Gongzilla - Live

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Lo Lo Records
Catalog Number: LOLO016-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:33:00

Keith reviewed this and Suffer in the same review; they are listed separately here -ed.

Several members of the group Gong are now together as Gongzilla. The name brings to mind that great BOC song "Godzilla." The infamous fire-breathing lizard adorns the cover of the highly praised 1995 release, Suffer, complete with the Japanese rising sun flag. This music is nothing like classic rock though, believe me. Alan Holdsworth (guitar), Hansford Rowe (bass), Bon Lozaga (guitar), and Benoit Moerlen (vibes, marimba, and mallet kat) are the core of the group. A host of other musicians are also in the studio for these landmark prog-rock recordings. I found it absorbing to compare the differences in song structures and sound between the studio and live versions (on Live. The main difference and influence on the live cuts is the phenomenal David Fiuczynski, whom I have covered extensively. The guy is a wizard on the six-string, a real genius.

After listening to both discs I was enormously impressed with the talent and strengths in both lineups. Their sound is complex, hard, and then at times soft (though infrequently). The vibes are an interesting addition to the unique sound that they come up with. One of the guitar players can be wailing away and you can hear the feathery light vibes playing. It's nothing like I have ever heard before, so I was immediately turned on. With prog-rock and heavy jazz influences all over the musical map it's not hard to see the reason why particular instruments are used like the vibes and marimba. This is just a knock out sound, and it's entirely bracing and vitalizing without any exclusion. This vibe will not let you down, and once you get into a groove with it you will be happy that it doesn't.

While both recordings are excellent, I found the Live (2001) disc to be the quintessential prog-rock-jazz sound that I would prefer to hear. There is nothing like a live performance without any restraints that the studio places upon the final product. This is live, raw, and unfettered kick ass music. I don't know of any other way to put it. Jazz is intelligent music and rock is pure energy and excitement; I find that combination simply irresistible. It's an intense and thought provoking experience. When I listen to music like this its all I want to hear for hours afterwards. There is something about the energy that pulls me in and keeps me mesmerized. The power of music...there is nothing like it in the world.

The last three tracks are authoritative and as magnetic as any prog-rock I have ever heard. "Image" is the best track on entire set. It's the Fuze at his very best. The songs crackle and throw off sparks filled with extreme funk and jazz saturated rock. You get ten minutes of high octane music then it segues into "Gongzilla," another ripper, then the show closes with the splendidly contrasting "Soli," and that's after being warmed up after the first four tracks. Any prog-rock enthusiasts would love both albums. They are both five star releases without question.

Mr. Sinister Minister (8:05) / Bad Habits (5:34) / Gongzilla's Dilemma (3:46) / Hip-Hopnosis (3:49 / Image (10:03) / Gongzilla (4:39) / Soli (7:37)

Hansford Rowe - bass, Just Intonation bass
Bon Lozaga - guitar, e-bow
Benoit Moerlen - vibes, marimba, mallet kat
David Fiuczynski - guitar
Vic Stevens - drums
Samuel Rowe - vocalizing
Ben Perowsky - drums (S: 5

Suffer (1995)
Thrive (1996)
Live (2001)
East Village Sessions (2003)
Five Even (2008)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin VA

Added: February 8th 2002
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck

Artist website: www.lolorecords.com
Hits: 1355
Language: english


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