Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 11/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1971 this album shows Gong adopting the heavy space rock sound that would carry them through their most distinctive and classic works: Flying Teapot (1973); Angel's Egg (1973); and You (1974) (aka The Radio Gnome Trilogy). Unfortunately, after the excellent You album Daevid Allen left the band and Gong moved in a jazz rock direction. Although I like the jazz rock phase of Gong, it does not quite compare with the magic of their 1971-1974 output, and especially the excellent Camembert Electrique.
The core lineup on this album contains French and English musicians of considerable skill: the first-rate Pip Pyle (drums); Christian Tritsch (bass guitar); Didier Malherbe (saxophones, flute); Gilli Smyth (vocals, "space whisper"); and bandleader Daevid Allen (vocals, electric guitars, and bass). Also present are two brief appearances by keyboardists Eddy Louiss (Hammond organ and piano); and Constantin Simonovitch (phased piano). I think it goes without saying that all of the musicians in Gong are excellent. In fact, Gong has had some of prog's best drummers including Pip and the late Pierre Moerlen. When the band really gets going, the ensemble work can get very complex. The bass playing is extremely aggressive and Christian favors a slightly distorted tone on his Fender. In fact, this tone was used by bassist Mike Howlett during the subsequent albums during the 73-75 period. Coupled with some wild playing on an equally distorted electric guitar, the interplay between the bassist and guitarist is hair raising. Pip of course really drives everything along with his incredible technique. Although I really enjoy Daevid's vocal style and altered spoke word passages, his approach may not appeal to everybody.
The 11 tracks on this album all (more or less) blend into one another and include very spacey instrumental interludes that feature Gilli Smyth's sultry space whisper, short experimental passages that fature tape loops and other electronic experimentation, and thunderous prog rock workouts. Of all the tracks on the album it is only Tried so Hard that comes even somewhat close to being a "song" with melodies - it actually brings a bit of a reprieve, especially after the cacophonous closing jam on Fohat Digs Holes in Space, although it too is pretty crazy in its own way. I guess it is worth mentioning that Fohat... comes close to the sound that Gong would get on albums like Angel's Egg although I think that, in general, the blueprint was pretty much established with this album.
This reissue by Charly is, like all of the other Gong releases by Charly, pretty lousy. The liner notes are however, informative although the sound quality is only just OK.
All in all this is an incredible album of very heavy progressive space rock. The musicianship is positively top shelf and the music gets pretty cosmic at times. This is fantastic stuff all around that is highly recommended along with Continental Circus (1972); Flying Teapot; Angel's Egg, and You."
This is a goody
Terrence Murphy | Minnesota | 04/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't write much, but I had to write a few words for Camembert Electrigue, A good cd all the way through(If your use to Gong's goofyness) but if you don't know Gong that well,I think you should still get this cd , just for Tropical fish: Selene,Tried so hard and You can't kill me, give it a chance it will grow on you."