Inside Out (label)
22 October 2012 (released)
08 November 2012
As a very early member of Genesis, Steve Hackett was integral to much of the early work and certainly some of the best. He was involved all the way from ‘Foxtrot’ and through ‘Selling England By The Pound’, ‘Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ and etc.
He has had a stellar solo career as well as being part of GTR and Squackett with Steve Howe and Chris Squire respectively and has guested on more albums than he cares to recount. So the question has to be asked “Why revisit? Why remake so many of the early numbers? Why not just re-issue the old albums?” (see the accompanying interview for his answers).
For the purposes of this review I decided to forget that these were classic tracks by one of the greats of Prog and look at them as new material, asking the question “in today’s world is this stuff any damn good?”
The real answer is that in today’s market this should be too sophisticated and too well played to really be successful if the artist were not so well known – which is not to say that the music lacks accessibility, quite the opposite, it is superbly played and allows an insight into the music that may not have been there originally, it is just that the world has grown less able to take on board the subtlety and depth that this represents – in a world where Rhiannon is queen and Coldplay are deep this is positively Wagnerian.
You, the listener, are treated to a Genesis ‘Best of’ with guest appearances for a myriad of stars: Steven Wilson and Simon Collins (Phil’s son) as well as Mikael Akerfeldt, Nik Kershaw, ex-King Crimson John Wetton – Hackett has tried tio stay close to the original arrangements but the different vocalists all bring their own ‘edge’ to the performances and they really come to life.
‘Chamber of 32 Doors’ – the number that triggered the project in the first place – is sumptuous with a wonderful harp sound as well as a mellotron before Hackett’s guitar comes in the way he originally wanted it. ‘Supper’s Ready’ is as good as I ever remembered it and ‘The Lamia’ has a sense of melancholy and wonder I don’t remember. "Eleventh Earl Of Mar" is still the huge, orchestral, piece it ever was but the depth of the soundscape is spectacular.
All in all there are a full 2cds worth of music here and it should satisfy those original fans in that he has stayed close to the originals but my guess is that it will attract a whole new audience – initially because of the ‘buzz’ but after that because they will find itr is actually a wonderful listen.