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Steve Hillage - Live Herald CD (album) cover


Steve Hillage


Canterbury Scene

3.76 | 65 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Enjoyable live album from Steve Hillage, which shows you what an energetic guitarist he really is. It opens with a couple of pieces from FISH RISING, his first solo album, and while some of that album's special touches (e.g. Lindsay Cooper's bassoon, Dave Sinclair's fuzz organ, Pierre Moerlen's drumming) are inevitably missing, the live performances sound just as "full", thanks to the presence of no less than THREE synthesizer players, the great Clive Bunker (ex-Jethro Tull) on drums, and Hillage himself in blistering good form.

I suppose you could consider those opening pieces some kind of jazz-rock if you wanted to, but it struck me that "Searching for the Spark", the fifth album track (more than eleven minutes long) is unadulterated space-rock, similar in mood to Gong's YOU, and even more similar to the manic instrumentals on Daevid Allen's and Planet Gong's LIVE FLOATING ANARCHY, an album that was recorded at around the same time as this. Daevid and Steve may have toured different parts of the world, with different bands, but their aims were still the same, it seems. Of course Steve happened to be the flashiest guitarist on the entire Canterbury Scene - which makes a difference.

Some of the lighter pieces (e.g. "Light in the Sky" and "Electric Gipsies") remind me why I could never really take Hillage seriously as a vocalist or lyricist, but boy do his solos make up for this! The nearly fifteen minute "Lunar Music Suite" (somewhat expanded from the original on Hillage's second studio album, L) sounds clean and neat; regrettably, the great Don Cherry wasn't present to repeat his dreamily nocturnal trumpet solo live on stage.

By the final track ("It's All Too Much") Hillage's ultra-busy way of guitar playing has become just a little too much, so perhaps it's for the better that I'm referring to Virgin's 1990 edition of this CD (only 64 minutes long) and not to the recently remastered version, which adds the "Solar Music Suite". (But then again, I love the studio original of that suite. What might a live version be like...?)

fuxi | 3/5 |


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