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Gong: Camembert Électrique

Album Notes

This 1971 release was the first "real" Gong album (1970's MAGICK BROTHER was really Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth with friends, recorded before the band's official debut). It's a psychedelic/space-rock classic, hinting at the conceptual/musical heights reached by the forthcoming "Radio Gnome Trilogy" but characterized by harder-edged riffing and fewer ethereal moments (Steve Hillage and Tim Blake had not yet come aboard).

Allen's underground-oriented psycho-sexual, beatnik lyrics are a winning combination of wisdom and whimsy, but it's the music that makes CAMEMBERT. Allen's patented "glissando guitar" style (a spacy, flowing sound achieved with delay effects and a slide) puts the band in early Pink Floyd territory, as do the long, atmospheric jams. There's also a distinct jazz influence in both Pip Pyle's bop-inspired drumming and Didier Malherbe's freaky sax. These elements combined with Gilli Smyth's ambient/erotic "space whisper" backing vocals and Allen's winning tunesmithery to create some of the least pretentious art-rock ever heard.


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