24 October 2007

Steve Hillage - 1977 - Motivation Radio

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Now this is a horrific album cover. Apparently, the execs at Virgin Records decided that they wanted to market Hillage as some sort of new age Jesus figure, and I feel that this cover really reflects this. Fortunately, it does not effect the music inside, and if you get past the poor visual design, you'll find another solid Hillage album.

Once again, there are some changes here. Hillage had finally hooked up with a stable band (and still skilled) at this point, and Miquette Giraudy is now working her synth magic as a full member. To get an awesome dose of what she does, head straight for "Searching For The Spark." The songs here are also much more concise, giving Motivation Radio much more of a pop edge. It's a really happy, positive sounding album.

Hillage always came up with killer guitar riffs, and they work quite well in a more traditional song context. "Motivation" and "Saucer Surfing" in particular have some classic riffs. I like to refer to this stuff as sounding like the happy version of 70s era Pink Floyd. Feeling comfortable as a solo artist, Hillage references Gong a little more, especially in the goofy call and response of "Light In The Sky" and the Radio Gnome informed "Octave Doctors." He scores another great cover song too with the closing version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," which retains the Bo Diddley beat but injects the song with a cosmic vibe.

As a warning, there is a certain amount of cheese present here. Hillage's lyrics are often hopelessly new age naive, but he sounds so happy singing them that I can't help but forgive him. He projects a lot of joy in his music that glosses over some potential rough spots. There's also even more 70's white boy funk present here, but the band is more than limber and I think they make it through ok.

Motivation Radio may be the best introduction to Hillage. It retains most of his trademark sound, but serves it up in a more pop sort of context. As a result, Hillage's best compositions are present here.

Buy Me:
Steve Hillage - 1977 - Motivation Radio


Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! (but I can't obtain the bonus tracks)

Dr. Schluss said...

Give it another try. I just accessed the bonus tracks.

nettsmoney said...

Thank you very much :)

Anonymous said...

Hillage is a pretty good "space" musician but these albums are ruined by those cheesy synthesizer tinkles in the background. Makes it sound like those Steve Halpern healing new age albums. Those french chicks ruined lots of Gong and Daevid Allen music too.
I guess the lesson is that you have to be very careful with adding the easy-to-create synth burbles on the analog machines. Or maybe, take your girlfriend to dinner, not to the studio.
I forgive him for all because he made that whacked out Arzachel lp.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Hillage. Haven't heard this in decades

Zer0_II said...

Are you still updating this blog? If so I would be interested in adding it to my blogroll, and I would like an invitation to the private blog if possible. Please leave a comment back on one of my blogs if you get this. Thanks...

Anonymous said...

Thx for the post

For registration send e-mail to:

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

yessssssss, i was looking for it for… i don't remember… ah since…ah gonna ask my Octave Doctor !

hector said...

Thanks Dr. Schluss.

Osvaldo said...

Doc., both links are dead. If It s possible,fix it please!

Martin said...

Working link:

Steve said (2012) about this album:
“To tell you the truth, one of the ones I’m most proud of is one that didn’t appeal so much in America called, Motivation Radio. I thought it was very original and laid the basis for our development into electronics and dance music. There was a track on the Green album called; “Ether Ships” and I sometimes say … that was the first System 7 track.”