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Steve Hillage - Fish Rising CD (album) cover


Steve Hillage


Canterbury Scene

4.11 | 502 ratings

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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

SpecialKindOfHell | 5/5 |


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