The Smell of Incense / Ethereal Counterbalance — What Do You Want?/Magick Brother b/w Plug
(September Gurls SGten2, 1997, 10" EP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 1998-05-05What’s this? Are the pot headed pixies at it again? Wait a minute, this is not a reissue but an incredible and impeccable Gong cover by those psychedelic Norwegians The Smell of Incense. The instrumentation is superb and it isn’t until half way through the 12 minute medley that the vocals drop in and you realize that you’re not listening to Gong. (I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.) What a fitting tribute to one of the psychedelic/prog rock era’s quirkiest and most innovative bands. Even Bumble B’s cover art invokes Gong replete with a Flying Teapot! On the flip side is Ethereal Counterbalance, led by one Rod Goodway from the UK. Plug consists of three songs: "Bodyland II," "Liar’s Boogie," and "Flight 49." Rod dedicated this music to Magic Muscle, a sister band to Hawkwind during the seventies. "Bodyland II" is the second installment of a trilogy whose first part appears on Simon House’s solo album House of Dreams. This is a cool song that sounds a lot like Bevis Frond. "Liar’s Boogie" has one of those repetitive fuzzed guitar riffs so familiar to Hawkwind fans and ends up being a Bevis Frond/Hawkwind hybrid. The final song "Flight 49" was recorded live at the Earth Ritual II Festival in Belgium on 30 September, 1994 and the lyrics paraphrase Donovan’s "Fat Angel." "Flight 49" is easily the best song on this side with its ethereal guitar solos. This performance could stand up to the Jefferson Airplane’s Bless Its Pointed Little Head. Another highly recommended September Gurls release. Snap it up if and when you see it.
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