Monday, December 21, 2009


The Burning Babe.
-By Robert Southwell,
From St. Peter's Complaint, 1595

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

1. Our prayer - The Beach Boys
2. Wise man in your heart - Daevid Allen
3. Child is father of the man - Brian Wilson
4. Bumper ball dub (karmacoma) - Massive Attack (remix: Mad Professor)
5. Knights Templar - Steve Hillage
6. Space between your ear - Ozric Tentacles
7. Emotional slaughter - Black Uhuru
8. Exposure - Robert Fripp
9. 1000 years - Sting (remix: Bill Laswell & Karsh Kale)
10. By this river - Brian Eno
11. Stella Maris - Einsturzende Neubauten
12. Greensleeves/What child is this? - Jethro Tull
13. Sweet child - Pentangle
14. Wise man in your heart - Gong

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to stay alive

Pixies in Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing
Some of you may be familar with Shibuya Crossing in downtown Tokyo, if not by name then perhaps from photographs you've seen (you know the ones pedestrian crossings going every which way), it's the Times Square or Piccadilly Circus of the city, and like both those places neon signs and video screens abound. Well somehow by some means, all this week the Gong 'How to Stay Alive' animated video is part of the loop of films and adverts playing above the heads of the thronging crowds. Will any stop and have a PHP interlude, wonder what all that was, then scurry along? Strange times indeed. Maybe there are some Shibuya web-cams on the net where we can catch it happening live?

Released to coincide with the band's 40th Anniversary, 2032 continues Gong's famous Radio Gnome album trilogy which includes the milestone psychedelic progressive rock albums Flying Teapot (1973), Angel's Egg (1973) and You (1974). The band line-up on the album includes Daevid Allen (guitar, lead vocal): Steve Hillage (lead guitar), Gilli Smyth (Space Whisper and poetry), Miquette Giraudy (synthesiser), Mike Howlett (bass), Chris Taylor (drums), and Theo Travis (sax and flute).

"2032 is full of risk-taking, which is always a double edged sword, but these quirky songs might seem fresh and even bring a new blood in the Gong planet..."

"There are so many great moments on 2032, it becomes difficult to catalog them all. Taylor’s drums on “Pinkle Pockle” are outstanding, and the token straight-ahead rocker “Guitar Zero” is also something to hear. The electro-funk of "Robo-Warriors" is the most surprising sound to appear on 2032. It could have been a track left off of Funkadelic’s 1982 LP The Electric Spanking Of War Babies.

Fittingly, it is the final song that commands the most attention. The instrumental “Portal” is Steve Hillage at his finest, and Didier Malherbe’s sax solo serves to contrast and complement the song as well."