While still a member of Gong, Hillage was afforded the opportunity by Virgin Records to record a solo album. It's no surprise then that Fish Rising contains most of the Gong crew, plus Hillage's partner Miquette Giraudy and former bandmate Dave Stewart. In fact, much of the material here was first written during the second incarnation of Khan in 1972. Stewart's keyboards give "Solar Musick Suite" (sic) a none-too-subtle nod towards the so-called Canterbury sound. Beginning with a cheerful melody, the opening track travels through a few Gong-like instrumental sections before winding up; Hillage's distinctive, echo-inflected lead guitar is prominent. Side two is more typical of the direction his music would eventually take. The main riff of "The Salmon Song" is simple, repetitive and, above all, memorable: the anchor on which the song rests. Lindsay Cooper's bassoon adds a foreign flavor, but the bubbling synthesizers and "space whisper" of Giraudy steer things more toward the Gong side of the fence. "Aftaglid" demonstrates more of Hillage's guitar technique with the Eventide delay. From the opening bell, he adds his guitar lines over the extremely laid-back beat, before erupting with a massive lead guitar run; it's followed by a rare acoustic piece that evolves into an ethnic-tinged section (courtesy of the tabla) before the song again reprises itself. This would be Hillage's only solo album to feature Gong members; and the last with such overt Gong influence. The album rose to a respectable No. 33 in the UK charts. Hillage then took his leave from Gong; and after a very brief stint with Dave Stewart's National Health, he embarked on his solo career in earnest.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"