Gong - Acid Motherhood (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU 23-VP 311
"On the face of it, it's an old band's obscure latest album with only a couple of original members.
To most prog fans that's a familiar story, one that will immediately invoke a horrible mental montage of the many dusty, abandoned mid-90s CDs dwelling dormant and boring in your rack (or drawer, or pile if you prefer). But do not fear. 'Acid Motherhood' is a Gong album in every respect. It just has different people playing on it. That's all. Instead of Steve Hillage we've got Kawabata Makoto, an even more out-there version. Instead of Tim Blake we've got Cotton Casino, another even more out-there version (both from Acid Mothers Temple, but that's a whole other story). And essentially, other than 30 years that's the only big difference - it's all more 'out there'. Daevid Allen's absolutely unmistakeable vocal style is as present and correct (and good) as ever, there's the requisite Allenish approach to a standard-length psychedelic pop song in 'Brainwash Me' (a definite highlight), and there's two chunky noisy freakout tracks too. It lacks the thematic continuity one might be used to from Gong, but it almost exonerates itself from this criticism because it confounds any expectations. It does not sound like you think it would sound if you listened to both bands separately, and hence it also doesn't fall into the most common criticisms of these two bands ("too silly" for Gong and "too self-indulgent" for AMT). There is only one song that could possibly be construed as "self-indulgent" - the monster jam 'Makototen', which sees guitarists Josh Pollock and Makoto respectively holding down an enlessly-ascending chord riff and jamming wildly and noisily. However, it's actually not self-indulgent at all as Makoto's solos are far from guitar posturing - they brood and wail from within the mix, and are usually treated with enough effects that they're not easily distinguished from the rest of the underlying noise swells.
And therein lies the most surprising thing about 'Acid Motherhood': the intensity is all (and I do mean all) on Gong's part, and the subtlety belongs to the Acid Mothers alumni. Particularly impressive is the pairing of Cotton Casino and Gilli Smyth on the mad, funky 'Supercotton' - Smyth's finely-honed space whisper melding wonderfully with Cotton's full, washing synth tweaks. This song in particular features both original Gong vocalists in prime form - Allen as forceful and wild as ever, Smyth proving superiorily effective, which is of course incredibly encouraging as neither are what one would call young. Plus, the heaviest and most intense track, 'Zeroina', was written by Allen and Mike Howlett ('classic' Gong bassist) alone.
'Acid Motherhood' is full of fire and weirdness, but contains a couple of mellower, wistful numbers that show Allen's wiser lyrical side - 'Olde Fooles Game' in particular seems to be about continuing his 1960s musical ideology for forty years, in spite of the huge changes that have taken place in that time.
Over all, this is an album that does the Gong name its full justice in the 21st Century. The only way I can see old Gong fans disliking this is that it's TOO progressive."-D. Hamilton Smith
  • LabelVoiceprint
  • UPC604388315222
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