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STEVE HILLAGE

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Steve Hillage biography
Stephen Simpson Hillage - Born August 2, 1951 (Chingford, London, England)

Once Steve HILLAGE was a member of URIEL/ARZACHEL, KHAN and the seminal space fusion band GONG.

In '75 he made his first solo album "Fish Rising", soon after he left GONG and released a serie of studio LP's between '76 ("L") and '83 ("And Or Not") and two live-albums entitled "Live Herald" ('78) and "BBC Radio 1" ('92). Steve HILLAGE, 'the hippie from outer space', will be remembered as one of the main inventors of the space rock, his unique guitarplay inspired later progrock bands like OZRIC TENTACLES and PORCUPINE TREE.

The first solo-album "Fish rising" is the HILLAGE's most acclaimed record but my favorite is "Live Herald". This is a great and stunning live-recording with different line-ups, including drummer Clive Bunker (ex-JETHRO TULL) and bass player Colin Bass (later joining CAMEL). The music shows HILLAGE's spectacular, often distorted and spacey effects and spectacular flights with the synthesizers (often the Minimoog). The climates shifts from dreamy of mellow to up-tempo and bombastic but it remains melodic and harmonic, not as complex and adventurous as GONG.

: : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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GreenGreen
Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
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$9.88 (used)
DusseldorfDusseldorf
Madfish Records Imp 2018
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Steve Hillage - L - Virgin - 28 023 XOTSteve Hillage - L - Virgin - 28 023 XOT
Virgin
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L [Remastered & Expanded]L [Remastered & Expanded]
Extra tracks · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
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For to NextFor to Next
Blue Plate Caroline 1990
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Madison Square Garden 1977Madison Square Garden 1977
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Rainbow Dome MusickRainbow Dome Musick
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Fish RisingFish Rising
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Motivation RadioMotivation Radio
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Virgin/EMI 2007
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STEVE HILLAGE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.13 | 395 ratings
Fish Rising
1975
3.68 | 174 ratings
L
1976
3.48 | 118 ratings
Motivation Radio
1977
3.97 | 182 ratings
Green
1978
3.48 | 93 ratings
Rainbow Dome Musick
1979
3.56 | 57 ratings
Open
1979
2.25 | 35 ratings
For To Next
1983

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

3.84 | 66 ratings
Live Herald
1978
3.94 | 17 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live
1992
2.33 | 8 ratings
Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78
2004
3.13 | 5 ratings
Live In England 1979 (CD+DVD)
2013
4.25 | 4 ratings
Rainbow 1977
2014
4.00 | 5 ratings
Madison Square Garden 1977
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dusseldorf
2017

STEVE HILLAGE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.71 | 14 ratings
Steve Hillage - Germany 77
2007
3.93 | 11 ratings
Live at the Gong Unconvention
2009

STEVE HILLAGE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 3 ratings
Aura
1979
3.62 | 10 ratings
For To Next / And Not Or
1983
4.00 | 3 ratings
Introducing...Steve Hillage (Light In The Sky)
2003

STEVE HILLAGE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
It's All Too Much
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hurdy Gurdy Man
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Not Fade Away (Glid Forever)
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Six-Pack - Six-Track
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Getting Better
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Getting Better / It's All Too Much
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Don't Dither Do It
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kamikaze Eyes
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alone
1983
4.26 | 10 ratings
And Not Or
1983

STEVE HILLAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live at the Gong Unconvention by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover DVD/Video, 2009
3.93 | 11 ratings

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Live at the Gong Unconvention
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Steve Hillage had largely transitioned from a free festival headlining space rock guitar hippy into a house music artist at this point in time, but he'd never dropped the guitar and when the Gong Family Unconvention of 2006 came around things were chill enough between all parties that Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, and their backing band were willing to do a set of Hillage's solo work - mostly the sort of stuff you'd expect, but there's an extended and substantially proggier version of These Uncharted Lands from For To Next which ends up an unexpected treat of a closing number.

Nostalgic revival projects like this are a mixed bag, but in the case of this appearance Steve and his band deliver a more than acceptable set. The performance would pave the way for a stint of live appearances, working as an opening act for Gong, during Steve and Miquette's short-lived return to the fold, but it wouldn't see a new studio album released or anything like that, and to be honest that's only to be expected given that their ongoing explorations of the spacier, ambient ends of EDM are clearly their creative priority these days. Still, both as a souvenir of a nice reunion concert and a decent-quality life rendition of this material - some of which had never been performed live in Steve's original run as a solo artist - it's pretty good.

 For To Next / And Not Or by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1983
3.62 | 10 ratings

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For To Next / And Not Or
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This limited double set of Steve Hillage's two 1983 records eventually became the standard configuration of this set, with CD releases typically combining the two brief New Wave/synthpop-influenced albums onto one disc.

That's not a terrible way to approach this stuff, since the records are two sides of the same coin. Both are built on Hillage and Miquette Giraudy putting down a New Wave-ish synth line and Hillage delivering some of his guitar work on it; the major difference is that And Not Or is more instrumental-oriented, whereas For To Next is more song- oriented. I prefer the And Not Or material, but getting both in one package is hardly a slap in the face, particularly since if you dig one you'll probably find the other at least tolerable.

 And Not Or by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
4.26 | 10 ratings

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And Not Or
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the instrumental and somewhat more prog-oriented side (though still with heavy influences from New Wave and synthpop) of what Hillage and his longstanding partner Miquette Giraudy were tinkering with on For To Next. Leaving vocals behind and abandoning any pretence of offering pop hooks, this is a set of languid, spacey instrumentals. Nothing to spark a major space rock revival or anything, but still not half bad. By and large these tracks have been appended as bonuses on CD releases of For To Next (generally relabelled as For To Next/And Not Or to denote the fact), but I'd say this was actually the more interesting of the two records.
 For To Next by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.25 | 35 ratings

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For To Next
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars By 1983 Steve Hillage had largely stepped back from being a recording artist - his flurry of activity in 1979 was surely enough to exhaust anyone. Instead, he settled into a new career as a producer, and helped a number of up and coming synthpop and New Wave acts bring albums to fruition.

Something of that style has clearly rubbed off on him here. Delivered by just Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, this is a set of New Wave-influenced songs with vocals largely coming second to hypnotic electronic beepling and, gently, in the background, Steve's guitar playing. As a blend of synthpop, New Wave, and a very mild space rock influence, it's OK, though the accompanying instrumental set And Not Or is better.

 Open by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.56 | 57 ratings

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Open
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 1979 was an incredibly busy year for Steve Hillage - possibly too busy, what with three albums hitting the market in a brief span of time. Live Herald was a strong summation of his live performances, and Rainbow Dome Musick was a left turn into ambient music which, a decade later, would inspire Hillage and his constant partner Miquette Giraudy to get into the EDM scene as the ambient house act System 7. Somewhat forgotten in the shuffle is Open, a more traditional studio album offering from Steve and the followup to Green.

Perhaps part of the reason it's been a little overlooked is the fact that recent editions have increasingly cluttered the poor thing up. Not only do CD rereleases monkey about with the original running order, but they also tack on an burdensome number of bonus tracks at awkward points in the running order. Getting Better, a rather embarrassing cover of a decidedly lesser Beatles song, gets crowbarred into the middle of most CD editions, which also tend to start off with the four studio tracks which used to make up side 4 of Live Herald - a clutch of songs which, whilst not horrible, certainly don't represent Steve putting his best foot forwards.

On the whole, the running time is greatly inflated by the bonus material (going from 39 minutes to 65 minutes), but if you trim the album back down and resequence it to reflect the original vision, it actually comes across much better. Whilst still going on prog-ambient excursions driven by his spacey guitar and Miquette's synthesisers (as on Earthrise), Hillage also grows and evolves his sound, working in a pinch of funk here and a welcome dose of punk energy there (Getting In Tune might be the most refreshingly direct song he'd done for a while).

In general, I wouldn't put this above Green, but I certainly find it a more consistently interesting album than, say, Motivation Radio, and overall I think Open deserves more credit than it gets when it comes to the appreciation of Hillage's overall discography.

 Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78 by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Live, 2004
2.33 | 8 ratings

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Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sourced from recently-rediscovered soundboard tapes, this festival concert from the Green Tour has a decent enough setlist, but the sound quality just isn't up to par. The bonus tracks illustrate that it is, indeed, a step up from the audience tapes of this gig that had previously circulated, but it's still only a half-notch above bootleg quality.

On top of that, more recent archival live releases from Hillage - both the standalone release of the Madison Square Garden concert from the L tour and the various live albums offered in the Searching For the Spark boxed set - stand head and shoulders above this one when it comes to audio quality. There's really no shortage of Steve Hillage live material these days - and as a result there's no compelling reason, unless you're a completist, to settle for a release with sub-par audio quality like this one.

 Madison Square Garden 1977 by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Live, 2015
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Madison Square Garden 1977
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This isn't just a Madison Square Garden set from 1977, despite the title - you get two bonus tracks, both from unrelated performances, one of which is a collaboration with Rick Wakeman and the other with William Shatner. But it's the Madison Square Garden tracks most listeners will be here for - a solid set from the 1977 tour supporting the L album, recorded just a few months before Steve ensconced himself in the studio to produce Motivation Radio. The end result is heavy on the extended instrumental stuff from L and Fish Rising, and that's exactly what Steve was best at in this phase of his career. I tend to prefer the BBC session from 1976, which is a bit more forceful (and now available via the Searching For The Spark boxed set), but this isn't bad.
 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 395 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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.

 Rainbow Dome Musick by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.48 | 93 ratings

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Rainbow Dome Musick
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

 L by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 174 ratings

BUY
L
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1975 Hillage along with girlfriend Miquette Giraudy participated for the last time in a Gong recording session.By the start of 76' he had already left the band and around the same time he came in touch with Todd Rundgren for a potentional future collaboration.The result was Rundgren to invite him to the USA and Hillage along with Giraudy made the transatlantic trip to New York.Backed by Utopia he recorded his second album ''L'' at the Secret Sound in Woodstock with Rundgren providing the production/sound engineering background.Famous American trumpetist Don Cherry was also among the performers.It was released in 10 countries the same year on the Virgin and Atlantic labels.

First thing to strike is that three out of six tracks are cover songs, namely ''Hurdy gurdy man'' by British singer Donovan, the ethnic-styled adaption of the mantra ''Om nama shivaya'' and George Harrison's ''It's all too much'', originallly released for the soundtrack of the ''Yellow submarine'' film.These versions along the Utopia stylistical pinches explain why this sounded a bit different than ''Fish rising''.But the result was pretty awesome, cause all Hillage-written tracks are great and the covers sound like perfect pieces on a missing puzzle, an album needing some tracks to be completed.Hillage's original material is again a beautiful amalgam of smooth guitar instrumental madness, spacey keyboard themes, psychedelic overtones and Canterbury flavors, now mostly popping up in the vocal deliveries, ''Lunar musick suite'' in particular is absolutely mindblowing with Hillage making a rare explosion of virtuosity with solos and developing guitar moves, Cherry putting the shoes of Malherbe and adding some great trumpet work over the cosmic keyboard lines and the final beats sounding a lot like UTOPIA in a lyrical, Art/Prog Rock style with seminal symphonic echoes and atmospheric endeavors.The covers are also pretty cool, but I will have to make a praise for the unusual entry of ''Om nama shivaya'', which Hillage adapted greatly in his own style and transforming it into somekind of Ethnic-Space Rock piece.

Belonging to the minority, I can see why the choice of covers have turned fans of Hillage down, but as a whole ''L'' sounds more convincing to my ears than ''Fish rising''.The light American influences and the production of Rundgren thrown in the typical Space/Canterbury sound of Hillage have made some miracles here.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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