GONG — Zero to Infinity (review)

GONG — Zero to Infinity album cover Album · 2000 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
What a surpise! Some 25 years after ending the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy,, Gong is back with a new tome of the Pot Head Pixie and the planet Gong mythology . Although Daevid had reanimated GonG in the mid-90's and the PHP world was its "fond de commerce", there wasn't much in terms of new stuff for the group to expand upon. So the group went on to write another chapter of the RGI and to be honest, the coup is fairly succesful. The line-up helps a lot of course , with all of the major actors (bar the then-ever- absent Hillage and the fact that both now-deceased Moerlen and Pyle were then-busy), we can say that 02 Infinity is a classic by the classic. Indeed Malherbe leaves graciously space for newcomer Travis and then-third-string drummer Chris Taylor are today's first string players..... both of which will have their character in the mythology. While the artwork is unfortunately way too technological (but cosmic still), a superb Mike Howlett production, we'd be pretty well indecent not to enjoy this to the fullest the latest chapter of Zero's adventures. After a short Gypsy-like intro, thegroup embarks with the funky flute, doudouk and sax- laden Magdalene track, before entering a You?like transe number with the Invisible Temple (already chanted via the Inner and Outer Temple of Egg) complete with space whispers, courtesy of Gilly. Zeroid and Wise Man are both among the harder-edged tracks with some solid guitar works, even some histrionics moments from Daevid. A bit later, Gilly Tyoni's passage on Mars is quite interesting and whisperless. A bit further down the Milky Way, Gong's musuc gets downright dissonant and weird with a some strange telephone calls and sometimes you can think of Devo in the beat of Damaged Man. The following Bodilingus is quite deceiving, despite being really too relaxed (think of I Talk To The Wind on Crimson's debut), and with too many tracks on this album, nothing exciting happens; Tali's Songis another one of those You-era groove, but it is almost a filler. Of course the new adventures of Zero could only end at tea break and savouring a cup of Infinitea.

The only other critic I can see with ZTI is that it doesn't bring anything new to the RGI world, except another chapter of adventures, but then again I'm not sure the goal was that much more ambitious. As for the commercial issues, I'm not sure that this album's kinship wuth the RGI trilogy will provoke a tsunam of sales that would suddendly make GonG members nababs. The music on it is often excellent, but not brilliant or exciting, despite not being groundbreaking, but the proghead's nostalgy should do the rest. This writer's usual aesthtetics would have him normally demolish such an easy touchdown, but then again, Gong was always among my weak and soft spot, which means that the group would really have screw up for me to reject an album of theirs. This is a partizan four star.
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