AB 4204 Expresso II
Produced by Gong and John Wood
Released on 1978
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
AB 4204 cover
[high resolution scan]

Z ero, Yoni, Bloomdido and all the crazy characters were gone. Pierre Moerlen’s Gong is mostly mallets (marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, xylophone), strictly fusion, patterned after Ponty rather than flying teapots. The old Gong was never less than interesting. Expresso II is a bore. This despite the participation of Allan Holdsworth (who does his best on “Soli” and “Three Blind Mice” to spice things up). Ruth Underwood, now there was a lady who knew her way around a xylophone. I almost salivate at the thought of her solos. You’d think the three malleteers could run rings around Ruth, but you’d be wrong. Like Ponty, the patterns are intricate but uninspired. The opening “Heavy Tune,” for example, is built on the most banal of riffs. If you’re counting that things will pick up on “Sleepy” and “Boring,” you shouldn’t. At its best, Expresso II invites comparison to the duller moments of Brand X and Bruford, but that’s not aspiring to much. And even Brand X and Bruford were only one-dimensional tenants living in the two-dimensional world of Miles Davis, Weather Report and RTF. If you would invert that, say that Bruford and Brand X were the living end of everything fusion, then maybe Expresso II is your cup of tea after all. The second side of music isn’t bad by any means, just (like Ponty) circumscribed to a smaller zone than the world-roving Weather Report. That could be because percussion, by its very nature, is confined to patterns. Again, Underwood: unconfined. Gary Burton: lyrical and more liberal with his notes. Gong? Gong. It tolls for thee.


  1. HEAVY TUNE    (Pierre Moerlen)    6:20
  2. GOLDEN DILEMMA    (Hansford Rowe)    4:50
  3. SLEEPY    (Mireille Bauer)    7:25
  4. SOLI    (Hansford Rowe)    7:33
  5. BORING    (Mireille Bauer)    6:27
  6. THREE BLIND MICE    (Benoit Moerlen)    4:49


MIREILLE BAUER -- marimba, vibraphone
BENOIT MOERLEN -- vibraphone, marimba, percussion, tubular bells, glockenspiel, claves, xylophone
PIERRE MOERLEN -- drums, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, timpani, tubular bells
HANSFORD ROWE -- bass, rhythm guitar
Francois Causse -- congas
Allan Holdsworth -- guitar
Bon Lozaga -- guitar (2,3)
Mick Taylor -- lead guitar (1)
Darryl Way -- violin (3,5)
John Wood -- engineer
Graham Lawson -- executive producer
Splash Studio -- sleeve design and art direction
Sheila Rock -- photography

return to GONG discography

UK 1978 Virgin LP V 2099 picture sleeve
US 1978 Arista LP AB 4204 picture sleeve
FRA 1978 Virgin LP 2473 742  
JPN 1978 Virgin LP VIP-6913  
NET 1978 Virgin LP 25856XOT  
US 1990 Blue Plate CD 1659  
EUR   EMI/Virgin CD 787 237  
RUS   Ars Nova CDLE AN-99054 500 copies


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