Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Kim Fletcher | Pattaya, Chonburi Thailand | 06/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It has long been a bone of contention with this dog. Why Steve Hillman is not an international star with his C.D's nustling in C.D collections alongside the likes of Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. Having already released two collections of his work on the magnificent Cyclops label, "Matrix" (`94) and "Riding The Storm" (`96), in 1999 Steve released "Opener of The Ways" to wide critical acclaim. As in all his recordings, Steve plays all the instruments apart from the beautiful flute passages played by his wife, Linda, who also did all the artwork for his 3 albums so far, which are worth the price of the C.D's in themselves. Steve Hillman's 3rd album was a bit of a change in direction in that he produced a much more progressive rock album than his other, more synth dream scoped based earlier C.D's. It moves away from The Tangerine Dream style with less sequences and electronics, relying far more on Steve's hard driving guitar work and the rhythm of the songs. It has far more structured pieces with all the elements of classical music, hard rock, ethnic, folk, and modern dance all mixed together. Imagine Jimi Hendrix teaching Rick Wakeman how to play guitar, or John Coltrane teaching Hank Marvin how to play the keyboards without the inane grin and silly dance steps. "Opener of The Ways" is like its predecessors, an all-instrumental album with much more of Steve's usual biting electric guitar work and Linda's subtle flute playing. This album is actually much more upbeat than anything he has done before, although it still has its dark brooding passages, making the tension in the music work very well by contrast. It is definitely his most ambitious and musically complex project so far, integrating orchestral sections onto a rock based lineup of drums, guitars, and keyboards, also using traditional instrumental sounds such as flute, piano, Hammond organ, saxophone and, of course, that stalwart of all progressive rock, the Mellotron. If this all sounds a bit like Deep Purple' "Concerto for Group and Orchestra", don't worry, it isn't. All of the melodies from all the different sections are extremely mesmerizing, drilling into your memory banks, deeper and deeper the more you listen to them, with many recurring themes popping up when you least expect them, catching you off guard, making sure you are paying attention. If Steve Hillman's music has to be labeled, I think we should call it "Awareness Music". The section called "Pulsator" is probably Steve Hillman in his majestic pomp. A mighty melody, which puts itself very much in the foreground because of its insistent repetitive melody, building into a rather striking track with its pumping rock and carnival like melody, pounding drums, and strong organ presence. If you're a bit bored with your C.D collection, give Steve Hillman a whirl. If you think you could become aware, you won't be disappointed. Mott the Dog."