Voiceprint VP353CD (2005)
Excellent debut album from Gilli Smyth's San Francisco based band. My basic belief that all the Gongsters are currently producing some of the best work of their careers is completely reinforced by this release. Pierce has done a marvelous job creating this album, the music and the sound quality is tip-top throughout. There is also very elegantly designed 8 page booklet containing the words and lyrics, which I'll try and get posted on the site sometime, they are well worth reading. All who resonate with Gilli's work within or without Gong will undoubtedly enjoy this album. And if you have never really fully 'got' Gilli before, this could very easily be the release that illuminates.
Gilli of course has long been the mistress of spoken delivery, and her inflection and timing just get better and better, as it should. It's a skill or craft, just like playing any instrument, and she has been practising it for a long time - this is her at the top of her game. The subject matter of the tracks ranges from the sensually and hauntingly mystical, to the no holds barred overtly political, with forays into the humorously surreal - often all three at the same time. Pure Gilli in fact.
The music for all this is equally strong and inventive, without ever being overwhelming or intrusive. The Gong Matrices band, who grew spontaneously out of a 'let's just do it' jam at the 1999 Progressive Music Festival in San Francisco, really do provide a perfect vehicle for Gilli. There are so many enjoyable aspects to their music, some wonderful violin work and treated guitar weaving together, fluid bass lines, sensitive real percussion and some shimmering 'atmospheres', there's even a some good funk on one track.
This is the correct track numbering and timings - the backplate gets them a bit wrong and lists only eight tracks. All tunes by Smyth/McDowell, except 'Battlefield' by W. Rendra.
- Welcome to the Parade
- Demon Barbie and the Super Computer Matrix
- Battlefield/That's all right George
- Email from the Most High
- The Driver's Seat
- Virtual Lover
- Gilli Smyth lyrics, vocals
- Pierce McDowell bass, keyboards, loops, programming, tamboura, psaltry
- James Rotondi guitar
- Aryeh Frankfurter violin, overtone flute
- Stephen Junca percussion