Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Don't know Steve Hillage? Guitar legend Steve Hillage has been on the cutting edge of some of the most experimental music since the late 1960's. Phoenix Rising is a collaboration with the progressive Japanese jam band Rovo while utilizing System 7 which is the project if Hillage and Miquette Giraudy.
This is the type of release that can easily turn into a critics worst nightmare and have record executives perched precariously on the nearest ledge but for all the right reasons as Phoenix Rising transcends genre. Think improvisational based psychedelic ambient electronica. Nothing? How bout Alan Holdsworth meets the Moody Blues but with an infectious beat?
Rovo boasts a two drummer lineup, funky bass, and mind altering keyboard work but toss in electic violinist Yuji Katsui and you get an amped up Jean Luc Ponty vibe taken to the outer reaches of harmonic space. One of the most impressive compositions featured is the Mahavishnu Orchestra cover of "Meeting of The Spirits." Attempting to put Phoenix Rising in the prog rock category is trying to fit the proverbial square musical peg into a round whole, doesn't work. Art rock can at times sound dated, Rovo and System 7 seem ten years ahead of the time.
Phoenix Rising should cut a wide sonic path for a myriad of tastes. A dazzling release!
Tracks: Hinotori; Love For The Phoenix; Meeting Of The Spirits; Cisco (Phoenix Rising Version); Unbroken; Sino Dub (Phoenix Rising Version); Unseen Onsen
Personnel: Steve Hillage: Guitar, Programming; Miquette Giraudy: Synthesizer; Yuji Katsui: Electric Violin; Seiichi Yamamoto: Guitar; Yasuhiro Yoshigaki: Drums; Yoichi Okabe: Drums, Percussion; Jin Harada: Bass Guitar; Masuko Tatsuki: Keyboards.