Gilgamesh — Arriving Twice
(Cuneiform Rune 140, 1975/2000, CD)
by David Ashcraft, Published 2001-03-01
The musical world suffered a major loss in May of 1981 when Alan Gowen died of leukemia at the age of 33. Perhaps best known for his work with National Health, Gowen had also been the leader of his own band, Gilgamesh, from 1973-78. For those not familiar with this wonderful but under-appreciated band imagine a slightly jazzier version of Hatfield and the North but without any vocals. Gilgamesh recorded two studio albums, a delightful self-titled disc in 1975 and also 1978’s Another Fine Tune You’ve Got Me Into. Released 25+ years after the actual recordings, Arriving Twice adds significantly to the unfortunately scanty Gilgamesh catalog. Cuneiform has once again done a superb job of releasing rare recordings of a very high musical quality. The accompanying booklet contains an extensive history of the band that is conveyed via a multitude of interviews with bandmates, friends, and other contemporaries. The music dates from three sessions recorded in 1973-75 and features mostly material from the first album. Phil Lee burns on guitar throughout, and both Gowen’s playing and compositions are stellar. There are also several unreleased pieces and significantly different arrangements of material that makes this CD an essential purchase for fans of the Canterbury sound. Overall this is an extremely well done release of archival material by a superb band that played intriguing and complex music but that never received appropriate recognition in their day. Hopefully the release of Arriving Twice will set the record straight.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more