FLYING TEAPOT: GONG Monday 09 January, 2012

So trippy that it scared me as a child.

Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1: Flying Teapot. Is one of the first albums I ever owned. I think it may be the first but I’m not sure when I got ‘Mickey’s Disney Disco Album’. When I was about three my parents split up. My mother went to live with her pot-smoking, bi-sexual, bohemian German friend. I loved the cover of this album so much that the aforementioned mental German let me keep it. I grew up in a house where the love of music was almost compulsary. You had a choice. Either you learned to love music or you went insane because music was always being played. Not one for being left out I would request that I got to choose the music that was played. Naturally I would choose one of my own albums. At the age of four that was a limited choice. More often than not I chose Gong.

The fact that this album is such a mentalist freak out of pyschedelic-jazz-funk explains a lot about my taste in music now. This album is brimming with ideas. Some are crazier than others and some are so funky that it’s hard to believe that Gong are essentially a Franco-British prog outfit.

I can remember the beginning of the title track of the album terrifying me. It’s strange that at such a tender age we can interpret mood from music. I used to have to get my mother to skip the intro so that the partying could start. From about 2:30 that track is doing hard work to make you dance. I’m surprised nobody has ever sampled it. As well as being exceptionally funky this track (as the whole album is, really) is bat-shit crazy. The main vocal refrain seems to be “have a cup of tea, have another one, have a cup of tea”. Not what you expect as a funky accompaniment. Even more strange is that it fits right in.

Don’t let me fool you though. This is not a Jamiroquai album. There are moments that JK would gladly pilfer into more Ferrari purchase and blonde women but they are surrounded by large swathes of proggish wig-out. These surreal sections will certainly not be to everybody’s taste. If you like funk and early Pink Floyd you’ll be fine but if you don’t I’d steer well clear of this unless you are a sonic crusader of the more adventurous kind.

You can practically hear the LSD dripping off of every not and beat on this album. More importantly (and much less clich├ęd) is that you can hear the sounds enjoyment and vital experimentation bristling and crackling all through this album. It’s quite wonderful.



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  • Chris says:

    I’m goign to have a listen to this as soon as I get some Spotify minutes back.

    FYI, the direct link to this album on Spotify is

  • Leena says:

    …and although your mother didn’t share your love of this album at that time, these days she sometimes finds herself bursting out with “radi-o-o gnome” every now and then. Even if prog isn’t quite one’s thing, there’s something about this album. This was one good thing that came out of camping out in that flat until we got our own place. Nice one.

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