Teapot radio: Paul White picks his 12 favourite records from the psychedelic world of Gong

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Gong
Gazeuse!
(Virgin, 1976)

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This one I can’t find anything about. It’s really bizarre, I don’t know where this one came from. I thought maybe it’s not the same Gong but it totally sounds like it is. Again it’s very atmospheric, but it’s the one I know least about and doesn’t quite have the same magic feel.


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Daevid Allen
Now Is the Happiest Time Of Your Life
(Affinity, 1977)

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I love this and I love the title of this, and it’s got a picture of him with one finger in his ear and one finger up his nose. This is a lot later than the first Gong record, but I love this one because it feels like one of the earlier ones. It’s got all these crazy skits and really experimental stuff. It’s even got a track on their called ‘Crocodile Nonsense Poem’ where he goes back to his beat poet days and does this hilarious skit. And he’s incredible with words. It goes back to all the crazy illustrations and the coloured hand-writing. It looks like a little kids drawings, but there are no mistakes.


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Planet Gong
Live at Floating Anarchy 1977
(Celluloid, 1977)

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It was really funny, I can’t remember what album it was, maybe it was the first one, they priced it at 59p. It was 59p in the shops as a promotional thing and I don’t know whether it stuck with them or not but on one of these live records on the front it says: “Listen – Don’t pay more than 17francs, £2.50 or $3.50, but better to rip it off if you can”, which probably says he’s a bit pissed off with the music industry.


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Gong
Live Etc.
(Virgin, 1977)

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This is great and seeing them live was amazing. This is really nice collection of gigs from ’72, ’73 and ’74, and I love hearing different versions. It’s great for me as a musician to hear how they can take apart a song and take it totally somewhere else. I love live recordings because it can sometimes feel a bit more free and a bit more wild.

Also this one has got these lovely photos. I’ve always loved art and music and they just have all these incredible covers. Most of it is hand-drawn and they’ve obviously worked very closely with an artist. It just makes it a lot more personal.


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Mother Gong
Robot Woman 1
(Butt, 1981)

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One of the other offshoots was this Mother Gong that they did and it is absolutely hilarious / really serious. My impression of it is it’s all about mens so called oppression of women and basically it’s a whole concept album that women are just robots and they’re not allowed to think and this one robot women starts to get conscious and starts to fight back and it’s amazing. It’s got these beautiful stories in it and great spoken word stuff. You could make a film out of a lot of these and you could definitely make a movie out of this. Maybe it was inspired by sci-fi because this is a lot later. And this big male computer tries to fight back as the women tries to leave. It’s another message about freedom.


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Gong
Gongmaison / The Owl and the Tree
(Demimonde / The cd label, 1989)

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I’m not into these ones as much but maybe they’re the kind of thing where in ten years I’ll really like them, they kinda feel a bit more rocky again. This guy has obviously got something and he’s an amazing genius so maybe I’m missing something with this later stuff, but I always want to keep an open mind with it and I’ll definitely go back to these later ones.


Shaker Notes is out now on R&S Records. Click here for more info.


Photos by Arianna Power.