Track By Track : Gong Expresso - Decadence

By John A. Wilcox

Gong Expresso consists of Hansford Rowe - bass; Francois Causse - drums, percussion; Julien Sandiford - guitar; Benoit Moerlen - vibes, marimba. Decadence is their world / jazz / fusion statement. Hansford Rowe also sent this note: "We recorded the entire album in 8 days in Paris with no rehearsals. During that time I was hospitalized twice, for a cracked rib on the first day and kidney stones on the last two days. We mixed in Montreal adding some perc overdubs. The sessions went incredibly well." Composers Rowe & Sandiford take us all through the album track by track...

Track 1: Decadence
HR: This tune explores a strong melody over multiple time signatures and key centers. As the title tune I hope it and the other tunes address in a positive way the decadence in western culture Julien and I see.

Track 2: Zephyr
JS: This composition is built on the simple dotted quarter bass ostinato that opens the track. It is named after the god of the west wind, who is described as a stormy and rainy wind in some stories and as a warm breeze in others. This tune has elements of both representations.

Track 3: Toumani
JS: This tune is inspired by Malian kora music and is dedicated to the kora player Toumani Diabate. Benoît's vibraphone is featured. The tune makes use of a few motifs that are developed and layered in different ways before returning the bass and guitar section that opens the composition.

Track 4: Talisman
JS: The melody of Talisman uses only four notes and is based on a simple motif heard in a dream. This tune is also a feature for Benoît.

Track 5: The Importance Of Common Things
HR: The single, repeating Eb in the bass line is the common thing. The tune develops from simple patterns through the bass solo into a full blown melody.

Track 6: Eastern Platinum
JS: The title of this tune comes in part from its metallic and machine-like quality. The piece explores various combinations of interlocking odd-numbered note groupings.

Track 7: Frevo
JS: This tune is inspired by my interest in Brazilian music. Although it bears little resemblance to traditional frevo music, it does make use of a similar dotted quarter clave that is then transposed into 3/4 time.

Track 8: God Knows
HR: As the title suggests I am trying to look at the connection between all knowing and knowing nothing. The final statement sums it up nicely.


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