Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Space Shuttles...

A couple of updates in search of a larger post, this fine evening - what I am reeling from the most though? The Cornish sun, much missed and rarely seen, actually breaking through for a little while or Disney's acquisition of Marvel Comics? Perhaps the sky really isn't falling (as my old mate Paul Cornell, writer of Dark Young Avengers and the much anticipated and forthcoming Black Widow mini-series contests), but will Disney really allow Marvel to run at arms-length to the Disney corporation? I'll hope for the best... and fear the worst, as is my nature.

Just a few things of interest to blog readers here, hopefully plenty of you recovering from enjoying the Hawkwind 40th anniversary celebrations in London over the bank holiday weekend. Dealing with Hawkwind-related items first then, Jerry Richards, late of Hawkwind and now experimenting with sound in the Earth Lab, has announced the release of an Earth Lab DVD, recorded at the Sonic Rock Solstice. Jerry adds the following information:

"The hour long concert was produced from a multi camera shoot and specially recorded audio streams for high fidelity. Produced at The Lab, it also features sumptuous graphics and background computer animations throughout to enhance the viewing experience, giving the video an 'otherwordly' feel.The performance includes songs from the Element album and also brand new material from our forthcoming CD release Oscillating Bodies. (The main menu also features an unreleased mix of new track 'Money Monkey', taken from our recent studio sessions.)

"The DVD comes complete with gorgeous cover artwork, full size DVD box and is cello wrapped. Band line-up: Jerry Richards (guitar & vocal) Alf Hardy (synths) Robin Hill (drums) Barry Jones (bass).To get your copy of this unique concert, go to PayPal.com and deposit £10 GBP (includes shipping cost) to earthlab@tiscali.co.uk. Just tell us which product you want to order, leave us your mailing address and we'll do the rest." Tell 'em Spacerock Reviews sent you!

The new Gong album 2032 is due later this month; I received a review copy a few weeks back and have written it up for Record Collector so, as is appropriate, I'll not be going into depth about it here, but to talk generally about it, I thought that the places where it was good, it was very good indeed, really crisply delivered with a marvellous sense of groove. On the other hand, I also felt it ran into the area of being too wilfully eccentric in places as well. So it is a curate's egg, though the overall result is strong. But to quote from the press release:

"2032 is released on Monday 21st September 2009 on the band's own label G-Wave, in special association with A-Wave, the label of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy's successful dance music project System 7. Produced and engineered by Hillage at A-Wave Studios, London, additional production was conceived by Daevid Allen at Bananamoon Observatory in NSW, Australia.

"Described as exhilarating, compelling and other worldly, 2032 represents the first time Hillage has recorded with original Gong founder, Daevid Allen, since 1974's You album. 2032 is a new installment that continues the 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.

"Special guest performances on some tracks include former Gong member Didier Malherbe (soprano sax, duduk, and flute) and Yuji Katsui (electric violin) of the Japanese progressive/psychedelic jam band Rovo. Original Gong members Steve Hillage, Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Miquette Giraudy, wrote the songs for 2032 when they were in Australia. The new album also grew out of the enthusiasm and fun the band experienced playing live together again. Together with the rest of the band, Daevid and Steve have crafted a rich and fresh sounding powerhouse of an album that is a more than worthy successor to the legendary Radio Gnome trilogy that Gong released at their creative peak in the 70s.

"2032 is the year that the Planet Gong makes full contact with the Planet Earth; and a major new chapter in the continually evolving Gong mythology," says Daevid Allen. The premise of the new album is that Gong exists in our solar system as an evolved and peaceful planet operating as a unified field of high frequency matter which renders it virtually invisible to Earth. Its representatives, the Octave Doctors, first visited Earth during the late sixties when hopes were high for a shift towards world peace. Upon their return, they have opted to survey our progress and have made an offer of assistance at this decisive time in our planetary history. The year 2032 is thought to be the time when the existence of Planet Gong will be officially recognised by astronomers on Earth and will signal the first public arrival of these space visitors." Hmm, Quite.

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