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Steve Hillage - Motivation Radio (1977)

Artista: Steve Hillage
Álbum: Motivation Radio
Año: 1977
Género: Escena Canterbury
Duración: 38:29
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra

Lista de Temas:
1. Hello dawn
2. Motivation
3. Light in the sky
4. Radio
5. Wait one moment
6. Saucer surfing
7. Searching for the spark
8. Octave doctors
9. Not fade away (glid forever)

- Steve Hillage / electric guitar, lead vocals, synthesizers
- Joe Blocker / drums
- Malcolm Cecil / T.O.N.T.O. synthesizers
- Miquete Giraudy / synthesizers
- Reggie McBride / bass
T.O.N.T.O.: The Original New Timbral Orchestra

No... no nos volcimos locos, no es un disco de uno de los Bee Gees tratando de comunicarse con extraterrestres, es que Alberto trae más de Steve Hillage, o Stephen "Steve" Simpson Hillage, guitarrista que comenzó una carrera muy experimental y psicodélica a finales de 1960, asociado con la escena Canterbury, participando en bandas como Arzachel, Gong, Uriel y Khan, entre otros. Cuca debe estar agradecidísimo con el aporte.

El tema es que les debo el comentario del disco, no tengo tiempo de ponerme a escribirlo, y Alberto tampoco, pero que eso no sea impedimento para que compartamos el disco, así que aquí van algunos comentarios del disco, todos en inglés... es lo que hay.

Although Hillage's Canterbury scene roots are undisputed, this album firmly establishes him as a strong figure of Space Rock. In addition to the heavy sounds of "Light In The Sky", the compositions like "Radio", "Saucer Surfing" and "Octave Doctors" are wonderful space jams in the best GONG tradition of "Radio Gnome Invisible" mythology. Plenty of amazing guitar and synth sounds with a help of his wife Micquette's vocal whispers make Hillage produce this highly accomplished album which I must recommend to all psyche/space lunatics out there....
Sead S. Fetahagic

Steve Hillage is an innovator and one listen to "Motivation Radio" and i am sure you will agree ! In terms of sales I guess this one did not stack up to his first 2 albums, but this album works equally well for me! In fact in many ways this album is my favourite of all his albums. I would say that this is the most accessible of the three for sure and like with all his recordings there is something deeply unique about what he is doing. This album would carry a lot of the songs that he would perform live over the years in and outside of mothership GONG.
James Unger

Another space prog rock album. The presence of Miquette Giraudy on keyboards give the real space dimension for this record. She plays wonderfully those cosmic keyboards: they are really unique and it was a breakthrough for that time. HiILLAGE's electric guitar is more present and aggressive than on "L". I think the songs here are better structured, more space prog hard rock. HILLAGE's guitar sound is more varied too. We feel the necesary changes here that will lead to the very structured modern space next record: "Green". We are here at the roots of the OZRIC TENTACLES influences.

Incredible to think that Steve Hillage was playing New Wave long before it became a huge success in the late 70's. His vocal style together with sophisticated guitar riffs and synths by his other half lend well to an extremely complete album.The sounds are crisp and clear, production almost perfect. ' Radio' builds to a great climax and ' Saucer Surfing' feels like exactly that...surfing out on the cosmos. I highly recommend this fine album from a pioneer of progressive rock.
Chris S.

This is my least favourite of Hillage's first four albums. About a third of it I don't even like but the rest is excellent.
"Hello Dawn" is a light catchy tune with vocals that ends well with guitar. "Motivation" is similar to the first and to be honest I just can't get into either one. I do like when Steve lights it up late here though. "Light In The Sky" features some aggressive sounding guitar and it's heavier. I hear what sounds like children's voices. It's spacey late with drums. "Radio" is spacey with relaxed guitar melodies. It kicks in with vocals around 4 minutes. "Wait One Moment" is a good one. He slows it down here.
"Saucer Surfing" has some prominant drumming on it that I like. It turns somewhat dreamy 3 minutes in to the end. "Searching For The Spark" features spacey electronics. The tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes.Vocals around 3 minutes. "Octave Doctors" sounds great as the sounds seem to echo or pulse. Then the guitar takes over. "Not Fade Away (Glid Forever)" has this beat with guitar. Not a fan of this at all when the vocals arrive.
Certainly "Fish Rising" or even "Green" give me much more pleasure than this one.
John Davie

Steve's third solo outing takes its title from a simple combination of two of the album's track titles. The album sees Hillage moving in a more commercial direction with new wave overtones, combined with the residual influences of Todd Rundgren's Utopia, whom he had worked with on the previous "L".
The guitar work is still dynamic and impressive, but shares the stage with synthesiser and keyboards played by both his partner Miquette Giraudy and Malcolm Cecil. "Hello dawn" has a pop feel to it, its placing as track one obviously being intended to promote this as the track of choice for radio play, if not as a hit single per se.
Psychedelic sounds and lyrics come to the fore on tracks such as "Light in the sky", Giraudy declaring in full girlie voice "Oh me oh my there's a light in the sky". The space conclusion to the track gives way to some fine acoustic sounds as "Radio" drifts in across the airwaves. At just 6 minutes, this is the longest track on the album, a further indication that Hillage was intent on tightening things up. This largely instrumental track builds from its gently melodic start to a louder later half where the limited vocals reside.
If anything, side two is even tighter and more accessible. "Wait one moment" is a lilting Kevin Ayers like ballad, with a striking guitar solo at its core. Given the mere 3 minutes of the song, it does squeeze in some good sounds, with a synthesiser break too. "Saucer surfing" has some of the spaciest sounds of the album, complete with little green men like voices.
Great play is made on the sleeve of the use by Malcolm Cecil of the TONTO synthesiser (The New Timbral Orchestra), the instrument even enjoying a name check on the picture captions. To be fair, the synthesiser was still enjoying a phase of rapid development at the time. The opening section of "Searching got the spark" offers the most obvious display of the exciting new sounds and dimensions it offered. The track has something of a Hawkwind feel, the incessant driving rhythm setting the toes tapping nicely; pity about the rather unimaginative fade though. Talking of fades, the album closes with a cover version of "Not fade away", a song which the Rolling Stones made famous, but which is not in fact a Jagger/Richards composition. The song was actually written by Norman Petty and Buddy (Hardin) Holly, originally appearing as the B side to Holly's 1957 single "Oh boy". Hillage's version is closer to the Holly original than the Stones cover, the staccato guitar having a real 50's feel.
In all, an enjoyable album, which fails to offer the challenges of Hillage's previous works, but which contains a strong diversity of styles and sounds.
Bob McBeath

While this album has some good moments, on the whole I find it much more commercial than Hillage's previous two albums, Fish Rising and L. The songs in general are much shorter, and less progressive than his earlier work. But there are some listenable pieces on the album. Light In The Sky is a fun, playful song, and the astute listener will hear a nod to captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica at the end. Another highlight is Octave Doctors which features a great Hillage guitar solo.
This album might appeal more to the fans of Daevid Allen's Gong than the more technical Pierre Moerlin's group (which I favor). But still, it's not bad.
(By the way, is that a BeeGee on the cover? :) )

Motivation Radio was Steve Hillage's third solo album, and he still hadn't figured out his solo sound. Fish Rising was a Canterbury piece heavily influenced by his concurrent work in Gong, whilst L found Steve upstaged by Utopia; this time around, he was at last free both of Gong and Todd Rundgren and able to make a musical statement without the influence of either of them... and sadly, it seems he had nothing to say at this point. Sounding like a musical blueprint for the likes of Green and Live Herald, Motivation Radio contains all you expect from a Hillage album - glissando guitar, space whispers, New Agey lyrics that tend towards the laughable - but it doesn't assemble the parts into a coherent or interesting whole.
W. Arthur

Steve Hillage is a Canterbury scene artist that I've never quite been able to enjoy as much as I hoped - not that that was his concern in the least. His work as a member of Gong, as well as the Gong-like solo debut "Fish Rising", set the bar pretty high for this guitarist. This album, his third solo flight and the first to really feel like a solo album (the prior two were more like supergroup albums), suffers from poor flow, underwritten song material, and thin sound. The difference is immediately apparent as soon as "Hello Dawn" starts. Whereas before Hillage's music was characterized by a huge, spacey sound, this one sounds like a rough bedroom demo by comparison. This would be fine (nothing wrong with a shift in perspective if you're an artist), if the song had anything going for it, which it sadly does not. Just a few chords, an optimistic vocal, and a weak hook. "Motivation" follows, showing glimpses of a dance beat to make a fairly annoying self-help song.
"Light in the Sky" is by far the best song here, with a great set of guitar riffs and a cool cameo vocal by Miquette Girady in the chorus. Great tune! "Radio" sounds good at first, with a long instrumental intro that hearkens back to the prior albums, but in the end it goes nowhere, even after the vocal finally kicks in. "Wait One Moment" returns to the basic 3 minute song format, with an emphasis on "basic": a predictable ballad that sounds ok, but doesn't offer much else for me. Again, basic is not a bad thing, but these songs could at least use some emotion or atmosphere to carry them along. "Saucer Surfing" is a decent enough space rocker, as is the first part of "Searching for the Spark" (the latter being a highlight on "Live Herald", overall a much better version than here). "Octave Doctors" is a ho-hum instrumental that doesn't leave any impression, but the worst is saved for last with "Not Fade Away", the Buddy Holly tune, seemingly "updated" to include the New Age philosophy Steve Hillage was into at the time, using Hillage buzzwords like "glid".
Hillage is a great musician with a very distinctive guitar style, but for this album he appears to go half-heartedly into the world of 3 minute songcraft, de-emphasizing his guitar and emphasizing his lyrics, which I have to say are pretty heavy-handed and don't inspire me much. "Light in the Sky" and "Searching for the Spark" save this one in the end, but overall I consider this a big disappointment.

This is a really fun album from Steve, although somewhat uneven. "Searching for the Spark" is pretty mind-blowing psychedelic throb keyboard and guitar and just really great. My copy of this also has "Leylines to Glassdom" as a bonus track (better sounding IMO than the version on Green) which is also mind-blowing and leaves no doubt where Ozric Tentacles got their ideas from. What's amazing is that someone's recording stuff like that in 1977. The rest of the cd is more straight-forward rock flavored, although "Saucer Surfing" has some fun prog riffs and drumming and cool hippy lyrics, and "Motivation:" mixes prog with funk. "Hello Dawn" and "Wait One Moment" are just great songs, prog or not. And "Light in the Sky" is fun with its New Age-isms and Miquette Giraudy's hippy trippy background vocals. If you're a prog snob "Fish Rising" is probably a better pick, but if you already know and love the Hillage sound no matter what style this one is worth checking out.

Hillage's third solo outing has a bit of something for everyone. The first two songs on the recording have a somewhat more commercial feel to them in terms of their intros and vocals, but the instrumental play and riffage are superb spacey prog. You could argue that elements of Motivation does beckon slightly toward the (then) embryonic New Wave scene, but it didn't really quite go there. The opening guitar line on Light in the Sky is classic rock and roll. Giraudy's high pitched spoken lyrics on this are reminiscent of some Gong-ish moments earlier in Hillage's career. Radio is a spacey atmospheric piece, but also hints at some new wave like elements in its ascending middle section and vocals, that is, until Hillages guitar takes off. Wait One Moment is a pretty little ballad with shining guitar at the end. Searching for the Spark starts out rhythmically interesting but really doesn't strike me as being a fully developed musical idea. Not Fade Away is a cover of the old rockabilly classic. A lot of superbly played music on this recording and a lot of positive energy and messages (which is a relative rarity in much progressive rock), but not quite the equal of Fish Rising or Green in the depth and execution of the music, it is a true 4 star recording and is very highly recommended.
Lark Stongue

Oh, if the idea of synthesiser , guitar and fantasy lyrics take you to a special place far , far away from this world, then this album is one of the landmark recordings. The production values are very high and so are the visions portrayed. This album came to me back in the 1970's and revealed it's self to be an exellent escape from bills, politicians and the boring ho-hum day to day.
Imagination and fantasy are evident in these songs but so are solid concepts such as a better world, a special purpose and the path that leads to this place. This album is more than just a commercial effort to squeeze a few bucks out of the public, more than the competition to bombast or drown the poor listener in trite rock prhases and licks. It has a smooth soul, a progressive soul and really trippy sections all pieced together in style. The amazing thing was the way the album fit into my own personal experiences, it trancended the over exposed types of pop music and reached a place in myself. It is like I knew these people, shared a dream with them and a path to the new reality. This album is a meta-physical expression of the times.
The sounds are well defined and the impression I got from the album was that the musicians really believed in this dream and were willing to say what was on their musical minds. I had gone through some difficult times in the 70's and this album caught my eye in the record store, a quick look at the cover and it was mine. I played it quite a bit for the first few years then i felt a slight letdown, dreams are great but living for today became more important than eternally hoping for lasting change. I got over that phase by the late 80's.... This album gave me a lift! I still enjoy the songs and feel the connection, today. It hits a personal place in a wonderful way for me.
I would decribe this album as impressive pschedelia with religious over-tones and superior musicianship. I shall not scrimp, I give this 5 stars. It is a masterpiece of technology and imagination , merging to perfection. It will be in my collection until the attendants drag me away.

Que lo disfruten y agradezcan a Alberto (y a Cuca que lo pidió).


  1. Download: (Flac + CUE + Log - No Scans)

  2. ¡¡Cómo no estar agradecido con el "satisfaction-delivery-express" que solo este blog puede brindar!! El de Hillage es un eclecticismo altamente saludable: melódico, rítmico, climático, vanguardista, decadente, humorístico, melancólico. El que no lo conoce, que pruebe. ¡¡Ya están avisados!! CucaTrap.


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Ideario del arte y política cabezona

Ideario del arte y política cabezona

"La desobediencia civil es el derecho imprescriptible de todo ciudadano. No puede renunciar a ella sin dejar de ser un hombre".

Gandhi, Tous les hommes sont frères, Gallimard, 1969, p. 235.