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Gong: Shamal

Album Notes

Gong: Mike Howlett (bass, vocals), Didier "Bloom" Malherbe (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, gongs), Patrice Lemoine (piano, organ, Mini-Moog), Mireille Bauer (marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, gongs, percussion), Pierre Moerlen (drums, vibraphone, tubular bells).

Additional personnel: Miquette Giraudy, Sandy Colley (vocals), Steve Hillage (acoustic & electric guitars), Jorge Pinchevsky (violin).

Engineers: Phil Ault, Dave Hutchins, Ben King.

Recorded at Basing Street Studios and Olympic Studios, London, England.

By 1975, all Gong's rough edges were sanded away. Erstwhile leader Daevid Allen took his spacy/psychedelic hippie mythology with him when he left in '74. In it's place, the remaining members (vocalist Gilli Smyth and synth player Tim Blake had also departed) pursued a jazz-rock fusion sound and a group-led dynamic, with all members contributing ideas. SHAMAL is full of ultimately satisfying mid-'70s fusion, but the final traces of the old Gong can still be heard in Didier Malherbe's whimsical sax lines, bassist Mike Howlett's occasional vocals/lyrics and the biting guitar of Steve Hillage (at this point merely a guest musician). It's ironic that it was produced by Nick Mason since it's far from Gong's Pink Floydish space-rock origins, but SHAMAL is the first and probably the best of the Gong Mark II albums.


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