Jump to content

Steve Hillage - Green

   (0 reviews)

Green is the fourth studio album by British progressive rock musician Steve Hillage. Written in spring 1977 at the same time as his previous album, the funk-inflicted Motivation Radio (1977), Green was originally going to be released as The Green Album as a companion to The Red Album (the originally intended name for Motivation Radio). However, this plan was dropped and after a US tour in late 1977, Green was recorded alone, primarily in Dorking, Surrey, and in London.

Produced and engineered by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Green features science fiction themes and explores electronic music, especially of a dance music bent, continuing the dance themes of Motivation Radio. Most of the guitar and some of the keyboard parts on Green were played by Hillage with a Roland GR 500–an early guitar synthesizer. Hillage enjoyed "the hybrid sounds" he achieved on the album with the instrument, but would retire the instrument as it was too problematic to use.

The album was released in 1978 by Virgin Records, originally as a limited edition translucent green vinyl before the standard version replaced it shortly afterwards. The album cover features a distinctive "pyramid fish" design by English writer John Michell. Green peaked at number 30 on the UK Albums Chart and was a critical success. Hillage pursued a more electronic direction after its release. Green was remastered for CD release in both 1990 and 2007.

Within weeks following the end of their late 1977 tour, Hillage and his new band returned to the residential recording studio Ridge Farm Studio in the surroundings of Ridge Farm in Dorking, Surrey in December 1977 to record a new album. He decided to record the material he had written for the abandoned Green Album in spring 1977, but instead shortened the album name to Green. Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason co-produced and engineered the album with Hillage. Pink Floyd were on a break following their In the Flesh Tour and most of its members underwent solo projects in 1978 before they would regroup at the end of the year to record The Wall; Mason decided to spend his time producing another artist's album, a profession he had become recently acquainted with. Mason was introduced the sessions in a similar style to how Todd Rundgren was introduced to the L sessions–Virgin Records' A&R head Simon Draper told Hillage that Mason was aware of his music and was interested in producing or co-producing an album with him. Hillage thought it would be a "great experience and was really up for it." The two had previously worked together when Mason produced Shamal (1976), the seventh album by Hillage's former band Gong. Curtis Robertson also augmented the sessions on bass guitar.

The recording sessions took a break for the Christmas period before commencing once more at Hillage's home studio Matrix Studios, London, in January 1978 where further overdubs were recorded before they went to Britannia Row Studios, also in London, to "finish everything", including mixing, in February. Hillage recalled "Our schedule at the time could be described as "full on." Our work pace was frantic and it was an exhilarating roller coaster ride which I'm happy to have experienced, although it wasn't sustainable. Green was the result of three months in the studio. Joe and Curtis took part in the initial sessions and then I took the basic backing tracks away to work out overdubs in my little home studio and then we went back into Britannia Row Studios to finish everything."

Greg Prato of Allmusic described Green as "the underground prog rock fan favorite [issuing] more of his trademark thinking-man's music." He noted it possesses many of the same musical qualities as mid-late 1970s Pink Floyd due to Mason's production, and noted that the music is similar to David Bowie's late 1970s experimental electronic phase, singling out "Crystal City" "with vocals almost identical to Bowie." Hillage's recurring science fiction influence continues to be felt on Green, and according to Prato, this is especially apparent on such tracks as "Sea Nature," "UFO Over Paris," and "Unidentified (Flying Being)." According to Elly Roberts of Allgigs, Hillage spent 1978 exploring many soundscapes that included synthesisers and rock guitar, and was best exemplified by the Green song "Ether Ships". Green has been described as "partially mixed" due to the segues between songs.

Green was significant for Hillage as he began to experiment with early guitar synthesizers for the first time; he had acquired a Roland GR 500 guitar synthesizer which he uses extensively on the album; "It was an amazing instrument that proved to be okay for studio work, but was too complicated to use on stage." Most of the guitar and some of the keyboard sounds on Green were achieved using the GR 500, and Hillage later stated that for him, "the hybrid sounds [he] achieved were really special," but due to the complexities of using the instrument in the studio, he eventually opted for a more "back to basic" approach from thereafter. Hillage also played a Moog synthesizer and glissando guitar on the album.

Green is also noted for its often "dancey" tones–a continuation of the funk sound explored on Motivation Radio. Terra Scope noted Hillage had been championing punk rock whilst at the same time his music "was nodding in a dance direction even then," to which Hillage recalled that "we got more and more into funk and quite into disco and also electronics. In fact we were very much into German psychedelic music like Neu!, Can and stuff like that and of course these are all constituent parts of what eventually produced the explosion of dance music and we were in there early. I remember we did a Steve Hillage Band gig in a club in Plymouth in 1978 around the time of the Green album and before we played there was a disco. The DJ was playing Kraftwerk, stuff from The Man-Machine like "Robots" and "Spacela"”, and all these young dolly birds were dancing. I’d never seen that kind of dance music in a commercial context before, and it was quite a good sound system, quite loud, and I was getting into how they got the electronic sounds so neat and tidy and the kick drums had this nice sonic edge coming through the speakers. I just had this vision, I thought fuck, electronic dance music, my God, it’s going to be massive and this was 1978! Then as it evolved during the years when I was a record producer I kept track of all this."

Green was released in April 1978 by Virgin Records, only seven months after the release of Motivation Radio. It was originally released as a limited edition translucent green vinyl, before a standard black vinyl edition replaced it a couple of weeks later. The green vinyl pressing also included a poster of Hillage superimposed on a mountain range, with the pyramid fish symbol from the album cover superimposed on his face, and an insert with lyrics and additional album information.The cover features a distinctive "pyramid fish" design by John Michell–an English writer and painter with a particular interest in numbers and geometric shapes. His design is based on the medieval vesica piscis shape–the intersection between two equal sized circles where the centre of each lies on the circumference of the other. The Virgin catalogue number for this album on vinyl was V2098.

The album entered the UK Albums Chart on 29 April 1978, where it stayed for 8 weeks, hitting a peak of number 30, slightly less successful than Motivation Radio, which peaked at number 28. Hillage undertook an extensive tour in promotion of Green around the UK and France from April–June 1978 with a band featuring Hillage and Giraudy with Andy Anderson on drums, Christian Boule on guitar and John Mackenzie on bass guitar. In the summer of 1978, they played further festival appearances at The Deeply Vale Free Festival and the Ashton Court Festival in Bristol, followed by two shows at the Marquee Club in London on the 7th and 8th of August.

Green was remastered and re-released on CD in 1990 by Virgin Records in the UK and by Caroline Blue Plate in the US. It was remastered once more in 2007 for CD release by Virgin Records, this time featuring four bonus tracks: "Unidentified (Flying Being) and "Octave Doctors" recorded at Glastonbury Festival in 1979, "Not Fade Away (Glid Forever)" recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in 1977, and an alternate mix of "Meditation of the Snake". According to the liner notes of this reissue, "whilst researching this expanded edition of Green, the decision was made to locate suitable pertinent bonus tracks."

Track Listings:
    Green Rock

    A1 Sea-Nature 6:43
    A2 Ether Ships 5:02
    A3 Musick Of The Trees 4:53
    A4 Palm Trees (Love Guitar) 5:19

    OM Rock

    B1 Unidentified (Flying Being) 4:30
    B2 U.F.O. Over Paris 3:11
    B3 Leylines To Glassdom 4:06
    B4 Crystal City 3:36
    B5 Activation Meditation 1:03
    B6 The Glorious Om Riff 7:46

    2007 CD remastered bonus tracks

    11. Unidentified (Flying Being) (Live *) (4:52)
    12. Not Fade Away (Glid Forever) (Live $) (7:25)
    13. Octave Doctors (Live *) (3:38)
    14. Meditation Of The Snake (Alternative Mix) (3:16)

Total Time: 46:09
Artist Name(s):
Steve Hillage – vocals, electric guitar, guitar synthesizer, synthesizer
Miquette Giraudy – synthesizer, vocoder, vocals
Curtis Robertson Jr – bass
Joe Blocker – drums
Nick Mason – drum on "Leylines to Glassdom"

Bonus tracks

Andy Anderson – drums (live at Glastonbury)
Paul Francis – bass (live at Glastonbury)
Dave Stewart – rhythm guitar and glissando guitar (live at Glastonbury)
Clive Bunker – drums (live at Rainbow)
Colin Bass – bass (live at Rainbow)
Christian Boule – rhythm guitar and glissando guitar (live at Rainbow)
Phil Hodge – keyboards (live at Rainbow)
Basil Brooks – synthesizer (live at Rainbow)
Nick mason
Release Year: 1978
Progressive, Space Rock
Album Type:
Compact Disc, LP 33 1/3
Cover & Packge Design:
John Michell
Studio Name:
Ridge Farm Studio, Matrix Studio, Britannia Row Studios
Engineer(s): John Wood, Andy Llewelyn, Malcolm Heeley
Label / Publishing
Label Name:
Virgin Records
Catalog Number(s):
V 2098
London, England
Editions / Reissues
  1. Virgin, Virgin CDVR2098, 00946 373456 27 Europe 2007
  2. Virgin 25 875 XOT Netherlands 1978
  3. Limited Edition (3) SHCD 004 Russia 1999
  4. Virgin 25 875 XOT Germany Unknown
  5. Virgin 2473 747 France 1978
Synthesizers Used
Album Locator
[+] Amazon
[+] Amoeba
[+] Discogs
[+] Google
[+] YouTube

  Report Album

User Feedback

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


  • Create New...