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.
Gong 'When Words Fail'
Ed Vulliamy [updated Fri 08/02]
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.
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?
There will be three Steve Hillage Band dates this June at three of our favourite venues - Cambridge Junction, Thursday 6th - Manchester O2 Ritz, Friday 7th - London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire Saturday 8th.
These are the first full-length, S.H.Band headlining gigs for 40 years, since 1979. Tickets go on sale from this Friday, 14th Dec. A support act has yet to be announced.
The band will be Steve and his synthesiser playing partner Miquette Giraudy joined onstage by all the members of Gong:- Kavus Torabi (guitar and vocals), Fabio Golfetti (guitar and vocals), Dave Sturt (bass and vocals), Cheb Nettles (drums) and Ian East (Flute and Saxophone). The set will consist of tracks from all the classic '70s Hillage albums, Fish Rising, L, Motivation Radio, Green, etc.
I've seen the set list, details of which cannot be prised from me, we need magic and surprises, but the 16 songs and pieces on the list - Oh wow!
Gong 2019 UK Tour May Dates
Brighton - London - Leeds - Newcastle - Glasgow - Nottingham - Cardiff - Bristol - Southampton - Seaton [updated Mon 10/12]
Gong have announced their May 2019 UK tour dates. A new album, planned to be released in time for the 10 date tour, was recently recorded in London.
To complete the circle of the highest musical adventure your presence is warmly requested - book tickets as soon as you can - it encourages everything.
I'm saddened to announce the passing of Professor John Searl inventor of the The Searl Effect Generator (S.E.G) and Inverse Gravity Vehicle (I.G.V), and in these parts known as inspiration of three remarkable releases. www.searlsolution.com
John was a close friend of Deborah, creator of the releases. She was companion to JWA (Joie Hinton of Ozric Tentacles and Eat Staic fame), which is how the Professor came to feature on 3 albums, 1 of which featured our own daevid allen and another Steffe Sharpstrings and Keith tha Bass.
There's Space Rock and Prog Rock and wearing the right psychedelic trousers while looking at the outer limits through some strong binoculars from the safety of your lap-top - then there's the real thing - Inverse Gravity Vehicle have always been that thing. Vibrate your synapses in memory of the good Professor, our own technological Emperor Norton - probably.
Steve Hillage SHB releases
are you experienced?...soon will be [posted Mon 10/12]
Classic Steve Hillage Band releases re-stocked - if only we could experience some actual gigs as well!
Some say next year is the 50th anniversary of Gong - that's possible...but when did it actually all begin? There are many theories and dates (daevid favoured Spain sometime around 1200-1232 - they were all Troubadours!).
Here is evidence of one of many possible Gong 'start' points. Christopher David Allen, 'Writer', is refused entry to the UK and returns to Paris and a host of adventures which eventually lead to Gong. You gotta love the neat little 'X' of ruled lines by the immigration chap, No.33 apparently?
Last year, buried at the bottom of a box of daevid's books, I discovered his passport. Actually two passports, his very first one on which he left Oz in 1960 and a 1965 replacement issued in Madrid. They were officially welded together with a red ribbon and a wax seal - looked very Victorian. Stamps for loads of trips to Spain and a couple to N. Africa.
So perhaps the 'beginning' of Gong was 24 August 1967?
Yamma (feat. Cary Grace) with Mike Howlett, Graham Clark, Steve Everitt
Glastonbury, King Arthur, 10 November 2018 [updated Wed 05 Dec]
Footage of a most wonderful gig from a couple of weeks back mixed and uploaded by Cary - enjoy - and next time come coz it's even more cosmic in the flesh! It was quite a Gong-tinged soiree with the Howletts, Andy Roid, Mark Robson and a host of chums in attendance. But don't just take my word for it, here's an effusive, detailed review of Yamma and The Cary Grace Band.
First part of two
The utterly superb Cary Grace CD, Uffculme Variations featuring Steffe Sharpstrings and Graham Clark.