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Gong Expresso: Decadence

The history of the band name Gong is a convoluted one - as is the history of the band itself to be fair. Offshoots and iterations of Gong going under names such as Mother Gong, Planet Gong, New York Gong and Gongmaison. At one point drummer and percussionist Pierre Moerlen became the de-facto leader of Gong itself, before that incarnation morphed into the rather unimaginatively named Pierre Moerlen's Gong and turned the progressive jazz-space-prog rock of the band down a slightly more obviously jazzy path.

Now, after the sad passing of Pierre in 2005, we have Gong Expresso featuring 'Gong alumni Francois Causse, Benoit Moerlen and Hansford Rowe with guitarist Julien Sandiford' and their new album is titled Decadence. In truth the results aren't all that decadent at all, the smooth if sprightly jazz playing things reasonably safe and having even less to do with the initial Gong sound than Pierre's version turned out to. That doesn't mean this instrumental fare is without merit, but as the bass, guitar, drums and marimba ensemble ease from the waverings of "Zephyr" to the dreamy moods of "Eastern Platinum", so you yearn for something a little more feisty or at least that feels not quite so controlled and contained.

The craft is without question and it has to be said there's a real bond between the four musicians that leaves a remarkable cohesion to the flow and pulse of "Frevo" and "The Importance Of Common Things". However, in all reality you're left grasping for something just a little more eventful and daring. Decadence is classy and cared for and there's no denying it can in places be a seductive beast. However for large parts things just bob along in a fashion that's a little too care free and lacking for any real direction.

Track Listing
1. Decadence
2. Zephyr
3. Toumani
4. Talisman
5. The Importance Of Common Things
6. Eastern Platinum
7. Frevo
8. God Knows

Added: March 4th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Gong Expresso on Facebook
Hits: 189
Language: english

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