Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pierre Moerlen’s Gong – Time is The Key [France, mainly] (1979) @256 (Excellent Jazz-Rock)

We all know that Gong’s discography is quite labyrinthic and dizzying. There are so many Gongs, Paragongs, Mother Gongs. Euterpes, Gongzillas, Gonmaisons, New York Gongs, Here and Nows, Bananamoons and Invisible Companies of Tibet that one has to be an expert cryptographer to be able to decipher the Right Path that Goes to the Planet of The Pixies.

I think that one day I’ll write a mystery novel about a guy who finds a yet unknown an unedited Gong Related album that some weird and semi fascist sect is willing to kill for. I’ll be the next Dan Brown.

Meanwhile let’s concentrate on the Gong at hand. The one that belonged to the recently and untimely deceased Pierre Moerlen, one of the best drummer in Rock history and a luminary in his country: La France.

Born in Alsace in 1952, Moerlen was interested in Piano but soon turned to Classical drumming under the influence of the master Jean Batigne, who made a classical percussionist out of him. (not many rock drummers have such an exquisite education process in their résumé).

In 1973 Moerlen joined Gong while the band was based in Paris. By 1978 after Daevid Allen (Gong founder, Supreme Priest and Guru) decided to have a rest, he took temporary control of the band making it a very successful jazz-rock and fusion act. This doesn’t mean that the psychedelic Gong had disappeared. On the contrary, it was as if the Gong family had a new, fresh and talented offspring. Because talent abounds in Pierre Moerlen’s Gong.

The fist album under Moerlen’s official command was the magnificent “Downwind”, although we could say that albums like Gaseuze, Shamal, or Expresso in which Allen doesn’t participate are closer to Moerlen’s vision of avant jazz than to the hallucinated and pixie–infested universe of Daevid Allen.

Many people like to compare both Gongs. I hate that. I think that both approaches are truly diverse but one doesn’t exclude the other. The psych and magic Gong of Allen is playful, childish, mystical. The Jazzy Gong of Moerlen is musical, virtuoso, serious and deep. That’s the good thing about good music. It has many sides.

“Time is The Key” was edited in the last quarter of 1979. The line-up was very impressive: Peter Lemer played the keyboards wisely without saturation; Hansford Rowe did an unforgettable job on bass. (He’s a precursor of fretless heroes like Mick Karn). Bon Lozaga (later with the recommended Project lo) played the rhythmic guitar as no one else had in any fusion album adding a new dimension to his instrument. That guitar torturer known as Alan Holdsworth put his grain of salt to this delicious broth. Above all of them we have the glorious drumming of Moerlen, a man with a unique touch that resembles no one. His drumming is super exact, he knew well when to hit hard, when to stroke delicately, when to add a dry tune, to scratch a cymbal. He was a master player of the Rototoms, a set of (usually) three drums without shell, mounted on a zinc or aluminum frame that have a defined pitch. Some composers use them as a tuned percussion instrument. Moerlen took them farther than no one.
In terms of tuned percussion he was a giant. Listen to tracks like Arabesque and be delighted by his use of vibraphone (electric and acoustic)

These are some of the bands in which he played: Mike Olfield’s, Brand X, Super sister, Pekka Pohjola, Project Lo, Tribute and Slap Happy.


He died on May 3rd 2005.

I never had the chance to see him playing live, so recently I bought a Mike Oldfield DVD just to see him. Don’t get me wrong, I like old Mike a lot, but I have had the need to see those drumsticks being shaken by Moerlen’s hands for decades.

I truly dedicate this post to his memory.

Keep Listening…!!!


Pierre Moerlen's Gong - An American in England...

15 comments:

The Herbalist said...

This is the link for time is the key.

http://tinyurl.com/k46av

Anonymous said...

have this on vinyl. thanks!

Scott said...

Yeah they're cool!

Anonymous said...

I'm really not into jazz rock, but this is great. I like the sounds and the repetitiveness in the marimba (?) lines.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of seeing pierre morlein play in a little club in the uk with the reformed classic gong lineup. They had been touring for a year together and were as tight as anything, totally blew me away and i knew i'd never get the chance to see anything like it again. Inbetween songs he would pick up a massive cone he had made take a few long drags hold em in and be off again. A superb drummer and for someone like me who missed the early 70's an absolute privalige to see him live. Sorry to say though his solo gong projects such as this and gazuese although featuring exceptional talent and playing stink of absolute cheese. Verdict: Stilton :) Rest Easy Pierre hope they have a drumkit and a few spliffs up in heaven for you :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

looking for this for a long time!
please reupload - link is dead!

many thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

looking for this for a long time!
please reupload - link is dead!

many thanks

Anonymous said...

file not found!
can you reup pls?

Anonymous said...

file is deleted
can you reuploaded please?

Anonymous said...

Hi there. another link to this work of pierre moerlen is http://www.megaupload.com/de/?d=OSW3FDE5

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody.

Another link to get this work of Pierre Moerlen is http://www.megaupload.com/de/?d=OSW3FDE5

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much everyone, it's pretty hard to find in the local HMV...

Anonymous said...

megaupload +

Andre Georges said...

Super batera pra sempre !!!

Anonymous said...

I also had the great honour to see Pierre in Gong, with everyone except Steve Hillage. at the NIA centre, Manchester. Truly amazing. I was subconsciously inspired by Pierre when learning to play drums with friends in every smelly cess pit of a practice room around St Helens. Sorry, back to Gong, Daevid Allen did his finger in nose and ear pose, like on Now is the Happiest time........ I was at the side of the stage, finger poised on camera, suddenly Daevid turned to me, I clicked. Magic. Until I developed the film. There was no pictures. As if they were ghosts. The memory is still strong though. I do love the different elements of Gong. I also have Time is the Key on LP. Another magic moment was driving back to the north on The M40, a specific song on Time is the Key with a long build up, perfect blue sky, full moon, just before sunset, a hot air balloon slowly approaching the point in the sky were the moon was. The song climaxed as the balloon passed the moon. Witnessed by myself (Driving) and two friends. Couldn't have planned an occasion like that. Brilliant.

Post a Comment