Steve Hillage has had a very diverse career, dabbling in music from Hard
Rock (early bands including Khan), Prog Rock (Mike Oldfield), Ambient (this
album), Art Rock (Kevin Ayers), Punk Rock (Sham 69), Pop (Sting), The
Canterbury Scene (Caravan and Egg), Dance (Solo), and the simply bizarre
Hillage is a masterful
musician, especially on the guitar. In 1979 he released this album,
“Rainbow Dome Musick”, in collaboration with his long time partner Miquette
Giraudy. When the album was released on vinyl you got one piece of music on
each side, each running at just over twenty minutes. It is quite the most
soothing music that this Dog has ever listened to and is often a part of the
early morning ritual of getting out of the basket.
Hillage in 1979.
And don’t be put off by
the ‘Ambient’ tag on this album, it’s very pleasant music.
The first piece opens
with water running over rocks in a stream as the guitar gently breaks in
with added lilting keyboards. This opening is really Miquettee’s
contribution to the album with her lovely use of sequencers overlapping
loops as the music drifts into your brain. It brings with it a feeling of
calmness, even meditation. Hillage’s guitar work is sympathetic and subtle
while the piano lines rise in fifths throughout the score. There are no
drums or vocals played on this entire album, keeping the feeling of calmness
all the way through.
The second piece of
music is Steve Hillage’s work. “Four Ever Rainbow” opens up with the sound
of a bell drawing your attention and the piece has a lot more guitar and
synthesizers tripping across the music, flowing with textures and tone
coloring. Expounding calmness at every ripple, it gives the listener a
feeling of being in an oasis of peace. There is a lot more interplay
between the instruments, but it never gets cluttered and leaves you feeling
relaxed and rested.
This work was
originally written for the Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit in London in
1977 and the music alone takes you back to that period of time, a more
peaceful time. The festival is still held biannually in London and there
are similar festivals held all over the world.
Hillage was forever
changing his musical outgoings, but this is one I wish he had returned to
again. He made similar sequences of music in some of his solo albums but
never a whole album, or with such effect.
A lot of Steve
Hillage’s music has gone on to be far more influential than people ever
imagined at the time. Although this album did make it into the charts when
it was released (number 48 in the British hit parade), Hillage never became
what you would call a star. Well respected and known in many different
genres for sure, but as with the music on this album, he remained quiet and
would often allow himself to drift away on a musical cloud.
The British newspaper
The Guardian put this work in its top one thousand albums of all
time. Quite who compiled this list I am not sure, but to give it such a
high standing he must have been a very earnest fan too. - 5 stars
Artists on the
Steve Hillage -
Electric and acoustic guitars, glissando guitar, Fender Rhodes, ARP
synthesizer and moog synthesizer.
Miquette Giraudy -
Double sequencer, Fender Rhodes, ARP omni, and Tibetan bells.
Garden of Paradise
Four Ever Rainbow
Written By Mott the Dog and Hells Bells. Mott the Dog can often be found in
deep meditation at Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR, North Pattaya..