Inside Outside (label)
31 March 2017 (released)
13 April 2017
There are many things one can say about Steve Hackett and very few are negative.
He has a remarkable playing style, instantly recognizable, but never cliched. He is also a fine writer and arranger and over his career (25 albums!) he has developed into a truly individual musician. He is also a nice guy and is able to surround himself with the kind of musicians that most others would kill for. Roger King provides keyboards & programming, Christine Townshend violin & viola, Rob Townshend blows saxes and flute, Gary O’Toole and Nick D’Virgilio play the drums and he even has a digeridoo played by Sara Kovács.
He said of this album “I will always be known as a progressive musician. But what that means is there are no rules to be followed. Anything can happen at any time, and that's certainly the case here.”
From the start, this has the feel of a complex and intricate musical statement but it is also tinged with a feel of ‘fun’ as though playing the music is actually a joyous experience and not a chore.
It seems clear that Hackett was trying to make a positive statement in a world that has gone many steps towards the abyss and bringing musicians from all over the world and from many different musical disciplines has gone a long way towards that positivity.
“The theme throughout is very much one of peace. To that end, we have world music and music from all over the world. There are musicians here from so many different countries, and we recorded in a lot of different locations, sometimes in studios and at others in rooms. And there was also a lot of use made of modern technology to get music files sent around the globe. What I wanted to do was show that we can all communicate through the universality of one
language – and that is music. It brings us all together.
“Right now, it seems the world has been plunged into darkness. Wherever you look, extremism and intolerance are dominant, and people are getting fed up with politicians. They are losing faith in the way they behave. But within the midst of all this, what I am saying is that embracing a multi-cultural approach gives us all a way of moving forward in the right way.”
For me, as a listener, the album reminds me of many of Hackett’s greatest moments but it is clearly a completely new piece and has been lovingly crafted.
One of the best Prog albums for many a year and one of those that keeps rewarding the listener the more you delve and focus.