GONG — You: Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 3

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GONG - You: Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 3 cover
4.27 | 36 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1974

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


A1 Thought For Naught 1:30
A2 A P.H.P.'s Advice 1:37
A3 Magick Mother Invocation 2:11
A4 Master Builder 6:09
A5 A Sprinkling Of Clouds 8:42
B1 Perfect Mystery 2:25
B2 The Isle Of Everywhere 10:21
B3 You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever 11:24

Total Time: 44:38


- Daevid Allen / vocals, glissando guitar
- Mireille Bauer / percussion
- Tim Blake / Moog & EMS synths, Mellotron
- Steve Hillage / lead guitar
- Mike Howlett / bass guitar
- Didier Malherbe / saxes, flute, vocals
- Benoît Moerlen / percussion
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, percussion
- Gilli Smyth / wee voices, chorus
- Shakti Yoni / poem & space whispers

About this release

Virgin – V 2019 (UK)

Recorded at The Manor, Summer 1974

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Great space-rock with strong hints of jazz, along with some novelty-sounding songs that don't suit the rest of the material.

Essentially a rock album with jazz leanings, Gong produce some fascinating moments and some top notch space-rock spiced with great sax and guitar solos. Elsewhere, especially when the tracks are shorter, Allen and his large cast come up with some nonsensical songs that detract from the album's overall feel.

Admittedly this is a thematic album, the closer of a trilogy and I have no other Gong albums yet, but the novelty songs simply aren't for me. It's not that they're recorded or performed poorly (and 'Thoughts for Naught' has some nice flute) but I find them less effective than the rest of the album.

Perhaps 'You' ought to have opened with the space-whisper-synth of 'Magick Mother Invocation' as it builds such anticipation, serving as an extended intro to the explosive 'Master Builder' with it's rock-ish saxophone solo and phased guitar riffs over a kind of speed-shuffle beat and percussion. It's outro features more soloing and a building vocal chant that that eventually rushes to a halt to usher in 'A Sprinkling of Clouds' that again features keys in a prominent role, maintaining atmosphere while the rhythm section charges ahead.

The mood established by this run of three fantastic space-rock pieces is shattered by the next song, 'Perfect Mystery' with its goofy pop and fairly embarrassing 'cops at the door' vocals. Once again, the short story sequences really blemish this album for me, which is otherwise is one of the better space-rock albums out there.

'Isle of Everywhere' restores some mystery with airy, wordless vocals drenched in reverb while drums and bass bring some funk. The album closes with 'You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever' which has the vocal improvisation of Allen splayed across an jam that plays as bit of an experiment and later features something approaching conventional rock vocals. It's not a terrible number but isn't as successful as the other long pieces.

The novelty songs don't actually detract from the stand out space jams on this one, but they do drag the album down to three stars for me. Having said that, I suspect that this is essential Gong, if not an essential jazz record.

Members reviews

The Mystical
"You" is a Daevid Allen's Gongs' "Magnum Opus".

This album was my introduction to Gong and remains one of my favourite Gong albums. The album takes a few listenings to get used to, but once you are used to the whacky nature of the Lp you will find yourself swept away by atmospheric vocals, Steve Hillage's sweeping glissando guitar, Tim Blake's great (and well aged) synths, and Pierre Moerlen's incredible drum talent. The storyline is (as is characteristic to Daevid Allen's Gong) very whacky, and the eccentricity adds charm to the album and compliments the atmospheric textures of the music.

It is impossible to pick key tracks for this record as it works so beautifully as a cosmic story. The Lp is Part 3 of the infamous "Radio Gnome Trilogy" and is my personal favourite, in terms of the musicality, lineup and storyline.

Gong is just one of many bands that have received a cult following due to their eccentricities, but the "Radio Gnome" trilogy has fully justified their position among the top fusion/prog bands. "You" is an excellent display of talent on many levels, and deserves to be recognised as such.

This album is a masterpiece of progressive rock and jazz fusion, and is a treasured addition to my vinyl collection.

Before I bought this album I had only heard small parts of it, and to be honest I didn't understand it at all. I decided to take a chance and buy this record. After the first three tracks I wasn't completely blown away, but when the band kicked in on "Master Builder" I was hooked.

This era of Gong had very strong jazz influences, and they're displayed perfectly on the tracks "Master Builder", "A Sprinkle of Clouds", "The Isle of Everywhere", and "You Never Blow Your Trip Forever". This record is very Spacey and Psychedeilc, but it manages to pull of tight Jazz instrumentals. Steve Hillage really shows off his talent on this record, and gives us one of his greatest and spaciest performances to date.

This album is an absolute space rock classic and if you can get into it, it's very rewarding. My rating for Gong's "You" is a 5 out of 5. It's an excellent addition to any music collection.
My first experience with GONG started with "Gazeuse!" and "Shamal". I liked a lot the fusion sound of that period but only read articles about the famous Gnome trilogy, so at one time I decided to give it a try by purchasing "You".

It did not work that time. It was in mid-1980s and I remember that I had put the LP record on my turntable only for 2-3 times. And I remained untouched. Recently I decided to refresh my collection with this famous Planet Gong artistry from "Camembert" to "Shamal" and it was a whole new experience for me, discovering the true treasure hidden in "You". And I am talking about the remastered issue by Virgin which includes a bonus alternate version of "PHP Advice" and a nice booklet with lyrics, photos and graphics.

So, apart from "Thought for Nought", "PHP's Advice" and "Perfect Mystery", which are short, funny typical Daevid Allen songs reminiscent of their previous work, the rest of the album comprises of the long instrumental space-fusion jams where the band show their instrumental skills. These are worth naming because IMO it's the peak of "Space-rock" music in general: "Magic Mother Invocation", "Master Builder", "Sprinkling of Clouds", "Isle of Everywhere" and "You Never Blow Your Trip Forever".

Wow, what a music! It shows similarities with both jazz on one hand and krautrock on the other. Tim Blake's etherial, spacey synths, Steve Hillage's psych guitar, Malherbe's immaculate saxes and flutes, female whispers, energetic and relaxed rhythm section of Howlett's bass and Moerlen's percussion are all perfect.

So Allen probably felt that he had offered his final ideas up to this point, closing the trilogy story, therefore left the band after this release, and they continued on into more jazzy territory. This album is concentration of all the best ideas each GONG member had to offer at the time, making thus a masterpiece worth including in any serious music collection.
This album marks the point that the Gong project ran completely out of Daevid Allen's control - and afterwards the band would never be the same, splintering into a dazzling range of successors, side projects and solo careers (though unlike other groups in a similar situation the different members of the Gong family have remained remarkably friendly towards each other). Musically speaking the band almost entirely sideline the plot of Radio Gnome Invisible, especially once the long, drawn-out space rock tracks kick off, Allen only reasserting himself at the end to say goodbye to the audience. But oh, the music! Both existing at the cutting edge of space rock and prefiguring the trance/dance music of future decades, it's a swirling mass of keyboards and percussions over which Steve Hillage's guitar solos and superb sax playing by Didier Malherbe take the lead and everyone else pushes themselves to the limit to keep up. Easily the best of the band's career, and well worth repeated listens.
Sean Trane
With You , GonG ends this fabulous trilogy where the Pothead Pixies find Tolkien's trilogy and rip it apart , laughing at this sombre history , much preferring the silliness of their own story , The Planet GonG Mythology. I think that this is the only time GonG had a stable line-up that lasted two albums , but it won't last long as Daevid and his now wife Gilly will leave at the end of this album (maybe even before the release of it - I'm not sure). After this album , the Gong world will lose the silly and absurd link to Planet Gong: From GonG , they will become Gong heading in a much jazzier direction and further albums can easily be identified as Fusion or Canterbury albums.

Two relatively short and trivial tracks start on side1 but soon comes the Invocation and the trip start on a cosmic level throughout Master Builder and Sprinkling of Clouds to end in such heavenly manner some 17min later. Rarely has such repetitive rhythms been so captivating but the better is yet to come.

Side 2 starts with another short track but again the cosmic trip takes off this time for some 22 minutes of pure paradise, superb interplay between Hillage , Malherbe and keenly underlined by Tim Blake's ethereal synthetic layers. This superb and stunning artwork is perfectly suited to match and evoke the music developed on the disc.

Of all the early GonG albums, this is the only one that was relatively well respected in its sleeve artwork (also the only one that was not a gatefold sleeve) but nevertheless Charly Records released a mini-lp (on Victor label cat#61174) not only respecting the artwork but also reproducing the lyrics and explanations of the end of Radio gnome Invisible's emission of Planet GonG's message of peace, love and fun. Stunning, stupendous , mirific , flabbergasting.

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  • POW
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