PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG

Fusion • France
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Pierre Moerlen's Gong is a jazz fusion outfit which is very different from the first incarnation of Gong, the psychedelic space-rock act led by Daevid Allen. It is notable for the prominent use of mallet percussion, such as marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone featured in a rock/jazz context, making for a very distinctive and unusual sound that could have been classified as warmer and more melodic than most typical fusion could be, and is comparable to the sort of fusion-influenced output many bands on the Canterbury scene were producing at around this time. Amid a flurry of lineup changes in the mid-1970s, including the departure of founding members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen found himself in charge of the band and with two albums remaining on their Virgin recording contract. Moerlen formed a new Gong lineup featuring his brother Benoit on mallet percussion, US-born bassist Hansford Rowe and a read more...
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Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Expresso II - Arista - AB 4204Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Expresso II - Arista - AB 4204
Arista
$21.88 (used)
Time Is the KeyTime Is the Key
Esoteric 2010
$11.09
$18.07 (used)
DownwindDownwind
Esoteric 2017
$10.97
$8.00 (used)
Full Circle Live 88Full Circle Live 88
Gonzo 2013
$9.61
$14.02 (used)
Leave It OpenLeave It Open
Esoteric 2011
$325.99
Second WindSecond Wind
Gonzo Import 2013
$84.16 (used)
Live: PIERRE MOERLEN's GONGLive: PIERRE MOERLEN's GONG
Esoteric 2011
$10.91
$16.45 (used)
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PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Discography

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG albums / top albums

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Gazeuse! album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Gazeuse!
Fusion 1976
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Expresso II album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Expresso II
Fusion 1978
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Downwind album cover 2.73 | 9 ratings
Downwind
Fusion 1979
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Time Is The Key album cover 2.40 | 6 ratings
Time Is The Key
Fusion 1979
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Leave It Open album cover 4.00 | 5 ratings
Leave It Open
Fusion 1981
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Breakthrough album cover 2.07 | 2 ratings
Breakthrough
Fusion 1986
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Second Wind album cover 2.69 | 4 ratings
Second Wind
Fusion 1988
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Pentanine album cover 2.07 | 5 ratings
Pentanine
Fusion 2004

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG EPs & splits

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG live albums

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Live album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Live
Fusion 1980
PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Full Circle - Live 1988 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Full Circle - Live 1988
Fusion 1988

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG re-issues & compilations

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Arista Years album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Arista Years
Fusion 2008

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG singles (0)

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Reviews

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Pentanine

Album · 2004 · Fusion
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Rokukai
Recorded in 2002, released (in Europe and Japan) in 2004, my favorite version of Gong (which includes other notable groups like Gongzilla, New York Gong, and Gong Global Family) doesn't feature stalwarts like Allan Holdsworth or Hansford Rowe, instead showcasing Moerlen with a number of Russian fusioneers.

I like this record. It's half parts jazz-rock mixed with new age electronic fusion lite. Some of the songs have neat and tidy grooves featuring an array of Moerlen percussion, while others sort of float along on a wave on synths. It's chill and it's great background music. Songs like "Classique" and "Airway to Heaven" melodicize the record and give it a bit of kick. "Lacheur" is my favorite song on the album, featuring a killer organ solo. The musicianship is very good, reminiscent of prior Moerlen's Gong releases "Time is the Key" and "Leave it Open". "Blue Nuit" is great and brings to mind classic Moerlen, showing off killer drum/vibe interplay, weaving distorted guitar through the roller coaster melody. Overall, it doesn't hold up to "Gazeuse" or "Expresso 2", two all time classic progfusion Gong releases, but it suits a leisurely cocktail party or Sunday morning listening.

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Downwind

Album · 1979 · Fusion
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Warthur
The first album under the name of Pierre Moerlen's Gong takes the blueprint established by Espresso II and... kind of makes a hash of it.

As well as singing on two poppier tracks (Aeroplane and What You Know) - both of which are best skipped over - Moerlen splits his attentions between percussion and keyboards, disrupting the interesting percussion-focused approach of the group. In addition, the material here is just weaker and less interesting than that on Espresso II - not even a guest appearance by Mike Oldfield on the title track can disguise the fact that the band is repeating itself. Really, if you already have Gazeuse and Espresso II, there's absolutely no need to own this too.

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Second Wind

Album · 1988 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
To their credits, PM'sG never stopped recording during the low point in the history of music, the 80's decade, but they weren't exactly making outstanding albums either, and certainly not of the calibre of Downwind, Gazeuse or Expresso. Sooo Second Wind was recorded in late 88, and it's a little surprising that there was still a public for this kind of music. Personally I wasn't paying attention back then, and probably thankfully so, because chances are that I wouldn't be as objective than if I discovered it in the new millennium, which is the case.

Coming with an interesting semi-esoteric artwork, the double lp album Second Wind is not as bad as some of the fusion records of earlier-80's, and could fit easily on the ECM label catalogue. Hovering Gongzilla- type of fusion, and sometimes approaching dangerously muzak, SW has some moments, but completely lacks energy in favour of that typical way too slick sound (almost defining the decade musically) and even if the musicians are still impeccably virtuosic in their playing. Maybe Moerlen's 80's style drumming on some songs is the most irritating thing on this album, but it doesn't stop Pierre from impressive, no matter what.

However the second disc is just a gigantic drum solo, with one track divided into three sections and sprawled over both sides of the vinyl. Pierre is certainly one of the better drummer of his generation, but here filling an entire vinyl with his unaccompanied solo, is not exactly humble of his, neither is it rivetting, no matter how good a drummer he may be. But it's certainly one hell of a performance, no doubt about it.

Hardly essential an album, but better than the previous two efforts, SW could easily be confused with some of the era's ECM albums. But should you want to investing the Moerlen brothers' works, there are much suitable intros than this album to their percussive world.

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Time Is The Key

Album · 1979 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Second album under Moerlen's name, Time Is The Key is a controversial album because it shows that the 80's are very much behind the corner. Indeed compared tp Downwind, PM's G certainly changed their sound and also their line-up; bro Benoit is gone (as is Gausse), but returning to the fold (from Expresso II) are Lozaga (guitars) and Lemer (keyboards) and the sound and songwriting on TITK don't have a 70's feel, but a much more synthesised 80's production. And those who read me regularly know that this is no good news. A bit like the 80's version of Mahavishnu, Gong uses too much of the day's latest technology, which causes TITK to sound much more dated than their previous albums. We're not on the brink of Abacab or 90125, but nevertheless the production is also the culprit, but it doesn't apply for all of the tracks evenly.

Actually the album starts pretty damn well with Ard Na Greine, a great tense track that leads naturally into the following Earthrise, which continues more gently the sublime and subtle climate. And Earthrise linking into the next Supermarket (a bit too slick, but agreeable) and so on to Faerie Steps (a bit cheesy but it has something). So the quartet of tracks make a small So after this linked series of tracks things gradually degenerate with American In England, where synths take over and we suddenly fall into a new decade. Worse yet, we go into Organ Grinder without any organs (unless the Yamaha CS80 is one, but it sure doesn't sound like one) and completely and utterly awful synth funky beats; I spoke purposely of Abacab, as there is some kind of sound parallel, even if Gong is still progressive here. The rest of the album glides on smoothly if you like this stuff and will increasingly grate your patience to irritating levels, despite the musician's undeniable qualities. In The Bender, you'd never guess there are two guitars as they are completely muffled into dumb effect like the Synclavier and other such atrocious devices. But if you can get past those awful 80's musical twists, you will find still some interesting stuff (songwriting and structures) that should content some JR/F fans. Of the second part of the album, only Esnuria is rising above the waterline, but it's directly followed by the atrocious title track (the lowest of lows in the album), which closes the album much worse than it had started.

I am always tempted to take away a full rating point for these 80's, and I will certainly again do so here, at the risk of burying the first third of the album that deserves a better fate. Collateral damages I guess, but this album is best avoided unless. well I warned you, anyway.

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG Downwind

Album · 1979 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
First Gong album under Pierre Moerlen's name, Downwind is a surprising album in many ways, but at least with the evocative artwork, we know who's the boss. Although seeing the line-up of the group on this album is resembling the one f Expresso II, it has al all-star guest cast of Taylor and Lockwood (again), the returning Malherbe but Stevie Winwood and Mike Oldfield. Actually I suspect some of the tracks on this album being recorded during the Expresso II recording sessions.

The surprising (for Gong) hard-blues rocking tracks (both written by Moerlen and outsider O'Lochlain) of Aeroplane and What You Know are much reminiscent of Heavy Tune (of Expresso II), the former and latter having some "acceptable" vocals, with lots of riffy guitars and if there was not Benoit Moerlen playing vibraphone over these tracks, you'd never guess you're listening to a Gong album. Not that these tracks are bad per se, but they're a bringdown, especially in their pedestrian rhythms and forget the usual Gong light-hearted moody music. The very tedious cover of Jin-Go-Lo-Ba (this was an insane bet that I would've never taken), is completely lacking the power of the Santana original, even if the vibes addition is somewhat interesting, but it is not catastrophic either, by all means.

But things get on more familiar grounds with the superb 13-mins+ Far-Eastern-sounding title track, giving excellent interplay where everyone gives their maximum, including Moerlen's splendid drumming, Malherbe on flute & sax and Oldfield playing up a wild guitar solo; The preceding Crosscurrents being much in the same vein, but not as stunning. Yes with these tracks do bring us back to the good ol' days and there is more. On the flipside, Emotions and the closing Xtasea are also fine jazzy tunes but very atmospheric tracks where Lockwood's violin plays wonders in the slower parts, the later finally picks up speed and a searing guitar solo add so much-needed drama.

While Downwind is not a pure Gong album (hence the new moniker), It could be grouped with Expresso or Gazeuse on your shelves, as it is not that different both in musical continuity ( but we weren't really used to so much vocals and straight rock songs with this combo anymore) and in quality (just half the album is really worthy, IMHO). So if you liked those and still crave for tuned percussions (vibes), then go for this one. I myself have decided to pass up on it, I made a PM'sG compilation for one, and for two, I've had enough of vibraphones with the previous Gong albums.

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