Big Hairy Monster!
(All Album Reviews by Big Hairy Monster!)
Here is yet another classic from the heyday of progressive rock. Released in 1974, You is not only arguably the best release by the very underrated Gong, but it also holds a very special place in the hearts of many fans of prog/space/jazz rock.
Gong was always a strange beast. A collective of hippies that could play the hell out of their instruments, who explored the realms of jazz, and wrote concept albums about flying teapots and pot-head pixies. But they are deeper than that...they managed to teeter on the fence of many different genres without ever falling into one particular direction. In other words, Gong music is very unique. It has a hooky quality to it that gets under the skin, yet it is elaborate. It has a psychedelic quality to not far removed from early Pink Floyd, yet it is kicked in the rear by healthy doses of jazz. They were also among the forefathers of the techno movement.
And You is perhaps their finest hour. And although the album doesn't really kick into gear until track three, the first two tracks aptly set the mood for what is to come. Wonderful soundscapes of sequenced synths, space whispers, and chants build into an awesome track: "Master Builder". This song flat rips. Fantastic in every sense of the word.
Speaking of synths, is Tim Blake one of the most underrated keyboardists in progressive rock or what? The guy is phenomenal, just not in a Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman way...just very tasteful, atmoshperic, and inventive in his playing and use of sequencers. Also not to be overlooked is Steve Hillage--his guitar work is sublime. And have I mentioned Pierre Moerlin's drumming? In a word--WOW!
This is an album I cannot recommend highly enough, and I wish I would have discovered it years earlier. Pick it up, give it a spin...I'm sure you will agree that these guys (and gal) created a masterpiece.