Decadence Gong Expresso

Album info

Album-Release:
2018

HRA-Release:
08.01.2019

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Decadence05:19
  • 2Zephyr06:29
  • 3Toumani04:33
  • 4Talisman04:20
  • 5The Importance of Common Things03:26
  • 6Eastern Platinum06:16
  • 7Frevo04:41
  • 8God Knows03:34
  • Total Runtime38:38

Info for Decadence

Gong Expresso featuring Gong alumni Francois Causse, Benoit Moerlen and Hansford Rowe with guitarist Julien Sandiford’s unveil their new album, Decadence.

Says Hansford Rowe: “Decadence’ is the title tune on the new Gong Expresso album. Here the word means ‘falling away.’ I hope this tune and all the music on the album somehow addresses this in an unadorned, direct way. When I play with these 3 musicians I am convinced there is something special happening, a coming together.”

“Benoit Moerlen (vibes, marimba) and Francois Causse (drums, perc) and I began playing together in early 1977 in PM’s Gong and our rapport is of the kind only long-term relationships can provide,” he continues. “On the other hand Julien who is 25 has been alive less time than I have been playing with the others. Yet our musical relationship feels infinitely long. We are recording in two cities, Paris and Montreal. Francois’ studio in Paris is a tuned percussion church and Piccolo Studios in Montreal is owned by Denis Savage who is co-producing with the band. He is known for his work with Celine Dion.”

PM’s Gong was a major branch of the massive Gong tree. The original version Of Gong was formed in Paris in 1967 by Australian musician Daevid Allen and English vocalist Gilli Smyth. In 1975, drummer Pierre Moerlen separated from Daevid Allen marking an end to the Flying Teapot period and a powerful jazz/rock unit was formed and signed to Virgin Records.

Pierre’s brother Benoit Moerlen, Hansford Rowe, Francois Causse and Allan Holdsworth were core members. Many major guests joined them both on albums and touring. Mick Taylor, Mike Oldfield, and French violinist Didier Lockwood were key participants. Mike Oldfield occasionally used the PMG rhythm section for touring also calling on members for albums such as Ommadawn, Incantations, Exposed and Platinum. Pierre Moerlen sadly passed away on 5 May, 2005.

Having cut his teeth as a jobbing jazz bassist in New York’s club circuit, Hansford Rowe knows how to make things happen within a song. It’s a capacity that propelled him onto the international stage after his recruitment to Pierre Moerlen’s Gong in the mid-70s. A universe away from Daevid Allen’s playful Pot-Head Pixies, Moerlen’s iteration of the franchise delivered vibrant, high-octane jazz fusion, with Rowe’s sinuous playing providing the spine to their work.

In recent years, in addition to exploring microtonal music, Rowe has quietly moved into jazzier territory via his Moments duo and HR3, the latter featuring guitarist Julien Sandiford. Rowe’s brand new reunion with fellow PM Gong alumni Benoît Moerlen (vibes and marimba) and François Causse (drums and percussion) co-opts Sandiford, whose illuminating presence is very welcome indeed.

Anyone expecting fast fusion thrills may struggle with this often downtempo offering, yet the gentle exploration of their spacious sound world sparkles with a bewitching intensity. Rowe’s lucid runs frequently set the scene, with Moerlen and Sandiford carrying the principal tunes, several written by the guitarist. The youngest member of the ensemble, not even born when his fellow bandmates were recording with Pierre Moerlen, his writing revels in supple explorations of melody and harmony. With a distortion-free tone, the care and grace with which he deploys his notes occasionally evokes the ringing purity of Bill Frisell or the more languid rumination found within early-period Pat Metheny. Lithe, lean and always on point, the fluidity of Moerlen’s tumbling vibes often take on a pianistic aspect, trickling over the see-sawing chords during Toumani or the bright, thematic figures of Zephyr. This latter tune in particular, with growling bass, sometimes recalls the kind of circuitous piece Gilgamesh might have tackled, while it provides Causse with a speedy breakout.

The music of Decadence is uncluttered and largely unhurried, and it's blessed with a rich connectivity that fizzes between the gifted players. At the heart of this album is a simple, precision-driven transparency, a feeling that the group are entirely focused on pursuing the clarity within its compositions.

Chilled but far from lethargic, a special, intimate atmosphere pervades this recording, and the expressiveness found within this material is particularly rewarding." (Sid Smith)

Hansford Rowe, bass
Benoit Moerlen, vibraphone, marimba
Francois Causse, drums, percussion
Julien Sandiford, guitar

Produced by Denis Savage




PM’s Gong
was a major branch of the massive Gong tree. In the mid ’70’s drummer Pierre Moerlen separated from Daevid Allen marking an end to the Flying Teapot period and a powerful jazz/rock unit was formed and signed to Virgin Records. Pierre’s brother Benoit Moerlen, Hansford Rowe, Francois Causse, Allan Holdsworth were core members. Many major guests joined them both on albums and touring. Mick Taylor, Mike Oldfield, and French violinist Didier Lockwood were key participants. Mike Oldfield occasionally used the PMG rhythm section for touring also calling on members for albums such as Ommadawn, Incantations, Exposed and Platinum. Pierre Moerlen died May 5th, 2005.



In concert Gong Expresso mines their huge repertoire and has exceptional guests joining them regularly.



This album contains no booklet.

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