Sets ordered from the Planet Gong come with a lithographical print of the 1970's full colour Gong Mandala promo poster on heavyweight 250gsm paper, ideal for framing, a beautiful re-print of Daevid's Flying Teapot Spotters Scroll, originally available from Virgin in 1973, and 3 stickers. The posters come rolled in a mailing tube attached to the Box-set carton.
70‰ of the audio is previously unreleased, all is superb. The box was curated by Steve Hillage and the live multitracks were mixed by Mike Howlett. All the recordings have been mastered from the original master tapes by original Gong engineer Simon Heyworth who has done a stunning job - a real labour of love. There are so many highlights one of which is THE most glorious digitisation of 'Flying Teapot', direct from the original master tapes for the first time - and from which the band will receive royalties on a Teapot CD release for the first time!
The advance copy of the box set I've had for a few days now is really something. Well printed, easy to read, right music on the right CDs and all sounding fantastic - It's job done. Phew! I'll never like CDs in cardboard slots though - who does? There was nothing I could do to change that. I've put my discs in poly-lined paper sleeves. I suggest you do the same.
Universal have announced the release of the 2CD limited sets of the four studio albums with bonus tracks that are in the Gong box-set. Each album has a 2nd disc with of a selection of the wonderful live archive material, also in the box-set. They are due to be released on 27th September.
The limited deluxe 2CD sets will also be released in Japan as mini-lp CDs - I don't know when yet.
1973 a-capella, echo guitar experiments
One of many special joys of the 'Searching For The Spark' Steve Hillage box set were several edits of Steve's echo guitar recordings made in the Gong house in May 1973. This release contains much more of the same magical session plus expanded tracks which it was impossible to include in the box-set which had to be limited to 22 discs.
it's big and pink!
The utterly wonderful new Gong album, 'The Universe Also Collapses' is on CD, regular black vinyl and a special limited edition of 500 on shocking pink vinyl.
It's very good - have a listen to the radio edit of 'The Elemental'
New Gong Album finished! The Universe Also Collapses
On 1st February the band sent me a download link for the new Gong album, 'The Universe Also Collapses'. As I said to them, they had just one job, to make an album that surpassed 'Rejoice I'm Dead' …well blow me down, but I think they've only gone and done it.
I don't want to try and describe it, I just want to play it to everybody! So come round, bring some requisites, or not, whatever you like. And I'll blow your socks off.
Stupendous 20.37 opening track, 'Forever Re-occurring', and I'm singing and singing and singing the last song, 'The Elemental'.
Remember there is only now! Remember there is only now! Remember there is only now! Remember!
"…by George I think they've got it…" - of course they have - they're Gong! The album is scheduled for a May release on CD and LP. I can't wait to hear these new tunes live, my God they're going to take on a life beyond the studio that will be fascinating to experience.
L-R in the pic (at the start of the recording process) - Dave Sturt, Ian East, Fabio Golfetti and Kavus Torabi. Drummer Cheb Nettles is probably just out of shot behind everybody - again.
The first of the year's major projects has been completed. Harry Williamson has pulled out all the stops to produce this one. His work here (just about everything) is magnificent, he honours the entire concept and those who love it. Gilli would be so happy.
The ear-book format is perfect for this release. It now makes perfect sense that Robot Woman trilogy never made it onto CD before - it was being 'looked after', awaiting this moment. Wonderfully re-mastered sound, bursting with colour, full of photographs and more information and detailed annotation than you can imagine, plus a 4th CD of unreleased material. You could not wish for more.
To-day, 15th March, is the release date. All pre-orders were posted on Monday and Tuesday post and if they are not with you they will be shortly.
Gong : When Words Fail - Ed Vulliamy
Recent book by long-time Gong friend, writer, columnist, war correspondent and polemicist, Ed Vulliamy, which includes a Gong tale from his earliest days as a journalist - we're talking Floating Anarchy, Exeter, 1977.
If you don't finish this book with an urge to to hear large slab of Shostakovich, as well as visit or re-visit dozens of pieces, (Patti Smith to Schubert, Leonard Cohen to Leadbelly) I'd be very surprised indeed. As the Irish Times wrote in it's review, '…an ambitious exploration of the soundtrack of Vulliamy's eventful life and how much music inspired him to keep asking, 'what is going on?' A super book, a volume to track down and devour.
Didier Blooms once more : March dates scheduled
(Perdido diminishes - Bloomdido flourishes)
Delighted to be able to report that the one and only Didier Malherbe is making huge positive progress after his horrid accident. He is playing loads again after his enforced layoff, practising all sorts of instruments including the Doudouk, Ocarinas and a big Irish Flute, whatever that is. Details of his return to performing in March can be found in gig section.
Always loved that pic of Steve and Bloom at the Glastonbury Uncon in 1463, or was it 1877?