King Tuts, Glasgow, Fri 14 Mar
After fronting cult, eccentric 60s space-rock collective Gong, guitarist Steve Hillage ploughed a psychedelic furrow through prog-rock before resorting to production duties for Scottish bands It Bites and Simple Minds. Then, chancing upon The Orb’s Alex Paterson layering beats over his own ‘Rainbow Dome Musick’ in Heaven’s late-90s back room he recognised a nascent ambient scene ripe for his input.
‘We’d been involved in the club scene since the 70s, believe it or not, and in the 80s, when I was concentrating on record producing, clubbing was quite an important part of our lives,’ he explains, ‘but it took a while before we got to a point where we actually felt we could make a credible musical project in that context – and meeting Alex was an important point in that process.’
Comprising Hillage and Miquette Giraudy – his romantic other since their shared Gong days – the resultant guitar-led ambient techno ‘dancefloor project’ System 7 have just released their ninth album proper in a 17-year odyssey that has seen fully involved collaborations with The Orb, Laurent Garnier, Carl Craig and Derrick May to name but a few. It is fitting then for such resiliently resurgent types – appearing here in both eye-watering live and DJ capacities – that the newly released album Phoenix owes its inspiration to the Japanese take on the mythical bird of rebirth, specifically manga forebear Tezuka Osamu’s mystical space-adventure serialisation. That said, Hillage himself asserts that, ‘It’s just perfect for inspiring psychedelic techno music.’ And who would argue with that?