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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimistic, energising techno-ambient and (GREAT!) guitars,
For years, Steve Hillage was known for his passionate, bewitching guitar music. Then came the techno/ambient age; often very dreamy, often very drum-based, occasionally too technically accomplished to be emotionally gripping.
Phoenix is the perfect blend of Steve and Miquette Giraudy's music and is System 7's most rewarding and interesting album for years. It is absolutely packed with little treasures for fans of Hillage's old music and features an awesome range of guest artists -- including Daevid Allen, for Gong fans. (I admit it: I scampered round the room a bit when I heard the 'I am / we are cray-zee' refrain).
That's not to say that the music on Phoenix is old fashioned; it's nothing of the sort. The guitar sounds enhance the synth basis, and there's a comfortable mix of bouncy beat-drive up tempo numbers to mix with the wistful, ethereal, more ambient numbers. None of the tracks grab me quite like Bon Humeur (from the first S7 disc) or Palm Trees (from green, and even earlier), but Phoenix offers a compelling mix of melody and spine-tingling moments. You'll hear the odd snatch of familiar solo or riff and wonder if it's a sample of an old moment or a perfect fusion of then and now. Come to think of it, 'Phoenix' is an entirely appropriate title for this cd (although it refers not to any resurgence of System7 but ties in with the manga graphic novels of Tezuka Osamu which provides the theme to the album).
There aren't any tracks which move me to tears, but there's plenty which encourage wildly inappropriate grooving around the office. And there are one or two slower paced, peaceful moments which will have you gazing out of the window while time slips away. It's going to be on the playlist for a good long while. Plus, there's an MPEG file of the original video for the title track, Hinotori, to watch on the 'puter, although my disc is firmly stuck in the boom box at the mo'.
Finally, if you are new to System7 then don't be put off by my nostalgic ramblings. This is a very easy to access, immediately enjoyable album. It's the perfect introduction to the sound of System7 -- a great place to hear a representative selection of the group's different styles of music.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, Involving, Uplifting, Wonderful! - Guitar too (Hooray!!!),
This is a lovely compilation of tracks which touches your soul right from the first playing, each track telling a story all its own (intentionally) and of all the recent System 7 releases, I think this is the most "complete."
I've followed Steve & Miquette's musical journey for more decades than I care to remember and haven't always agreed with the more "techno" directions they've followed (Golden Section being the most cerebral and least involving to me) but this one couldn't be more opposite, having huge chunks of decent "electronica" as well as the strongly beating heart they've developed over the years.
There are little musical touches from many previous tracks to get you guessing and the layers are expertly applied, giving a real sense of space and depth to the mixes. I first *found* the track "Masato Eternity" and slowly but surely, the other tracks found me and I was mesmerised by their beauty. The rhythms didn't seem so overpowering this time either and just acted as a foundation for the music to sit on, the result being "ambient with movement" rather than "big beats with ambience" as some of their later work has been. There's a touch of audible compression here and there, but it's not too bad and never gets in the way of the music.
Steve must have been energised afresh by his recent re-involvement with the Gong vibe and also in the remastering of his "Virgin" back catalogue, as his guitar seems to feature more than ever on this release. It's still part of the mix, rather than leading "up front" but to hear these little licks here and there with his recognisable style (plenty of gliss too) brought tears of joy to this listener. More please Steve - and thank you! Daevid Allen's contribution to "Strange beings" made me beam with pleasure too, with that silly, gooey feeling inside :). Miquette has the most beautiful synthy "twiddly bits" (sorry, can't describe it in any other way) and these feature highly once again with some occasional lovely arpeggiated sequencing, with real depth and a more organic feel this time round.
Favourite track? It has to be (currently) the penultimate one, "Makimura - Space Pilot," which I can't stop playing at the moment. Steve's blistering riffs (still set back) and the incredible bass line are screaming out for a live touring band to assist Steve and Miquette play this at gigs. In fact, there are many System 7 tracks that could be adapted to a "proper" live group and a surprising number are on this CD...........
I've only played this disc a handful of times and feel the need to go and play it again. I can't recommend it highly enough...
This is a MAGICK album. Give it a try, PLEASE!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars System 7 (th Heaven),
Having dabbled with System 7 for years and being a Hillage fan, I have always kept an ear out for new material. I especially like the float between techno and trance with their music and as I never know what could come up next, I find the progression of their music is worth listening to. What does it for me is how the ambient sector of their music which is present in this album, seems to blend seemlessly from the techno/trance elements.
I also appreciate it when bands bring out an album that is heavily influenced, this one being from Tezuka Osamu's Manga novels about the legendary Phoenix. Brilliant!
This album won't disappoint you. Just the track titles hooked me before I heard any snippets and when I saw that Eat Static had put their input into Wolf-Head - well I just had to buy it.
Finally, the album delivers incredibly well - beautiful soundscapes and rhythms packed together with enough BPM to resurrect the Phoenix. Or has the Phoenix always been here?
Take it from me - this album is superb.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album,
I was very pleased with this album. Some of the tracks on here are almost magical - especially 'Song for the Phoenix'. I was a bit disappointed with track 6 - 'Strange Beings' as I felt it didn't really follow the mood created by previous tracks. Maybe that was because it contained a sample with some voices - unlike all the other tracks which were completely instrumental. But this is a great album.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to form,
As a long time System 7 fan I've tolerated some average tracks amongst the gems.
I think that this album stands out as having top tunes all the way through.
5.0 out of 5 stars System 7 - Phoenix,
This review is from: Phoenix (MP3 Download)
I love this album. Being of a 'certain age', although I have eclectic tastes, this would not be the usual style of music I gravitate towards. But, I was a fan of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy back in the days of Gong, and Steve Hillage's solo albums, so I had a listen to the samples of this, loved what I heard, bought it, and loved the album, along with System 7's '777' album.
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic and mellow,
Well constructed album that is just right for a change in style when needed. Nice for sitting back with a Southern Comfort and just chillin'
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