This band was an evolution of the Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet assembled by Daevid Allen when returning to UK from his 7 years exile in Australia in early 1988. It was during the intensive IOCT tour in Europe that Allen realized the strong public’s demand for his former band Gong, which Allen had left in 1975. So he decided to rechristen the latest line-up of the Invisible Opera Company to GongMaison. At that time the band consisted of Daevid Allen (guitar/vocals), Didier Malherbe (sax) (ex-Gong), Graham Clark (violin), Shamal Maïtra (perc), Wandana (harmonium, Vocals) and Harry Williamson (keys, guitar).
The name GongMaison was in reference to House Music (“Maison” = “House” in French) for which Daevid Allen expressed much interest at that time, and intended to make it a new musical direction to experiment with the band. However in practice, GongMaison’s music was very acoustic and apart from a dance reworking of a classic Gong’s track (‘Flying Teapot’, renamed ‘Flying T Dance Mix’) on their first eponymous album, was never near to anything resembling House Music.
The band’s music became more electric with the departure of Wandana and Williamson and arrival of Keith Bailey (bass) in early 1990. Shamal Maïtra switched to the drum-kit instead of his traditional tablas and acoustic percussion-set, enabling Gongmaison to cover more and more the classic Gong’s repertoire in concert. This new line-up toured a lot in UK and France and started the recording of a second album Shapeshifter. It was during these recording sessions that Pip Pyle (ex-Gong) joined the band, taking over on drums to let Shamal concentrate of his more familiar tablas. With now 3 ex-Gong members on board, GongMaison finally dropped the Maison from its name, and continued as Gong.