GONG — 2032 (review)

GONG — 2032 album cover Album · 2009 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
SaltyJon
When I heard this album was being released in 2009, I was incredibly excited. Almost the entire "greatest" Gong lineup (in my opinion, at least) were releasing a new album tying into the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy! Naturally, I HAD to pre-order the album so I'd get it right around when it was released. While the album has a lot of good songs, I must say it is a bit of a letdown. It's still got some of the Gong zaniness I love, but something's missing, and the band decided to make up for that missing something by making the album just about as long as it could be (75 minutes!).

Unfortunately, the quantity of material presented works against the album. There are some tracks I would have specifically cut to make it a bit shorter (among others, the Gilli Smyth solo tracks; I like them on the RGI trilogy but here they're unexciting).

So far I've managed to say why I don't like the album, I suppose I should move on to why I DO like it. Most of the non-Gilli tracks are anything from good to great; generally the longest songs were my favorite, especially "Escape Control Delete", "How to Stay Alive" (Daevid Allen is secretly a rapper as well as the leader of a psychedelic rock group, apparently) and "Portal". Most of the members don't show their age very much (especially Daevid himself, I'm pretty sure he could keep making music for the next 50 years and not sound any worse). Steve's back with his great guitar playing, which is a plus to any album. Like everyone else, I'm sure, I miss Pierre Moerlen's drumming on the album, though. Unfortunately he was taken from us too early.

Because of the excessive length and the few undesirable tracks, I don't think this is a good starting point to the wonderful planet of Gong, but if you like their style in general you'd probably enjoy the album. This album gets three stars from me, as it's nowhere near the quality of the best of either Daevid's Gong or Pierre's Gong. Jazz fans should look into the albums with Pierre Moerlen as leader before the Radio Gnome albums. For more rock-oriented listeners, I'd recommend starting off with the trilogy of albums from Flying Teapot to You.
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