Gong have long been a favourite of mine, and this album sees them continue to maintain a treasured place in my heart. As soon as I put this on, I was transported back about thirty years to a small, stinky club in London, where I first fell in love with the spaced-out goodness that is Gong. Despite founding member Daevid Allen’s trip to the East (brown bread, as we Cockney fellows like to refer to it as), Gong’s still going strong, led by the gorgeously soft vocals of frontman Kavus Torabi, along with Dave Sturt, Fabio Golletti, Ian East, and Cheb Nettles all contributing gloriously to this sublime album. This is the most stable line-up that Gong has ever seen, put together after Allen’s passing in 2015 so they obviously work well together.

Opener Tiny Galaxies starts out all dream-like and caresses the ear with psychedelic vocals and harmonies – but then (Oh, My Word!) it effortlessly slips into My Guitar is a Spaceship building into what I can only describe as what Mr Bungle might sound like if they took a whole bunch of Valium, washed down with a hearty measure of cough syrup. It’s somehow chunky and gentle simultaneously and wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of The Mighty Boosh. Thick bass and snappy drums hold the entire track together and there are horns and flutes jumping in and out all over the shop. Pure class. Ship of Ishtar is next, and it is so mellow that I almost went into a coma listening to it. It’s all soft edges and smooth surfaces; much like the furniture at the special school I attended as a wee nipper. It drones in a beautiful, almost dolorous, manner, and again flutes saturate the track, sending the listener off, off, into the realms of Morpheus. There’s something almost (but not quite) maudlin about the arrangements, and O Arcturus maintains the atmosphere. It’s just bloody nice music with surging guitar solos drenched in all manner of trippy effects; I am transported back to younger, more carefree days by the tones…how is this possible? I don’t know but I’m loving it. Naturally Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles come to mind, but I get the impression this is equally something that Ghost could easily put out.

The jumping bass and guitars of All Clocks Reset, coupled with some deep sax, make me groove about the place. The time signatures leap like cheeky field mice from grass stem to grass stem, there’s nothing violent or jarring about the album, and it all slips seamlessly along. But then Choose Your Goddess jumps in with its punchy riffs and howling sax – but it’s not too mad and it’s not too long before it settles down into that surging arrangement that is a hall mark of Gong’s compositions. It’s haunting but I didn’t wet my pants, Nurse! Honest, I just spilled some water on my velvet pants… Lunar Invocation has me nodding out with its droning, hurdy-gurdy-esque soundscape; I’m slipping out of my body and jaunting about on the astral plane – such beauty! Such soothing vocals and instruments must surely distort time? It’s the only reason I can find that sees final track Asleep Do We Lay hitting my speakers already. Another cottonwool covered track that drifts in like smoke, encouraging me to stay out of my physical form, and instead urging me to keep traversing the endless space of the aethers. Anyway, Mr Editor was keen for me to do a review of this album so I force myself back into the physical realm and bash out this little review. Gong? Still going strong.

Unending Ascending Is Out now.