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The Suite Music World of Gary Hill: Collected Articles Originally Published at Suite101 written by Gary Hill

Review by Greg Olma

This book is not really new material but rather a collection of Gary Hill's articles for a website called “Suite 101."  Some might not like dated material, but I find these types of books enjoyable for a number of reasons.  First off, I love books.  What I mean by that is that I prefer flipping pages in a book to scrolling through a computer or tablet screen (don’t even get me started on trying to read on a smart phone).  Secondly, Instead of having to go to multiple web pages or trying to find these articles as single pieces, this book collects many of them into one handy read.  (Also, these articles are no longer available online, making print the only option - ed)Thirdly, and this has more to do with this particula author, Hill has a vast knowledge of many different types of music.  Even though he may be known as the “prog” guy, his knowledge extends past that genre with many stories and tidbits of info on many other bands.  While many of the bands in this collection do fall into the prog category like Yes, Rush, and Rick Wakeman, many are quite far removed like Black Sabbath, Queensryche, Dimmu Borgir, and Sister Hazel.  Talk about an eclectic group! 

Many of the articles are “Album by Album Overviews” where Hill starts with the beginning and goes through each of the artist's albums.  Each record is given a paragraph or two with info on songs, hits, reception, or any other little bit of knowledge he can offer for the release.  Along with these articles, the book is peppered with concert pictures by Hill (and a few by Greg Olma himself and one by Julie Knispel - ed).  If you are a fan of a specific band in this book, you might find the article doesn’t go deep enough for the artist or release, but that is not the point.  I think this book works on two levels.  One, if you are someone who is just learning about a specific artist, then this is a great place to get a little history lesson on a band’s catalogue.  Two, if you are seasoned fan, this book almost prompts you to visit those albums again and re-discover the music.  I haven’t played an Alice Cooper or Blue Oyster Cult album in quite a while (the curse of having an extensive music collection) but The Suite Music World of Gary Hill had me digging through my CDs for Cooper’s Killer and BOC’s Cultosaurus Erectus.  

Editor's note: The editor of Music Street Journal is the same person who wrote this book. Whenever I'm having something of mine reviewed at MSJ, I make it clear to the writer that I want an honest review. So, while I've edited a bit for grammar (and added a couple appropriate parentheticals), I have not altered the review itself at all.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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