Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
System 7.3: Fire + Water
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
loteq | Regensburg | 11/27/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The logical idea behind this double-disc set was to compile the two different versions of System 7's third album - the dancy "Fire" and the beatless "Water". Don't let my lukewarm rating mislead you; there is some very good music on "Fire" and its ambient counterpart "Water". Having said that, I still find it remarkable that there are only a few stand-out tracks, which is somewhat disappointing for a 19-track double-disc set that contains more than 150 minutes of music. According to the booklet, the environmental sounds were recorded in Bali, which makes for the Eastern-tinged atmosphere owners of Hillage's '70s solo albums will know. However, much of what is here remains surprisingly bland and unengaging; many of the tracks on "Fire" rely on layers of ambient sounds and occasional guitar bits which are accompanied by rather formulaic dance loops. It's not really bad but fairly outdated, given that System 7's contemporaries like Aphex Twin and Autechre had already begun to experiment with a totally new electronica sound and The Orb had explored similar territories on "The Orb's adventures" almost half a decade before the release of "Fire + Water". The first disc starts with "Sirenes", a collaboration with French DJ star Laurent Garnier, building a powerful dance track with shuffling house rhythms and Hillage's typically soaring, shrill guitar riffs which sound like seagulls cry. In general, the straightforward dance tracks like "Coltrane" and "Gliding on.." provide the main interest throughout the album, mostly achieving a solid combination of electronic burblings and bass-heavy percussion. "Jupiter!" comes up with a great, splintery chorded solo which is backed by watery guitar riffs, yet those flashes of memorable melodies and effective fusions of guitars and electronica are a rather rare occurrence. And this overall lack of strong melodies and concise textures, which is balanced by the dance beats on "Fire", becomes a real problem throughout "Water". The distinction between ambient music which is gripping and ambient music which meanders without going anywhere is usually dangerously small - and "Water" mostly crosses the boundaries into the dull realm. Nevertheless, there are a few bright spots; the atmospheric mix of "Sirenes", for example, reminds me of Hillage's 1979 album "Rainbow dome musick". "Liquid sky" is also worth mentioning, but who needs artificially drawn out versions of "Coltrane" and "Alpha wave" which go on for more than 13 minutes? Fans looking for more of this "Orb's adventures.." style may find this acceptable, since "Fire + Water" is certainly well produced and of a good audio quality. It does, however, never come close to the fresh ideas and the musicianship of System 7's self-titled debut, largely because it sounds too unfocused and repetitive. Whether a few good tracks justify purchase or not, only you can decide."
The Ambient and Techno Divide.
DAC Crowell | 07/10/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good intro to the band featuring former Gong members Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy. 10 excellent techno tracks on the Fire disc featuring Hillage's lead guitar and Giraudy's swirling synth is just as groving as any Orbital track. While most of the music on the Water disc are ambient remixes that may remind you of Hillage's "Rainbow Dome Musick" album. Listening to this disc, it's no wonder that the Orb have often collaborated with them. There's something for everyone who's into both techno and ambient here.Personal Favorite Tracks: Fire: Alpha Wave (Gliss Mix), Coltrane, Gliding on Duo-Tone Curves, Jupiter!, and Dr. Livingstone I Presume. Water: Alpha Wave (Hemi-Sync Mix), Coltrane, Liquid Sky, Jupiter!"
The vast plateau of System 7
DAC Crowell | 04/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And I do mean 'vast'! Sprawled out across two discs of original and very remixed tracks, this is a wondrous set that combines trance, ambient, space, weirdness, jazz, and of course the pulsing and gliding guitar of Mr. Hillage. This gets stuffed into the 'dance and DJ' pigeonhole, but really, it's so much more. This is sort of the culmination of something that began back with Hillage's "Rainbow Dome Musick", that led through Detroit, London, Ibiza, Goa, Chicago and so on, to arrive at these two amazing CDs of work. There are beats here, yes, but there's also complex harmony, swirling atmospherics, amazing guitar work with Hillage at the peak of his form...about the only 'complaint' you could aim at this is that it's perhaps a bit too much for some, at two discs. But for those looking for a real immersive experience, you can't do any better than the trancy, spacy sounds presented herein. Sadly, after this it was all downhill for System 7; "Power of Seven" contained a few experiments that didn't quite work out, and "The Golden Section"...well, just wasn't 'golden'. Get this and the previous "777" (also called 'the green album') and see what the big deal was."