*2023 stock* In the late 60s and early 70s, many bands within the psychedelic/progressive rock field were approached about producing OST soundtracks to accompany a certain film. Pink Floyd did Obscured by Clouds, Tangerine Dream spent virtually half of their musical career on producing OST soundtracks, and Gong even spent a bit of time providing music for the film Continental Circus, which, the film's fans would have you believe, is something of a cult classic. Yet these soundtracks made by psychedelic/progressive rock groups would turn out to be eventually forgettable, simply because even the most ardent fans would find it hard to argue whether or not the albums were worthy of further listens.
Continental Circus was recorded before the first release of Gong's second album Camembert Electrique but released afterwards, and doesn't consist of wholly original material. As a matter of fact, there's only one original song out of the four on Continental Circus, the opening "Blues for Findlay". The album's opening song is probably the most prominent and engaging tune from the album, and is something of a very extensive jam session. The same Gong quirks are here in spades: Daevid Allen's unforgettable (and sometimes unintelligible) vocal ramblings, the long-winded guitar solos, Gilli Smyth's flowery space whispers and of course the saxophone. The latter of these perks however seems to be lacking compared to previous album Camembert Electrique, thus making the listener think that something was missed out along the way. It's still good stuff indeed, but nowhere near as spectacular as you'd hope it to be.
The next three songs aren't original at all. "Continental Circus World" is merely excerpts taken from the film of the same name, dialogue and sounds basically making up the four and a half minute running time. As such, it remains wholly uninteresting, especially when being placed after the album's strongest track. What follows is sort of a remix of "Fohat Digs Holes in Space" from Camembert Electrique, which on this soundtrack album is renamed "What Do You Want?". This version is essentially much slower and more gradual than the original product, but like "Blues for Findlay", contains all the (then) inspiring advantages Gong had taken on and approached in their own unique way. That said, the final song is merely the instrumental version of album opener "Blues for Findlay", which really makes this whole release seem more like a stopgap EP than a fully-fledged Gong effort.
That's essentially all that can be said about Continental Circus, because it really does go no further than being a mere OST soundtrack. Whilst you can get more enjoyment out of watching the film of the same name, this does suggest how prominent Gong were in the underground music scene of the 70s. Even if they were only considered a cult band by some of the press, at least they were approached for a soundtrack album which, if not made to change perceptions of the few haters, certainly opened the band up to a slightly wider audience. That's inevitable however, and the real musical side of Gong would arrive in the very near future.