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While not as compositionally strong as Gazeuse/Expresso, it still has more than its share of gems, enhanced by contributions from the likes of violinist Darryl Way and guitar maestro Allan Holdsworth.
Among my favoorite tracks are "Sleepy" which is anything but. This track features some of the spookiest Allan Holdsworth playing along with great eerie violin from Darryl Way and a cool hypnotic vibes/bass figure throughout most of the piece. The closer "Three Blind Mice" just tears the roof off the joint with everyone playing their hearts out, "Golden Dilemma" features a unique angular, piercing Bon Lozaga guitar solo and lots of mallet pyrotechnics.
The only weak track on here for me is "Heavy Tune" where Holdsworth takes a back seat playing a grinding rhythm guitar as ex-Rolling Stones axe-meister Mick Taylor takes center stage, and it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. Not terrible by any stretch but not great either.
Despite that one misstep, "Expresso II" is sure to perk up the ears of anyone who enjoys unique progressive/fusion, and it's a double treat fo drumming and percussion/mallet percussion fans.
I am a bass player, so I listen to the bass and drums more than the other instruments. This fretless player is AMAZING !!! The drummer is freaking KILLER ! Allan Holdsworth on guitar is... Holdsworth !
I LOVE this CD so much. I've listened to it about a thousand times so far and I look forward to the nest thousand.
Music like this is in short supply and the world needs more of it.
Three years after SHAMAL, Pierre Moerlen and Mireille Bauer were the sole survivors, so it was of little surprise that the new Gong was a percussive-dominated line-up. Another Moerlen was added, along with Hansford Rowe, whose origins I know nothing of, on bass. The group was essentially a rhythm section in search of some lead instrumentalists, and they recruited some strong session players: Mick Taylor (former guitarist of the Rolling Stones), Darryl Way (violinist with Curved Air and Wolf), and the sublime Allan Holdsworth on guitar.
My regret is that Holdsworth doesn't play anything like enough on this album. Recorded in between his outstanding contributions to Bill Bruford's FEELS GOOD TO ME and ONE OF A KIND and UK's fantastic debut album, he features on just three tracks here, and he's only on lead guitar on two of those.
By the time 1978 arrived, jazz-rock had hit a dead end. Return to Forever, the Mahavishnus and Larry Coryell's Eleventh House had all gone. Weather Report were past their best. All that was left was a mopping-up operation. Bands of excellent instrumentalists such as Gong provided workmanlike but not innovative fodder for the substantial jazz-rock fan base who mourned the passing of the giants.
Twenty-three years on, I can listen to this album while working. But I'm never tempted to turn up the volume. It no longer moves me. Somehow it seems to have lost its soul. Sorry, folks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Early Gong is the best. This later Gong is very jazz fusion whick I like also. I can't get enough of Gong.Published on January 15, 2013 by John F. K.
It's nice for me to see Gong refined without all the excess silliness, offering fluidly unique complexities on Zappa-esque compositional levels without compromising the truth of... Read morePublished on December 1, 2009 by IRate
The music on Expresso II is absolutely *fantastic*. There's no other way to put it.
"Heavy Tune" features some of the greatest guitar playing I have ever heard. Read more
Do you like Progressive Rock, percussion, excellent writing and arranging? This album is for you. The mallet percussion is the highlight... Read morePublished on August 23, 2007 by Stephen Vivona
By 1977, Gong was well integrated with the jazz rock world and this album nicely demonstrates that. Although perhaps not as vibrant and energetic as Gazeuse! Read morePublished on July 20, 2007 by Jeffrey J.Park
This disc is one of the works that defined the genre. Worth the price for Holdworth's playing alone. Simply a must have...Published on April 18, 2005 by Music Seeker