Exposé Online banner

Gong — The Birthday Party
(Voiceprint VPGAS 101CD, 1995, 2CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01

The Birthday Party Cover art

Just what the world needs, another live album by Gong!?! On some terms The Birthday Party can be compared to the live albums released by their conceptually inferior contemporaries, Hawkwind, for managing to continue to release live recordings from current mock line-ups for posterity and the prime governing factor: cash! But before I jump the wagon here, let me state, I actually like this two CD release from the Gong Appreciation Society. It’s well recorded, sounds pretty good and the members are well rehearsed. The band is in fine form for a re-union: I mean we can take Pip Pyle over Pierre Moerlin, Steve Hillage is also sadly absent as well. But present and welcome additions back to (at least) this planet, are Mike Howlett ( very solid bass playing throughout the shows) and Tim Blake’s role ( in particular on the outstanding track, "Clouds Again") show a good glimpse of the jazzy/spacey elements where the group excelled. Disc One is classic Gong, Allen/Smyth going through the now, somewhat familiar Gong song cycle at an even pace. Disc Two: I don’t know much of this stuff, er... Maybe I do. I think it’s mislabeled: "Isle of Everywhere" is "Tri-cycle Gliss." Live photos from the insert look very similar to those included in the best album by the band, Gong Live Etc: the real watermark. And this set holds up pretty well to it (unlike the previous, full band re-union which did include Moerlen and Hillage by the way!). Some of this starts to blur into the Ozrics territory, but at least there is definite pacing by the songs and you can tell the difference between the beginning and ending of the disc. This would have been a fun show to attend


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Gilli Smyth / Mother Gong, Gong, Daevid Allen, Pip Pyle, Tim Blake

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Unto Ashes - Grave Blessings – Given their penchant for unusual melodic angles, middle-eastern modalities, medieval and gothic stylisms, and folky mysticism, one would be amiss to review this band without mentioning some...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues