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

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bang on a Can - Music for Airports – Ambient music has come a long way since 1978 when innovator Brian Eno drafted his original experiment for use in large international airports. The intent was for passengers to feel good about boarding...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues