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Steve Hillage

Canterbury Scene

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Steve Hillage Rainbow Dome Musick album cover
3.50 | 119 ratings | 18 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Garden Of Paradise (23:15)
2. Four Ever Rainbow (20:30)

Total Time: 43:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hillage / electric & glissando guitars, Fender Rhodes, ARP & Moog synthesizers, co-producer

- Miquette Giraudy / Fender Rhodes, ARP Omni synth, sequencers, Tibetan bells, co-producer
- Rupert Atwill / Eventide harmonizer (2)

Releases information

ArtWork: Rupert Atwill with Laserphaze

LP Virgin - VR1 (1979, UK)

CD Virgin - CDVR1 (1987, UK)
CD Virgin Records - CDVRX1 (2007, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy STEVE HILLAGE Rainbow Dome Musick Music

STEVE HILLAGE Rainbow Dome Musick ratings distribution

(119 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

STEVE HILLAGE Rainbow Dome Musick reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
3 stars If you like music that floats, you like this album. There are no vocals, no drums, no songs... just two long tracks of pure floating sound. The instrumentation is basically synthesizer and guitar. The synths (handled by Hillage and his girlfriend) burble and flutter in endless washes of blissful color, while Hillage's serene electric guitar tones glide in and out of the mix, almost imperceptibly. The two tracks each have their own distinct flavor, and each is especially honed for those moods that call for this type of music ("floaty," remember). When it's time to float, this album, or some of Ash Ra Tempel's later works, are usually what I grab first. If you know what I'm talking about, get this album.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Only my respect for the third Steve H. (after Hackett and Howe) stops me from destroying this one as this is some sort of new age but then again the titles , the covers and the lenght of the numbers were good hints even if you had never heard this before.
Review by Proghead
4 stars I was a bit hesitant buying this album, being released in 1979, an era of punk, disco and new wave. But I'm glad I did. Here HILLAGE does something completely different from what he did before and go totally electronic. It's him on guitar" onmouseover="window.status='guitar'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">guitar and synthesizers, and Miquette Giraudy (his wife? his girlfriend?) providing additional synthesizers. This album is often thought of as trance or chillout, and it's from 1979! Yes, there is a hypnotic quality to it, and no doubt '70s electronic fans should enjoy this album. I love the opening of "Garden of Paradise". It starts off with the sound of flowing water, with some dreamy use of electric piano'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">electric piano. Eventually a synth pattern starts and continues on, with string synths in the background, creating a hypnotic effect. HILLAGE's guitar pops up. "Four Ever Rainbow" is a really mindblowing piece, really dramatic with HILLAGE giving us a lot of glissando guitar. Just imagine GONG stripped of its vocals, drums, and wind instruments, with just synthesizers, glissando guitar, and some guitar, and this is sorta of an idea you'll get with "Rainbow Dome Musick". The album was named "Rainbow Dome Musick" because it was intended for a festival in London called the Festival for Mind, Body, Spirit in which the "Rainbow Dome..." was one of the attractions. Great stuff.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars There's a decent probability that you'll come to this album having been mightily impressed by Hillage's work during the classic Gong "Flying Teapot trilogy" phase. You may even have been blown away by Khan or some of Hillage's earlier solo works like Fish Rising or L. Or perhaps Rainbow Dome Musick is your first taste of one of the relatively unsung heroes of prog.

Whatever the circumstances, you're likely to be disappointed. For Rainbow Dome Musick is a distinct departure from everything that preceeded it. In fact, it's nothing short of a prototype for a New Age album. While it does contain snatches of Steve's guitar melded with Miquette Giraudy's airy synth work, there are none of the breezy jams that Hillage has come to be known for. Instead Rainbow Dome Musick is best defined by the six minutes of running water that forms the introduction of the first of the two pieces here, Garden Of Paradise.

Both the 20-plus minute tracks are richly woven multi-layered New Age soundscapes, with nary a proper solo (or even a rhythm section!) to enliven proceedings. The ethereal mellow spacey mood is just way too low-key for my liking. This album was recorded at Om in January 1979 for the festival for Mind-Body-Spirit and dedicated "to the universal spirit of New Age synthesis" and boy does that show! I can imagine that it would only appeal to hardcore fans of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and/or Vangelis, and I am not one. Perhaps this album may have seemed progressive back in 1979, but to me, this remains a novelty album of interest to those who wish to hear the genesis of what we now know as New Age music. ... 29% on the MPV scale

Review by Roj
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rainbow Dome Music, recorded by Steve Hillage especially for the Festival For Mind, Body and Spirit way back in January 1979 has been in my collection for a hell of a long time. The album was in fact played by Dr Alex Paterson (no relation!) of The Orb at his legendary chillout sets back in the early 90s, bringing the album back into the public eye once again

The album is unlike the remainder of Hillage's work, due to the ambient nature of this album.

Featuring only two lengthy ambient pieces, this is an album of blissed out tranquility, a masterpiece of the ambient genre. The dominant instruments are the synthesizers which wash over the listener in waves throughout. Aided by Hillage's heavenly guitar work, the music really does provides the most relaxing experience.

Of the two tracks, Garden of Paradise is the most popular, featuring more of Hillage's guitar, however, my preference is for the second piece, Four Ever Rainbow, which is the more ambient of the two. The familiar sound of Tim Blake's crystal machine is in evidence, and the many keyboard sounds provide a backdrop of stunning beauty, at times a little edgy, but nonetheless very peaceful.

I do appreciate that this album will not be universally popular with fans of more mainstream prog, only those with a strong inclination towards electronic or ambient music can be expected to really appreciate this. However, for me it is a great album and for fans of ambient and electronic music I would consider it to be a very important addition to their collection.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Back in the days when I used to play in bands, and even owned a few keyboards, we had a name for this type of music: noodling. It was extremely easy to come up with spacey sounds, and stretch it out for long periods of time. In the eighties this sort of fluff was given a new name, and developed a strong following as "new age". Now I understand that Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy made this music for a new age festival of some sort, but that doesn't make this any easier to listen to.

At least the first track, Garden of Paradise has a guitar solo to liven it up. Otherwise, this is backround noise, nothing more.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Guitarist Steve Hillage has almost done more for space travel than Neil Armstrong, and this spacious release entitled 'Rainbow Dome Musick' may well confirm that. Our favourite Hippie and his synth-tweeking partner Miquette Giraudy recorded two side-long pieces for the Rainbow Dome at the festival for Mind-Body-Spirit in April of 1979, so this does have a 'New Age' leaning but doesn't lend itself to be relegated as mere meditational back-drop, these are thoughtfully constructed, passionately arranged and performed slabs of spacey colour and emotion. Of course, one has to enjoy this sort of thing in the first place, and, more often than not, patience is rewarded. The A-side features Miquette's 'Garden of Paradise', and contains many layers of ARP synths, Rhodes e-piano and some delicate lead guitaring. Never in a hurry to get anywhere, its atmospheres are lush and tranquil. For those unfamiliar with Gliss- Guitar, this is a technique where a 'device', such as a guitar's whammy-bar (or tent peg, or screw-driver etc.) is rubbed up and down over the guitar strings on the fretboard. When the sound produced has been treated with tons of delay and reverb effects it creates this incredible, magical, sustained sound. The 'device' can be slid up and down the fretboard, and depending on the angle of the 'device', it can cover chordal or solo lines. An E-Bow is similar but never sounds as smooth. So, Steve's piece, 'Four Ever Rainbow', is dominated with these cosmic guitar Glissandos as well as a droning synth core. Towards the latter half, chirping synths come to the fore. These 20 minutes pass by rather quickly. If I may relate an anecdote - once whilst listening to this track, at one point the backing glissando was sliding up note by note, gradually becoming thicker and fatter in sound, and I had the feeling I was hovering a few inches off the floor. Wow, I'm levitating !! It lasted a few seconds but it happened, and without the aid of any chemical enhancements. Or, I may have been drifting off to sleep.......This is pure symphonic Gliss like no other. At any rate, yet another excellent and effective album from the Electrick Gypsy. 4 stars.
Review by Warthur
4 stars A shift over into progressive electronic New Age realms, and the missing link between Steve's solo career and the later System 7 work. Like System 7, the album is a full collaboration between Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, who composes the entirety of side 1, and like System 7 it was originally conceived as chillout music, in this case for a mind-body-spirit festival in London. (In fact, System 7 came about when Steve realised that UK nightclub DJs were incorporating elements of this album into their chillout sets.) If you want placid and tranquil relaxation music, it's a pretty good example of the form, though it does require a bit of patience - both tracks take a while to get going, but they're great when they do.
Review by Dobermensch
4 stars A beautiful, pastoral, electronic ambient recording. Now 33 years old, it hasn't dated much at all. Vocal free and quite unlike anything else in Steve Hillage's catalogue, 'Rainbow Dome Music' is a beatless journey through sunny countryside where you might want to stop, have a cup of tea, eat some sandwiches and swat a few flies off your pork pies before dozing off in the late afternoon sunshine. That's what goes through my mind anyway...

Unobtrusive synths and proto sequencers are used liberally on the opener which lasts a whopping 23 minutes. Very similar to modern day equivalents Steve Roach and Robert Rich, you can see where those artists got some of their inspiration from.

'Rainbow Dome Music' is a slowly evolving, laid back, peaceful affair and is one of the best renditions of 'ambient' that I've heard. Some really nice high pitched electric guitars weave their way gradually into the album but are sensibly kept in the background and used frugally.

One good thing about this album is that it's not cheesy at all. It sounds almost timeless. The second and last track 'Four ever rainbow' continues where the last one finished. Walls of keyboards dominate as a few bloops and bleeps emerge here and there. Guitars are so effected that they no longer sound like guitars and appear as washes of keyboards.


Review by admireArt
4 stars Sitting "Rainbow Dome" in the Canterbury scene because Steve Hillage comes from there; is quiet undeserving; not because there is something wrong with that scene; but mainly because this effort goes beyond that sole stage, This work will also be sitted more comfortably among the electronic-prog people or their kraut counterparts or better yet; among the 3. "Canterbury"; because it has all the "back to nature; psychedelic approach"; "Electronic" because as raw as "recorded in a hut" it seems; it uses wisely electronic gadgets and synths available at the time plus Stevesīs long time electric accomplice; and also because the work itself has the feeling of long environmental conceptual ambiences; this genre was so famous for. And last but not least; the whole thing; as sacred as it seems to be; has the loosen up attitude the "Krauts" so dearly enjoy. In todays fashion this could easily be called very early "New Age Music". A category that then turned to be called "Ambient". So also; it could be named early "Ambient Music"... Un-pretentious and quiet away ahead of its time; a 2 "vinyl sided" single compositions (44 min in total); that should not be overlooked by people who dig the sub-genres mentioned above and proggers who like to know what happened before midi.-- 4 very deserving stars; mainly for being ahead of its time.
Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a fascinating one-off `Rainbow Dome Musick' turned out to be in the diverse catalogue of guitarist Steve Hillage, as well as a completely ground-breaking work overall. He may have offered sublime Canterbury Scene-related offerings such as `Fish Rising' (not to mention his time with Gong and Arzachel) and spacey rock works with the trio of `L', `Motivation Radio' and `Green', but this 1979 album he composed with his partner Miquette Giraudy is something else entirely. Recorded especially for the Rainbow Dome at the Festival for Mind-Body-Spirit at the Olympia London that ran from April 21-29 in 1979, it has become one of the seminal and definitive ambient/progressive electronic works of the Seventies that still maintains its incredible status to this day.

The album is split into two side-long completely instrumental pieces. `Garden of Paradise' is a pool of soft running calming streams, meditative chimes, shimmering electric piano tiptoes, glissando guitar wisps, rippling loops and weeping ethereal guitar strains that gradually build in rapturous ecstasy. Ebbing washes of spacey wavering synths seem to hover in the air, a sense of reflective stillness pervading the mood. The second side's `Four Ever Rainbow' holds soothing chimes, groaning electronic trickles, mysterious electronic drifts, tranquil delays of electric guitars, time-altering synth caresses rising and falling, and waves of serene glissando strains reach for the heavens lifting aching veils of angelic cries.

`Rainbow Dome Musick' is just as iconic as other albums that successfully blended spacey electronics and new age/ambient atmospheres with guitar such as Ashra's `New Age of Earth', and it's one of the few albums that can completely alter the ambience and temperature of your environment. `Rainbow Dome Musick' was an album way ahead of its time when it was released, its aura and mystique has maintained for over 35 years now, and it still sounds absolutely timeless today.

Five stars for a classic and definitive ambient/electronic/new-age work.

Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars If the angels in heaven above were to relinquish their harps in favour of electric guitars and ARP synthesizers, they would surely sound like Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy on this album. Rainbow Dome Musick is the ultimate culmination of the tripped-out celestial soundscapes with which Hillage had made a name for himself throughout the decade, taken here to their extreme: no drums, no vocals, just a blissful atmosphere, stretched across two side-long compositions. Track 1, "Garden Of Paradise", may not sound too special by today's standards, but it is beautifully done: starting from a collection of nature sounds and sweet electric piano tones, it develops very slowly into something that sounds like a Berlin School track without a pulse, with loads of sequenced synth arpeggios washing over the listener until Hillage's guitar roars wonderfully on top of it all. However, it is the second track "Four Ever Rainbow" that makes this album truly timeless: the guitar sounds like something from another planet, being processed through so many filters and pedals that it becomes an indistinct mass of consonance. The chord changes that ensue from this mass are magical, and the piece finally settles on the record's sole moment of rhythmic pulsation with a final synth melody in E major, which eventually devolves into arrhytmic synth and guitar glissandos as the piece fades out. This is a true masterpiece of space rock and ambient music.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I was a bit 'non-plused' when I first bought his on vinyl and I didn't play it a lot. It certainly seemed a deviation from his earlier work. I've followed Tangerine Dream for many years, but this seemed a bit too unfocussed to hold my interest.But I'm older now and can look back on this through ... (read more)

Report this review (#2220453) | Posted by fenman | Thursday, June 13, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's not very fair to review the album as progressive rock because it just isn't progressive rock. It would be like classifying Snow Patrol's latest album as progressive rock simply because the last track is over 16min long. As an album of new age/ambient music, it is among the best I've hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#187782) | Posted by coldsun | Monday, November 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This recording marks a distinct change in musical direction and finds Steve presenting what essentially amounts to an early New Age/ambient recording. For those who delight in subtle textures and atmospheres, this entrancing and hypnotic mood piece will soothe and satisfy. It is a fine represe ... (read more)

Report this review (#152114) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By far Hillages best post Gong Lp this is an ambient masterpiece. It is also the first LP by Hillage post Fish rising with acceptable lyrics IE none. Miquette Giraudy Finally out grows her rather cruel Didier "Bloom" inspired nickname of the cosmic camel and shows what a very competent synthe ... (read more)

Report this review (#92761) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I just don't know, why i like this album.. There aren't Steve's guitar solos and it doesn't look like early works in their traditional prog sounds. Rainbow Dome Music has a good music's atmosphere with some space effects, typical for new genre at that time - "progressive electronic". I can't stop ... (read more)

Report this review (#89757) | Posted by | Saturday, September 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hey, just thought id add the info that this album was recorded for th 'Rainbow Dome' at the first mind-body-spirit festival, and it was the guy from the Orb playing this in a club which led to Steve forming System 7 with him and various others. If you want a prog ROCK album, id look at one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#25847) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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