Exposé Online banner

Mother Gong — The Best of Mother Gong
(Purple Pyramid CLP 9983-2, 1997, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01

The Best of Mother Gong Cover art

I suppose there's a large segment of the record-buying public (not many Exposé readers among them) for whom the concept of The Best of Mother Gong would be a strange one: that there should be a band called Mother Gong, let alone a set of music which could be called their best. Well, Mother Gong does exist, and have in fact existed since 1978, releasing 16 albums of material on a variety of labels. Mother Gong is a sort of collective centered around vocalist Gilli Smith, and consisting of a variety of musicians (13 incarnations of the band are featured on this collection). Making appearances here are Robert Calvert, Guy Evans, Didier Malherbe, Mike Howlett, Steve Hillage, and many others. And the music? If you've heard Mother Gong you know what to expect. If not, you're in for the prime exponents of spaced-out pagan Goddess-worshipping goofy hippie music in the world. Gilli Smith's trippy voice is the centerpiece, breathily reciting her stream-of-consciousness poetry about Mother Earth, love, and religion. The background music, largely improvised, tends toward the jazzy, with violin or sax solos over spacey grooves. From time to time the band will come together for a tight composed section, but the general feel is quite loose. I'm not sure if it's possible for most people to take Gilli Smith seriously, but even if you don't, there's some good music here.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Didier Malherbe, Nik Turner, Gilli Smyth / Mother Gong, Steve Hillage / System 7

Latest news

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

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Metanoia – This hard-to-find treat was released after the live album Coma Divine but prior to the latest album Stupid Dream as a limited edition gatefold double 10" vinyl-only release. Recent interviews...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues