L (Remastered)

L (Remastered)

Since Gong’s Steve Hillage has always been fascinated by Eastern spirituality and music, it makes perfect sense that he chose to open his 1976 sophomore album with a more cultured reworking of Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” It's arguable if it's the definitive version (Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham did play on the original, after all); Hillage incorporates the rich tones of Indian instruments to give the song a mystical edge. It's his virtuosic guitar playing that shines brightest here—especially toward the end, when he's soloing off into the cosmos alongside a spaced-out Moog. Hillage sings like a young Syd Barrett on the following “Hurdy Gurdy Glissando,” where tablas keep things sounding mellow until more analog synthesizers go head-to-head with Hillage’s intricate leads. Similarly, his take on George Harrison’s “It’s All Too Much” gets into a guru’s state of mind with deeper drones built from the weird and wonderful tones of arcane instruments. A kitschy cover of The Byrds' “Eight Miles High” is one of three bonus tracks.


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