(All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
Allan Holdsworth - Guitars Pedal Steel, Violin
Mireille Bauer - Percussion, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Tom-Tom, Vibraphone
Mino Cinelu - Percussion
Didier Malherbe - Flute, Sax
Benoit Moerlen - Percussion, Vibraphone
Pierre Moerlen - Drums, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Tympani [Timpani], Vibraphone
Francis Moze - Pianos, Gong, Fretless Bass
Having left the Planet Gong far far behind, drummer Pierre Moerlen had taken the helm of Gong from the departed Daevid Allen and completely recast it as a fusion band, starting with the previous effort Shamal
Here, what sounded tentative on Shamal became incredibly confident on Gazeuse, aided no doubt by the strong writing and playing of that mercurial guitar stylist Allan Holdsworth. All the elements of a successful change were in place, strong melody, rhythms that never lapsed into tedium, a unique frontline of twin vibes and strong compositions to boot.
My favorite pieces tend to be the Allan Holdsworth ones like the mysterious and intense "Shadows Of-Pts 1&2" (featuring Allan doing a snarly ring-modulated solo) and the soaring "Night Illusion". "Percolations 1 and 2" is Pierre Moerlen's chance to shine bringing the whole affaire to a rousing conclusion with one of the most captivating drum solos ever put on record (and believe me, I normally can't sit through drum solos but this is one serious exception)! Very untypical is the romantic ballad "Mirielle" at the end, it's romantic and colorful without being in any way sappy or cloying. Without vocals to mess it up, it gets its point across beautifully, not unlike a first kiss with someone you are madly in love with. "Expresso" contains one of the most lyrical and beautifully developed Holdsworth guitar flights these ears have ever heard.
Add to all this, incredibly crisp production and engineering from one Dennis McKay (who also loaned his amazing ears to Brand X around the same time) and it makes for one very enjoyable listen.
Sadly, Gong under Pierre Moerlen's leadership would never scale these heights again, but I am grateful that for a moment in time, it worked so beautifully!