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Steve Hillage - Open CD (album) cover


Steve Hillage

Canterbury Scene

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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Open had to contend with Green as a previous comparison and whilst totally different in terms of direction it does ROCK in places. ' Day after Day' is one helluva rocker to start your day with. Hillage then shows what punk rock or new wave is all about with ' Getting in tune'. I think he was basically sticking his tongue out at the whole new genre hitting the world at the time. Afterall he had been playing stuff like that years before. The title track is also a great song bringing you back to a sense of reality. There are a couple of weaker moments like ' Don't dither do it' and another punklike effort in ' Definte activity' but Open steps up a gear with the wonderful ' The fire inside' and ' Earthrise'. Maybe Green was his peak but Open was not far off it either.
Report this review (#25851)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tis is a really good record. At first I didn't care much for it but i gave it a chance and now it's a fave. The sequence on the record is better that the cd but Ithink he does a good job on "It's Getting Better." I really like "Getting in Tune," Open" and "Earthrise."
Report this review (#25852)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Steve Hillage was the first artist I saw play live.The year was 1979 and the tour was the 'Open' tour.I was'nt really sure what to expect.I had a back row ticket for the Glasgow Apollo,and I really can't remember why I was going.Maybe I was accompanying some friends.What I do remember,26 years later,is that two songs into the set I was down the front worshipping my new hero.He had an effortless style and a superb guitar mastery that was hypnotizing.Talking to the Sun is a breathtaking track,full of shimmering synths and dazzling guitar.Open and Don't Dither Do It are prog-funk and demonstrate the ease with which all the band interact and generate rhythyms and riffs which make you feel GOOD.Earthrise has an arabic style groove to it and still captivates me today.I never saw Hillage again.He never came back to Glasgow,and I regret never having had the chance to recreate the feeling I had as a 17 year old.
Report this review (#49433)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars I suppose at this point, in 1979, most prog musicians were having a difficult time releasing good prog albums. What with the press ignoring the genre, except to occasionally put it down, most prog bands were going commercial (with a dismal effect), and even Robert Fripp was calling prog band "dinosaurs", it's no surprise that Hillage waters his sound down here.

I have the CD version, with all those extra songs, but I don't feel any richer for it. Sure, Hillage can still play some great guitar solos, but except for a couple of good tracks, the music is a mix of electronica (mostly sounds that Tangerine Dream had already worn out), new wave, white funk, and even disco. For the most part, the songwriting is bland and tired.

The only real prog points are Earthrise (the only song that sounds like it would fit on one of Hillage's early albums), and The fire inside and fusiony song, that has some nice synth work by Miquette Giraudy. Two good songs don't make up for the rest of the drivel here.

2.5 stars.

Report this review (#265664)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is different from Hillage's early works. But it doesn't mean it's bad work.

Hillage guitar is still very competitive, even great at the moments. Miquette Giraudy's keyboards are very spacey and really attractive. Even Dave Stewart participates on recording.

Music there is kind of eclectic and transitional mix of spacey keyborads-based compositions with plenty guitar soloings, electronics and new wave elements. In some places you will really feel strong influence of Robert Fripp Gentlemen's music. Progressive rock for late 70-s.

I believe some prog purists will criticize this album. But in whole, it is really strong work of great musicians, with some influences of it's time. CD version is longer, contains 5 additional tracks (comparing with LP version) what makes the album even more eclectic.

Possibly more on emotional level I really like this work. Not essential, but really pleasant and interesting music.

My rating is 3,5 rounded to 4..

Report this review (#298069)
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#2053425)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | Review Permalink

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