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Daevid Allen - Je Ne Fum' Pas Des Bananes (1993)



Znakomita kompilacja nagrań Daevida Allena, legendarnego założyciela i guru psychodelii - dokonanych w czasie realizacji projektu zatytułowanego "Banana Moon". Nagrania są odrzutami z sesji i demówkami. To moim zdaniem najciekawszy okres w jego twórczości - tuż przed zawiązaniem się najlepszego składu Gong. Banana Moon różni się jednak od Gongu - o ile w muzyce Gong jest więcej jazzowych improwizacji, Banana Moon hołduje tradycji heavy psychodelii.



Allen was born January 13, 1938, in Melbourne, Australia. He talked about his family and upbringing with Mitch Myers of Magnet in 1999. "I'm a third-generation Australian," he explained. "My great-great-grandfather was brought out from England because he had a reputable wood-cabinet business. He was a drunken maniac and would burn up all his money and then go out and make some more and burn it up again. The family never recovered, and our motto has been, 'Oh God! No money!' We're all very good at spending money, that's for sure." Though he seemingly came from an offbeat family, his father did try to steer him into a more normal way of life. When Allen was a teenager, his father placed him in a department store as a junior executive. It had a very particular effect on him, even if it was not the intended one. "All that did was show me that the whole commercial system is a complete illusion," he told Myers. "My survival kit has always been to stay away from any big-business organization. If I received all the money that I've earned according to my contracts over the years, I'd be a millionaire instead of having no house and only half a car. People say, 'Oh, you're afraid of money.' Wrong. I know exactly what I'm doing. Whenever fame comes too close, I vanish, sabotage, whatever. For this reason, I'm known in the business as a very bad bet, and this suits me fine."

Allen went to England in the early 1960s where he rented a room in Canterbury. The teenage son of the homeowners, Robert Wyatt, would team with Allen a few years later to form Soft Machine. Until then, Allen moved to London where he, Wyatt, and Hugh Hopper started the Daevid Allen Trio, concentrating on free jazz. Few were impressed with the music they created. Though they lost their gigs, they started gaining notoriety. When Allen moved on to Paris shortly afterward, he met some of the famed characters that comprised the Beat movement, and whom writer Jack Kerouac made known through his writings, including the book that was considered the gospel for the some baby boomers, On the Road. In addition to poet Allen Ginsburg, Peter Orlovsky and Brion Gysin—all a part of the Greenwich Village and San Franscisco underground literary movement—William Burroughs had been living in the Beat Hotel. When Burroughs met Allen, he told him he was looking for a jazz band to play during his dramatization of his book called The Ticket That Exploded. Burroughs hired Allen, and the performance happened. According to Allen, "We put on the show and there was the weirdest collection of people in the audience.... Terry Riley [considered one of the "founding fathers" of modern minimalism] came, and we ended up playing together outside in the street with motorscooter motors, electric guitar and poetry. It was wild," Allen told Myers



In 1964, Allen met Gilli Smyth, his life partner for many years who eventually joined him in Gong as a vocalist. In 1966, after Allen experienced a mystical vision that mapped out his life in detail—including his future musical pursuits—he formed Soft Machine with Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, and Mike Ratledge. Allen was part of the group for about a year, after which time Gong became his focus. When Gong was formed in 1969, the group lived communally while they made their music. Eventually they moved on to rural England, still living in the same arrangement. "Living communally was very important," Didier Malherbe, Gong saxophonist-flutist, told Matsumoto. "That creates ties on a composition level. It makes things very interesting, obviously. We don't live communally anymore. I live in Paris with my wife. But when we come back with Gong, those ties are still very vivid and lively, and it's a pleasure."

When Gong dissolved in 1980 after a slow dissipation of its momentum, the group still had not realized mainstream success. The breakup process had been gradual, and the group went out with little noise. Allen left for Majorca in 1976 and joined a local acoustic band, Euterpe, on an album called Good Morning. He followed with some solo albums, including About Time, capturing an influence of the newly-emerging punk movement in music. Smyth had left Gong and Allen in 1978 to form her own performance with "Mothergong," which she said represented the feminine side of Gong. In 1981 Allen made it home in time to see his father in Australia before he died. That same year he dropped out of professional music and drove a cab until 1989.



Though not actively creating music, Allen's fans followed him in a cult-like adulation that helped to prompt his return. By 1990, he went on to new projects using the Gong name recognition with Planet Gong and New York Gong. In 1992 the group came together for an official reunion and released Shapeshifter, the first studio album they had done in 14 years. In celebration of their 25th anniversary in 1995, they released an album recorded live at their London Forum concert. For Allen, Gong was as much a spiritual journey as a musical group. "Gong has this supernatural quality for me," he told Myers. "I've had this communication from somewhere else that's been giving me instructions. The instructions say that in the year 2032, there will be a bunch of people from the Planet Gong dimension appearing on [Earth's] physical plane. One thing about Gong is that there's a great deal of playfulness. Usually, with spiritual things, everyone is very solemn, but the whole point about Gong is that we maintain this aura of silliness to get rid of the people who are too serious. However, Planet Gong does exist and they run on the laws of music. Everything they do derives from notes, intervals, scales and octaves. It's very real for me because every day I meditate for hours, and during that period they connect with me and tell me what to do. (enotes.com)

Je N'Fume Pas Des Bananes

In the weeks following being refused re-entry to Britain in September 1967, Daevid Allen started playing gigs with various musicians and artists under the collective name Gong, at a Paris club called La Vieille Grille. Early in 1968, he met experimental film director Jérôme Laperrousaz and told him he was looking for musicians to form a band. The latter forwarded the request to a local band called Expression, whose lead guitarist had just left. The rhythm section, consisting of Patrick Fontaine (bass) and Marc Blanc (drums), was recruited and played its first gig with Allen only a few days later, still under the name of Expression. The set consisted of two Soft Machine numbers, "Why Are We Sleeping?" and "We Did It Again", mixed with spontaneous improvisations. They subsequently took the name of Bananamoon.

Then came May '68 and the student riots in Paris. Daevid Allen was forced to leave Paris with his partner Gilli Smyth. The group reunited in July at the Avignon festival, opening for the jazz group of vibraphonist Gunter Hampel. This was followed by a few gigs. Then they embarked for Mallorca, staying at Allen's house in Deya. At the end of the year they returned to France, spending the Winter at Bob Bénamou's ashram in Monteaulieu, near Nyons (Drôme). It was during this period that the trio recorded several demos for the Barclay label. This led to nothing, however, and the three members went their separate ways : Allen resurrected the Gong project, while Fontaine and Blanc went back to Paris to form Ame Son (in 1974, he opened for Gong on a French tour when playing in the band of English vibraphonist Robert Wood). Their recordings survived, however, and thanks to the efforts of longtime fan Thierry Leroy (who had financed Gong's 1992 comeback album Shapeshifter), were released on CD in 1993 under the title Je Ne Fum' Pas Des Bananes.

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