Pre-Modern Wireless: The Peel Sessions 1971-1974 consists of nine tracks taken from three BBC sessions and is an essential archive release that would provide a perfect introduction to an interested newcomer to Gong, or provide the experienced Gong fan with some fine live material from throughout the peak of Gong's career. In addition, the album features the only tracks recorded during Kevin Ayers' tenure with the band; one of the three tracks with Ayers is an impromptu first take of "Clarence in Wonderland," lighter in spirit than the version on Ayers' Shooting at the Moon. The first session from 1971 was Britain's first glimpse of the band, as it was based in France at the time. In those days, BBC staff was probably wary of Gong members' eccentric appearance and lighthearted spirit. However, drummer Pip Pyle recollects on the session he participated in, "Playing on the BBC was always an interesting experience. The technicians (even in those days) are very proficient, rather straight, and armed with very singular ideas about how to record things. To be fair, they normally get a pretty impressive sound in no time at all. They might have been surprised by certain aspects of Gong, but I imagine once you've done sessions with people like Keith Moon you're pretty much ready for anything." An extended workout of "Crystal Machine" featuring Tim Blake is another highlight. As live BBC sessions, the band fits the concepts from its "Radio Gnome Trilogy" albums into medleys that get the point across, rendering this an ideal Gong anthology.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jim Powers