While still a member of Gong, Hillage was afforded the opportunity by Virgin Records to record a solo album. It's no surprise then that Fish Rising contains most of the Gong crew, plus Hillage's partner Miquette Giraudy and former bandmate Dave Stewart. In fact, much of the material here was first written during the second incarnation of Khan in 1972. Stewart's keyboards give "Solar Musick Suite" (sic) a none-too-subtle nod towards the so-called Canterbury sound.
Cyrille Verdeaux's second album for Virgin Records was again recorded at The Manor Studio in the UK, with Mick Glossop producing. Clearlight (the band) now featured six members, including ex-Zao bassist Joël Dugrenot, who contributed two songs, and a host of guest friends. The opening track "Chanson" is a lush affair, its under-mixed vocals provoking an exceptional effect. And if you thought David Cross (from King Crimson) couldn't play violin, listen up to the end of the track.
Originally the Sebastian Hardie Blues Band, these Australians paid their dues as Johnny O'Keef's backing band during the 60s. In 1973, the Plavsic brothers Peter (bass) and Alex (drums) joined up with guitarist and vocalist Mario Millo, while keyboardist Toivo Pilt jumped aboard a year later. It should be evident by now that a lot of bands were "switching" to progressive styles around this time. Though this wasn't disingenuous per se, the more organic evolutions of the original British groups still remained the barometer, and comparisons could not be avoided.
In 1975, Gentle Giant signed to Chrysalis Records in the UK—an agreement that purportedly stemmed from the relationship the band had made with the label after touring with mainstays Jethro Tull. On their first album for the label, Free Hand, the band replaces the uniformity of their previous efforts with a much more playful and varied atmosphere. The first side revolves around the themes of broken relationships, both personal and business. "Just the Same" kicks things off with a choppy rhythm, but its highlight is the break: one minute soaring, the next quirky.