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Title:To Watch The Storms
Genre: Rock/Prog-Rock, Art Rock, Pop
Label: Inside Out-www.insideoutmusic.com
Get some Hackett racket now!
To Watch The Storms is the first Steve Hackett album in four years. Although that seems like a long time between albums, it is not hard to imagine how quickly the years could fly by when you are involved with a multitude of projects such as Hackett.
The new CD features Hackett playing extraordinary guitar as well as numerous other instruments like the Rain Stick and Koto, which are not your common everyday instruments that come into play when recording a rock album. Certainly, this is not your ordinary rock album. The album focuses on one of the premier guitarists in the world making progressive artistic rock music that many high caliber musicians would find inconceivable or quite difficult to produce. Hackett very smartly brought onboard some supportive and diverse talent to help him reach his goals. Roger King (Piano, Organ, Synthesizer), Rob Townsend (Brass, Woodwind, Whistles), Terry Gregory (Vocals, Basses, Pedals & Thunder), Gary O’ Toole (Vocals, Acoustics & Electric Drums, Percussion), and various guests such as Ian McDonald, all contributed to the outcome of this successful recording.
From the decidedly uncommon progressive-pop sensibilities of "The Devil is an Englishman," to the Far East flavor of "The Silk Road," there is nothing accidental or coincidental in the way Hackett conceives and follows through with a recording session. He is a very gifted individual that systematically approaches every track, making sure his audience gets the very best of him and as much variety of his artistic vision as possible.
After listening to the album, it certainly became more than apparent that the results harvested from the recording sessions of this album were well worth the wait for all of the followers of progressive rock as a whole and Hackett’s illustrious career. There is so much to this man and his music that every track offers new musical adventures. He can rock hard with biting and piercing guitar licks to satisfy the progressive rock enthusiast, or dazzle a jazz audience with a completely different sound by plucking a soft and tasteful acoustic number, giving a collective nod to past six-string magicians such as Segovia and Reinhardt. I think you will unearth more uniqueness and subtleties with each successive listen to this CD; in fact, I have no doubt that if you are a veteran prog-rock listener that you will be very pleased with this effort and will feel compelled to listen repeatedly to this masterstroke of musical accomplishments.
What is a span of four years when you can put out a quality album like this every time out? Many people would consider this as a career breakthrough album; Hackett makes it look like a matter of course, another day at the office for an old pro. This is yet another convincing reason to believe he has been one of the most consistent musicians since his days with Genesis.
©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
May 16, 2003
Steve Hackett-Vocals, Guitar, Optigan, Harmonica, Koto, Rain Stick, Chimes, Quatro
Roger King-Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Vocoder, Research & Programming
Rob Townsend-Brass, Woodwind, Whistles & One-man Serpentine chorus machine
Terry Gregory-Vocals, Basses, Pedals & Thunder
Gary O’ Toole-Vocals, Acoustics & Electric Drums, Percussion with regular and ferocious beatings!
John Hackett-Flute solo on "Serpentine Song"
Ian McDonald-Sax on "Brand New"
Jeanne Downs-Backing Vocals
Sarah Wilson, Cello & Howard Gott, Violin
Purchase this enhanced CD
Artist: Steve Hackett (www.stevehackett.com)
Title: Feedback 86 (2001/2002) & Darktown (1999/2002)
Genre: Camino Records/Inside Out Music America (www.insideoutmusic.com)
Steve Hackett's legacy has reached legendary proportions over the years due to his contributions to progressive rock in bands like Genesis. His solo career has also left its imprint upon the history of progressive rock. Although I haven't heard too much of his solo work, these two releases gave me a good idea of what direction Hackett went on two of his outings.
Feedback 86 was his post GTR solo album, and it probably was a huge disappointment, it certainly was for me. It all sounds like over produced fluff; it's overtly technical, fake and plastic. It's really a shame, as Hackett is a great guitar player, one of the best. What saves the day are the 20 MP3 bonus tracks. I suggest you skip right over the album and go right to the MP3's, they are excellent. Chester Thompson and Ian McDonald also contribute tracks. Several of the songs are of the unplugged variety. Of particular interest are the cuts from the "Tokoyo Tapes." "Court of the Crimson King" and "Heat Of The Moment" are fantastic acoustic adventures that will have prog fans and collectors reeling. "Sketches of Satie-Pieces Froides #2," "Skteches of Satie-Gnossienne #2," and "Momentum-Cavalcanti" show a beautiful side of Hackett's guitar playing. All the tracks have a decidedly Latin flavor ala Segovia.
Darktown is a much better solo effort. Hackett seems much more focused and the music is more codified and driven with purpose, whereas Feedback 86 was a unfocused mish mash of cold and calculating technology. His guitar work is exemplarily, and many of the songs have a world feel to them, as many different instruments are employed. Its like what Peter Gabriel has done in the past, filling the studio with a wonderful cross section of musicians from around the world to create a rock and roll hybrid all his own.
I know that Steve Hackett has garnered rave reviews and the respect of his peers over the years, and I am a little disappointed that I couldn't rant and rave about his work. I hope I have the opportunity to hear more of his catalog in the near future so I don't have to look at his solo career through just two CDs. I have a feeling he did a lot of great work over the years that I just haven't had the privilege to hear yet. I believe regardless of my feelings that these two discs were well worth the listen and any prog rock diehard would find some value and entertainment in them, I certainly did, especially in all of the MP3s.
©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
JUNE 7, 2002Feedback 86
* Bonus Tracks-20 MP3 Songs
Steve Hackett - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals, Producer
Bonnie Tyler - Vocals
Nick Magnus - Drums, Keyboards
Terry Pack - Bass
Pete Trewavas - Bass
Ian Mosely - Drums
1. Omega Metallicus performed by Sinclair, Sir Douglas / Hackett - 3:48
2. Darktown performed by Ian McDonald / Hackett / Julian Colbeck - 4:59
3. Man Overboard performed by Siedlaczek Choir / Hackett - 4:17
4. The Golden Age of Steam performed by Roger King / Jerry Peal / Children's Choir - 4:09
5. Days of Long Ago performed by Jim Diamond / Billy Budis / Hackett - 3:23
6. Dreaming with Open Eyes performed by John Hackett / Jerry Peal / Hackett - 6:54
7. Twice Around the Sun performed by Sinclair, Sir Douglas / Roger King / Ben Fenner - 7:15
8. Rise Again performed by Hugo Deganhardt / Billy Budis / Aron Friedman - 4:26
9. Jane Austen's Door performed by Roger King / Hackett - 6:13
10. Darktown Riot performed by Roger King / Hackett - 3:10
11. In Memoriam performed by Siedlaczek Choir / Roger King / Hackett - 7:59
Steve Hackett - Harmonica, Piano, Narrator, Rainstick, Sequencing, 12-String Bass Guitar, Guitar Technician
John Wetton - Bass Samples
John Hackett - Flute, Pan Pipes
Roger King - Drums, Flageolet, Keyboards, Engineer, Mixing, Post Production, Wood, Guitar Engineer, Rhythm Coordination
Ian McDonald - Saxophone
Jerry Peal - Strings, Bells, Engineer, Mixing, Woodwind Arrangement
Doug Sinclair - Bass
Billy Budis - Cello, Engineer, Mixing, Management
Hugo Degenhardt - Drums
Aron Friedman - Piano, Keyboards, Drum Producer
Jim Diamond - Vocals
John Colbeck - Keyboards
Bob Fenner - Guitar, Recorder, Producer, String Arrangements, Drum Programming, Design, Mixing, Post Production, Choir Coordinator
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