Wednesday, 20 August 2008

John Hill - Six Moons of Jupiter

All life on Earth originated from Europa, one of Jupiter’s largest moons, posits this previously unreleased concept album from Pacific Gas and Electric producer John Hill. Hmm, as we might well say with scepticism.

Actually, though, this framing idea is the glue that holds together a rather pleasing mix of spiritual jazz, beat poetry, neo-classical movements and typically early 70s space rock. Recorded in Philadelphia in 1970, to a degree this collection prefigures the work of Hawkwind circa In Search Of Space, with its spacey themes and Radiophonic Workshop analogue effects layered over recited declamations of a science-fiction flavour. So whilst that sounds both portentous and pretentious, the recital delivery by psychedelic folk singer Susan Christie is clear and unobtrusive and the suite of music (Hill originally planned this as part of a thirteen piece concept performance) is varied and well balanced.

It’s very much a muso’s labour of love, you can gather that from the detailed liner notes with their exposition of the Moogs and Hammonds employed in the recordings, but the effect is akin to a space rock Gustav Holst and the ethereal vibe achieved is highly satisfactory.

This review originally appeared in Rock N Reel magazine.