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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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STEVE HILLAGE discography


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

4.11 | 509 ratings
Fish Rising
1975
3.65 | 216 ratings
L
1976
3.51 | 153 ratings
Motivation Radio
1977
3.90 | 224 ratings
Green
1978
3.50 | 120 ratings
Rainbow Dome Musick
1979
3.58 | 78 ratings
Open
1979
2.30 | 46 ratings
For To Next
1982
3.13 | 8 ratings
And Not Or
1982
3.90 | 10 ratings
Evan Marc & Steve Hillage: Dreamtime Submersible
2008

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

3.85 | 83 ratings
Live Herald
1979
3.93 | 23 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live
1992
2.27 | 12 ratings
Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78
2004
3.18 | 9 ratings
Live In England 1979 (CD+DVD)
2013
3.86 | 7 ratings
Rainbow 1977
2014
4.00 | 10 ratings
Madison Square Garden 1977
2015
4.15 | 4 ratings
Dusseldorf
2017

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

4.63 | 19 ratings
Steve Hillage - Germany 77
2007
3.91 | 14 ratings
Live at the Gong Unconvention
2009

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

4.06 | 7 ratings
Aura
1979
3.60 | 15 ratings
For To Next / And Not Or
1983
4.00 | 6 ratings
Introducing...Steve Hillage (Light In The Sky)
2003

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

4.33 | 3 ratings
It's All Too Much
1976
3.00 | 2 ratings
Hurdy Gurdy Man
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Not Fade Away (Glid Forever)
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
Six-Pack - Six-Track
1977
3.95 | 3 ratings
Getting Better
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Getting Better / It's All Too Much
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Don't Dither Do It
1979
2.50 | 2 ratings
Kamikaze Eyes
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Alone
1983
4.22 | 11 ratings
And Not Or
1983

STEVE HILLAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Motivation Radio by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.51 | 153 ratings

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Motivation Radio
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars By 1977 former Gong guitarist STEVE HILLAGE was well on his own path with a successful solo career building momentum but as the age of prog was ceding to a new era of funk, punk and disco, HILLAGE became irritated with many prog snobs snubbing the new up and coming genres and limiting his musical expressions to the world of progressive rock. In his own expressions of rebellion and breaking free from any such pigeonholing attempts, HILLAGE delivered a new sound on his third album MOTIVATION RADIO which found as much inspiration from Funkadelic and Earth, Wind & Fire as from Gong or Pink Floyd.

Unable to shake his space rock connections completely, MOTIVATION RADIO offered a unique mix of danceable funk rock steeped with the usual glissando guitar fueled psychedelia and art rock. The album also added a bit of punkish guitar heft that surely must've thrown the prog snobs for a loop when this hit the scene. While the funk rock moves dominate the guitar, bass and drum rhythm sections, HILLAGE hired Malcom Cecil from Tonto's Expanding Head Band to produce and engineer the album which in the process kept many of the trippiest moments of classic Gong alive and well. Likewise HILLAGE's vocal delivery is very reminiscent of Daevid Allen's best Gong moments so apparently he was indelibly marked by the experience for life.

This album offered an interesting mix of tracks with some like the opening "Hello Dawn" shouting the fact that HILLAGE had totally funked up his fans sh.i.t and delivered a major curveball but it doesn't take long for his psychedelic roots to steal the show such as the Gong-esque "Light In The Sky" that narrates the arrival of UFOs complete with all those freaky psychedelic excursions heard on "Angel's Egg" and "You" even with a surrogate Gilli Smyth offering some space whispering. Some tracks like "Wait One Moment" take on a Pink Floyd flavor with a chilled space rock sound that reminds me of "Comfortably Numb" from "The Wall" but obviously two years before that album would emerge.

Of all the tracks on board, "Saucer Surfing" is the closest thing to HILLAGE's masterwork "Fish RIsing" with the same trippy layers of glissando guitar accompanying the overly mystical and esoteric lyrics that sometimes border on ridiculous but reflected the new age and Eastern philosophical interests that dominated the 60s and 70s. "Searching For The Spark" prognosticates the style of what Ozric Tentacles would make a career out of and its not unthinkable that the band was inspired by the unique electronica that dances around in a hypnotic yet cyclical manner. "Octave Dancers" must've really rankled prog stalwarts because it almost sounds like dancy disco only with a funk groove yet features STEVE's classic glissando workouts as well as bluesy guitar licks. The closing "Not Fade Away (Gild Forever)" ends the album with rather bluesy funky space rock vibe.

This is an album that i never really liked a lot until i let it sink under my skin. Sure it's not HILLAGE's best of the lot by a long shot but it certainly does deliver some entertaining moments. Like many the funk and simplicity that didn't measure up to "Fish Rising" rubbed me the wrong way but as i've listening to it more and more it certainly has grown on me in a weird way. There are lots of clever moments on this and the production is amazingly crisp and clear (granted i have the 2000 remaster). Sure HILLAGE's vocal performances range from classic Daevid Allen to sometimes sounding like Devo and even a touch of new wave but ultimately the space mix and HILLAGE's own signature style tips it all in my favor of liking it more. Not his magnus opus but personally i like this one better than "L."

A 3.5 star album but i like it enough to round up to 4

 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 509 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

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 masterpiece. Steve Hillage and his guitar are inseperable, them playing together in harmony at every key and every note. I liked this more than any thing (and they have some billion albums out, that means a lot) the Gong ever done! And in my opinion, that is for all the right reasons. Here Steve Hillage seems more free than he ever was before. This honestly seems like a lost Gong relic or some mysterious outtake collection from Santana's spiritual jazz period that just didn't make the cut. 'Solar Musick Suite' is a masterful guitar-led jazz-rock, 'Fish' is a goofy one-minute ditty, 'Meditation...' is an ethereal guitar solo with synth undertones, 'The Salmon Song' is a slow- building, pure rock (borderline post-metal!) jamming mini- suite, and 'Aftaglid' is a hard-rocking eclectic groove-session of a song. What I'm trying to get at 8s that this album is mad. Mad amazing! Prog on.

 Getting Better by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Getting Better
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The cover design of this single circulates the same graphics as Steve Hillage's fourth album Green (1978), but in fact only the B side song was taken from it. Hillage's version of the Beatles song 'Getting Better' -- which appeared on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) -- wasn't originally included on his next rock album Open (1979) either. It is, however, one of the five bonus tracks on the 1990 CD remaster of Open.

I have come across some various artists compilations covering Beatles songs but I hadn't heard this one before. Truth to be told, if you remember the original song and are familiar with Hillage's style, you already have a very good idea of how it sounds. The glissando guitar and the spacey synths, they're all here. There's also a dance-inviting boogie groove in the rhythm section. Personally I prefer the Beatles original, at least for the vocals, because Hillage isn't a great singer in my opinion.

'Palm Trees (Love Guitar)' is a good representative from Green. Actually it's among the album's many highlights, helped by the relatively small amount of vocals. The guitar work is brilliant and the hazy, laid back summer feel is very enjoyable.

Both the album Green and the single 'Getting Better' were co-produced by Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason. Excellent collaboration indeed.

 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 509 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by SpecialKindOfHell

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 wondrous sounds at every turn. Layered guitars awash with modulation effects create beautiful clean melodies and arpeggios, then the next moment a meaty distorted guitar breaks and wails lyrical leads. This aspect of the LP is the highlight for me, but there is so much more as well.

Synth sequences and oscillator sounds float through the background of the "Solar Musick Suite", the first track and a highlight for sure. While there is fabulous layering and depth to the instrumentation, it leaves space between the parts and never feels busy.

There a rich tapestry of guest appearances on here--Lindsay Cooper (Henry Cow, Comus, National Health), and Dave Stewart (Egg, National Health, Khan, Hatfield and the North) as well as several Gong members. The musicianship is outstanding and the sounds they create engrossing. While it can seem at times that the record is primarily an instrumental tour-de-force, there are plentiful and interesting lyrics throughout, often sung in unassuming fashion and mixed a bit low so that they blend into the instruments. The words paint a vision of togetherness and growth--humanity's connection to a spirit of the world, of our consciousness. That said, they also have a sense of levity and a dash of absurdity that keeps them from being heavy-handed and overly lofty.

"The Salmon Song" at times feels as if it is one long guitar solo, but its middle section--a Zappa-esque instrumental interlude--is outstanding. "Aftaglid" is intense. That seems like the easiest way to describe it. Seemingly innocuous bouncing guitar notes that repeat lead into a heavy and rocking section of overdriven, fuzzed-out guitars wet with tape delay, great textural synth work, and visceral drumming the all come together to make you want to bang your head. Following that, a beautiful and pastoral melodic section with acoustic guitar and ambient textures provide a welcome contrast as it rides you off into a swirling multi-colored sunset.

There's plenty to love about this--what many consider his best solo work?and thus it should come highly recommended to add to your collection. How Hillage is not incredibly famous the world over as a preeminent guitarist on the level of Page, Clapton, Beck, and Hendrix is beyond me. An outstanding work of excellence, with great sleeve art to boot.

"We've explored the infinite circuitry. To try and find a scheme that gave us form It burns our curiosity. And the answers that we sit and hope to find Are living here inside of we." -- "Sun Song", from Solar Music Suite

 L by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.65 | 216 ratings

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L
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars After Daevid Allen left Gong following the band's epic classic "You" which concluded the hippie prog adventures on "The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy," STEVE HILLAGE decided to stick around and continue his spaced out glissando guitar antics on Pierre Moerlen's newest rendition of the Gong universe. Despite a noble effort things got a little to hard to handle with all the changes and having just found a major score with his own debut "Fish Rising," HILLAGE decided to forge ahead as a solo artist rather than endure the drama of the band situation he found himself in at the time.

In most ways, "Fish Rising" was a continuation of the sound that Hillage helped pioneer on Gong's albums "Angel's Egg" and "You" and since it was recorded while he was still a participating member, many of the musicians from Gong joined in to transmogrify a wealth of material left over from HILLAGE's Khan days into full-on progressive space rock astral rockers. While the album didn't quite have a universal commercial appeal, it was and remains a veritable classic of the world of 1970s progressive rock but when it came to following up with second solo offering, HILLAGE had to start from scratch without his Gong connections to steer him through.

The result was the album L which found HILLAGE trading in members from Gong for members of Todd Rundgren's Utopia. The album was in fact recorded in New York produced by Rundgren himself who had made quite a name for himself as a producer. Given the slicker crossover prog of Rundgren and his band Utopia, it's no surprise that L itself followed suit with several more direct tracks that sprawled less and enticed with heavier guitar workouts yet still embraced the new age hippie ethos that HILLAGE had willfully inherited from the Gong-o-sphere. While the album did indeed hit the #10 position on the album charts in his native UK and having become his most successful album commercially, for HILLAGE's prog fans this album was somewhat of a disappointment.

First of all, of the six tracks on board, three are covers leaving only half of the album to feature HILLAGE's own distinct compositional fortitude. The rather strange opener "Hurdy Gurdy Man" showcased a palatable cover of Donovan's classic hit but also cast a dubious spell as to whether Mr HILLAGE could continue to forge a career in the footsteps of his amazingly creative and mind-expanding debut. The following "Hurdy Gurdy Glissando" is a return to form sounding as if it indeed could've been slipped into the debut's effortless flow but also sounds a bit out of sync with the psychedelic pop sensibilities of the Donovan cover.

The beautiful "Electrick Gypsies" is perhaps one of the best tracks with HILLAGE's poetic prose accompanied by glistening guitar antics and guest musician Don Cherry's ominous trumpet sounds. The track features excellent space rock guitar effects and a more blues rock approach to HILLAGE's solos. Continuing down the hippie eccentrics of the 60s, "Om Nama Shivaya" which is a traditional Hindu mantra brings some raga rock to the table which featured a vocal accompaniment by Miquette Giraudy who presumably serves as HILLAGE's counterpart in the classic Gilli Smyth role as space whisperer. While not bad, the track suffers from a bit of cheesiness as HILLAGE's once magnanimous composiitons had been tamped down to more digestible units.

Side Two on the original LP captures the closest vibe to "Fish Rising" with the excellent "Lunar Musick Suite" only turned up a few notches with faster tempos and a heavier rock heft. Still though, the dueling guitar licks are right out of the "Fish Rising" playbook making this 12 minute track another highlight of L. This one is the most progressive as well with loads of time signature deviations, space rock atmospherics and even an excellent trumpet solo from Don Cherry who brings his jazz sensibilities to the table in perfect form and gives this album a much needed upgrade in the stylistic approach of the debut. This track really should've been the template for the entire album to revolve around. Finishing the album is the George Harrison cover "It's All Too Much" which prognosticates the more poppy direction HILLAGE would visit in the future with simple electronic drumbeats and catchy verse / chorus arrangements. Not bad but doesn't fit on this album overall.

In the end, L fell a few steps down from the perfection of "Fish Rising." Whereas the debut made seamless transitions with an epic flow to its trajectory, L on the other hand sounds stilted with clunky covers oafishly sitting next to three excellent originals therefore i have never been able to get into this second album as a whole. True that even the covers are well performed and adequately adapted to HILLAGE's unique idiosyncrasies however the problem lies in the fact that the album doesn't flow smoothly like its predecessor. If the album started out with the superb "Lunar Musick Suite" and then built off of that established sound, L could've been a worthy successor to the debut but unfortunately HILLAGE seemed to want to distance himself from his Gong days and forge a new commercial path as the tides in the music industry were beginning to shift around the year 1976. While it may have made sense at the time, by today's classic prog standards L just doesn't have the mojo magic that "Fish Rising" had in abundance. No true HILLAGE fan will find this album missing from the collection because there is plenty on here to love but unfortunately it signaled the decline in HILLAGE's do-no-wrong days.

3.5 rounded down

 Rainbow Dome Musick by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.50 | 120 ratings

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Rainbow Dome Musick
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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.
 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 509 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

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.

The album starts out at 4* with Solar Musik Suite then gets PRoGressively (hahaha) worse. Reminds me of Tarkus if the sidelong was a little bit worse. The three songs after the aforementioned are straight up ambient filler, no point listening to. Last song is profoundly boring psychedelic guitar jam -> ambient nothing (again) -> eastern drone -> spacey guitar (spacey =/=? psychedelic) -> (got bored and shut it off)

If you like space/psychedelic rock definitely give this a go. My review may seem a bit scathing but the music is fine, just not my cuppa.

 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 509 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by Psychedelic Paul

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 Jazz-Rock band, Gong. More recently, Steve Hillage was one half of the electronic dance duo, System 7. He also teamed up with ambient musician Evan Marc in 2008 to record the album "Dreamtime Submersible". The album reviewed here, "Fish Rising" (1975), is his first album in a long solo career spanning four decades and seven studio albums. He followed the "Fish Rising" album with six more releases in the late-1970's & early 80's:- "L" (1976); "Motivation Radio" (1977); "Green" (1978); "Rainbow Dome Musick" (1979); "Open" (1979); & finally, "For to Next" (1983). Many of Steve Hillage's bandmates from Gong featured on his first solo outing, including most notably, Pierre Moerlen on drums and percussion and Mike Howlett on bass. The line-up also included Dave Stewart on keyboards, who later paired up with Barbara Gaskin for "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To) in 1986. The 2007 remastered CD edition of "Fish Rising" added two bonus tracks to the original five pieces of music on the album.

"Fish Rising" consists of three long suites of music and two shorter songs. The album opens radiantly with the four-part "Solar Musick Suite", the longest piece on the album at nearly 17 minutes long. The first part "Sun Song (I Love It's Holy Mystery)" bursts into view like a brilliant ray of sunshine. This warm and melodic prog is positively glowing in rainbow colours with some simply sensational soaring guitar riffing from Steve Hillage. He's in fine voice too with his rich silver-toned vocals adding to the sense of warmth. It's a joyous and uplifting song with a flower-power message of love and peace and eternal optimism as these lyric reveal:- "So people look into each others eyes and gaze at them with certainty, We're gathered here today from all around to celebrate eternity, The spirit in the air is never far immersed in our totality, And the answers that we sit and hope to find, Are living here in side of we." ..... This joyful and invigorating music feels like the burgeoning arrival of spring, where colourful flowers are blooming in a twisting and transitional dance of new growth, as mother nature shakes off winter's cold embrace. This is warm and radiant music to stimulate and rejuvenate the soul. The "Solar Musick Suite" merges effortlessly into "Canterbury Sunrise", a lively Jazz-Rock instrumental, giving Steve Hillage a chance to really shine with some impressive soloing and with Dave Stewart providing sterling accompaniment on the organ. Next up is "Hiram Aftaglid Meets the Dervish", a wild and uninhibited whirling dervish of stirring Canterbury Scene music that's very reminiscent of some of Caravan's wilder Jazz-Rock freak-outs. Finally, there's a brief reprise of the glorious opening "Sun Song", to leave one feeling in joyously buoyant mood. Next comes the simply-titled "Fish", which is a bit of a tuneless mess to be perfectly honest, with the discordant music thrown together in a seemingly haphazard fashion. This is a fish that would have been better left in the ocean. The only good thing about this musical mash-up is it's less than 90 seconds long. Moving swiftly on now with the dreamweaving "Meditation of the Snake", a swirling and twisting magic carpet ride of transcendental ambience that washes over the listener like a blissful dreamwave of sound.

Opening Side Two now, we're going fishing with the 9-minute aquatic suite, "Salmon Song", and it's a pretty good catch too. It's a psychedelic rainbow trout swimming in a sea of spacey guitars, combined with some heavy sonorous riffing, and not forgetting those trademark Hillage guitar glissandos which soar right up into the stratosphere. This is one fish you won't want to throw back into the sea. And now we come to the album highlight, the 15-minute-long seven-piece suite, "Aftaglid", to bring the album to a dramatic and powerful conclusion. This is a real psychedelicatessen of musical styles, featuring gently pastoral acoustics, wild psychedelic riffing and Middle Eastern mantras, all combined together into a magnificent musical melange of sound.

"Fish Rising" is an album full of psychedelic delights, featuring super soar-away soloing, spacey New Age ambience, dynamic keyboard virtuosity, and jaunty Jazz-Rock, all combined together into a delicious potpourri of Canterbury Scene music. This fish-themed album will have you hooked.

 Evan Marc & Steve Hillage: Dreamtime Submersible by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 10 ratings

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Evan Marc & Steve Hillage: Dreamtime Submersible
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Let's be clear about how Steve Hillage was stuck in the Canterbury tag for no other reason but his past Gong experience. As I have mentioned a million times, labelling is just a way of trying to keep order in a ruthless & naturally chaotic world, more when it comes to such abstractions as sonic air waves.

Steve Hillage is an epitome of the spirit of the progressive music artist. He portrays to perfection the hunger for new means of music expression. Maybe his music composition skills are not always up to that spirit's challenge but he is still relentless in his personal quest, if not actually in music composition, at least it is in true poetic electric guitar playing intentions and performance.

So now that I wrote that, it was all meant to underline how he has no problem in collaborating with other musicians as in the case of this Evan Marc + Steve Hillage - Dreamtime Submersible (2008), in which he works alongside: Electronic/ambient/analog/chillchillout/downtempo/electronica/idm/modular/psybient/psychill & Bluetech's producer Evan Marc renowned in the electronic music world which grows outside these PAs P.E. walls.

The combination showcases two recognizable music languages fusioned as one, where in fact the listener can detect Steve Hillage's trademark guitar style blending into electronic music perfection Marc's own means of expression.

Exciting, vivacious & intelligent CONTEMPORARY electronic music. If you are expecting anything else, music composition wise, but Evan Marc's sound and the thrill of Steve Hillage transfigured electric guitar emblematic style working wonders, don't get even close and enjoy something else.

****

 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.11 | 509 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

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.

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

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