Gong - Unending Ascending
Gong return with an interstellar new album.
Following the passing of visionary and founding member, Daevid Allen, whose importance was celebrated on 2016's Rejoice! I'm Dead! album and the forging of their own creative vision on 2019's The Universe Also Collapses, Gong continue their upward trajectory in 2023 with Unending Ascending.
The album is a return to relatively shorter songs, an eclectic eight-song cycle that forms a pan-galactic suite, veering between the ecstatic, apocalyptic, meditative and catchy, often within the same song.
Opener 'Tiny Galaxies' crackles with the electricity of supercharged sixties psych-pop, while 'My Guitar Is A Spaceship' is as close to an anthem as anything Gong have previously recorded. This up tempo, single-riff stomper is already a live favourite, garnering a positive reaction from a crowd of 90,000 Blur fans at Wembley Stadium in July 2023 when Gong frontman Kavus Torabi dropped it into his DJ set before Paul Weller took to the stage.
'Ship Of Ishtar' is a rapt cosmic hymn where Gong makes time itself stand still. Jet streams of kaleidoscopic melodies envelop 'O, Arcturus', to be followed by the lively polyrhythmic angularity of 'All Clocks Reset'. 'Choose Your Goddess', a surprisingly muscular slice of ritualistic trance rock, ratchets up the intensity yet further. On 'Lunar Invocation' the band summons the Moon deities of yore with ululating feedback and squalling cymbals before the post-credits of 'Asleep Do We Lay' lull lugubriously, gently beginning the cycle all over again.