Don't buy "Flying Teapot". Avoid it. Don't touch it with a barge pole. I mean this. STEER CLEAR OF THIS ALBUM.
Right, now you're upset. But let me explain. I'm a huge Gong fan. I adore "Flying Teapot". It's always been one of my favourite albums. I've loved it since the early 1980s when I first bought the vinyl. It's rarely far from my stereo. But the CD is a DISASTER. I'm not talking about the old licensing issue, the two separate covers. The covers are different, but ALL the CD versions of "Flying Teapot" use exactly the same master tape. And ALL of them are terrible beyond belief -- and beyond redemption.
The problem is entirely with the title track, 12 minutes of pure bliss. At least in the original vinyl version. A soft, trippy, jazzy drift, laid back, humorous, warm and sweet as heaven. Delicious, and Gong's signature tune. But at some point in the 1980s, Daevid Allen (as far as I can tell) decided to remix the track, perhaps to try to jump on the rave bandwagon. It wasn't just a remix, though -- possibly he re-recorded parts of the track too. The new version of "Flying Teapot" was a characterless, charmless, spiritless piece of pretend dance music lacking energy or warmth or psychedelic flavour. It sounded horrible -- and nothing AT ALL like the original track.
Unfortunately, EVERY release of the album on CD has used the 1980s version of the track. Every one. That includes all released versions of the "Flying Teapot" album, including the early trilogy box, and all appearances of the track on EVERY compilation. Don't even bother looking among Russian or Far Eastern versions of the album -- they're all the same. There is no indication on any release that this is the case, and most new fans probably aren't even aware they're not getting the real thing.
So if you've never heard the album, how do you know you're not listening to the remix? Answer 1: if you're listening to the track on CD, it's the remix. Answer 2: listen to the track immediately following the "have a cup of tea" refrain. If you don't hear a loud surge of glissando, you're hearing the remix. The ONLY way to hear the beautiful, fabulous original "Flying Teapot" is to find it on vinyl. And beware of vinyl reissues, some of which may have used the CD masters.
This is not a "slightly different flavour" problem. The track is COMPLETELY different in the remixed version. Gong's would-be curators, GAS, seem not to care about the problem, and since the album is mired in contractural problems, there is unlikely to be a resolution soon.
All is not lost. The rest of the CD is uncontaminated, so if you can source a vinyl version of the title track, you can just strip it into a CDR. But do NOT play the CD version of the album and expect it to sound anything like the original, fabulous release. It's not -- and what you're hearing is effectively just a 1980s cover version. How shameful that a track of such glorious, trippy power is reduced to this. And how terrible that most would-be Gong fans don't even know they're being fooled.