29 Apr 2017
Killer out French prog with a backing band made up of Gong (the Gong of the day then) and featuring William Burroughs on vox.
In 1971, poet and counter-culture activist DASHIELL HEDAYAT teamed up with GONG to bring their artistic visions to reality. Psychedelic guitars, hypnotic bass lines and freaked-out sounds made this record a must-have for the «Continental Circus» and «Camembert Electrique» fans.
One of the most essential french rock albums ever dug out! This sweet ticket is just the nugget if that combo tickles your particular grits……..highly recommended….!
ATTENTION GONG FANS!!!!!! THIS IS FOR YOU!!!!!!
Actually some Pot Head Pixies consider this album to be the best to ever come out out of Planet GonG. Without going that far , this is an exceptional album where GonG shines like the sun. Please note that Gong had yet to record Cammembert Electrique and The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, but by the time this album came out , GonG had become very capable musicians, and the "Hippy commune in Normady” was gradually phased out.
OK, now!! On with the music and Dashiell Hedayatt: After having won some litteracy prizes for his first album , Dashiell , a poet and counter-culture activist started this project that quickly involved all of Gong but also Beat Poet extraordinaire William Bourroughs - also known for his very influential books, one of which (The Naked Feast) spawned at least two group names: Soft Machine and Steely Dan . With this kind of line- up , one can only expect a total freak-out of an album , and the least we can say is that you shall not be disappointed: in the psych genre this is one of the summit. But also a strikening feature is thaty this is also a surprisingly and superbly melodic album , all this extreme zaniness is embellished by the Allen glissando guitars (at its debut only ) and Malherbe wind breaks.
The musical delire start with Dashiell singing out his hippy lifestyle living out of a pink 50’s broken-down Chrysler asa his home in a back court and his troubles for tranquil love-making (this is where La Fille De L'Ombre comes in but we cannot be sure because Dashiell is not so sure himself…..) then comes in the pièce de résistance Long Song For Zelda complete with sireal travelling and ouyt of this world text from W Burroughs.
Side 2 will not give you a single momentsof rest as Gong his only getting warmed up and the side-long track Cielo Drive (Sky driving or space flying if yoiu wish) is the main theme. One comes to realize that this album is essential in the GonG metamorphosis from a clumsy hippy chysalis group (that had recoded the Brother album and signed an energetic Continental Circus movie soundtrack) to a superb and graceful space/prog butterfly that will take off through the RDI trilogy.
Obsolete is truely one of the most important album to ever having come out of France, especially true for rock fans. More than a forgotten token of a lost era , this album belong in a museum dedicated to psychadelia. I , unlike many , use rarely the word “masterpiece” , but in this case , I do!!!!!!!!!!……by Sean Trane ……..
Five-Star CLASSIC !!
Dashiell Hedayat’s ‘Obsolete’ LP is a spectacular Space-Rock trip. French poet Dashiell H. latched onto the GONG commune of the time to bring to reality his artistic vision, presented through the medium of music, of his life and times during the beat/hippy era (not that I’d really know or fully understand), but on the back cover of the LP it states “Warning : This record must be played as loud as possible, must be heard as stoned as impossible and thank-you everybody” - I am no longer like this but the album is still part of my essential listening roster.
Needless to say, if you are a fan of Camembert/Continental Circus period Gong, then this album is totally ESSENTIAL. If you’re not, then it’s STILL totally essential !! Full-on tripped-out spacey jams full of cascading guitar glissando’s and sharp soloing from DAEVID ALLEN, relentless Bass-riffs courtesy of Christian Tritsch and PIP PYLE’s distinctively forceful and busy drum-work - add to that the creative sax and flute playing of one Didier (Bloomdido) Malherbe, makes for one monster of an album. Dash himself is credited with some solo guitar, keyboards, cosmic-Hedayat-rumble and cut-ups. Gilli Smyth’s 'space-whisper’ is noticeable at various points (credited as 'wet pleasure shout and intergalactic whisper’). All the material, 2 side-long pieces, is composed by Dashiell himself in Autumn '69, way ahead of schedule for this sort of thing, and hasn’t been matched, unless one considers Radio-Gnome Gong as superlative. To this listener, 'Obsolete’ is a truly must-have album, and worth its weight in gold……by Tom Ozric …………….
Lost cheese in time
You gotta wonder how on earth a cult classic like Obsolete, an album generally believed by many Gong fans and French psych music fans alike to be the best Gong album out there - why in the name of Zorro and all that’s holy this gem hasn’t been reviewed since my dear friend Tom Ozric rightfully so awarded it 5 stars in late November 2007?!?!??! What the blue feck is going on?!?!?
Released as a solo album by French beat figure Dashiell Hedayatt in 1971, Obsolete offers up a musical polaroid picture of Gong metamorphosing from whimsical slightly clumsy psych rock act to the floating space creature that went on to make Camembert Electrique and the Radio Gnome Invincible Trilogy.
Without the loud and fretting fireball weaponry of Steve Hillage, we additionally get to hear what Daevid Allen is really made of - and surprise surprise if he doesn’t wield that wah wah guitar like a genuine prince of marmalade. Fantastic rhythmic intonation as well as a frail melodic sense about him when soloing that really connects with me on a personal level. This album is full of understated solos and beautifully wandering riffing that Daevid does so incredible well, and you just gotta love how the band responds to his playing too. There’s indeed a symbioses going down, beautiful as bees.
Together with Gilli Smythe, Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe and Daevid Allen, Dashiel Hedayat succeeds in making one of the most sought out psychedelia remnants of the early seventies(especially if you’re looking for the vinyl version), and jolly well if the reputation isn’t fully deserved. This record is as charming as a pooch poo in a creme shop. The laid back almost talkative French vocals makes it feel as a refined hippie chill out album, and the foggy bass and slow swoop of the guitars certainly doesn’t change this album’s obvious dreamy character, yet with a fickle yet abnormally acute sense of dynamics Obsolete seems forever loveable in it’s expression. It genuinely feels like the Gong boys, and girl, found their mojo on the path to making an album without their name on it. It literally oozes out of your speakers.
Adding to the counter culture imagery and the whole beatnik reverence, the dark Frankenstein and always astonishingly humorous Bill Burroughs comes in to lend a helping hand on Long Song For Zelda. Joyous irreverent as his usual self - Burroughs’ small cameo somehow makes the album shift into overdrive, taking the remaining part of the album from breathtaking pulsing musical scenery to terrific jam parts that foresaw the coming supersonic 5th gear of the later Radio Gnome Invincible days. Especially the side long Cielo Drive 17 pips the atmospheres from backyard dreamings to full solar voyages peeping awkwardly out the periscope - with Daevid Allen at his most relentless and Malherbe on a most inspired flute stint waaaay above the music like a distant satellite.
I rate this among the most important French rock releases - up there with Gainsbourg and Vannier’s Histoire de Melody Nelson, Igor Wakhevitch’s Logos and Magma’s MDK. If you’re sitting out there beyond the screen thinking that you’ve never really heard about this Hedayatt fella, though still a major fan of the bright n orangy serpentlike Gong with all their mad gorgeous playfulness - then BROTHER you’ve been missing out on one of the most benign addictions known to mankind!………….by Guldbamsen …………
Dashiell Hedayat’s Obsolete is in some respects a super-secret disguised Gong album, with Daevid Allen and cronies providing instrumental backing whilst Hedayat himself takes lead vocals. It’s a slightly more rock-oriented brand of psychedelia than Gong’s style of the era and has less jazz influence, but nonetheless is a hidden gem of the band’s history. Canterbury historians will also be happy to note the presence of Robert Wyatt, Allen’s old Soft Machine ally (as well as William Burroughs himself, who gave his blessing to Soft Machine naming themselves after one of his novels thanks to Allen getting his permission), making this something of a confluence of the radical countercultural end of Canterbury……. by Warthur ……………..
I remember someone posting an audio clip of Dashiell Hedayatt’s “Cielo Drive” and before I was too far into the song I was writing down the information as I knew I had to have this. Unfortunately my cd liner notes are in French but at least the lineup and words on the back of the liner notes are in English. Dashiell is a French poet and writer who has enlisted the GONG lineup from the “Camembert Electrique” period, in fact that album along with GONG’s “Continental Circus” and the album I am reviewing all were released in 1971 and they all have a similar vibe. Of note Robert Wyatt is not on this album as a few have stated but his son Sam who was 5 years old at the time does say some “baby” words on the closing number. Sam was raised by Pip Pyle and there’s a great picture of the two in the centerfold of the “Camembert Electrique liner notes I have from the same period.
We get two long suites but the first one "Oh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room?” is divided into 3 tracks. Up first is “Chrysler” which reminds me of GURU GURU for some reason. Check out the psychedelic guitar in the intro as vocals, bass and drums kick in quickly. I like when the sax joins in, love that tone. Catchy stuff. It’s like they jam the rest of the way but check out the bass before 6 minutes. Nice. “Fille De L'Ombre” opens with water sounds as percussion joins in. More water sounds then we get spoken words, guitar and some freak-out sounds. Insanity! “Long Song For Zelda” features strummed guitar and vocals to start and they sound so good here. Drums and bass join in then we get a second guitar before 1 ½ minutes. Dashiell offers up some theatrical vocals sounds around 5 minutes then he continues to pretty much speak the words. Sax follows adding a sexy mood. It turns freaky after 7 minutes to end it including a spoken word bit by William S. Burroughs.
“Cielo Drive/17” is haunting to begin with and very psychedelic as this hypnotic bass line joins in before a minute. Eerie sounds continue but check out that bass! Drums and cymbals join in as well. Spoken words before 4 minutes, sax too. A guitar solo from Pip replaces the spoken words before 8 minutes but the words are back quickly as the guitar continues to light it up with bass and drums supporting. Around 11 ½ minutes we’re back to that haunting atmosphere with those hypnotic bass lines. Unreal! Drums help out and then those spoken baby words from Sam arrive before 12 ½ minutes. Flute after 14 minutes as spoken words follow. The guitar is back before 16 minutes as the vocals and sound turn somewhat bombastic. It’s starting to wind down at 16 ½ minutes until we get a dreamy, folky soundscape with vocals as it drifts on to the end of this epic track.
I can’t give this less than 5 stars, it’s a Psychedelic masterpiece and better than my favourite GONG albums, all in my opinion of course……..by Mellotron Storm ………..
French musician and author who worked under various pseudonyms throughout his career. He was born 5 June 1947 and died 17 July 2013
He started out writing for the Rock & Folk magazine. His musical career was brief and he recorded under the names Melmoth and Dashiell Hedayat [a tribute to Dashiell Hammett and Sadegh Hedayat]. He also used the Hedayat name for his first books before taking on the name Jack-Alain Léger in 1974. He published most of his book under the name Léger and had a best seller with “Monsignore”. Later he also wrote books under the names Eve Saint-Roch and Paul Smaïl.
The album Obsolete was written and composed on Autumn 1969 and recorded at Strawberry Studio on May 1971.
It was recorded with the musicians of Gong at the same time as the album Electric Camembert in Hérouville Castle . Its first edition on the label Shandar in 1971 was gone largely unnoticed. The album was reissued on CD by Mantra, first in 1992 and then in 2008 ……………………….
Dashiell Hedayat’s only solo LP is a highly satisfying mix of psychedelia and early prog rock. His backing band does a really good job. Especially Daevid Allen rocks on the lead guitar. The album includes just two songs which both fill each side of the LP. The A-side song “Eh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room?” has three separate parts and it’s a good song as a whole. But the B-side is my favourite here because “Cielo Drive / 17” kicks ass big time. It’s a wonderful song and not a second too long in my opinion.
As a totality this record gets four stars out of five from me. I like it very much and there’s nothing to complain about. Hedayat does a nice job on the vocals as well. His spoken word parts are interesting and enjoyable too. And that’s the case with the whole album….by..CooperBolan …….
Dashiell Hedayat’s Obsolete is in some respects a super-secret disguised Gong album, with Daevid Allen and cronies providing instrumental backing whilst Hedayat himself takes lead vocals. It’s a slightly more rock-oriented brand of psychedelia than Gong’s style of the era and has less jazz influence, but nonetheless is a hidden gem of the band’s history. Canterbury historians will also be happy to note the presence of Robert Wyatt, Allen’s old Soft Machine ally (as well as William Burroughs himself, who gave his blessing to Soft Machine naming themselves after one of his novels thanks to Allen getting his permission), making this something of a confluence of the radical countercultural end of Canterbury. …….by…….Warthur ……………..
From this record that has become legendary, everything has been said, or almost … The original galette, which proposes only four tracks, was released under a pink embossed pocket by the Shandar label, whose notes indicate: «Warning: this record must be played As loud as possible, must be heard as stoned as impossible and thank-you everybody. “ Behind the pseudonym of Dashiell Hedayat is actually Daniel Théron - a contemporary writer better known under another pseudonym, Jack-Alain Léger.
Dashiell Hedayat told everyone who wanted to listen to him that Gong did not play a more important role than accompanying the songs he had composed alone. He compared his situation and role with Dylan, when he chose the future members of The Band for the recording of his albums from 1965 (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde) . Unfortunately for Dashiell Hedayat, this view of things seems unlikely, as the sound of Gong is easy to recognize from one end of the disc to the other. The year 1971 marked the peak of Daevid Allen’s first period of the Gong (barely a year after the release of Magick Brother, Mystick Sister): the first classics of the band were released that year: Continental Circus , Electric Camembert, but also the solo album of Daevid Allen, Banana Moon. The importance of Gong’s influence on Dashiell Hedayat’s writing is still a matter of discussion, but the comparison between Obsolete and La Rue des Ivresses (released in 1969 under another pseudonym, that of Melmoth) A rather classical prog-rock style - not to say anything (we think of bands like Angel) to virtuoso music, impressive solidity, and resolutely rock'n'roll.
Indeed, from the first guitar riff of "Chrysler”, the listener understands that he is in the presence of a great rock record: the rhythm is fast, and the band solid. The guitars (held by Dashiell Hedayat himself, but also by Daevid Allen, Christian Tritsch, and even Pip Pyle) are sharp, Christian Tritsch’s bass is monumental, and the Pyle battery prodigious. The lyrics of the songs, repetitive and hypnotizing, like the music that accompanies them, are implacable: “I have a Chrysler at the back of the court / it can not roll anymore but that’s where I do Love ”. Those who do not know the record must find it strange or laughable; The others know what it is all about. “Chrysler” is an extraordinary piece - one of the best recorded and sung in France. The next song, “Daughter of the Shadow” is an experimental piece on which strange aquatic sounds play a rhythm, before the guitar starts a looped riff and Gilli Smythe shouts his screams around Dashiell’s disturbing ritornello Hedayat.
The song “Long song for Zelda” is a pure moment of happiness: the acoustic guitar intro, supported by a comforting bass, prepares the arrival of a magnificent song: “I am at the window / And you You’re in the bathtub / Your feet stand out / I can see them in the mirror of the closet. ”. The song passes like a beautiful dream, from the narratives of its strange visions to its strange conclusion, surprising to the absurd, yet wonderful.
The B side of the original LP features “Cielo Drive / 17”, a track that is more than twenty minutes long, a titanic piece with the sound and rhythm breaks characteristic of Gong: monumental bass and virtuoso, relentless drums, guitars Aggressive with solos of glissando. The relationship with Continental Circus is undeniable: the rhythms played by Tritsch and Pyle are extremely close to those played for the B.O. of Laperoussaz’s film. The parts played by Didier Malherbe (aka Bloomdido Bad De Grass, the brilliant saxophonist and flutist of Gong) are prodigious. Gilli Smythe pushes his usual “wet pleasure chants” and Daevid Allen chains the parts of glissando, whereas Hedayat plays the guitar solos. The texts echo themes already covered in the disc (like the reflection); The mystery is present everywhere on this magical disc, which ends in a long chant very far from the first structure of the piece. The fragile song of Dashiell Hedayat and that of Gilli Smythe accompany the melody which gradually disappears with extreme softness, but inexorably.
Obsolete is a single disc; An album without a real equivalent in the history of music: in four pieces only, Dashiell Hedayat & Gong recorded a prodigious, definitive and indispensable record…………..
One of the best French acid folk albums ever recorded. 2 long tracks from 1971 with fragile vocals and gentle guitars, to turn over and be totally freaked out. Heavily recommended !! …………………..
Two years after seeing his first album (La Devanture Des Ivresses) rewarded by the Academy Charles Cros, Melmoth, reincarnated in Dashiell Hedayat, makes Obsolete appear, vinyl slab wrapped in a thick pink embossed cardboard pouch, on the Shandar label . In 1971, the Gong, composed of Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch and Pip Pyle, produced two cult albums of psychedelia: Camembert Electrique and Continental Circus. The year also when Michel Magne had just opened the mythical studios of the Château d'Hérouville where so many artists were going to stay and record. Where Dashiell was given carte blanche, for eight days, smoked, to delirious, with Daevid, Didier, Pip Pyle ... "Ambiance ...
The disc starts on the hats of a Chrysler Rose, where the guitar wah-wah never ceases to spread, drooling, dripping. The throbbing rhythm roars under the spirals rolled by the sax of Malherbe, mixed in the background, and the guitar glissandos send to mirror the whole to suspended worlds from where the disc will not return again before its term. "Your Chrysler is sadly broken ... yes but ... we're all smashed!" The words sparkle, the atmosphere sets in. Lava lamps and incense sticks.
The sequel to the disc, more nonchalant, more sidereal, goes to see Dashiell Hedayat, under the false airs of decadent dandy, spreading of his fragile and murmuring voice, texts surrealist, poetic, elusive. The hallucinatory, hallucinatory delusions, unfolding like a roll of "colored silk paper" in floods of disjointed words, in which words hide, return, tangle and tell us ... Little fairground music (a theme of Nino Rota), then comes the Daughter of the Shadow first, accompanied by flushing sounds, aquatic percussions, wah-wah again and the languishing and unrivaled space-whispers which are the trademark of Gilli Smyth.
Then Dashiell introduces us Zelda the beautiful redhead and the dogs in the night. To accompany it, an acoustic guitar, the heavy notes of Christian Tritsch's bass, Pip Pyle's discreet drums, and a throbbing music, recalling in a nonchalant atmosphere the Atom Heart Mother's Pink Floyd Fat Old Sun. The electric guitar blows a few bubbles, round and light, the sax of Didier Malherbe blows like an air of old jazz and William Burroughs, a passing buddy, comes to offer his voice to close the piece. We are in the heart of delirium ...
The suite is called Cielo Drive / 17. It is a long 21-minute piece in the purest Gong tradition of the early seventies. Daevid Allen starts the flying carpet of his guitar slides suspended in the ether, then Christian Tritsch and his slimy bass like a fresh tar starts a heady line, haunting, repeated to infinity. The drums knit, ghostly voices echo in the distance, Dashiell Hedayat murmurs, the saxophone gets in motion ... "tails of comets in the hair, rings of Saturn on each finger, tears of blood that are as much Of novas ". The rhythm accelerates, the sax is racing and the electrical flashes of the guitar of Allen improvise a groove of dry, sharp, saturated sounds. It is 11'27 on the counter and then comes that bass line that clings and that twists the skulls, carried by the sheets of glissando. The voice of a 5-year-old, Sam Wyatt (Robert's son) emerges from nothing, like a specter, repeats the same words for a short time and then sets out again towards infinity. The interlacings drawn by Didier Malherbe embroidered laces of notes, the guitar returns to the foreground, Dashiell races, loses control "Is ... or else? ... I ... or perhaps, be".
The altimeter exploded its dial, the carpet descends to the ground, gently, carried by a few acoustic arpeggios and a shy flute, towards a melted slowly lined with stars leading to silence.
35 years after its publication, the album has retained all its freshness and lightness. Like a fragile flashback, obsolete ..............
Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Christian Tritsch
Drums [Here There And Everywhere] – Pip Pyle
Flute, Saxophone [Bloomdido-saxo], Performer [Water Music] – Didier Malherbe
Guitar – Pip Pyle (tracks: B)
Guitar, Soloist – Dashiell Hedayat (tracks: A1, B)
Lead Guitar – Daevid Allen
Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Tape [Cut-ups], Performer [Cosmic-hedayat-rumble] – Dashiell Hedayat
Vocals – Sam Wyatt, William Burroughs* (tracks: A3)
Vocals [Wet Pleasure Shout & Intergalactic Whisper] – Gilli Smyth
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Eh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room? (16:42)
a. Chrysler - 6:40
b. Fille de L'Ombre - 2:18
c. Long Song for Zelda - 7:44
2. Cielo Drive/17 (21:09)
johnkatsmc5, welcome music..