Pierre Moerlen’s Gong was a French jazz-rock band that functioned as a continuation of Gong following the departure of Daevid Allen, with percussionist Moerlen assuming the reigns. This iteration of the band released six albums between 1975 and 1981, the last three of which bear the affixed nameplate.
Members: Pierre Moerlen (drums), Benoit Moerlen (percussion, vibraphone, marimba, keyboards, 1978-79, 1987-89, 1995), Hansford Rowe (bass, 1978-96), Mireille Bauer (percussion, 1978), François Causse (percussion, 1978-81), Ross Record (guitar, 1978), Bon Lozaga (guitar, 1978-81, 1993-96), Jeff Young (keyboards, 1979), Ake Zieden (guitar, 1983-89), Lena Andersson (vocals, 1983-85), Dag Westling (guitar, 1983-85), Michael Zylka (Chapman stick, 1983-85), Nina Andersson (saxophone, vocals, 1983-85), Chister Rhedin (keyboards, 1983-85), Stefan Traub (percussion, keyboards, 1987-89), Frank Fischer (keyboards, 1987-89)
Pierre Moerlen (b. 1952) joined Gong in 1973 as part of a new lineup that included his girlfriend, percussionist Mireille Bauer (b. 1951), and bassist Mike Howlett (b. 1950, Fiji). In the 1973–74 Gong lineup, they played alongside guitarist Steve Hillage, keyboardist Tim Blake, and co-founders Didier Malherbe (sax, flute), Gilli Smyth (vocals) and Daevid Allen (vocals, guitar).
The latter three recorded the 1970–72 albums Magick Brother, Camembert Electrique, and Continental Circus. Hillage and Blake joined for the early 1973 Virgin release Flying Teapot, the first of Gong’s Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, recorded with bassist Francis Moze and drummer Laurie Allan. The last two cleared for Howlett, Moerlen, and Bauer, who played on the 1973–74 albums Angel’s Egg and You, the second and third albums of the trilogy.
An ensuing lineup shuffle saw the early 1975 exits of Hillage, Smyth, and Allen. Moerlen assumed leadership of Gong, which eschewed psychedelic space-rock (Allen’s vision) for percussive jazz-rock.
On February 13, 1976, Virgin Records issued Shamal, Gong’s seventh overall album and the first headed by Pierre Moerlen.
Gong released their second Moerlen-headed album, Gazeuse!, in late 1976 on Virgin Records. The title is French for “sparkling.” In North America, the album was re-titled Expresso, the name of the opening track.
French-American painter Jacques Moitoret did the Gazeuse! cover art, which shows bubbles, coils, ribbons, and spinning tops hovering over an ornate mandala. Original UK copies contain a four-fold poster of the artwork.
US and Canadian copies (Expresso) feature an alternate cover by illustrator John Thompson, the visual artist for Pere Ubu.
In March 1978, Gong released Expresso II, their third Moerlen-led album and the last issued on Virgin.
On February 9, 1979, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong released Downwind, their first of four albums on Arista.
Time Is the Key
In late 1979, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong released Time Is the Key, their second Arista album.
In 1980, Arista issued Live, a document of Pierre Moerlen’s Gong from their winter 1979 shows in Paris (2/16: Stadium) and London (3/11: The Venue).
Leave It Open
Pierre Moerlen’s Gong released their fourth Arista album, Leave It Open, in 1981. This is the sixth Moerlen-headed studio album (seventh overall) and the fourth with his name
In 1986, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong returned from a five-year absence with Breakthrough, released on Eulenspiegel (Germany) and ARC Music (UK).
In 1988, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong released Second Wind in Germany on Line Records.
- Shamal (1975)
- Gazeuse! (1976)
- Expresso II (1978)
- Downwind (1979)
- Time Is the Key (1979)
- Leave It Open (1981)
- Breakthrough (1986)
- Second Wind (1988)
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