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Steve Hillage - Live Herald CD (album) cover


Steve Hillage


Canterbury Scene

3.84 | 74 ratings

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4 stars Not long ago I saw Steve Hillage on the stage (reunited with Daevid Allen) and something grew in me to get into this album more recently. I must admit I haven't kept an eye on his solo stuff in the 70s, don't no why really. Better late than never. 'Live Herald' is a compilation of recordings from 1977/78. Probably for one or two it's a handicap that they are coming from four different performances, which means you cannot enjoy a whole concert in one go. Never mind! Well - here we have a convincing blend of space and jazz rock. There are a lot of winsome moments on the album - the variety, the spacey synthesizer goodies, Steve's brilliant technical skills where he nearly reaches the border to insanity.

Compared to 'Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78' for example the sound quality is very good (due to the remix). The firsts tracks feature ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker. Powerful rhythm work indeed. On Salmon Song Miquette Giraudy complements Steve as usual with some quirky vocal and sequencer acrobatics. The Dervish Riff follows, a (if not THE) highlight. What a playful and tricky jazz rock performance ... on top of it decorated with twittering synths ... gliding into Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man where Bunker seemingly has problems to follow Steve's incredible speed - but he's barely able to turn the corner at the end. Next two songs have been recorded one year later, now with Andy Anderson behind the drums.

Light In The Sky is basically played with a more straightforward rocking behaviour ... as well as strange contrasting impressions though. Miquette offers some extraterrestial vocal contributions. Searching For The Spark follows in a significant driving Gong vein. This one is very enjoyable too - spiked with a bunch of synthesizer/sequenzer goodies plus echoed vocals and fantastic corresponding jazzy and glissando guitar. The Radiom/Lunar Music Suite/Meditation Of The Dragon suite should be noted too - provided with a symphonic touch and many breaks and turns, clearly contrasting with the grooving behaviour of the other songs. The last third is dominated by Steve's melancholic guitar with delay effect which is heading a compelling cosmic part.

Not all songs are convincing me ... however the 2007 Virgin reissue includes one new bonus - Solar Musick Suite - another recording from the Rainbow Theatre in 1977 featuring Clive Bunker. And yes - surprisingly this is a great benefit - if not the (new) highlight - including some wonderful jamming moments. It all begins rather innocent but evolves to a fantastic playful event. Oh, lucky you, who could be there to enjoy this live! And this finally makes it easy to honour 'Live Herald' with the label excellent addition.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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