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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 : : :
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DusseldorfDusseldorf
Import
Madfish Records Imp 2018
Audio CD$16.25
Motivation RadioMotivation Radio
Import · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
Audio CD$5.23
$6.41 (used)
Rainbow Dome MusickRainbow Dome Musick
Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2007
Audio CD$5.21
$8.75 (used)
Fish RisingFish Rising
Import · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
Audio CD$5.19
$20.07 (used)
GreenGreen
Import · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
Audio CD$5.20
$6.30 (used)
L [Remastered & Expanded]L [Remastered & Expanded]
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
Audio CD$5.19
$4.69 (used)
Live HeraldLive Herald
Import · Remastered
Caroline 2007
Audio CD$5.22
$8.49 (used)
Searching for the SparkSearching for the Spark
Box set · Import · Limited Edition
Madfish Records Imp 2016
Audio CD$291.28
$290.35 (used)
OpenOpen
Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2007
Audio CD$5.21
$7.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Steve Hillage - Open GER LP 1979 + Innerbag /3* USD $19.99 Buy It Now
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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 | 380 ratings
Fish Rising
1975
3.67 | 169 ratings
L
1976
3.44 | 116 ratings
Motivation Radio
1977
3.92 | 177 ratings
Green
1978
3.41 | 91 ratings
Rainbow Dome Musick
1979
3.39 | 53 ratings
Open
1979
2.30 | 32 ratings
For To Next
1983

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

3.76 | 64 ratings
Live Herald
1978
3.94 | 15 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live
1992
2.51 | 7 ratings
Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78
2004
3.13 | 5 ratings
Live In England 1979 (CD+DVD)
2013
4.33 | 3 ratings
Rainbow 1977
2014
4.00 | 3 ratings
Madison Square Garden 1977
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dusseldorf
2017

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

4.77 | 13 ratings
Steve Hillage - Germany 77
2007
3.80 | 10 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
3.33 | 9 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
4.37 | 9 ratings
And Not Or
1983

STEVE HILLAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 For To Next by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.30 | 32 ratings

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For To Next
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

4 stars 3+4 This seems to be the last studio album by Prog hero SH so far. And I may understand it, or maybe not. To start with, I think he made a big mistake in the order of tracks. He had not released new material for some years and everybody including me thought that the original flame went out, but SH found something here. This is an esquizoid album with two very different parts. In the first, to be skipped, he definitely tried the commercial line, maybe he was looking for a living, you know, everybody has needs. Possibly, the longtime mating and influence by M Giraudy who came along SH off the French band GONG, had finally taken over as a safeguard to sail in the dessert of the 80's. But he didn't succeed. This was the time when carpetbaggers like JM Jarre were rising to stardom, what a bad example for kids and teens selling away easy electro techno sound to entertain open-mouth crowds in national holidays and fireworks. SH would have rather follow other Frenchy as JL Ponty, into the fusion, for which he was fully skilled and could have granted him new audience and a living. So and all, he tried in this album that probably deserves much more credit, as I said in the beginning before I lost myself in the field of mourners. Although the first half, up to track 5, is made of commercial fillers, the second half is purely instrumental, and SH finds a worthy blend of techno backgrounds Tangerine Dream-like and his classic guitar riffs, which appeared in very good shape again. Kind of returned to the style in the album GREEN, but with much more techno, as the closing track Still Golden. Before The Storm, And Not Or, Knight Templar, and Serotonin are very interesting tracks and though weaker, also deserve a turn the techno-glam Frame by Frame and Red Admiral. Globally, the album would score 3 stars, but the second part is worth 4, and SH deserves to be recognized and credited.
 Rainbow Dome Musick by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.41 | 91 ratings

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Rainbow Dome Musick
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

1 stars This is a strong bet by SH, or maybe a joke, hard to say. He flirts with spacy airs since the third album, but never attempted to emulate Tangerine Dream that openly. I wonder where he thought he would go with this. I mean, anyone plays with toys in their houses but no one takes them to the office. Definitely, he was running out of ideas and essayed the cheap way. The funny thing is that the spacy era was also about to end. I mean, the Tangerine Dream climax was in 74-75, and even they had run out of gas by the time. Those empowering this album should go a little back to the origins of electronic music. By the way, where is PROGression in electronic music?
 Open by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 53 ratings

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Open
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

2 stars SH begins a sudden decline in this album. He had been refractory to musical tendencies for a while and crafted a bunch of great albums in the beginning of his solo career, original, innovative, a style of playing guitar of his own that very few could handle at the time, but inspiration is finite and it was thinning. The album is a medley of different styles without any direction. If it weren't by the spacy synth backgrounds and the gliding style SH would be hard to recognize in some themes. Canterbury roots are dry, and the muses are gone. Even the guitar riffs that came out naturally only one year earlier, with no effort, sound now tired, flat. And the rhythmic section is poor; he might have found something better in a high school band. Somehow, he succumbed to what he had been keeping away for so long, the mainstream tendencies, and didn't know which one to follow, rock, funk, techno. He opens to new ideas, but not sufficiently worked, as in "Earthrise", where he blends the tangerinesque background with Arabian flavors. The jazzy airs a la JL Ponty in the closing track "The Fire Inside" might have been a good direction. At least he would have been on the track of the hard work. But when you stop being yourself the personality disappears. I can't single out any track.
 Motivation Radio by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.44 | 116 ratings

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Motivation Radio
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

4 stars Third solo album by SH. He uses here standard bass and drum rock elements to build the base of the tracks in side A and spacy atmospheres in side B upon which gliding his guitar. Apparently with some messages to deliver SH sings much more than in previous releases. In A-side themes one has to wait till they reach the final third to listen to the wonderful guitar riffs, as in Motivation or Light in the Sky. Motivation is one of the highs, a smooth piece that initiates with a blend of guitars in the background and the front, spacy atmospheres and it goes in crescendo. In B-side, it is the other way around, themes start with atmospheric spacy catchy rhythms that usually go in crescendo till some lyrics get in and are swept away by gliding guitars, as in Saucer Surfing that slicks on a funky rhythm and beautiful aerial guitars to deliver a bizarre message from the hippie era, the Searching for the Spark, or Not Fade Away. Globally, the album is not as strong as others in SH discography, but no doubt the mastery of this guitar giant and the unique sounds he crafted are worth to have it in anyone's shelf. It never disappoints when taken to the disc player.
 Green by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 177 ratings

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Green
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

4 stars SH underwent such a fast evolution since he left GONG. In four years he released four albums in clear progression to new musical scapes. From his Canterburian roots and the hippie Tibetan flavors he went on to use more atmospheric, experimental and even funky elements, and still growing alone in the deceiving musical panorama of the late 70's. GREEN is more uniform than former RADIO MOTIVATION. It cultivates profusely atmospheres, some with spacy airs, but don't be mistaken, they are only beds for master guitar work. Lots of great riffs and some techno elements that rival Tangerine Dream's, as in Ether Ships, but always ending in a great gliding guitar solo. Some tracks follow that may start as ballades or lighter themes and contain wonderful guitar, in the background as well as in the front during riffs. Musik of the Trees is an acoustic piece that finishes in one of his characteristic lengthy ends with nice guitar work in the background. Two tracks are dedicated to the UFO stuff, Unidentified and UFO Over Paris, with some funky rhythm. My favorite pick in the album is the closing The Glorious Om Riff, a great dramatic background with nice work at the drums and the customary guitar work at the front. Overall, it is a bit weaker than the first two albums, but strong enough and offering very pleasant combinations of atmospheres and impressive guitar work.
 L by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.67 | 169 ratings

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L
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

5 stars 4.5 Second solo album by Prog guitar hero SH after departing from underground totem band GONG. Apparently indifferent to the tides of punk and disco that were erasing all trace of good music and good taste in both sides of the Atlantic, SH remained tightly in his own track, evolving refractory to the ongoing musical scenario. The album named under a cryptic letter L, is more varied than the amazing FISH RISING. There is more singing here. Some tracks are heavily immersed in Indian flavors, like the opening Hurdy Gurdy Man and the following Hurdy Gurdy Glissando, both with an exceptional guitar work. The next track Elektrick Gypsies may give an idea of how SH saw himself. It has several very different parts, as in a wondering gypsy life. The track begins with the sirens of a big boat in a harbor, and continues with a light tune for the lyrics, but listen carefully to the background in which SH plays his characteristic riffs behind the voices, not to miss, because it is there where his mastery shows up. SH is one of those few guitar monsters that can make a guitar speak as a human. There are also some excerpts of jazz, and a delightful final section with a guitar floating over a monotonous acoustic bed. The following track is a kind of Tibetan mantra or something, which closes circle with the former and somehow reconstructs the origins of European gypsies to India. The next track is a 12 min long suite called Lunar Musick Suite with several sections, in which SH experiences with different blends and atmospheres, some spacy, some jazzy, some rockier, which at times appear improvisational, but most likely they weren't. The closing track It's All Too Much has a background that could have been signed by Bruce Springsteen, a catchy rhythm with easy arrangements and a floating background of keys, unusual in SH's, that ends in a sound that reminded the band Boston, but of course with a final great guitar work that makes it special. This might well be an anthem for live shows. That's all that contained my original tape. The remastered CD version added some bonuses that in my view degrade the spirit and the quality of the original. A big mistake indeed. Let's forget about them and keep the masterpiece alone.
 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 380 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by poito

5 stars Steve Hillage is one of the few musicians that fought back the devastation produced by punk and disco music in mid 70's. When many Prog mastodons were deciding whether kneeling or closing business, a few heroes like SH ignored the hecatomb and dedicated selflessly to keep on creating amazing music, which would however remain in the shelves of a few teenagers that just woke up to life and music in those days and decided to swim against the tide. SH is a Canterburian guitar player, formerly part of the melt pot band GONG and probably one of the best guitars of all times (mark this name), plus an amazing composer. He was able to take his Canterbury roots and evolve to a unique style. Some have called it space rock, but I don't share that view at all. That's an often misused tag in which some techno-hippie sounds are often allocated. But SH is far from this in this album. He used glissando style at the guitar, a few echo arrangements and sounds, and occasionally some techno-aerial bits, that's it. But this album is a clear heir of the Canterbury scene taking elements from the hippie era, and occasionally includes bits of India flavors, which will be more prominent in following releases. This is one of a kind, a masterpiece of Prog. We are first blessed by a 17 min epic called the Solar Music Suite, a magnum opus full of new sounds, motifs and thrilling guitar. Also outstanding is The Salmon Song, in the same vein. A jumpy salmon is depicted in the cover, playing with the equivocal scene of a god fish rising triumphant to the world and a poor fish that is about to be caught and become food, maybe us when we dare to stand out. The closing track called Aftaglid, again dominated by master guitar work, is recorded in a delightful stereo sound that wraps you up and takes us inside of a musical box, perfect to listen while relaxing in a bath tube. You don't want it to finish. The airs of late 60's psicodellia are still floating, and SH probably incarnates the prototype of hippie that evokes to India, gurus and lamas in late 60's, but this album will shock you up and you will learn why music re-born to the world in those restless years. The recording is excellent for the time. I bought this and other SH's in tape format, which I still treasure, and the sound was already so good. Only 2-3 years earlier they were so deficient. This album is a masterpiece, one of those I would like someone to point for me if I were young. A discovery. Trust me.
 Fish Rising by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 380 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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
3.41 | 91 ratings

BUY
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
3.67 | 169 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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