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Daevid Allen's University of Errors — Money Doesn't Make It
(Innerspace 7707, 1999, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-11-01

Money Doesn't Make It Cover art

I’ve had the privilege of seeing this new hybrid project live at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco a few months ago. I was surprised both then and now as to how fresh and vital the new material was. You can dispense with most of Allen’s recent outside-of-Gong solo endeavors — this is his most tangible work in quite some time, with by the core of Mushroom (Pat Thomas on drums and Josh Pollock on lead guitars). Also coming out of retirement is local musical entrepreneur Michael Clare, who has re-taken up bass much like a well-seasoned fish to old water. Much of the album is constructed of real-time jam backing of Allen’s rambling esoteric muse, but that doesn’t lessen the sonic impact. Some disc highlights: “Prince of Sidewalk Scooter” straddles the border between Pink Floyd and Gong with Allen’s glissando guitar and Pollock’s slide spacey leads; very good. Probably the most memorable vocal recitation from Allen himself is on “False Teacher,” which alludes to recounting of a bad encounter with a previous mentor. Both tracks three and five benefit from additional guitars, especially “Mullumbimby Mother” which reminds me of Roy Harper (circa Lifemask) more than anyone else. Several of the other short pieces are slightly tortured sound collages for Allen’s topic of the day ( including “Prof. Improbable’s Preambule”). Don’t be jaded though: this is an essential album for those yearning for a new Gong album with a modern Phish-like sonic edge. Money Doesn’t Make It will hold your attention much more than any recent Zero the Hero material since You.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Daevid Allen


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