GONG – I See You

Madfish 2014

Smiling eye of the beholder – Pot Head Pixie, not Big Brother – looking askance at the world in order to order the chaos.

GONG - I See You

I See You

Those daring think Daevid Allen’s ailment could blunt his glance, shouldn’t bang a gong; more so, no matter how sugarcoated his pill is, it’s always spiked with acidic, acerbic commentary. But if the band’s previous work, 2009’s “2032”, was as otherworldly as it gets for their gnomic stance, this one zooms in on Earth. From a distance, yet so close, everything is observed under its lens and no bit is missing, that’s why the baroque “Pixielation” playfully proclaims, “We don’t understand why you wanna kill each other if you haven’t gone insane.” Such a wide-eyed wisdom might have come from the “I’m an old man – not cool” sentiment of the funky title track, had we not been offered a mirror option with “You See Me,” and when a line from the perennial “I’ll See You in My Dreams” gets distorted in there, it’s echoed in “We’ll meet again in the dreamtime” prognosis of “Zion My T-Shirt” set to a hypnotic techno-folk groove.

Of course, that’s not a trivial rendezvous, so when “When God And The Devil Shake Hands” starts its sinister, flute-flavored crawl over Dave Sturt’s┬ápredatory bass line, a noose tightens on the neck of “a peaceful protest,” but it’s a mere aftermath of the metallic clang of “Occupy,” as cut by Kavus Torabi’s axe, whose sarcastic appeal is smoothed and stressed out at the same time with Ian East’s sax. Here’s the reasoning behind Allen’s soft diatribe on “This Revolution” namecheking Gil Scott-Heron: it’s an inner riot, not TV-reported one. And although there’s motorik energy in “The Eternal Wheel Spins” with its arresting guitar curlicues, the fusion of “Syllabub” pokes a pop culture in the flabby belly rather gently.

At this point “Brew Of Special Tea” is beamed in from outer space – poured from the flying teapot – as a sign of gratitude turning into a twangy blues roll for “Thank You.” Hhopefully, this riveting chant isn’t meant to be a farewell, for it’s comforting- to know somebody caring watches over you.


January 29, 2015

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