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Steve Hillage - Green CD (album) cover

GREEN

Steve Hillage

 

Canterbury Scene

4.00 | 131 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Space Jam, The Missing Link

Steve Hillage has had his hands in the space rock scene from many different angles, and on GREEN he presents a nice transition between the proggy space rock of the early seventies and the electronica of the future. Clearly, Hillage has evolved yet again since FISH RISING. While some have noted that GREEN was released at the peak of disco, it is interesting that many of the sounds found on this album infiltrated themselves into the dance scene to the point that many raves would sound more like Hillage than Saturday Night Fever.

But don't let that scare you off. This is not dance music, this is trippy space jam for certain. The live drummers (including Floyd skinbeater Nick Mason) set the dreamy stage perfectly, and what a show Hillage sets onto that stage. Along with an assortment of delay-effect guitar tones, the keyboards here (courtesy of partner Miquette Giraudy) range from proggy dexterity to psychedelic splendour. We actually have vocoders, Floydian key beds, and cascading tape loops. Virtually gone are the riffing and composed lines from previous works (which I miss a little). Virtually all the songs are chordally-based, with interest coming from the various layers and their effects.

"Sea Nature" is a psychedelic anthem, with a great melodic theme fueling the lyric "I want you to come with me, journeying with your mind." Not exactly the most poetic stuff, nor are Hillage's vocals the most evocative. But it all fits together and achieves its purpose quite well. "Ether Ships" uses a looped guitar figure with a varying filter that evokes both Pink Floyd and later space bands, and is really the dominant sound of the whole album. "Musik of the Trees" begins with a nice acoustic change-up with a soaring synth line which must have certainly influenced many of the new age artists of the next decade. The crystal- hugging lyrics are a bit dated (actually probably over the top even in their own time period), but the music is great. "Unidentified Flying Being" is a funky throwaway that is not only annoying but ruins the mood of the album. Though some Gong fans might enjoy its light- heartedness, it doesn't work for me. The song evolves into a reasonable jam, though one of the weaker on the album through "UFO over Paris." "Leylines to Glassdom" is another echo-y delight where first Giraudy and then Hillage tastily and sparingly solo to great effect. "The Great Om Riff" is something Hillage has used in multiple places, but the version on this album is perhaps the best. In fact, the eight songs from the album's initial ten minus the two UFO stinker tracks are among the best space rock ever made, IMO.

My version of the album has 4 bonus tracks, all live. None are spectacular additions to the album, though the sound is good on all. "Octave Doctors" is a nice instrumental, while "Unidentified" was obviously an unwelcome addition for me. "Not Fade Away" is interesting simply from the point of view of hearing a standard rock shuffle tune turned into a space trip. "Meditation of the Snake" is a faithful, energetic live rendition of the FISH RISING track.

I've mentioned in other Hillage reviews that I actually prefer his style of space rock to some in the genre such as Eloy or Nektar. There's something more uplifting and positive about the psychedelic vibe. It's certainly a stark contrast to Floyd and perennial Eeyore Roger Waters. And since this exact combination is not necessarily that easy to find, I don't feel bad rating this a 4 (though it probably is non-essential). Enjoy.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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