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Steve Hiett ‎
Down On The Road By The Beach

Efficient Space / Be With Records

Regular price
$48.00 SGD
Regular price
Sale price
$48.00 SGD


- The Analog Vault // Essential Listening -

Famed as a photographer for Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle and Rolling Stone - Steve Hiett did not necessarily plan to be a professional musician. But when the English lensman included some of his original music into an exhibition catalogue, CBS/Sony took notice. Suddenly a record was commissioned and Hiett found himself collaborating with Japanese rock band Moonriders, Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan sessionist Elliott Randall for his debut solo album.

Released in 1983, Down on the Road By the Beach ended up being a sun-kissed slice of surf pop that blended smooth jazz, psychedelic rock, ambient and new wave into a groovy reverie. Hiett translated his iconic visual style - oversaturation and askew framing - into his dreamy and hypnotic guitar compositions. One could have called it chillwave, except that term was more than a few decades away from being invented. - The Analog Vault

For the first time since its inception 36 years ago, Steve Hiett’s elusive 'Down On The Road By The Beach' is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett's transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York with no coastline in sight. Now widely celebrated as a desert island disc, very little is actually known of its unfathomable genesis.

A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s ground breaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone - as well as The Doors, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix (in one of his final performances at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival) - while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire, printing his signature warm, saturated and vibrantly hued snapshots.

In 1982, representatives from Tokyo's Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7” of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down ‘Blue Beach - Welcome To Your Beach’ in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan hired-gun Elliott Randall. Once dispatched, the phone began ringing off the hook with requests for him to fly to Tokyo. Assuming these long-distance callers were wanting him to check proofs for the book, it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper and Ashra, 'Down On The Road By The Beach' also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of Roll Over Beethoven, Santo & Johnny's 'Sleep Walk' and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit 'Never Found A Girl'. — (via Be With Records)

Label: Efficient Space, Be With Records
Format: LP, Album, Reissue, Gatefold
Reissued: 2019 (Original: 1983)
Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Blues, Rock
Style: Smooth Jazz, Fusion, Ambient