Good vibes know no geographical limits. This startling CD release showcases the music of a group of musicians from Brazil who are doing as much as anyone to generate a genuine Gong spirit in the 21st Century. The Invisible/Gong connection comes from concerts daevid allen did in Brazil a few years back with this band, and there are many other parallels. This I.O.C.O.T use many of the classic Gong sounds (glissando guitar, big angular sax, spiritual acoustic works, tuned percussive sounds) and incorporate them into their own forward-looking music. At times it’s almost like listening to a new Gong album.
The surprising thing is that there are only 3 musicians at work here, performing live. The performance takes on old and new material seamlessly and whilst familiar areas are occasionally visited (such as New York Gong’s ‘Materialism’ or ‘Flying Teapot’), there’s certainly no suggestion that the band are using them as fillers or crowd-pleasers, they simply incorporate them into an ever-evolving set and move on. A brief snatch from the ‘IAO mantra’ from ‘You’, for example segues into a glorious glissando/glockenspiel soundscape called ‘Baliman-Energy’, and an equally cursory ‘Radio Gnome Introduction’ is just an excuse to launch into a spicy sax piece called ‘Electric Bird’, clearly inspired by Didier Malherbe’s work on ‘Camembert Electrique’.
‘Orb’s Adventures’ might doff its hat to certain ambient pioneers (and there’s a certain Orbersque irony in seeing the Orb themselves sampled) but this track is as much a take on Steve Hillage’s glorious sun-god guitarplay of the mid-70s. The band manage to display wonderful guitar and sax soloing, tight and energetic drum rhythms, dreamy vocals, atmospheric keyboard work, sampling and still not seem overstretched. Elsewhere there are gentle guitar and hand drum numbers recalling the various Allen acoustic eras (I defy you to listen to ‘Moon In The Sky’ and not conjure up images of ‘Good Morning’), and generally more expansive approach on side two that sees a few psychedelic swirls thrown in. Spot the quote from Soft Machine’s ‘Third’.
At times this CD is eerily familiar, and I’m not talking about covers. You see plenty of mail order adverts for unheard of bands describing them as the follow up to some 70’s seminal progressive album. This music is very much like that in respect to Gong, although it seems to be the logical extension to about 5 different daevid allen albums too. All I can say is that I wish I’d been at the gig!