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Steve Hillage

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Steve Hillage Fish Rising album cover
4.11 | 512 ratings | 48 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Solar Musick Suite: (16:55)
- a) Sun Song (I Love Its Holy Mystery) (6:15)
- b) Canterbury Sunrise (3:25)
- c) Hiram Afterglid Meets the Dervish (4:05)
- d) Sun Song (reprise) (3:10)
2. Fish (1:23)
3. Meditation of the Snake (3:10)
4. The Salmon Song: (8:45)
- a) Salmon Pool (1:17)
- b) Solomon's Atlantis Salmon (2:08)
- c) Swimming with the Salmon (1:37)
- d) King of the Fishes (3:43)
5. Aftaglid: (14:46)
- a) Sun Moon Surfing (1:36)
- b) The Great Wave and the Boat of Hermes (1:51)
- c) The Silver Ladder (0:40)
- d) Astral Meadows (2:01)
- e) The Lafta Yoga Song (2:42)
- f) Glidding (2:23)
- g) The Golden Vibe / Outglib (3:33)

Total Time 44:59

Bonus tracks on Virgin Records remaster (2007):
6. Pentagrammaspin (2006 remix) (7:46)
7. Aftaglid (original "Power Trio" backing track) (13:00)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hillage (aka Steve Hillfish) / lead vocals, electric guitar, co-producer

- Dave Stewart / organ, piano
- Tim Blake (aka Moonweed) / synthesizers (Moog), tamboura
- Didier Malherbe (aka Bloomdido Glid de Breeze) / sax, Indian flute
- Lindsay Cooper / bassoon
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, percussion, marimba, darbuka
- Miquette Giraudy (aka Bombaloni Yoni) / vocals, glockenspiel, bells

"Power Trio" were SH, Morlen & Howlett

Releases information

ArtWork: Steve Hillage

LP Virgin Records - V 2031 (1975, UK)

CD Virgin Records - VJCP 2031 (1987 ?)
CD Caroline Records ‎- CAR 01800-2 (1990, US)
CD Virgin Records - CDVR2031 (2007, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne, with 2 bonus tracks

Numerous LP and CD reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STEVE HILLAGE Fish Rising ratings distribution

(512 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

STEVE HILLAGE Fish Rising reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
4 stars Every fan of Gong (especially the "Angel's Egg" and "You" period) should own this album. The glorious Gong rhythm section is still in tow; Tim Blake (the synth guy) is still here making all those wonderful bubbly trippy noises, and Hillage's echo-obsessed guitar excursions are particularly satisfying. Overall, Fish Rising has a magical atmosphere and consistent level of effectiveness that Gong albums could never quite convince me of (I blame Daevid Allen). The opening track, for instance, is 17 minutes long and eventually builds into the most furious space-jam you will ever hear in your life -- the climax (you'll know it when you hear it) is one of those moments that makes you feel like your head is going to explode! The rest of the album is equally fine, featuring blissed out instrumental passages and unhealthy amounts of echo. I love quite a few of Hillage's solo albums, but this first one may just be the best -- check it out!
Review by loserboy
4 stars Steve HILLAGE's debut solo album "Fish Rising" marks on my list as one of the truly greatest progressive rock albums of all time. HILLAGE has always been on the cutting edge of prog fusion guitar beginning with ARZACHEL , KHAN, GONG and later on his solo ventures. If you have not heard "Solar Musick Suite" then you have not lived (as they say!) which features the soaring and raging psychy guitar of HILLAGE along with fellow cosmic travelers (incl Dave Stewart) all combining for an epic space trip of a lifetime. Every song is magical with great musical execution and creative design. Songs are given lots for room for great extended jams and mind expanding musical explorations. An essential progressive rock album.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Steve's first studio album. Many styles are involved: there are many spacy moods clearly reminding Gong. Miquette Giraudy's unique keyboards are often spacy, and the electric guitars constantly consist in visceral & weird solos: you easily discover that Ozric Tentacles were influenced by such music. Actually the unique spacy atmospheres often consist in a combination of repeated electric guitar and keyboards brief notes treated with a strong echo and a band pass change of electronic filters, which can be noticed on Steve's "Green" album: For 1975, those atmospheres were a breakthrough! There are some exaggerated sexy female voices, like the ones on the Daevid Allen's "Planet Gong- Live Floating Anarchy 1977" album. Because of the presence of Dave Stewart on electric piano & organ, there are some Canterbury influences too: Steve Hillage provides the lead vocals, so that some parts sound like the Khan's "Space shanty" album, on which Hillage and Stewart play guitars and synthesizers: the difference is that "Space Shanty" is more structured and less spacy. The "Fish Rising" album is a little bit unstructured and the sound is not crystal clean, reminding some Jimi Hendrix's albums, at least the electric guitar solos.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars During Hillage's GonG membership, he had already signed a solo deal with Virgin (also GonG's label since Angel's Egg), Steve wrote and rehearsed many of the tracks on the present album (originally thought to be for the second Khan album) previous, during and outside the GonG crowd musical adventures; and the album was recorded from August 74, between GonG tours and recording sessions. So unsurprisingly this first solo effort is filled with GonG members, but also old mate Dave Stewart (from the Khan and Uriel/Arzachel days) and more surprisingly Henry Cow's Lindsey Cooper. Recorded in a few sessions, the album was released with this strange fish artwork in spring-75, just in time to worsen the Planet GonG's implosion and resulting in Steve's unwilling presiding over the group's destiny on management pressures. In many ways, this album is still way too close to a GonG that I find it difficult to call it a full-fledged solo album, despite the obvious songwriting differences.

Indeed, if Fish Rising has many Pot Head Pixies influences, it would be cruel and inaccurate to overlook a much more Canterburian feel, somewhat reminiscent of Hatfield And The North and acknowledge the "pre-Gong-esque" origin of most of the tracks on it. Actually only the closing Aftaglid dates from his GonG days. So while the material might be relatively different from the GonG, it received an unavoidable RGI treatment, despite some conscious effort not to. The opening 17-mins 4-movements Solar Magick Suite has a definite Hatfield twist, no doubt due to Dave Stewart's keyboards, but Hillage's superb aerial guitar wailings steals the show. After a forgettable short but filled with Gong-esque lunacy Fish track, the album plunges in the more cosmic Meditation Of The Snake, which might be a return to You.

Flipping the fry-pan's content over, we discover the other side of the Salmon fish, which has yet to be cooked for the next 9 minutes and in four movements, sounding like a Camembert-filled Teapot with an Angel omelette to top it off,. Closing the fishing party hostilities is the 15-mins Aftaglid pieces (this time in 8 stages), a superb cosmic piece of music that reveals itself as my fave. The remastered version of this album comes with two bonus tracks, the first of which is a remixed Pentagrammaspin track that belonged to the original album, but couldn't find the space to nudge in; and was rushed onto a Virgin sampler as a preview piece. . In its definitive version, this bonus sounds like an integral part of this delicious album. The second track is definitely more expandable, as it is a work-in-progress of the Aftaglid track, which if not as refined as the definitive version is certainly more powerful.

Despite the album's fair commercial success, Steve and partner Miquette continued in the mother group and acted as its (unwilling) leader, but he would leave at X-mas time 75 after the Shamal album's release to record his first "real" solo (IMHO, of course) album proper, where he would rid himself of many of the Gong mannerisms, even if this writer thinks it was a mistake to do so. .Definitely Hillage's best solo work.

Review by soundsweird
4 stars If you (1.) find yourself wishing that there were more Gong albums from the infamous "Trilogy" period , and (2.) have never heard this album, this is your lucky day! Hillage's first solo album is really a Gong album without Daevid Allen. Steve didn't develop a distinctive style and sound in his solo work until later. You've got the same musicians and the same instrumentation, and Hillage's vocals don't distract from the overall Gong vibe. My only problem with this release is the CD's sound quality: a bit muddy-sounding, and lacking high and low frequencies. I do remember the LP sounding similar, but I'll bet a remaster would help. I think that Hillage's guitar sound contributes to the problem, too. The listener's ears get tired of hearing so much heavily-processed guitar, and let's face it: there aren't too many places on the album that don't have a lot of "saturation".
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Looking at this album's cast list (Gong's Tim Blake, Didier Malherbe, Pierre Moerlen, Gilli Smith, Miquette Giraudy are all here) and the titles of some of the tracks here (Solar Musick Suite and Aftaglid, for God's sake), it's tempting to describe this superb album as the album that Gong never made. There would be two things wrong with that though. The first is that Gong and its various members made numerous offshoot projects (Mother Gong, Planet Gong, Gongzilla, Falun Gong (just kidding with that one) and even a mass appearance with Clearlight) so that this album would be one of just many that "Gong" never made. And secondly, unlike most Gong albums, this album bears the mark of Hillage the composer thus making it more a successor to the fantastic Space Shanty album he cut with the one-off group Khan prior to his stint with Gong.

The 16-minute opener Solar Musick Suite is a stunning composition. It's full of Hillage's muscular guitar jamming, balanced at times by another Canterbury icon (and Khan alumni) Dave Stewart on organ as well as Gong's Tim Blake's spiralling synth. The space-rock slaloms are frequently breath-taking and match his greatest work with his former bands. Even his thin vocal style suits the song perfectly. Hillage is also not afraid to throw some ballsy hard rock moments into the mix, and that just adds to the excitement the composition generates.

Amazingly, the rest of the album doesn't let up. Even the minute long tune Fish manages to fit quite a bit in it, starting off with some aural soundscapes, and ending with a brief vocal duet, with a Gentle Giant like mid section thrown in for good measure! Meditation Of The Snake features some bubbly shimmering guitar/synth exchanges with Blake, while the pulsating Salmon Song is a rockier piece that also flows fantastically, with one glorious spaced-out mid-section.

The closing epic Aftaglid is almost as powerful as the title track, with hefty doses of psychedelic rock, outstanding spacey solos and even a little bit of funk. It lets the sun set on a magnificent work that is surely one of the peaks of Hillage's great career. This album is every bit as essential, and arguably even more accessible than Gong's most powerful works. ... 87% on the MPV scale

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first solo album of Steve Hillage is a remarkable masterpiece. He just had left GONG, but decided to bring along his old escadron, so the music here represented is much in the vein of "You"/"Shamal" space rock fusion. The album is consistent throughout, without ups and downs. "Solar Musick Suite" is a sort of magnum opus, while its sequel would surface on the following "L" album, as "Lunar Musick Suite". A definite moment of space jam! Hillage demonstrates his unique guitar skills and sadly proves that sometimes the best artists are deeply hidden in the obscurity, away from the top charts and magazine covers. A trippy and dreamy listening experience, recommended to any prog collection!
Review by fuxi
4 stars FISH RISING is a gorgeous album that will delight all Gong freaks. Virtually the whole band (as it was in late 1974) appears on it, and their playing is magnificent. The album is pervaded by a feeling of great urgency. For the first time in his career, Hillage got the chance to do an album of his own, and you can tell that he was thinking: 'Now or never!' Although FISH RISING supposedly covers esoteric and mystical themes (to my relief, the lyrics are hard to make out), it's suffused with energy. Hillage's own guitar 'embroideries' (I don't know how to describe the myriads of notes he weaves) dominate the entire record, but they are cushioned throughout by Tim Blake's bubbly synths and Didier Malherbe's flute and saxes. The rhythm section (which consists of Pierre Moerlen and Mike Howlett) sounds supremely energetic, and there are a few special treats, such as Dave Stewart's furious organ solos and Lindsay Cooper's impish bassoon which suddenly pops up in "The Salmon Song". All of these wonderful sonic details are more clearly audible than ever on the remastered version (with fascinating bonus material) which appeared in 2007. I don't know what to make of the fact that FISH RISING (like THE FLYING TEAPOT, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and many other classic Canterbury albums) was recorded at the Manor in Kidlington (Oxfordshire), just a few miles from where I now happen to live - it just seems an enormous distance in time...
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Nothing to do with a tall Scots singer getting out of bed!

In 1975, Steve Hillage made the brave decision to leave Gong, and set out on a solo career. "Fish rising" was his first release, the recordings actually taking place while he was still a band member. Hillage called upon Dave Stewart to assist with the arrangement of one track, but took on much of the production duties himself.

The album consists of just five tracks, most of which are broken down into shorter sub-sections. Inevitably, there are obvious similarities with the music of Gong, but with more focus on the guitar work of Hillage of course.

The opening "Solar music suite" is a magnificent statement of intent, running to almost 17 minutes. This hugely ambitious piece has a strong Canterbury sound, accentuated by the frequent appearance of Dave Stewart's distinctive keyboard sounds of the type also used by bands such as Caravan. While lyrically rather obscure, Hillage does come up with some great hippy-esque lines such as

"No need for sitting on our own, staring desperately at the problems of this world. We see mistakes, maybe our high is blown, but sometimes you need the black to see the white to find the core of love and beauty."

"Salmon song" is the most jazz orientated of the songs here, but even then it has a pure rock core. Hillage's guitar work is strong and prolonged, his girlfriend and lyrical partner Miquette Giraudy adding some female voices to the piece.

"Aftagild" sets out in Hendrix like fashion, with very up front guitar, but gradually subsides into the eastern flavoured "Lafta yoga song" the only vocal section of the seven part piece.

In all, an album with will undoubtedly appeal to those who followed Hillage through his Gong days. This is in many ways a Gong album where Hillage takes centre stage throughout. It's groovy man!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the debut solo album from guitarist Steve Hillage formerly of Khan and Gong. His skillful playing is very much the center of this album.

This is very good prog rock, pretty mellow and laid back even though there is nothing wrong with the technical level of the musicians involved. As you would expect from the solo effort from a guitarist, the guitar is mainly in focus. The keyboard do play a major part though, with some really cool and tripped out sounds.

The album starts out with the almost 17 minute long Solar Musick Suite, which is really great. Steve sings some nice vocal lines and his guitar and the synths from Tim Blake dominate this cool song. The rest of the songs are also really good. They are in a similar laid back style.

I have a hard time deciding wether this deserves 3 or 4 stars, as this might not be exactly my taste in every way, but itīll be the 4 stars for the outstanding musicianship and some really laid back and tripped out songs. Donīt expect it to sound too much like Khan or Gong even though there are traces.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Even though there was a sever personnel crisis in the Gong ranks in the last stages of the You album recording and the aftermath of the Radio Gnome Invisbile trilogy's completion, you can tell by listening to Steve Hillage's debut album Fish Rising that there were strong reasons why Hillage joined Gong in the first place. More than half of this material had already been written for a Khan sophomore album that never became a reality, so the cosmic nature of this concept was already there. Also, the Gong trilogy releases reveal themselves as spaces of musical growth for Allen and Hillage: in this way, the presence of Gong fellow members as support musicians is more than just a conicidence or a convenience, it is the natural result of the kind of musician and creator than Hillage was by then. Fish Rising is as brlliant a testimony of the spacey side of Canterbury as any of the last two Gong's trilogy albums. The repertoire's structure has three long compositions as its basic skeleton. The keyboard department is shared by Dave Stewart's typical chops on organ/electric piano and Tim Blake's synth cosmic paintings: the latter are a bit subdued under Stewart's deliveries, but they definitely leave a proper mark in those special moments in which a Hillage lead gets particularly eerie and a synth is needed to complete the atmosphere. The opening suite Solar Musick Suite very much reminds us of the overall mood of Khan's Space Shanty, but the enhanced refinement in performance and arrangements is obvious. References to Gong's signature sound might be somewhat obvious, but the whole ensemble's sense of order is more related to Hatfield and Soft Machine's calmer side. In the end, this is just the birth of the Hillage sound: period. The sax washes by Malherbe and the organ layers by Stewart help to set the meditative ambience: the b and c portions are instrumental, the former being quite relaxed and the latter displaying a cosmic undertone that sets a slight variation to the track's overall scheme. 'Fish' is just a brief jazz-rock prelude to the dreamy soundscapes of 'Meditation of the Snake', which is an amazing journey of guitar and synth layers that reflect the most surreal realms of reality. When 'The Salmon Song' kicks off the album's second half, it pertinently delivers a jam-friendly structure in order to bring back a more earthly feel. Even though the middle section is very spacey, it mostly works as an interlude of the more explicit first and final sections. The album's gem is the closer 'Aftaglid', which thoroughfully recapitulates the dreamy aspect of space- rock and the weird sensuality of Gong-related Canterbury. The opening section is a soft electric raga that eventually shifts to a wild play of guitar multi-textures, which in turn ends up segued into an exotically driven acoustic guitar solo. 'The Lafta Yoga Song' is a lovely (but perhaps a bit sarcastic) Indian hymn that features heavily exotic tones. The last two sections are mostly jam-based, giving room for Hillage to expand on his particular soloing style: section f is rougher than section f, which has the mission of compeleting the whole picture with a more pronounced spacey sensbility and a less sharp edge. Fish Rising is exciting, beautiful, colorful, plethoric - this initiation of Steve Hillage as a solo recording artist is simply masterful.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The almost 17 minute suite that opens this album is quite nice. Not great, but I can easily sit through it. After that there is very little to recommend it really. There are lots of grey areas on this album, sections where there is very little going on. The highlights are easy to count, and between them there is often an ocean of ambience and noise to get through before you get there. Fish and Meditation Of The Snake are rather pointless interludes and Salmon Song is the second real song of the album.

If you have seen the Monty Python film The Meaning Of Life, you will know why I mention it here in connection with Fish. There is a very strange section of said film that is almost exactly like Fish - "fishy- fishy-fish!" In a crazy comedy it works really well, but on a rock album it does not - a very silly, very fishy and completely unnecessary interlude.

The Salmon song starts out promising enough, and I enjoy it for its first couple of minutes. But when the main riff on which the song is based is repeated over and over it does tend to get more than a bit boring before its eight minutes are over.

The 14 minutes long Aftagild feels as if it is 14 hours long! There is nothing awful in it at all, it is just that it lacks direction and focus and becomes boring long before it is over. I could sit through it if I am in the right mood, but I do not remember anything about it afterwards.

I am not a big fan of Hillage and I know only a couple of songs from Gong. But I certainly prefer the much more focused second album L, as well as the live album Live Herald, over this rather unfocused debut album. But the best album featuring Hillage that I've heard so far is without doubt the excellent Space Shanti by his previous band Khan.

Not recommended, unless you have a particular interest for this type of Space Prog.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars 4.5 stars. "Fish Rising" is Steve Hillage's debut album and he pretty much has everyone from GONG here except Daevid Allen. Cool to see Lindsay Cooper from HENRY COW playing bassoon on it as well. And of course Dave Stewart adds his talents on the piano and organ. In my opion this is the best solo album that Steve ever made.

"Solar Musick Suite" is the almost 17 minute opener.This is very psychedelic, dreamy and spacey. Steve's vocals fit in perfectly too. It kicks into gear before 3 1/2 minutes with guitar leading the way. It settles then kicks back in with sax. Back and forth we go. Love the guitar before 8 minutes. Great section after 9 1/2 minutes as well as it turns spacey with bass. A fuller sound arrives a minute later. A climax before 13 1/2 minutes in then vocals return when it calms back down. Fantastic tune! "Fish" is a short song with water sounds to open before drums come in leading the way. Spoken words after a minute both male and female. "Meditation Of The Snake" has a very cool psychedelic sound to start. Some nice guitar before 1 1/2 minutes.

"The Salmon Song" hits the ground running but then turns dreamy quickly. It kicks back in before 1 1/2 minutes as drums and guitar lead the way. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound ! It settles as some bassoon comes in after 4 minutes. The tempo picks back up 5 1/2 minutes in and vocals return. Excellent sound 7 1/2 minutes in as they jam. "Aftaglid" is the almost 15 minute closer. It's mellow to start with before a fuller psychedelic sound arrives after 1 1/2 minutes. Incredible sound here. It settles 4 1/2 minutes in. Psychedelic vocals after 7 minutes as it stays calm. It kicks back in before 9 minutes. Nice guitar work here. It settles some 11 1/2 minutes in. Steve sounds incredible.

This could be a brother to the "You" album. Both are "must haves" in my opinion.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars How did I survive through the long and frightening 2008-2009 crisis? How could I hold out against the cold winter up to now?

Well, I dressed heavy clothes, ate stale bread and listened to Hillage's music.

The first impact was not exactly a falling in love. But day by day I entered the true realm of his long hypnotic style. The adventurous riffs, the spacey atmosphere, the repetitive echo and all other things that grow make me breathless.

And so no words can be spoken.

"Fish Rising" is the most experimental work of the former Gong guitarist and, if coupled with the following "L", you'll discover a gorgeous tour de force.

Well done, Steve.

Review by Guldbamsen
5 stars Put on your your bathing clothes - weīre going diving!

From the sizzling opening of "Solar Musick Suite" to the unrestrained cacophony of "Aftaglid" it is quite obvious that this album would fit just as well under the "Gong"-umbrella. That should come as little surprise, when you see the musicians credited. I do feel that the music gets much more elbow room, which leads to more instrumental and jamming passages and ultimately longer songs. The "You" album showed signs of these progressions, whereas "Fish Rising" sounds more full fledged and dedicated to these aspects of the music(I am not saying that "You" is inferior by any means.) In my wacky mind it sounds something like "You" graduated and sought out the wild and free-form world, where itīs allowed to dance on the kitchen table, sing with a mouth full of asparges and pop a tab of acid at the dentist without anyone pointing fingers...

My mouth waters up every time I put this album on. The opening is like slipping into a hot bath with millions of small electric underwater fireflies zippin about in it. -Well, or some other dangerously disturbed imagery that entails space midgets and a mountain of Roque fort cheese... This is pure imagination-gasoline and I feel sorry for the peeps out there, who arenīt capable of letting themselves go to the blistering sounds of Steveīs guitar, that will sweep you off your feet and shoot you right out of the solarsystem. There are times on this album, where you could swear that he is playing on a borrowed lazergun from Han Solo.

I canīt review this without mentioning the formidable "Aftaglid". What a song!!! I am a drummer and self taught, which means that I have no real knowledge of time signatures and chords. I hope youīll catch my drift anyways... What I find truly amazing about this song, is that it doesnīt follow any kind of melody structure. Itīs almost as if the riffing is played AROUND the melody. It is the power of suggestion, and therefore the song is never handed over on a silver platter. If that isnīt progressive - then Iīm a lobster with weird musical tastes.

I would imagine, that this music takes the human mind the closest it can get to understanding the terrifying experience of being smashed to pieces by thundering white waterstreams and pushed down in huge razorsharp boulders from beneath. The last swim of the salmon....

A Canterburyan masterpiece that doesnīt smell at all. -

Review by Negoba
4 stars Superb Outing from THE Canterbury Guitar Master

FISH RISING, the first solo album by Steve Hillage, has been dubbed "Space Shanty 2" or "Radio Gnome Invisible, pt 4" by various fans. While it is much closer to the former than the latter, this album is best conceived as simply one of the many recombinations of the Canterbury crowd. Combining the RGI lineup of Gong (without bandleader Daevid Allen) and adding organist extraordinaire Dave Stewart, all playing Hillage's evolving compositions, FISH RISING is a kind of in-between album in many ways. But instead of being a directionless project with lots of growing pains (which it easily could have been), it has the best of many worlds all in one place. It is an excellent album, one of the best of the space jam style of Canterbury that I prefer.

The craziness and psychedelia of Gong have obviously had a significant effect on Hillage since the Khan project (incidentally my single favorite Canterbury album). The sound of FISH RISING is more open, a little less focused, but also packs more surprises. There are exchanges between Hillage and Stewart that would have fit perfectly on Space Shanty but there are also much longer and free form space jams. These jams are superb, by the way. My taste for long effects-laden improvisation is variable, but on this album I never get bored (as I do listening to many Krautrock albums). Certainly, there are repeated melodic themes, but the amount of variation in instrumentation and rhythm keeps my attention quite well.

The strength of this album is composition. On previous works, Hillage had shown his ability to construct very prog multi-sectioned songs with odd time, interleaved instrumentation, and non-standard melodies. All of these exist here, but with a wider variety of tonal colors available. Non-western tonalities, solo guitar loops, and rapid stop changes are used with great taste. There is a LOT of music packed into these songs. At the same time, the music has a certain groove and atmosphere that could still appeal to non- musicians. (Which cannot be said for some of my other Canterbury favorites)

I would argue that few guitarists in all of rock have as wide a palette as Hillage. There are certainly artists that experiment with effects, and great soloists, and studio junkies, but I think of none who quite have the complete package that Hillage does at this stage in his career. His soloing certainly holds its own with some of the cream of the blues-rock crop, but his use of effects and overlapping melodic lines is simply unmatched. Head to head to Latimer, Gilmour, Howe, Hackett, Blackmore, and frankly even Hendrix, Steve Hillage's playing is among the best ever.

Hillage does not have the strongest voice, but he uses it well in the musical scene he's created. On repeated listens it becomes part of the music, and indeed he sometimes weaves his voice in with the instruments in twisting melodic exchanges. Dave Stewart's parts are very typical for those familiar with his work. Dextrous distorted organ and piano create a sense of aggression in just the right places. It is clear on this project, however, that he's playing on Hillage's solo album. In comparison, Stewart actually seems to be a co- bandleader on the Khan album despite the circumstances of his being added to both albums being quite similar. And if FISH RISING suffers from anything, it's that Hillage doesn't have the true foil to push him as he did on Space Shanty.

I have the 2006 remaster and frankly it sounds great. None of the muddiness that I see discussed about the original seems to be here. There are two bonus tracks, and the first "Pentagrammaspin" is a great addition. Though it's loosely based on Hillage's often referenced "Om Riff," the song is among the most intense on the album, and contains some great work by Stewart. The second, a base track for the epic "Aftaglid" is a strange and mostly pointless novelty. It's especially annoying in that it occurs as track 7 just after track 5 was the original song. Repeating a 15 minute track with a weaker version 2 songs later leads me to just fast forward.

For me, this is a 4+ album, but really doesn't reach masterpiece status. If you liked Space Shanty, this is the next one to get. If you like Gong, this is a great addition to the collection. If you like Steve Hillage, well you already know.

Review by friso
2 stars Steve Hillage played perhaps his best guitar lines on the 'Space Shanty' record and Fish Rising is said to be made partly with leftovers for what was supposed to have become the second Kahn album. You'll hear a mix of rock, jazz and space rock, but with little of sticky charm of that one Kahn album. In stead, this record kind of drags on a bit and fails to deliver a single good song. The recording sound is muddled as well, which makes listening to it a bit tiresome. Steve HIllage had also played nicely on a string of classic Gong albums, which I can highly recommend as well. I would give 'Fish Rising' a second change if the album would get a remix and remaster, but for now I would say this is for fans.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Steve Hillage's first solo album is also his best. This is essentially a Gong album, but without Daevid Allen, and addind Dave Stewart on keyboards and Lindsay Cooper on bassoon. The result is an amazing work of Canterbury psychedelia. Some friends have commented to me that the whole album has too much of a hippyish feel, but that is one of it's charms in my opinion,

My favorite track is the opening Solar Musick Suite, a multi-part epic, featuring some of the best compositional work I've ever heard from Hillage, as well as a great performance from the entire band. The off-time jam in the third movement Hiram Afterglid Meets The Dervish is particularly pleasing to my ears.

The rest of the album is just about on the same level, featuring fantastic work from Pierre Moerlin on drums and marimba.

Not a perfect album, but very close. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Steve Hillage debut solo album and his best work till now. In fact, this work could be named "Steve Hillge's Gong" besides many other Gong tree projects. Hillage was really important figure in early Gong period (especially Egg's Trilogy), and there are big team Gong related musicians on his debut.

Sax player Didier Malherbe, drummer Pierre Moerlen, Gilly Smyth - great Gong cohort, supported by great Canterbury keyboardist Dave Stewart between others. No strange music of this album is quite similar to Egg's trilogy (Gong). Almost 17 minutes opener is excellent musical piece with complex structure, great musicianship ( it reminds me softer and more spacey version of UK debut album's music). The Salmon Song is all time Hillage classic and Aftaglid (with Gilly Smyth characteristic singing) is absolute Gong's song.

I can characterize this album in whole as Gong version without Daevid Allen ( what means lesser dozen of freaky psychedelic) and with Hillage as a leader ( more guitar sound, better structurized music). I think everyone who likes Egg's Trilogy will like this album as well.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars An album that captures both the best of the spirit and potential of Canterbury, Fish Rising is one that won't get away from my clutches. It's not great, but it does contain some undeniably great moments, and as such is one of my favorite Canterbury albums.

Solar Musick is definitely the highlight, as it is just packed with layers of guitar, and it samples from hard rock, space rock, jazz, and some interesting hybrids of these. Perhaps greatest is that it's not just a complex guitar song, as keys, organs, some nice sax, and excellent percussion make welcome appearances throughout. Despite the limited vocals, the spacey intro and outtro work very well, and the instrumental middle section is absolutely inspired, from the laid back jazz jam, to when the mood suddenly turns dark, to when everything explodes in climax, only to die down to the familiar theme. One of my top 50 epics.

Aftaglid is not on par with Solar Musick, but it's the second highlight of the album for me. Hillage starts up an absolutely huge echoed riff, coupled effectively by synth, and then dies down for the definitely less enthralling yoga session. However, things pick back up nicely with Hillage taking up the echo effects to great success, topped off with some handclaps. Sometimes good rock can be this simple.

Trippy album with some sublime moments for all time, and a fitting cover to boot. Fish Rising hits the spot when I just want some killer prog music that I don't have to think too much about.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Steve Hillage's solo album reminds me of Chris Squire's major solo album; both contain facets of their parent band's sound (Gong for Hillage, Yes for Squire), yet tweak the sound enough so that there wasn't a ''Son of ...''. It's tempting to believe FISH RISING is ''SON OF RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE PART X'', especially considering that Miquette Giraudy, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Mike Howlett, Tim Blake and Pierre Moerlen all contribute.

I'll admit that the psychedelic aspect of Gong is carried here; after all, Hillage's guitar work did help construct that unique Gong sound. But the mysticism, wit, whimsy and to an extent, the humour is not as present here compared to a pure Gong album. The two long numbers, ''Solar Musick Suite'' and ''Aftaglid'', carry the psychedelic jamming that Gong's YOU album, but don't quite have that Gong touch. They stand firm in their own rights if you can sit through them in full.

''Salmon Song'' is the best song here as Hillage delivers rapid-fire guitar lines all throughout the piece. But, it is Lindsay Cooper's appearance here that steals the show; her bassoon lines make me feel like I'm actually watching the salmon swim upstream in a forest river. The two shorter numbers are pretty much filler, even if ''Fish'' is a goofy track that would have fit on YOU. The bonus ''Pentagrammaspin'' is in the same vein as most of the album but shorter; makes me wonder why it wasn't included on the original album besides the time constraint issue.

FISH RISING doesn't really capture that Cantebury scene aura, but psychedelic lovers would find this most appealing. Gong fans such as myself will find it good, but the whimsy of the RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE is missing here. It still dazzles and sparkles in the same instrumental sense that Gong is known for.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ever since the release of Gong's Flying Teapot it became clear that Steve Hillage's contribution to the band was an important one but it wasn't until the release of Fish Rising that we, the audience, could gasp the scope of his artistic capabilities.

Rarely can a solo album improve upon his work within a collective, but its clear that Hillage made a wise decision by departing from Gong since he managed to keep their spirit alive much better than Pierre Moerlen's Gong and their ever changing direction. Featuring an impressive roster of names and a weird fascination for fish, Fish Rising gives us everything that we wanted to hear from a followup to The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, minus Daevid Allen vocals. Steve Hillage shows that he is a great team player since this solo album has surprisingly few actual solo spots for the main star and instead its the great songwriting that keeps things fresh all throughout the album.

The two lengthy pieces, titled Solar Musick Suite and Aftaglid, remind me strongly of the best sections of Flying Teapot and You without those unnecessary intermission sections that disrupt the flow of the album. Still, it's the surprisingly effective side two opener, called The Salmon Song, that steals the show for me with its pretty basic but highly effective buildup and the main riff section works great in the context of the composition. The two shorter tracks might be considered to be filler material even if I happen to like Fish due to its very trippy sound that doesn't overstay its welcome in the spotlight.

Fish Rising is a very well executed debut release from Steve Hillage that definitely made me interested in hearing more. Just like John Paul Jones' solo albums that made me realize how important his contribution was to Led Zeppelin's overall sound, Hillage can definitely be described as the backbone of Gong's sound that only became apparent to me after hearing this solo release. An excellent album that I highly recommend to fans of exciting prog rock music.

***** star songs: The Salmon Song (8:29)

**** star songs: Solar Musick Suite (16:53) Fish (1:22) Aftaglid (14:44)

*** star songs: Meditation Of The Snake (3:16)

Review by progrules
4 stars If my earlier statement of the two main Canterbury styles is true being camp 1: the Caravan/Hatfield/Soft Machine style and the other camp 2: the Gong style being far more avant garde/psychedelic/space then Steve Hillage is clearly to be classified in camp 2. And another statement: this music is so early seventies, I mean light up a joint and enjoy !

Actually my big love for this great artist and this album is caused by the largest epic of the release: Solar Musick Suite. I know the song for over 5 years now and my love and admiration is only increasing. And then I mean especially the second half of the song on which Steve is firing at all cilinders really. Like I said in my Khan review: I like it best if these solos are extended like they are never ending. And that's what's happening here. The loose laid back style of this eminent song is unsurpassed and I will love it forever. 5* without reserve.

How about the rest of the album ? Well, The Salmon Song and Aftaglid are certainly worth while deserving just about 3,75* on average but they can't reach the amazing level of SMS. But in the end the approach of this album is absolutely my cup of tea. An admirable effort by Steve Hillage but not a true masterpiece I feel. So I will setlle for four.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Steve Hillage's first solo album is possibly his strongest from a prog rock perspective. Recorded at a time when Gong were in turmoil (Hillage would soldier on in the band until the end of the year, quitting after the completion of Shamal), Hillage's backing band includes several Gong refugees in the form of Moerlen, Malherbe, Blake, Gilli Smyth, and of course Hillage's partner and close musical collaborator Miquette Giraudy. This Gong spin-off is rounded off with a few colleagues from the Canterburian end of Virgin's prog stable of the time - Lindsay Cooper of Henry Cow and Hatfield and the North's Dave Stewart - who, of course, had previously played with Stewart in Uriel, Arzachel and Khan, and the previous year had invited Steve to guest on Egg's one-off reunion album The Civil Surface. This impressive ensemble attains a sound which naturally closely resembles Gong of the You era, but with enough Canterbury, jazz and ambient touches to make it a distinctive and different proposition.

The lyrics are, as always when Steve pens them, painfully sincere - whilst Hillage shared Daevid Allen's intent of using musical lyrics to expound New Age ideas and philosophies, Allen would wrap them in his distinctive sense of humour, whilst Steve seems extremely serious about them. (Well, except for the songs about being a fish.) If you share these beliefs, that's probably a bonus, but many listeners will probably find the lyrics somewhat laughable. What saves this from being a weakness of the album is the strength of the compositions and the unique bringing together of Gong's music and more complex musical approaches of the sort that Cooper and Stewart were exploring in their respective bands at the time. Furthermore, Hillage himself proves to be something of a musical Nostradamus, sections of some songs (such as Aftaglid) resembling the sort of ambient/dance music crossover which he and Giraudy would explore under the moniker of System 7 a decade and a half later. I can think of few albums which manage to exemplify their time and, despite that, be so far ahead of their time simultaneously, so Fish Rising earns the fifth star.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars An album I've returned to fairly recently as it was one that never pulled me in back in the 70s. I was never very impressed with the engineering and production; most of the sounds could have benefitted from some better soundboard treatment, better mixing. Plus, though Steve is a master of pulling some absolutely heart-wrenching chords, chord progressions, and melodies out of his beautifully creative soul, his music still feels unrefined and raw, at times even abrasive; rarely do things behave with flow and coherence. I've never seen or heard Steve live, but I wonder how well he'd be able to recreate his songs on stage. (FOr some reason this is important to me. Not only the ability but the desire. Otherwise, what else is a studio recording but an 'on' and 'off'' switch of the recording machine whilst jamming. Replicability denotes effort, structure, discipline, planning, practice, and commitment to posterity.)

1. "Solar Musick Suite" (16:55) contains many flashes of beauty: in sounds, in collaborative outcome, in structural flow. It is not, however, IMHO, a masterpiece of a prog epic. I find it to be not memorable (other than for the fact that it reminds me several times of one of it's masterful predecessors of which I am QUITE fond: KHAN's Space Shanty). (8/10)

2. "Fish" (1:22) is most remarkable for its GONG-like cosmological humor.

3. "Meditation of the Snake" (3:16) could be regarded as ground-breaking for its uses of delays, echoes, and loops, but, after that, is it anything memorable? The lead guitar that takes over for the final two minutes is so steeped--no, stuck--in blues scales that it almost sullies the other stuff. If you want a good experimentalist with guitar and sound effects, try TODD RUNDGREN. I know I do. (7/10)

4. "The Salmon Song" (8:32) quickly kicks into a nice little driving groove before layers of lead guitars begin to build. At 2:25 Steve begins his singing--nice but no really catching melodies. A little magic begins around the 3:45 mark: nice chords and effects, bassoon, scaled down support music. Almost TODD-like! Listening to this album reminds me once again that, for all the grief people give Todd Rundgren, he sure was years ahead of his peers in terms of production knowhow, talent and courage. Some nice space-lead guitar work beginning around 6:40. The bass and drums get a bit annoying. Interesting ending. (8/10)

5. "Aftaglid" (14:42) begins like a Hare Krishna chant: hand/finger bells and simple guitar riffs. By 1:40 we see a transformation into the delayed 'space' guitar for which Steve is quite known. The foundations drum and bass lines are so simplisitic as to make you wonder if the boys thought this was just a sound check or whether they expected the jam to stop at any moment. By 3:50 it finally feels as if the band is clicking--as if the bass and drummer have finally figured out that Steve isn't going to quit, that this is a real 'take' so they'd better get their act together. But then it all disappears at 4:35, fade out everybody but some acoustic guitar, cymbol play and floating-in-the-distant-background space guitar. Gong-like. In the seventh minutes things shift to a more Indian raga-like sound: hand drums, Indian melody being repeated on the guitar; psychedelia in the heavily treated DONOVAN-like vocals here. It's actually kind of a cool, mesmerizing section. At 8:45 we shift back into simple blues-rock formalities (these guys are no Clapton, Bruce & Baker or Hendrix, Redding & Mitchell). As much you can like the signature Hillage space guitar sound, it can't be enough to brainwash you into thinking that this is exceptionally composed or performed music, can it? Perhaps I need(ed) more drugs. (7/10)

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars I am not claiming to be anything more than familiar with Steve Hillage. Obviously, being a prog-head I've listened to this and that associated with the man. You can't but help stumbling over his work, either as a solo artist or in groups. Fish rising is the first solo album I'm getting acquainted with and I do like it. A lot, actually.

Being a prog-head I am partial to long tracks with fantastical names. Thus I love a track like Solar Music Suite, just by name and length but the proof is in the actual pudding. What an opener! Long instrumental passages, fantastical lyrics and greater than great instrumentation. There are some great jazzy passages I adore in this track, aswell as really heavy rock-sounds. the bass is great and the organ of Dave Stewart brings me to my knees. he's got such a personal and distinct sound it is flabbergasting.

Someone wrote the music flows and yes, to a degree I find that to be accurate but I find it more to be grooving really hard. It's bits and bobs of everything, really. Flowing, rocking out, grooving and bouncing. It's everything prog's supposed to be in one great song, namely Solar Music Suite.

The rest of the album has great moments aswell. The short Fish is goofing around but quite fun. The Salmon song and the closer Aftaglid is almost as impressive as Solar Music Suite. The salmon song is shorter and feels more punchy though Aftaglid is a marvellous piece of music ranging from the heavy to the sublime, the electric to the acoustic, from Europe to Asia. Simply outstanding.

I bought the 2007 remastered edition with two bonus tracks. The album I am reviewing is the original album compeised of five songs. The bonus tracks (Pentagrammaspin and Aftaglid Power trio version) are great but it is the original album that truly sets my head on fire. And let me tell you, to the sounds of these gloriuos pieces of music I am burning for eternity. Simply tremendous and amazing.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Emblimatic guitarist of the Canterbury scene.Steve Hillage was born in London in 1951 and begun his career with Uriel (aka Arzachel) in late-60's along with the core that would form Egg a couple of years later.His next chapter would be Khan next to bassist Nicholas Greenwood.After the ''Space Shanty'' album in 1972 musical disagreements forced Hillage to break the band at the fall of the year.Starting originally as a session member for Gong in 1973, he was soon upgraded to a full-time partnership and eventually became the band's leader in 1975, when both Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth quit.Around the same time Hillage recorded his first solo album ''Fish rising'' at the Manor Studios for the Virgin label, featuring the whole Gong line-up along with ex-Comus' and Henry Cow's Lindsay Cooper on bassoon.

Hillage's sound does not move far away from GONG's experiences and the album offers a slightly humurous Space/Psychedelic Progressive Rock with evidence on Hillage's alternating guitar lines and the dual keyboard textures of Miquette Giraudy and Dave Stewart.Three very long tracks are the album's highlights, consisting of fiery jamming parts, weird soundscapes with a psychedelic nature and synth-drenched spacey instrumentals.The Canterbury flavor is also very strong.Stewart's melancholic organ is almost flawless and jazzy interludes appear constantly along the listening, while Didier Malherbe's devastating sax work delivers a rich sound as a whole.Some instrumental parts are definitely overstretched with emphasis on the psychedelic side of Prog Rock, but after all this was what Hillage was born to do: Create spacey, atmospheric and edgy guitar soundscapes.Good electrified soloing combines with mid-tempo synthesizers and hypnotic drumming for a trademark sound of the British Canterbury scene.The more energetic and dense passages with the full-blown instrumental interactions shine through, although this specific style does not seem to be among Hillage's top priorities, with the music usually following a cosmic mood with shifting tempos.

Good album of well-played Psych/Space Rock, typical of the Hillage and Gong school.Sharp, nervous and psychedelic soundscapes, combining the power of keyboards with Steve's inventive guitar stylings.Recommended.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars Steve Hillage's musical career can be traced back to his days in the band Uriel with Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell, and Clive Brooks. In 1968, Hillage decided to begin studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury, which made it unable for him to continue playing with the group. Uriel recorded only one album, under the name Azrachel. The three other musicians changed their name to Egg. In 1971, Hillage formed a one-album project Khan, which would break up only one year later. He settled in Gong, playing on all three parts of the legendary Radio Gnome trilogy. After leaving the band, Hillage teamed up with Dave Stewart, his friends from Gong, Mike Howlett, Tim Blake, Pierre Moerlen, Didier Malherbe, Miquette Giraudy, and Lindsay Cooper of Henry Cow, and recorded his first solo album, Fish Rising.

The music of Fish Rising could closely be compared to that of Gong, but without the strange, comedic input of Daevid Allen. The album is rich in dreamy soundscapes and ambient, space-like textures. The influence of Canterbury-style jazz becomes evident on improvisational passages. The main melodies and themes of the pieces though, are kept in a rather popular convention with ballad-like vocal parts. Hillage often lays down a dry guitar riff with the whole band building a theme around it. On the instrumental parts, he takes care to keep good balance between jazz-fueled improvisation and more 'distant', beat-less passages. Studio equipment works in favor of the lush, cosmic feel of Fish Rising, enriching the music with various delay units, reverberated instrument sounds, Gong-like electronic shimmer effects, and oscillator devices.

Steve Hillage's guitar style and tone may remind the listener a bit of those of Manuel Göttsching from Ash Ra Tempel (who released his guitar-dominated solo album, Inventions For Electric Guitar the very same year). The guitarist switches between a wide variety of sounds ranging from as far as clean, glassy tone supported by a chorus effect, to dirty crunch on rhythm parts, to sustaining fuzz on solos. In addition, Hillage sings with his characteristic, gentle voice. Dave Stewart's organ, Tim Blake's synthesizers, and Miquette Graudy's keyboards all play a crucial role on the album. The wind section of Lindsay Cooper on bassoon and Didier Malherbe on sax and flute gives this release a unique flavor, sort of reminiscent of Gong. Pierre Moerlen's dynamic and accurate drumming is perfectly suited for the work. Moerlen also plays percussion, which really adds to the its distinct sound.

Firsh Rising comprises five pieces. The opening 17-minute 'Solar Musick Suite' is divided into four movements, each having a different feel. 'Aftaglid' and 'The Salmon Song', two other multimovement pieces, follow a similar pattern of the sung theme being presented and later resolving into instrumental madness, which displays the fantastic musicianship of Hillage's companions. Besides 'Solar Musick Suite', Side 1 also consists of shorter tracks, "Meditation of the Snake" and 'Fish'.

The style of Steve Hillage's solo debut, Fish Rising points the direction in which he would go in the following years. To make sure his musical vision is executed in the best possible way, he teamed up with the musicians of the highest order. The result is without a doubt incredibly pleasing. The album's sound is distinct and innovative, yet a bit familiar. Fish Rising is an absolutely quintessential Canterbury scene work.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars One of the unsung heroes of guitar god status of the 70s prog scene, STEVE HILLAGE (aka Steve Hillfish here) paid his dues through various bands that have become recognized over the decades as highly influential musical entities in their own right. Starting his first band Uriel while still in high school, HILLAGE wasted no time developing serious guitar sophistication that forged new sounds in both Khan and then the psychedelic space wandering as heard on Gong's space trilogy but after Daevid Allen jumped ship from Gong in early 1975, Hillage was uncomfortable with the band's trajectory led by Pierre Moerlen but stuck it out to finish the album 'Shamal' before making his own exit and after the success of his debut solo album FISH RISING which was recorded and released while still a member of Gong, the move proved to be the right one and in the process HILLAGE was able to nurture his musical contributions and develop them into extremely complex knotty creatures of sound.

While still in Gong, FISH RISING was recorded with many members of that band. Bassist Mike Howlett, drummer Pierre Moerlen, keyboardist Time Blake and saxophonist Didier Malherbe all makes appearances which gives HILLAGE's debut the most Gong sounding qualities of all his solo releases. The album also hosted other legends from the progressive rock universe including Dave Stewart (Uriel, Egg, Khan, Hatfield & The North, National Health) on organ and piano and Lindsay Cooper (Henry Cow) on bassoon. Also joining his team was his girlfriend Miquette Giraudy on various percussion instruments. She and HILLAGE would later collaborate in the 80s electronic dance music band System 7 which in many ways found its seeds sown with the electronic experiments found on tracks like 'The Salmon Song.' Additionally various members provide a wealth of extra sounds with instruments like the marimba, darbuka, tamboura, Indian flute and glockenspiel.

FISH RISING is one of STEVE HILLAGE's crowning achievements not only as a composer but also as a guitarist and most surprisingly of all an awesomely talented lead vocalist. The album with the help of magical pixies and Hare Krishna chanting flawlessly fused the progressive rock sounds of Khan with the psychedelic space rock of Gong but not only that incorporated the jazz-rock technical wizardry of the Canterbury Scene complete with HILLAGE's phenomenal finger melting guitar playing techniques. Add a dash of avant-prog and ethereal electronica and it's really no mystery as to why the FISH was RISING and seemingly unstoppable. The original album consisted of only 5 tracks, three of which were sprawling epic suites whereas the shorter 'Fish' and 'Meditation Of The Snake' served as unique intermissions that condensed the duality of the album. 'Fish' was a Daevid Allen inspired bout of silliness whereas 'Meditation' displayed the seriousness of the album and its focus on the more Zen inspired vibes of cosmic bliss and psychedelic splendor. The album was even a surprise hit as it peaked at No. 33 on the British album charts.

The complexity on FISH RISING is off the charts and has been referred to as the psychedelic version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra with its far reaching space rock soundscapes that take voyages through ethereal sonic fog zones as well as technically infused jazzified progressive rock workouts where highly demanding time signature workouts perform unthinkable gymnastics with bizarrely timed overlays of echo effects and an infinite supply of varying textures, timbres and harmonies. The near 17-minute 'Solar Musick Suite' with its four distinct sub-sections was actually a leftover from STEVE's Khan days but never found the proper home. Although it was performed live with Khan as well as with Gong, the track was gussied up in its best progressive space rock attire and displayed a new kind of Canterbury magic unlike anything that had ever been recorded before. The effortlessly glides through a galaxy of mood shifts, tempo changes and textural stylistic shifts that range from the happy-go-lucky freewheeling passages to the blistering pyroclastic flows of angularity.

The short snippet 'Fish' is right out of the Daevid Allen playbook whereas 'Meditation Of The Snake' provides the ultimate testament to the power of the echo effect. 'The Salmon Song' which is just shy of the 9-minute mark provides some of the album's most veritable prog technical workouts but also bedazzles the listener with plenty of Canterbury infused whimsy that delves into the realms of ridiculousness! The beefy sinew of the guitar riffs accompanied by the jittery oscillating pulsations of the electronic wizardry provides a glimpse into HILLAGE's future electronic music endeavors. The near 15-minute 'Aftaglid' finds a pendulum shift back towards the serious side of the album and with some hand chimes seems to usher in some sort of meditative practice that drifts through seven different segments. While starting out as an easily digested hypnotic echoey guitar riff, the track soon shoots off into the stratosphere of proggy complexities and offers the most ambitious musical workouts on the entire album. The senses are soon bombarded with a series of polyrhythmic overload, Eastern mediative ritualistic sensuality and mind-bending psychedelic escapism. The track also provides some of the most demanding guitar workouts ranging from acoustic guitar bliss to sizzling electric freakouts.

In many ways FISH RISING was STEVE HILLAGE's creative peak as nothing he did after even came close to the sheer magnanimous nature that exudes from every scale, gill and fin of this ichthyological ascension into some of the most adventurous musical workouts of the 70s classic prog years. In many ways a culmination of everything that led up to FISH RISING, this album also allowed the guest musicians involved to flesh out the most appropriate interpretations of the compositions at hand which proved HILLAGE's interest was in serving the greater purpose of the musical content rather than his own guitarist sensibilities. While the guitar is clearly an important ingredient of the album, the main focus is to ride the cosmic waves and worship the gods of psychedelia while tending to the chores of conjuring up the most knotted complexities that the prog universe demanded in the mid-70s timeline. The results culminated in one of my personal favorite albums of all time. The complexities of FISH RISING require many attentive listening experience before the magic really sets in. Sure, the riffs are easily comprehended on a single listen but this is one of those multi-dimensional albums that keeps giving time after time and ultimately FISH RISING comes off as the ultimate conclusion to the 'Radio Gnome Trilogy' albums of Gong that immediately preceded. One of those few albums i can put on replay for eternity.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #138! Ethereal, spiritual, magical. Incredibly fluid (the non- Newtonian kind!) and solid at the same time, flowing Incredibly well through every second of each suite, yet rocking and jazzing incredibly hard at its core. Funky, psychedelic, stoned, jazzy, absolute insane masterpie ... (read more)

Report this review (#2956234) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Monday, October 2, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Fish Rising", the 1975 LP from Hillage, is quite simply a lovely record. Full of beautiful guitar textures, spacey vibes, and thoughtful and spiritual lyrics. Truly a must-have record for the guitarists out there into Prog and Psych, as well as European and Canterbury Prog scene fans. There are ... (read more)

Report this review (#2878161) | Posted by SpecialKindOfHell | Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Kind of dull. Most of it is boring and the synth sounds are god awful. The singing is solid, the lack of an omnipresent organ makes me sad. No horns, pretty much just guitar drums bass and spacey synths... So yeah I dislike the instrumentation. The music is also not jazzy enough, too psychedelic ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536483) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Sunday, April 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Renowned guitarist STEVE HILLAGE has been part of the Canterbury Scene since the late 1960's. He was involved with two early one-album band projects: the psychedelic Arzachel (Uriel) album in 1969 and Khan's outstanding "Space Shanty" album in 1971. He's also been a longstanding member of the Ja ... (read more)

Report this review (#2302094) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Sunday, December 29, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Between Khan and Gong, there was Fish Rising, another awesome work. A concept album about... fishing? According to Steve Hillage, most of the music on Fish Rising, like The Salmon Song, Solar Musick Suite and even the bonus track Pentagrammaspin would have appeared on a second Khan album. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#1037520) | Posted by VOTOMS | Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Steve Hillage's debut album. .......sort off...... Steve Hillage had already been involved in some notable albums before releasing this album. Uriel, Egg, Khan and most notable Gong. You will find his guitar on some of the best albums this scene has seen. And that was before he recorded this ... (read more)

Report this review (#572423) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I saw Hillage in the database, I immediately recognized him as a guitarist from Gong, and he was present on You, and album I thoroughly enjoyed. Fish Rising plays out like a Gong album, except instead of Pothead Pixies and Octave Doctors and all that druggy nonsense, we have lyrics about fis ... (read more)

Report this review (#259668) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yup this is the lost radio gnome part 4 album, and in my opinion this is even beter then Gongs you and most of the Gong members even play on it, all the players are ofcourse first class the top canterbury guys escpecialy Dave Stewart one of my favorite keyboard palyer realy ads with his amazing ... (read more)

Report this review (#160113) | Posted by Zargus | Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This has probably been written in a review somewhere here, but this album is virtually Radio Gnome Invisible Part 4. Each album in the Trilogy increases with musical content, and decreases with silly vocals throughout the years, progressing to this album. If you are going to buy this album, d ... (read more)

Report this review (#160092) | Posted by OzzProg | Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First solo effort from the best guitarist most progressive rock fans never heard (of), Hillage's first effort after he left the legendary band Gong was this one. He essembles most of his previous Gong bandmates as well as Dave Stewart (former bandmate from seminal prog band Khan-of which Hillag ... (read more)

Report this review (#152098) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 1. Solar Musick Suite is a very long psychedelic/progressive/jam song, reminescent of Yes, very complex and spaced out, bubbling synth, jazzy bass and drums, this song goes into different styles; jazz,rock,psychedelic, progressive... 2.Fish is like a bubbling old indian pot being studied by s ... (read more)

Report this review (#125485) | Posted by Jake E. | Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is Para gongs first studio album really but came out under the steve hillage name for a number of reasons the most obvious being Hillage's not insignificant guitar hero status at the time. Dave Stewert is also along for the ride an old freind of Hillage's from his days with the pretty goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#92760) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Album released in 1975 "Fish Rising". The first work of solo album of Steve Hillage. Lindsay Cooper of Dave Stewart and HENRY COW is received in the guest with all members of GONG. The sound psychedelic is locked. Vorcal of Steve Hillage is a charm. It is pop overall. It is music a little diff ... (read more)

Report this review (#43881) | Posted by braindamage | Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very good album. Spacy ambient waves of electronic keyboards and brilliant guitarplay from Steve Hillage. The back-up band consists of most of the personell from Hillage's previous engagement with Gong, so naturally numerous influences from"Gong's "You" are heard. Hillage creates a very well b ... (read more)

Report this review (#42818) | Posted by tuxon | Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Magnificent CD I just bought. This is an incredible gifted guitar palyer I never knew when I was young. This record has a lot of influences on it, you name it: Canterbury, New Age, Prog, Jazz. But overall it is a great way to meet this man on the peak of his art. The basoon is surreal to say t ... (read more)

Report this review (#37751) | Posted by steelyhead | Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is THE hippy album by one of the UK's most under-rated and unacknowledged guitar greats. Steve Hillage composed (along with members from his previous band, Gong, & Dave Stewart) this exceptional album as a way of explaining to fish what it is to be human. Lacking a mutual language, h ... (read more)

Report this review (#25814) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Usually I don't think much of the space/psych genre, but there are a few exceptions. This is one of them - how can anyone resist the tasty organ of Dave Stewart? There are clear Canterbury influences on this album, which is another thing it has going for it. Steve Hillage is an excellent guita ... (read more)

Report this review (#25812) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars good this one are very spaced songs...a suggerency for the owner of the website...Steve hillage was in a band called "Khan" and they have one album called "Space Shanty" this album is amazing...i did'nt found it in the website...xDD ... (read more)

Report this review (#25810) | Posted by Gonzalo | Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is remarkable & very underappriciated. Recorded & released in 1975. Guitar virtuso & Gong member takes you to a Canterbury Tripp!!!! Presumably it is a concept album on a Fish...most likley a Samon(note: The Salmon Song) or Mr. Hillage has an unhealty obsession with fish! But whater ever ... (read more)

Report this review (#25803) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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