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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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Buy STEVE HILLAGE Music


Golden VibeGolden Vibe
Snapper Uk 2019
$11.58
$14.70 (used)
Searching For The SparkSearching For The Spark
Box set · Limited Edition
Madfish Records Imp 2016
$457.45
Fish RisingFish Rising
Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
$5.43
$20.07 (used)
L [Remastered & Expanded]L [Remastered & Expanded]
Extra tracks · Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
$5.51
$11.49 (used)
DusseldorfDusseldorf
Madfish Records Imp 2019
$8.95
$14.85 (used)
GreenGreen
Remastered
Virgin/EMI 2007
$5.53
$9.75 (used)
Live HeraldLive Herald
Remastered
Caroline 2007
$5.53
$5.26 (used)
Live at the Rainbow 1977Live at the Rainbow 1977
Gonzo 2014
$17.16
$14.67 (used)
Rainbow Dome MusicRainbow Dome Music
Blue Plate Caroline 1991
$24.99
$4.87 (used)
Madison Square Garden 1977Madison Square Garden 1977
Cleopatra 2015
$11.98
$15.17 (used)

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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)

4.15 | 417 ratings
Fish Rising
1975
3.68 | 185 ratings
L
1976
3.49 | 125 ratings
Motivation Radio
1977
3.93 | 191 ratings
Green
1978
3.48 | 99 ratings
Rainbow Dome Musick
1979
3.57 | 62 ratings
Open
1979
2.27 | 37 ratings
For To Next
1983
4.00 | 2 ratings
Dreamtime Submersible ( Evan Marc +)
2008

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

3.84 | 68 ratings
Live Herald
1979
3.94 | 18 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live
1992
2.30 | 9 ratings
Live at Deeply Vale Festival 78
2004
3.12 | 6 ratings
Live In England 1979 (CD+DVD)
2013
4.25 | 4 ratings
Rainbow 1977
2014
4.00 | 5 ratings
Madison Square Garden 1977
2015
4.00 | 1 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
3.63 | 11 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
 Dreamtime Submersible ( Evan Marc +) by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Dreamtime Submersible ( Evan Marc +)
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
4.15 | 417 ratings

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Fish Rising
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 Rainbow Dome Musick by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.48 | 99 ratings

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Rainbow Dome Musick
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by fenman

3 stars I was a bit 'non-plused' when I first bought his on vinyl and I didn't play it a lot. It certainly seemed a deviation from his earlier work. I've followed Tangerine Dream for many years, but this seemed a bit too unfocussed to hold my interest.

But I'm older now and can look back on this through the years of System Seven and can see the path. I'm now glad I bought it and glad he was brave enough to release something that would not appeal to all his fans at the time.

It appeals the me in the same way that tracks like Soft Machine's 'Soft Weed Factor' and Terry Riley's 'Rainbow In Curved Air' do. Also reminicent of the Island label period of Jade Warrior, especially 'Waves'.

Well played and produced. A bit better than 3 stars, in my view. A bit more than 'Good, but non-essential', but not an 'Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection'.

 Dusseldorf by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Dusseldorf
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by fenman

— First review of this album —
4 stars When this was released I was immediately interested because of its content (a full live set from the 'Live Herald' tour), but concerned about the audio quality. I needed have worried, as this sounds as good as (indeed better than some) live albums from the period, despite being a cassette recording from the front of house desk.

This is no 'Earthbound'. I don't know how much work Hillage has done to refine the sound, but I don't think one can ever make 'a silk purse from a sow's ear', so I guess what we hear is pretty much what the audience heard on the night.

It must have been a pretty good night - a dynamic show that flows well, with material unavailable in live form elsewhere. If you like Steve Hillage there's plenty to like here. Got to be worth four stars.

 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
3.63 | 11 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
2.27 | 37 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
3.57 | 62 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
2.30 | 9 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.

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

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