Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Downwind
1979's "Downwind" sees this band taking another step forward into a more accessible and melodic sound. Overall, this album is slightly more rock-influenced and less jazzy than its predecessors, featuring guest stars like Mike Oldfield, Mick Taylor, and Steve Winwood. Fans of Oldfield's "Ommadawn" and "Incantations" will particularly love the new age rock of the 12 1/2-minute title track, and "Xtasea". The catchy "Aeroplane", the cover version of Santana's "Jin-go-lo-ba" with its tuneful percussions, and "What you know" pave the way for Gong's more pop-oriented efforts in the '80s. The dreamy vibraphone/violin duetto of "Emotions" is another highlight. "Downwind" is a record made by virtuos musicians, but it is never formless or devoid of good melody integrity. Recommended in any case, this is one of Gong's best albums.