Pan-European space-rock ensemble Gong was one of the most fascinating bands of the post-psychedelic era in that they combined stellar musicianship, a freewheeling spirit of invention, and unlike many of their peers, a highly developed sense of humor. Led by Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Daevid Allen, whose lyrics detailed a richly complex stoner mythology for the band, they released several classic albums in the first half of the 1970s, and the best tracks from that era are collected on the excellent three-disc WORLD OF DAEVID ALLEN & GONG.
The bulk of the first two discs is occupied by the band's Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy in its entirety, a tour de force of the aforementioned mythology supported by echoing guitar lines, atmospheric synthesizer, and wailing, jazzy sax lines. The last disc concentrates on Allen's solo career (he left the group in the mid-'70s, and they went on to pursue an all-instrumental jazz fusion sound). These tracks feature plenty of Allen's Beat-inspired poetic imagery and a more raw musical approach that shifts between folk and rock (and occasionally even proto-punk). Ultimately, these three discs offer the best introduction to Allen and Gong anyone could want.