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HILLS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Sweden


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Hills biography
HILLS are from Gothenburg/Sweden. They started out loosely around 2006/07 and it took some time to find their own sound. The core consists of three members, currently Hanna (drums), Kalle (bass, guitar, organ) and Pelle (guitar). It sometimes differs live, but very seldom with more than 4 musicians.

The music settles in the psychedelic and space field, provided with an experimental character and the approach to form something new and unique. Influences are diverse, ranging from kraurock to Velvet Underground. In 2009 the band released an eponymous debut on Intergalactic Tactics Records with a limited edition of 300 items.

HILLS are playing freaky music just for fun, don't make any promotion - however, they received some attention plus positive reviews and consequently the vinyl debut is sold out in the meanwhile. SULATRON Records reissued the album in 2010 enlarged with two previously unreleased songs.

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HILLS discography


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HILLS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.99 | 6 ratings
Hills
2009
3.84 | 61 ratings
Master Sleeps
2011

HILLS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Hills Live
2013

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HILLS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Master Sleeps by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 61 ratings

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Master Sleeps
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Those with an appetite for hypnotic murmuring and percussion, fuzzy, vast-sounding guitars, and melodic repetition should acquire Hill's Master Sleeps. Staples of the space-rock category are here in abundance.

"Rise Again" The long sweeping flanged guitar creates the "cosmic-wind" through which the percussive music is funneled.

"Bring Me Sand" Although the guitar ventures into the exotic, the determined beat provides a 1980s feel. At any moment I was expecting Kate Bush to open her mouth, and that would have been far more enjoyable than the stream of screeching noise wrestling in the foreground.

"Claras Vaggvisa" Thin organ tweets alongside a dirge of steady bass and drum as distant voices call out.

"The Vessel" Again emphasizing the expansive guitar, "The Vessel" moves with a steady rapidity.

"Master Sleeps" Dipping a toe into the muddy waters of blues rock, the title track features a motif laden with low guitar bends. Much of the piece consists of tonal simplicity, depending on subtle shifts and variations.

"Death Shall Come" Electronic droning and otherworldly chanting leads the listener into an exotic space temple, a sonic ritual marrying the ancient forgotten ways to the technology of tomorrow. Although somber and murky, the piece is more varied than its brethren.

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 Master Sleeps by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 61 ratings

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Master Sleeps
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sweden's Hills play a kind of heavy psychedelia that sounds pretty similar at times to the San Francisco outfit Wooden Shjips. However, that is not criticism. With a slightly more progressive edge, Hills brand of cosmic trip-rock proves both innovative and exhilarating, switching between fuzz-toned, retro epics('Rise Again') and more modern-sounding, Eastern-tinged efforts('Bring Me Sand') whilst never losing sight of their powerful psych-drenched mantra. Sometimes 'Master Sleeps' errs towards the heavier side of things, though unlike much of the so-called psychedelic groups of the 21s century, they pointedly eschew the roaring guitars and white noise squalls that can be so distracting. Not unlike finding Dungen's more refined soundscapes crossed with the mesmerizing dronery of New York's White Hills - 'Master Sleeps' is a truly mystical experience filled with trippy sound effects, chiming guitars and ethereal moments of blissed-out calm that nicely compliments the album's harder sections. Unlike many of today's unimaginative psych-rock purveyors, Hills seem to be the real deal. We await their next release with genuine anticipation.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Master Sleeps by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 61 ratings

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Master Sleeps
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Swedish band HILLS has been around for 5 years now, and they released their self-titled debut album back in 2009. "Master Sleeps" is their sophomore effort, and was issued by Swedish specialist label Transubstans Records in early spring of 2011.

Those familiar with Transubstans Records will most likely already suspect what's in store when they sign a new band. They specialize in 70's oriented rock of various kinds, with heavy psychedelic and hard prog among their specialities. Hills is a representative for a rather different flavour of music however, one most commonly described as space rock. In this case sporting quite a few heavy psych details one might add.

When that is said, there is a fair bit of variety to the proceedings in this, by modern standards, short production. In the span of less than 40 minutes we're treated to a laidback tune sporting an echoing child's voice beneath a dampened organ motif, the latter reminding quite a lot of the exploits of the late Bo Hansson (Claras Vaggvisa), title track Master Sleeps sports wandering, clean laidback psychedelic guitars as it's main component, while final track Death Shall Come opens with a dark electronic drone and layered vocals, with wandering psychedelic guitar motifs and rhythms added at the halfway point. All of them backed by hypnotic, circulating drum and bass patterns, from slow and subtle to quirky and sophisticated constructions.

And while this trio of improvised psychedelic excursions are compelling experiences, the remaining trio - consisting of Rise Again, Bring Me Sand and The Vessel respectively, are the high points of this disc. Pace-filled, hypnotic circulating rhythms is the backbone of these improvised journeys too, but here they are supplemented with compact, fluctuating droning textures. Which works extremely well to create intense, groove-laden and highly compelling psychedelic pieces of the space rock variety. Songs that take you along into inner and outer space, and in the case of Bring Me Sand with a bit more variation and even some Raga motifs towards the end.

Arguably not the most sophisticated and challenging type of music, but if you generally enjoy improvised music of the psychedelic variety and in particular droning effects and the 70's space rock mood, Hills have produced an album that will have a strong appeal to most space cadets. A highly recommended production, and a strong contender in my list of best albums of 2011.

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 Hills by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.99 | 6 ratings

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Hills
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars HILLS are a relatively new Psychedelic / Space Rock band out of Sweden and this is their debut. I have to agree with Rivertree and avestin about the 3.5 star rating even if I wanted to bump it up I just can't do it. There's something missing I don't know what it is but this just hasn't clicked with me even though I like their sound and style. Maybe i'm just comparing it to some of my favourites from the genre which leaves this lacking somewhat. Good album though.

"Death 1" starts of with church bells before drums and bass take over. Keyboards, guitar and flute all come and go. "Istiklal Street" kicks into a heavy beat but it stops quickly as we get a psychedelic soundscape with spacey sounds that echo. It does kick in at 5 1/2 minutes and flute joins in a minute later. "You Talk The Talk !" opens with drums and piano that build. Flute after 1 1/2 minutes,guitar 3 minutes in. "Rainship (Solregn)" opens with water sounds, birds then clapping. Guitar plays in the background. It kicks in at 3 minutes.This is really good as they jam to the end.

"Ex Oblivione" is spacey with lots of atmosphere.The guitar is crying out at one point. A beat 3 minutes in as the sound gets fuller.The sad part is that this song seems to stop out of nowhere. It should have kept going because it seemed like they were just getting warmed up. "Schlaraffenland" has a heavy beat with guitar. It all sounds pretty good after 2 minutes as they jam. "Messias" builds quickly with a light beat, synths and distorted guitar.

As Damo says these guys have a promising career ahead of them, they just need to improve a few things. A good album anyway.

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 Hills by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.99 | 6 ratings

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Hills
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942

3 stars Can we call the side A and B as "dark side" and "clear side", respectively?

This is the debut album of HILLS, one of Swedish promising psychedelic bands. Their flexible play and delightful sound have much possibility that they will be a more brilliant gem in Psychedelic Progressive Rock scene. Although their play technique is slightly rough and dizzy, these sound touches can notify me they are still now developing more and more.

Absolutely each side should be the counterscape of another. The dark side is very dark - Death 1, which gets started with clear but a bit weird church bells, goes forward onto the dark hill, as if the song says the beginning of life should lead to the end, that is Death. Honestly for me their flexible session sounds very enjoyable ... only for me? Next Istikal Street knocks us with heavy riffs, rumbling echoes, quirky noises, and eccentric atmosphere. What should make them sick-designed? But on the last atage they come back to steady sticky heavy rock scene. The following Ex Oblivione, the shortest song with full impact in this album, is the most Oriental and enthusiastic one I feel as an Eastern.

Well on the contraside - You Talk The Talk is a very beautiful song, with a graceful electric piano solo and a dry fruity flute one, based on simply trippy piano repetitions. This moment can give us some safe and sound life surely. And the last wonderland Rainship, on that is very beautiful stream sounds, can flow beautifully and ethnically with an electric sitar on tribla soundscape. Guess they play their original psychedelia very pleasantly till the end.

Promising Swedish psychedelia is now a bity bitter but will be delicious in near future. Recommended.

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 Hills by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.99 | 6 ratings

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Hills
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hills are a psychedelic rock band from Sweden, comprised of the trio of Hanna, Kalle and Pelle who each play an assortment of instruments on the album. Intergalactic Tactics Records released this self-titled album in 2009 in a limited run of 300. I got to know this band through a recommendation in the Progressive Ears music forum. Having listened to the two tunes on their myspace, I was able to get the album from Kalle from the band for review.

An ominous bell announces the start of this mysterious journey, in the opening track, "Death 1", followed by a throbbing bass sound and soon the rest of the band. The style played, while sounding dated psychedelic rock, is quite appealing and alluring. That's a sense of danger and obscurity created by the music, enhanced by the contrast between the soft and enchanting sounding flute and the rawer guitar playing in the background. However, there is not much development in this first track and it goes on for several minutes and then ends. I'd have liked more progression of this theme and a buildup to something else. The second piece, "Istiklal Street", while starting in a confident and thematic manner, goes on to become an abstract affair, with sound guitar and bass sound effects creating loops and strokes of sounds. However, things get more structured towards the end of this piece, order resumes and the original theme returns. It is in fact quite haunting melody that is well enriched with the additional layering of the flute playing and solo guitar. "Ex Oblivione" starts abruptly with more psychedelic and spacey guitar ornamentation (a-la Pink Floyd, Meddle-era); there is no real melodic lead here, more of a mellow rhythmic pacing that gets slightly more powerful as it goes on. After the middle of this track, the melody becomes obvious as a voice hums to the music, with the guitar accompanying him. However, we are already at the end of this piece and it ends for some reason in a fade-out in the middle of the build-up. Again, I feel there was a chance to do more with this piece and the opportunity was missed. It could have been extended and developed further. "You Talk The Talk" opens with a piano, quickly joined by an alluring drumming pattern, which then develops into a full-lineup beautiful melodic theme. The bass provides a powerful backing up rhythmic pattern and the flute participates in this role as well. I feel this track is closer to what I'd like to hear from them; creating a theme and mood and then slightly developing it, adding layers, changing a bit the direction etc. The last track, "Rainship [Solregn]", is also the longest one on the album. It takes time to fully develop into the main theme, which is in fact a fast paced one. What I like about this track is the varied instrumentation used to embellish the music. The theme here, appropriately for a freak-out psychedelic session, doesn't change much and is a great listening experience. However, I'd have not put this track as the last one in the album; "You Talk The Talk" would have been better placed after it, but it's a minor point.

Hills is a fun album and as a psychedelic rock enthusiast I'm satisfied with it. But as I mentioned above, some of the tracks could use more longer playing time and additional development and build up. In particular, "Ex Oblivione" should not have been ended this way. There is great potential here and some of it is fulfilled (in parts of the tracks). I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future.

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 Hills by HILLS album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.99 | 6 ratings

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Hills
Hills Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars HILLS' debut is relatively short, but still an eventful trip. Because they don't make any promotion (not counting the gigs) you need some luck to get in touch or really have to search for such a band, especially when you're outside of Sweden. Probably overshadowed by acts like First Band From Outer Space, The Spacious Mind, Darxtar or Oresund Space Collective to name only a few other similar genre bands all coming from that country. The HILLS members just play music together for fun, far away from any commercial goals ... and any limits equally.

This trio basically comprises the standard rock instrumentation guitar, bass and drums ... not exlusively though and so the first track Death 1 shows some charming laid back flute contributions by Kalle. This is a trippy one based on a deep hypnotic bass, but not completely mellow and silky - you will also detect rather creepy sounds plus voice samples on the other hand and an interesting nervous guitar acting in the background. Yeah, five minutes which have plenty to offer!

Istiklal Street now evolves as a cosmic adventure - the background music for a dangerous excursion through time and space with soaring and delayed guitars. The surprising aspect though follows when they suddenly turn into a heavier direction, once again forced by the powerful rhythm instruments. Ex Oblivione is a short outtake more in the vein of FBFOS where You Talk The Talk obviously includes early Kraftwerk (Ruckzuck) inspirations. Trippy grooving, connecting to the opening song, Rainship finally is the album's ultimate jam - an intriguing cocktail of meandering guitars, slightly eastern flavoured drones, musical box alike sounds, diverse samples.

HILLS offer psychedelic and spacey sounds provided with krautrock leanings and a rather experimental approach, an enjoyable blend of mellow, heavy and weird impressions. Hardly surprising, this album is nearly sold out in the meanwhile, but actually there is no intention for a re-issue. So if you add yourself to the fans of the aformentioned style(s) you should hurry up to reach for one of the rare vinyl exemplars - 3.5 stars.

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