GANDALF: Labyrinth: Film Soundtrack (CDon Eurock Records, Po Box 13718, Portland, OR 97213).
This is the soundtrack to an Austrian experimental film, but the music is hardly experimental in nature; it's a mixture of orchestral and electronic, resulting in a very traditional film score. There are moments of dramatic surge, but for the most part the songs are delicate and evocative. Throughout, the presence of a woodland--or even elfin--flavor to the music bestows it with a magical edge, giving it a distinctive style, raising it above a traditional film score.
PATRICK GAUTHIER: Sur les Flots Verticaux (CD on Seventh Records in France).
It is no surprise how thick this music is with the sound of Magma (clearly having picked up a lot of influences from his years playing with them). Rigorous Euro prog rock with heavy tectonic chant and thundering piano rolls. Jazz on the dark side.
RON GEESIN: Funny Frown (CD on Headscope Records, Street End Lane, Broadoak, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 BTU, UK).
Trivia heads out there might recognize Geesin as the culprit who co-wrote Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother Suite" with Roger Waters. He also did an album with Waters in 1970 called "Music from the Body" (which Restless Retro Records issued on CD a few years ago). Geesin's current solo sound is particularly hard to describe since it runs the full musical gamut in so many directions that it's dizzying, from pop to classical to dramatic soundtracks to downright silliness.
LISA GERRARD: The Mirror Pool (CD on 4AD Records in USA).
Now, here's a generally unplugged release that works from the vocalist from Dead Can Dance...a solo album of high emotion and orchestral drama. Very haunting, moody music accompanied by operatic vocals.
GIEZ: The Ambient Room (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Ambient? Well, the title infers it is, but the music actually possesses a slab of oomph and a dash of tempo. Predominantly dynamic rave electronics. E-perc rolls and chugging keyboards, there are periodic outbursts of peaceful ambience. The result of this mix is tight compositions with the impression of Cluster, welded into a long 75 minute sequence. Some of the pieces are quite snappy space excursions.
This CD has a 3D "wiggle picture" cover.
BRUCE GILBERT: Ab Ova (CD on Mute Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
This is a full length CD of highly abrasive and often disturbing electronics that will thrill and stun the listener. Rhythmic indeed, but more a manipulation of attack-mode electronics than songs. Not advised for the weak of heart.
BRUCE GILBERT: Ab Ova Remix (12-inch EP on Mute Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
For those who survive the "Ab Ova" CD (and want more), there's this 12-inch picture disc EP containing remix material of the abrasive music.
Count me as a survivor who wants even more.
BRUCE GILBERT: Instant Shed, Volume 1 (7-inch single on Subpop Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA)
Consisting of loud, abrasive shriek electronics with a certain passion, this release is of definite interest, playing to the weird experimental edge of Gilbert's reputation.
Catchy and recommended.
BRUCE GILBERT: Music for Fruit (CD on Mute Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
Not a particularly impressive item, this solo electronic outing suffers from atonality, a drifting non-melodic nature, and being only a scant 32 minutes long. Being mainly compositions for dance performance and film soundtrack, this is understandable.
MICHAEL GILES/JAMIE MUIR/DAVID CUNNINGHAM: Ghost Dance (CD on Piano Records in UK).
Here's an answer to whatever happened to...Michael Giles (of the "Giles, Giles and Fripp" album from 1968), Jamie Muir (King Crimson's mystical esoteric percussionist from the "Larks Tongues in Aspic" period) and David Cunningham (aka Flying Lizards--remember their pretechno electro-pop version of "Money"?).
This is mainly an album of percussion and odd noises with infrequent electronics adding some tonality. Admittedly, the songs are minimalist, but they have a strange way of growing on your psyche, developing into little hypnotic pieces with subliminal Asian influences.
GONG: The History And The Mystery Of The Planet Gong (CD on Magnum Music Group in UK).
This one is strictly for fanatics. The music is not bad, but the release's fragmentary nature detracts from its validity as a historical retrospective. Presenting the band's music in small snippets is unfair-to the band and to the listener. Gong at its best needed time to leisurely build to aching crescendos that maintained lengthy peak level. The song information is often incorrect (one song isn't even really Gong, but is actually Kevin Ayers with Gong personnel), but these mistakes are oddly balanced by the inclusion of a nice thick booklet (in English) with much data and a thickly intertwined family tree.
GONG: Live In Paris--Bataclan 1973 (CD on Mantra in France).
How well does the charm of Gong hold up after nearly two decades? By the evidence presented on "Live In Paris--Bataclan 1973", it holds up damned well. This CD possesses all the essential Gong ingredients: the prime lineup (Daevid Allen's guitar rhythms and pixie chant, Gilli Smythe's space whisper, Tim Blake's slowburn crystal machines, Steve Hillage's sinuous glissando guitar, Mike Howlett's stellar bass, Piere Moerlen's lush percussion, and Didier Malherbe's cosmic sax and flute), some solid space rock classics (like "I'm Your Animal," "You Can't Kill Me," "Flying Teapot," "Pussy" and a host of other tunes from the early Radio Gnome trilogy), and tight, hypnotic performances. The music is dated only by its frivolous, funloving quality. The release includes a booklet, but the text is all in French.
GONG: You(re)Mixed (Phase 1 and Phase 2) (double CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
My first encounter with Gong's music in 1974 made me an instant and avid fan. In the Seventies, while Gong was at their prime, recording their Radio Gnome trilogy, the media considered their music flaky hippy stuff. During the Eighties, the media considered the Gong legacy to be burnt out hippy ramblings. And now in the Nineties, their music is experiencing a strong revival as trance and space pioneers. Let's skip my smug sense of vindication and focus on one of these current examples.
This double CD belongs to the class of remix projects that are filling racks in music stores as this century draws to a close. This time, you get 124 minutes of electronic, trance and techno remixes by: the Orb, System 7 (aka Steve Hillage who was a core member of Gong during their strongest period), Astralasia, the Shamen, Youth, Graham Massey/808 State, Global, Moodswings, Electric Skychurch, Total Eclipse, Orlando, Mad Stof, Glo, Gregorio & Stephen Budd, Yamataki Eye, and Doof. All of these source songs are taken from Gong's "You" album (the final part of the Radio Gnome trilogy) and appear here in highly mutated and dub crazed versions. But despite the mixology involved, this music persists in retaining its crisp, lighthearted sense of sonic awe. The pot-head pixies have redressed as youthful ravers, their flying teapots have reformed into interdimensional machines, and their stoned wisdom has become cosmic philosophy.
Learn it, live it, listen close.
GOONZ: Goonz 2 (90 minute cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Avenue, Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
Goonz are Hal McGee and Nomuzic, with guest appearance by Sound of Pig maven Al Margolis. What they sonically produce this time is nonrhythmic and abrasive. Scraped strings, ghostly tones and shrill electronics. The sounds act as if they are involved in a strange struggle between each other that produces a nonmelodic flow, almost hypnotic if it weren't for the high annoyance quotient. Enjoyably nasty music.
PETER GORDON/DAVID CUNNINGHAM: The Yellow Box (CD on Piano Records in UK).
Gordon is ex-Love of Life Orchestra, a NYC avant-garde band from the early Eighties. Cunningham is otherwise known as the Flying Lizards. This collaboration brings the weird out in both of these sonic experimentalists.
Quirky tunes laden with strange noises, keyboards and mournful horns and even some periodic percussion. Enjoyable stuff if you're looking for some low key art jazz.
GREEN ISAC: Happy Endings (CD on Eurock Records, PO Box 13718, Portland, OR 97213).
This is a very interesting album of ambient electronic music with a tinge of world beat--but just a wee tinge, for the songs retain a dominant atmospheric quality despite the percussion, chants and Latin guitar. But then, it's the percussion that guides the catchy tempos that make this music more than ambient background tones. Back and forth, trance and rhythm entwine into a crisp and nontribal sonic experience.
GROOVY: Groovy (CD on Extreme Records, PO Box 147, Preston, 3072 Victoria, Australia).
52 minutes of rhythmatics, sample crazy, space funk of a very electronic nature. Oh, there's throb bass, trumpet, occassional vocals, and intricate percussion, but the paste that holds it together--fusing it all into trancey loop--are the electronics. I'm not saying this music is in the vein of Klaus Schulae or Steve Roach, for Groovy (aka Dan Burke) has a solid funk edge that relies heavily on the sinuous percussion trails and strong (and clever) use of sampled melodies. He makes interesting use of the "Shaft" guitar rift, putting it to use in a thoroughly surprising manner. The hypnotic melodies are powerful, rich with thrilling hooks and tasty tempos.
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