms
Francois Causse: congas
Didier Malherbe: Tenor sax, flute
Darryl Way: violin


Gong is a progressive/psychedelic rock band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen. Their music has also been described as space rock. Other notable band members include Allan Holdsworth, Tim Blake, Didier Malherbe, Pip Pyle, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett and Pierre Moerlen. Others who have, albeit briefly, played in Gong are Bill Bruford, Brian Davison and Chris Cutler. The various incarnations of Gong, its spin-offs and related bands, such as Pierre Moerlen's Gong, have become known as the Gong Global Family. Gong formed in 1967, after Allen—then a member of Soft Machine—was denied entry to the United Kingdom due to a visa complication. Allen remained in France where he and a London-born Sorbonne professor, Gilli Smyth, established the first incarnation of the band. This line-up fragmented during the 1968 student revolution, with Allen and Smyth forced to flee France for Deya in Majorca. They allegedly found saxophonist Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before film director Jérôme Laperrousaz invited the band back to France to record the soundtrack of his movie Continental Circus. They were subsequently approached by Jean Karakos of the newly formed independent label BYG and signed a multi-album deal with them (Magick Brother, Mystic Sister, "Camembert Electrique" and Allen's solo album Bananamoon were all released on BYG). Gong played at the first Glastonbury Festival in June 1971, which they followed up with a UK tour the following Autumn. They were subsequently (late 1972) one of the first acts to sign to Virgin Records, getting first pick of the studio-time ahead of Mike Oldfield. By now, a regular line-up had established itself and Gong released their Camembert Electrique album. After the band signed with Virgin, subsidiary Caroline Records "Camembert" was given a belated UK release in late 1974. It was priced at 59p (that is, the price of a typical single rather than an album), ensuring that sufficient numbers were sold for the album to chart had it not been barred from the charts for being so cheap. Between 1973 and 1974, Gong, now augmented by guitarist Steve Hillage, released their best-known work, the Radio Gnome Trilogy—three records that expounded upon the (previously only hinted at) Gong mythology. At a gig in Cheltenham, in 1975, Allen refused to go on stage, claiming that a "wall of force" was preventing him, and left the band. With both Smyth, who wanted to spend more time with her two children, and synth wizard Tim Blake having jumped off in previous months, this marked the end of the 'classic' line-up. The band continued, touring the UK in November 1975 (as documented on the 2005 release Live in Sherwood Forest '75) and working on their next album Shamal, but Hillage, who had been the band's de facto leader since Allen's exit, and his partner Miquette Giraudy, who had taken over from Smyth in late 1974, left before Shamal was released in early 1976. They re-joined the band briefly for a 1977 live reunion in Paris. Drummer Pierre Moerlen, who had been persuaded by Virgin to rejoin Gong as a co-leader with Malherbe (after his spell with the French contemporary ensemble Les Percussions De Strasbourg) in 1975, gradually took over the band's leadership. When Malherbe, the only remaining founding member, finally left in 1977, Moerlen formed a new percussion-based line-up with American bassist Hansford Rowe and percussionists Mireille Bauer and Benoit Moerlen. To avoid confusion, it became known as Gong-Expresso, and from 1978 on, as Pierre Moerlen's Gong. Allen, however, continued to develop the Gong mythology from the late seventies up until the nineties in his solo work, and with bands such as Euterpe and Planet Gong (which comprised Allen and Smyth playing with the British festival band Here & Now), while Smyth formed a separate band: Mother Gong. After spending most of the Eighties in his native Australia, Allen returned to the UK in 1988 with a new project, the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, whose revolving cast included the likes of Harry Williamson, violinist Graham Clark and Didier Malherbe. This morphed into GongMaison and by 1992, the name Gong was again in use, by which time original drummer Pip Pyle had also rejoined. The band released the album Shapeshifter (subsequently dubbed Radio Gnome part 4), followed by extensive touring. In 1994, Gong celebrated its 25th birthday in London, including a performance by most of the 'classic' line-up, including the returning Gilli Smyth and Mike Howlett. This formed the basic of the "Classic Gong" band which toured worldwide from 1996 to 2001 and released Zero to Infinity in 2000 (by Allen, Smyth, Howlett and Malherbe plus new recruits Theo Travis and Chris Taylor). However, 2003 saw a radical new line-up called Acid Mothers Gong, including Acid Mothers Temple member Kawabata Makoto and University Of Errors guitarist Josh Pollock. Allen and Smyth's son Orlando Allen drummed on the album Acid Motherhood but the drummer on most of the band's live dates was Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. While the "Classic Gong" line-up retired from regular touring in 2001, there have been one-off reunions since, most notably at the "Gong Family Unconvention" (Uncon), the first of which was held in 2004 in the Glastonbury Assembly rooms as a one day event. The 2005 Uncon was a 2-day affair featuring several Gong-related bands such as Here and Now, System 7, House of Thandoy and Kangaroo Moon. The most recent Uncon was a 3-day event held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on 3-5 November 2006, with practically all Gong-related bands present: classic Gong (with Allen, Smyth, Malherbe, Hillage, Blake and Howlett, plus Miquette Giraudy, Chris Taylor and Theo Travis), System 7, Steve Hillage Band, Hadouk, Tim Blake & Jean-Philippe Rykiel, University of Errors, Here & Now, Mother Gong, Zorch, Eat Static, Acid Mothers Gong, Slack Baba, Kangaroo Moon and many others. These events have all been compèred by Thom the Poet.