Exposé Online banner

Gong — Rejoice! I'm Dead!
(Snapper Music Madfish SMACD1049, 2016, 2LP / CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-09-13

Rejoice! I'm Dead! Cover art

With the passing of the Pot Head Pixie Daevid Allen in March 2015, it at first seemed doubtful that Gong would continue. But as the Gong family constantly fractured, reformed, and assumed new shapes since its inception at the end of the 60s, the new Gong lineup on 2014’s I See You, with Daevid’s urging during his final days, reluctantly decided to carry on. The result is Rejoice! I’m Dead!, scheduled for release on September 16, 2016. Given the uneven I See You and the absence of Daevid from the band, I was uncertain what to expect from this new Gong incarnation. Rejoice! I’m Dead! came together over a few weeks in an East London rehearsal studio where the band experimented with new ideas that evolved into the nine songs on the album, a truly collaborative affair between Kavus Tobabi (vocals and guitar), Fabio Golfetti (guitar and vocals), Dave Strut (bass and vocals), Ian East (sax and flute), and newcomer Cheb Nettles (drums and vocals). The first thing that you notice is the absence of the usual Gong pseudonyms for each musician. The second is the music. Though there are definite Gong elements throughout, other influences and ideas have crept into the mix. To help anchor the music, Gong alumni Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe, and Graham Clark appear on several songs. Taken on its own, without referencing the Gong legacy, Rejoice! I’m Dead! is a great album. Depending on how you count the Gong discography, this is the 28th album, which some liken to a continuation of the “Virgin trilogy,” but many Gong fans may be put off. To my ears, the best tracks are “Rejoice!” the elegy to Daevid Allen, the atmospheric “Visions,” the mostly instrumental “The Unspeakable Stands Revealed,” and the trancelike “Through Restless Seas I Come.” There is also an early lo fi song idea, “Beatrix,” with Daevid speaking in French. So, approach Rejoice! I’m Dead! with an open mind, check your Gong expectations at the door, and you won’t be disappointed.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage / System 7, Gong, Daevid Allen

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Finch - Glory of the Inner Force – Dutch band Finch's debut album has been long overdue for CD reissue. Acclaimed as a classic by some, and as overrated by others, either way you look at it its still a must listen. Finch were an...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues