Gong / Planet Gong

Floating Anarchy Live 77

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Anarchy by name and by nature. The ever more complicated convolutions wracking the never stable Gong mothership through the mid-'70s had, by 1977, settled down sufficiently to at least allow listeners to discern which version of the band they most enjoyed listening to -- the increasingly jazz-inflected lineup helmed by Pierre Moerlen or the free-form mad machine led by founder Daevid Allen. Floating Anarchy, as you might expect, is the latter.

Though it is difficult to see how flying teapots, pothead pixies, and the witch Yoni's pussy ever made their way into the realms of the British new wave, Allen had, in fact, been soundly embraced by the punk congnoscenti -- his Here and Now project toured heavily, frequently playing alongside the youthful Fall, while links between the collective mentalities of Gong and the Crass crew were never hard to discern. Floating Anarchy Live 77 offers up a taste of all that period audiences would have encountered should they have strayed into Allen's reach -- a wildly jamming, freakishly chanting, and extraordinarily exciting melange of riffs and rhythms, led by the ever-distinctive voices of Allen and Gilli Smyth, and appealing as much for the singalong subversion of the band as for any sense of musical collusion with the prevalent punk scene. The very spirit of Gong -- ferociously reanimated in this latest lineup -- remained as wildly unpredictable and delightfully sub-underground as it ever was in the band's so-called prime, ensuring that Floating Anarchy Live 77, while it surely will shock anybody entering from the perspective of the Hillage/Blake days, remains archetypal Gong all the same.

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