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Thread: Gong - Shamal

  1. #1
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Gong - Shamal

    So I know we must have had a thread on PE about this album at some point, but it was today when I pulled it out, feeling like I needed some tasty seventies fusion, so I thought I'd start a new one now. When I first heard it about three years ago, I thought it was decent, but not as earth-shattering as the Allen version of Gong, or even Pierre Moerlen's "Downwind."

    But today everything clicked for me. The "hippy-dippiness" is still somewhat present in "Wingful of Eyes," but it's still a fairly solid song, one of the two songs to have some kickass guitar work from Hillage. On the other hand, you have some really punchy fusion in "Chandra" and "Shamal," and a preview of the tuned percussion banquet of Moerlen's Gong in "Mandrake." Honestly, it's got a bit of everything, and it feels more like a multitude of musical ideas coming together and giving each other room.

    Is it perfect? Eh, I think Didier Malherbe's contributions, while decent, are still a little loose and weird in the old Gong way, which I suppose is fine, but considering how tight everything else is, they feel a little out of place. Only a smidgeon, though. You can also clearly tell this is not Hillage's natural environment; his work is great, but it's only on two songs and it's obvious there's no way he could squeeze his style into the rest of the material.

    This is clearly a transitional record, but I almost wish they'd kept this dynamic up. Except for "Downwind," Moerlen's obsessiveness over tuned percussion takes away from the diversity of later albums. This was a lineup of musicians that could have created a musical smorgasbord if they'd stayed together; as it happened, everyone drifted off into their own projects and that was that. Therefore, I'm calling it: "Shamal" is an underrated, once-in-a-lifetime record. It hinted at possibly being everything, but in the end, it couldn't take a permanent foothold.

  2. #2
    This was actually my first Gong album. I still really enjoy it, though it’s definitely a different animal from the Daevid Allen era. My first copy was the US Virgin/Atlantic release with different cover art:



    ...though my copy was a promo with a timing strip on the front.

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  3. #3
    Tribesman sonic's Avatar
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    It's the last Gong album of interest to me, not being a fan of Moerlen's Gong. I think it's excellent!

  4. #4
    Member zravkapt's Avatar
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    My second fav after You. Sounds like the link between You and Gazeuse (which it is of course).

  5. #5
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    Despite being very 'transitional' as you say, this album still has a great deal of charm, sadly lacking in the Moerlen version of the band.

  6. #6
    Member Yeswave's Avatar
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    One of the few non-prog bands I listen to are The Fun Lovin' Criminals (great live). Nice suprise when they sampled Wingful Of Eyes on Run Daddy Run on the Loco album.

  7. #7
    i like this one a lot, even if indeed it's less gong-y than most previous ones.

  8. #8
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Perfect album. My favourite by Gong.

  9. #9
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    I started out with Espresso I and II, so this one was a very different animal for me, and not really what I was expecting or looking for. Going even farther back in the catalogue gets deeper into the "hippy trippiness" and away from my preferences.
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  10. #10
    Very good album.

    I like it as a transition album, and as a statement on its own. I have no problems with Didier Malherbe on this.
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  11. #11
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    "GAZEUSE !" is my fav Gong album, beautiful. "Shamal" is transitional IMHO, nice but not great.

  12. #12
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Shamal could be my overall favorite, different from other Gongs. As a composer, P Lemoine is quite good, and his 'Chandra' is probably my favorite Gong tune ever. Moerlen's 'Mandrake' and Didier's 'Bambooji' are lovely as well, and the mood of the title track is very strong, in that flowing Gongish style, though different and perhaps not quite as compelling as ' The Isle of Everywhere' or 'A Sprinkling of Clouds'. For me You was the first really good Gong album, and I enjoy several of the Moerlen Gong albums just as much.

  13. #13
    Excellent album, and the live tapes from this era are excellent as well. Sherwood Forest 75

    http://www.progressiverock.com/guide...wood-forest-75

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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    Shamal could be my overall favorite, different from other Gongs. As a composer, P Lemoine is quite good, and his 'Chandra' is probably my favorite Gong tune ever. Moerlen's 'Mandrake' and Didier's 'Bambooji' are lovely as well, and the mood of the title track is very strong, in that flowing Gongish style, though different and perhaps not quite as compelling as ' The Isle of Everywhere' or 'A Sprinkling of Clouds'. For me You was the first really good Gong album, and I enjoy several of the Moerlen Gong albums just as much.

    To my mind the real hero of the album is Mike Howlett, who adds that British pop sense that you never really find in Gong, save for a few of Allen's bits. Combining his brand of tuneage with the emerging fusion/percussion sound was what made that album really special.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sonic View Post
    It's the last Gong album of interest to me, not being a fan of Moerlen's Gong. I think it's excellent!


    I really tried, but could never really get into either Gazeuse or Time Is the Key - although Moerlen is probably my fave 70s drummer next to Cutler, Vander, Hayward and Chenevier.
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  16. #16
    Matt! polmico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    To my mind the real hero of the album is Mike Howlett, who adds that British pop sense that you never really find in Gong.
    Plus some really tasty bass playing! Man had more groove in him than just about any prog rock bass player. Awesome playing on Shamal in particular. His lead vox on the other hand . . .
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Excellent album, and the live tapes from this era are excellent as well. Sherwood Forest 75

    http://www.progressiverock.com/guide...wood-forest-75

    Yeah I have a couple different shows from this line up and they are excellent quality as well as featuring a couple of Hillage tunes from Fish Rising as I recall.

  18. #18
    Connoisseur of stuff. Obscured's Avatar
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    Still have this favorite, way too short of course.
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  19. #19
    This was my first journey to Planet Gong back in the day. I had heard of them but had never heard them. I immediately went out and bought You. These remain my favorites. I also like Moerlen's Gong but I treat them as different bands, in different genres.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by LighthouseKeeper View Post
    Moerlen's Gong but I treat them as different bands, in different genres
    .
    Love em both. Daevid's space psychedelic glissando stories and Pierre's jazz fusion tunes are both wonderful.
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  21. #21
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    It was one of my first Gong albums, I like both Gong eras a lot and this is a nice bridge between the two. Don't rank it as highly as the best of either era so probably 5th or 6th. It does have a really good vibe.
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  22. #22
    A humble diversion. No need to compare it to others; it has its own quiet wonder. I gave much more attention to Fish Rising and Gazeuse when they came out. I enjoy Sherwood Forest because it features Hillage more. Still, it would be a shame to forget Shamal and the expression of yin/yang sensibilities.

  23. #23
    First heard this during intermission at the Hammersmith Odean while waiting for Weather Report to come on stage after Cobham/Duke, I think. Completely different to the Gong I was used to but in 76 fusion ruled, so did Shamal.

  24. #24
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HealthyNational View Post
    Love em both. Daevid's space psychedelic glissando stories and Pierre's jazz fusion tunes are both wonderful.
    yes, me too... never understood why some wanted to pit one against the other
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  25. #25
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    yes, me too... never understood why some wanted to pit one against the other
    This album (sort of) brings them together. There obviously were hints of Moerlen's future, even in the Allen days, though, in songs like "Love is What Y Make It."

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