Monday’s Long Song

I found a copy of Steve Hillage’s 1979 ambient album Rainbow Dome Music in the second hand record shop in Stretford recently, the forty one year old sleeve and vinyl in pretty much perfect condition and priced at just £8.00. The album is two long pieces of ambient music composed and played by Hillage and his partner Miquette Giraudy, using guitars, Fender Rhodes, ARP and Moog synths,a double sequencer and Tibetan bells. It was recorded specifically for the Mind- Body- Spirit festival at Olympia in London but its influence has lasted long after that. When Dr Alex Paterson of The Orb started off playing ambient house in the back rooms of London’s acid house venues he’d have a copy of Rainbow Dome Music on one deck, some sound affects albums on the second (birdsong, voices) and the rhythm tracks on the third. The Orb and Steve Hillage would go on to work together after the man who made the music introduced himself to Paterson while he was DJing with a copy of Rainbow Dome Music. Hillage would go on to form his own 90s ambient house outfit, System 7. Rainbow Dome Music’s influence on The Orb’s own recordings is huge. I don’t know if Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty had heard it but it seems reasonable to assume they had and to these ears there seems to be a fairly straight line between Rainbow Dome Music and The KLF’s Chill Out. Less of a straight line maybe, more of a meandering, wandering, gently drifting line but definitely a line connecting the two.

Garden Of Paradise, side one, is almost twenty five minutes of ambient, pastoral, dreamscape- running water, ringing bells, organ notes, bleeps, synths and long keening sounds, delayed guitar notes, all stitched together carefully and seamlessly, lush and rich and pushed along by Giraudy’s double sequencer.

Garden Of Paradise