Flying Teapot - Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 1
Gong's 1973 Flying Teapot is a landmark album of the era's European prog/space-rock scene, marking the band's shift from open-ended post-psychedelic journeys to more elaborately structured compositions. This was the opening salvo in their famed Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy; as such, it makes the most of mastermind Daevid Allen's wit and whimsy. With a quirky, lighthearted, Bertrand Russell–inspired narrative revolving around benevolent beings from outer space, Gong come off like a space-rock Monty Python. But for all the humor in Allen's loopy lyrics, the music that moves the story along is no joke. The band were just hitting their stride here, starting to blend elements of jazz fusion into their cosmic art-rock. Jazzy touches like the funky, syncopated groove on the title tune and Didier Malherbe's bebop-influenced sax riffing on "Zero the Hero and the Witches Spell" complement Tim Blake's swirling synthesizer textures and Gilli Smith's otherworldly "space whisper" wordless vocal technique, making for a trippy but trenchant sound.