Pierre Moerlen's Gong

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Pierre Moerlen's Gong
Also known as Gong (1976)
Gong-Expresso (1976-1978)
Genres Jazz fusion, progressive rock
Years active 1976–1988
2002
Associated acts Gong
Past members See "Personnel"

Pierre Moerlen's Gong is a jazz fusion outfit which is very different from the first incarnation of Gong, the psychedelic space-rock act led by Daevid Allen. It is notable for the prominent use of mallet percussion, such as marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone featured in a rock/jazz context, making for a very distinctive and unusual sound that could have been classified as warmer and more melodic than most typical fusion could be, and is comparable to the sort of fusion-influenced output many bands on the Canterbury scene were producing at around this time.

Amid a flurry of lineup changes in the mid-1970s, including the departure of founding members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen found himself in charge of the band and with two albums remaining on their Virgin recording contract.

Moerlen formed a new Gong lineup featuring his brother Benoit on mallet percussion, US-born bassist Hansford Rowe and a rotating cast of session guitarists, notably Allan Holdsworth, Mike Oldfield, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, and Bon Lozaga.

They released two albums under the Gong moniker, Gazeuse! (called Expresso in North America) in 1976 and then Expresso II in 1978. Following the completion of the Virgin contract, Moerlen changed the name of the group to Pierre Moerlen's Gong. In early 1979, the group released Downwind, which was a more rock/pop flavoured album that featured occasional lead vocals by Moerlen himself and a cameo by Steve Winwood. Later in 1979 they released another album, Time is the Key, that took the band further into pop/rock territory. The live album "Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live" was released in 1980, followed later that year by another studio album Leave It Open. By this point, Pierre Moerlen's incarnation of Gong scaled back its activity greatly, not releasing another record until 1986's Scientology-inspired Breakthrough, featuring members of the Swedish band Tribute. The group quietly disbanded soon after.

Lozaga, Rowe, and Benoit Moerlen went on to form Gongzilla in the early 1990s, releasing four albums to date which are very much an extension of the percussive fusion that the original group brought to the fold, and they perform a mix of new and old live material going back to the Gazeuse/Expresso II period. Moerlen joined them for their 2002 European tour.

Pierre Moerlen died unexpectedly on 3 May 2005 of natural causes, while rehearsals for yet another line-up of Pierre Moerlen's Gong were underway.

Personnel[edit]

Gazeuse! (1976) Expresso II (1978) Downwind (1979) Time is the Key (1979)
Additional personnel
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Benoit Moerlen – percussion
  • Mireille Bauer – percussion
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • François Causse – percussion
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Benoit Moerlen – percussion
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • François Causse – percussion
  • Ross Record – guitars, vocals
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • Bon Lozaga – guitars
Leave It Open (1980) Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live (1980) Breakthrough (1986) Second Wind (1988)
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Hansford Rowe – bass
  • Bon Lozaga – guitars
  • François Causse – percussion
  • Benoit Moerlen – percussion
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • Bon Lozaga – guitars
  • François Causse – percussion
  • Demelza – percussion
  • Brian Holloway – guitars
  • Charlie Mariano – saxophone
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers, vocals
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • Ake Zieden – guitars
  • Dag Westling – guitars
  • Michaël Zilka – Chapman stick
  • Chris Rhedin – keyboards
  • Lena Andersson – vocals
  • Nina Andersson – vocals
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers, vocals
  • Benoit Moerlen – percussion, synthesisers
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • Ake Zieden – guitars
  • Alex Sanguinetti – drums
  • Simon Pomara - percussion
  • Frank Fischer – keyboards
  • Stefan Traub – percussion, synthesisers
Full Circle Live '88 (1998) Pentanine (2004)
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers, vocals
  • Hansford Rowe – bass, guitars
  • Ake Zieden – guitars
  • Pierre Moerlen – drums, percussion, synthesisers
  • Meehail Ogorodov – keyboards, percussion, vocals
  • Arkady Kuznetsov – guitars
  • Alexei Pleschunov – bass

Discography[edit]

External links[edit]