Sunday, 12 January 2014

Gilli Smyth - Mother [1978]

Mother of Gong Music

This is quite nicely ‘out there’, Gilli Smyth having cut her adventurous musical teeth with Gong – a band I am still getting to know – and this solo outing is an expansion on the experimental, poetic, spoken-word, electronics and samplings of that band, as far as I can judge.

Opener I Am a Fool is relatively conventional, sounding at times like Curved Air because of the violin, and Smyth very occasionally sounding like Kristina, whilst second Back To The Womb [segueing into Mother] is much more avant-garde with its voice recordings, spoken words, electronica, and ethereal vocals and other maternal statements/suggestions/stereotypes. Fourth Shakti Yoni [her sometime adopted name] is more faroutness, anchored a tad by saxophone, but otherwise echoes and a mix of voices and electronic noises. Smyth’s spoken-word poetry gets a focus on sixth Prostitute Poem, Street Version which is sweetly spoken to add pathos to regrets expressed within the prostitute’s patter, and this is followed by OK Man, This Is Your World adding other layers of comment on the relationship between men and women, the musical backdrop a psychedelic wash of considerable beauty as well as humour/caustic commentary: I am butch lesbian/I am horny slut – OK man, this is your world, the saxophone scratching away at the surfaces. Penultimate Time of the Goddess is more beautiful wistfulness, and final, tenth Taliesin, is a musical mystical fairytale, wonderfully narrated beneath more riches of instrumental/vocal playfulness. 

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