viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2009

Steve Hillage - "L" (1976)

I prefer Steve when he's singing and glissing, than messing about with long jams. Okay? I admit that now. Not that I dislike Fish Rising, I still quite enjoy it - the musicianship and riffage is often blistering, fun and memorable - but Steve is simply superior when combining a little of this with songs.

The Donovan and George Harrison covers are done with such care and a hippy vibe that's simply irresistable. The former is tempered with some classic glissy soloing and jamming, and is a definite highlight.

But then we come to two Hillage originals: Electrick Gypsies and Om Nama Shivaya. "Who wants to be an electrick Gipsy?" If you have some untenable scruples towards hippy ideals, well... you have no hope, to be honest. You certainly will laugh your arse off at this. Me, I'm a fairly cynical guy, but I love this song. More lovely glissy soloing, spacey synth washes and Steve sings like he means every word. Excellent. :)

Review by chischis (DiscoGS)


Steve Hillage was born in London 2nd August 1951

Whilst still a pupil at the City of London School, Hillage formed his first band Uriel with schoolmates Hugo Martin Montgomery-Campbell and Dave Stewart. Already a good electric blues player in the style of early Eric Clapton, his solos were reported as "paint blistering" according to Stewart who quickly switched to keyboards in the face of this overwhelming competition. They began by playing blues standards but as time went by 'Mont' started writing songs and they included a rather ambitious version of Saturn from Holst's The Planets Suite. Uriel landed a residency on the Isle of Wight, but their 'big break' quickly soured when the hotel management took an instant dislike to them and their contract was swiftly renegotiated in a steeply downward direction and they were told to cut out the 'acidy' stuff.

Steve quit to study history and philosophy at Kent University where he met and jammed with Canterbury-ites Caravan and Spyrogyra.

Mont, Clive and Dave auditioned a few guitarists but none could cut the mustard like Steve could, so they decided to carry on as a trio, dropping the blues numbers and developing a more complex neo-classical style based around Mont's polytonal and metrically irregular compositions. They fell in with a guy called Jesus Jellett who introduced them to venues, audiences and management that did want the 'acidy' stuff. The only catch was that they had to change their name to Egg on the grounds that Uriel sounded too much like urinal. Egg recorded a couple of albums — 'Egg' (Deram SDN14) '70, 'The Polite Force' (Decca SML1074) '71, reconvened to cut 'Civil Surface' with Steve guesting (Caroline C1510) Oct '74.

Steve returned to London and formed Khan in April 1971. The group included Dave Stewart in the latter stages. Recorded one album, 'Space Shanties' (Deram) and split in October 1972. Steve and Dave Stewart together with various members of Henry Cow, Egg and others also performed in a series of concerts as the 16 piece big band The Ottawa Company. Following the dissolution of Khan, Steve contributed to Kevin Ayers' 'Bananamour' LP and enlisted in Kevin's short lived band Decadence which toured France where he met the Gong clan.

He joined Gong in January 1973 and played an important part in their rise to prominence. It was while in Gong that he also met his long-time partner and collaborator 'Miquette Giraudy'. He appeared on the all the Gong Trilogy albums and contributed briefly to 'Shamal' (Virgin), released two months after his departure in December 1975. Whilst in Gong, he also made the solo LP 'Fish Rising' (Virgin) with assistance from group colleagues and others; played on one side of 'Clear Light Symphony' and performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Scottish National Orchestra in concerts featuring Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.

In May 1976, went to U.S. to record his second solo album 'L' (Virgin), produced by 'Todd Rundgren' and accompanied by Rundgren's band 'Utopia'. On return to England formed a group — Clive Bunker (drums), Colin Bass (bass), Christian Boule (guitar), Phil Hodges (keyboards), Basil Brooks (synthesiser) and Miquette Giraudy (synthesiser, vocals) — which made its live debut at the Hyde Park Free Concert in September 1976. Toured U.K. continuously between then and late December. 'L' became an enormous chart success, with a residence of over two months. Six-week tour of U.S. with Electric Light Orchestra in January/February 1977. 'L' entered the American charts. Return to U.K. with concert at London's Rainbow in March 1977.

Original LP release:
- 1976, Virgin Records V-2066 (UK)
- 1976, Atlantic Records SD-18205 (USA)
- Virgin Records, OVED-29

CD releases:
- 1996, Disky VI 873782 (Netherlands)
- 1997, Virgin Records CDVIP-184 (UK)
- 2007, Virgin Records CDVR-2066 (UK for Europe and rest of world)

More data at DiscoGS

Side A:

1. Hurdy Gurdy Man 6:32
2. Hurdy Gurdy Glissando 8:54
3. Electrick Gypsies 6:24

Side B:

1. Om Nama Shivaya 3:33
2. Lunar Musick Suite 11:59
3. It's All Too Much 6:26

The most recent CD reissue includes these bonus tracks:

7. Eight Miles High 4:34
8. Maui 4:41
9. Shimmer 3:50


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