Exposé Online banner

NR Hills — Eleven Nails in the Coffin
(Celeno CEL NR5, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01

Eleven Nails in the Coffin Cover art

These pieces originally appeared on English composer and musician N.R. Hill’s first three (now deleted) albums: Romeo & the Beast, Nails, and The Triumph of Death. With this compilation he makes available his early work to those who might be curious after hearing one of his more recent albums. Most of these tracks feature vintage electronic keyboards such as ARP synths and Solinas, the kind of thing people like Vangelis, Kraftwerk, and Tangerine Dream were using in the 70s, though these recordings are not nearly that old. Hills has been enamored with the sound of these electronic and progressive pioneers and on his early albums set out to carve out a niche for himself. He possesses a keen feel for exotic textures and cultural music from South East Asia, extending well beyond the cliché motifs and scalar ideas one associates with Asian music. One can hear Tibetan, Thai, and Indonesian influences in Hill’s melodies and – in particular – the percussion. Even though they are largely synthetic and electronic, the bells, chimes, gongs, cymbals, and hand drums are arranged and built into the songs with convincingly effective results. I’m reminded of Jon Anderson’s lost solo album The Sky and His Shadow, plus the pioneering electronica of Eno and Tangerine Dream. A more modern reference might be early Karda Estra, though the feel of this material isn’t as gothic. Hills has much to offer and for those who enjoy aural journeys into exotic realms you owe it to yourself to check this out.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): N.R. Hills

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Haze - In the End: 1978 - 1988 – In the End: 1978-1988 is a compilation of various tracks that chronicle the 10 year existence of one the more undeservedly obscure UK progressive bands. In their early days, the band suffered from...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues