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Steve Hackett - At the Edge of Light CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 317 ratings

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3 stars What an impressive evolution! 45 years of solo career, 18 studio albums... Though I'd say really memorable are only Spectral Mornings, Guitar Noir, Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth and Beyond The Shrouded Horizon. (Sorry I cannot share the epidemic enthusiasm for Voyage Of The Acolyte, I find this album over-sophisticated on the verge of bad taste.) Fortunately, soon after his solo debut Hackett stopped competing with Banks in composing music, and really became Hackett. Not Hackett from Genesis but Hackett himself. After his three brilliant late 1970s albums (Please Don't Touch, Spectral Mornings and Defector), there's not too much to be said about his 1980s and even 1990s. He had very interesting and fruitful 2000s triumphantly crowned with two extraordinary albums in 2009 and 2011. But since then, something strange occurs. No I don't think that every prog album must be a musical drama or tragedy like Pink Floyd's The Wall. There were plenty of great prog albums with no conflict (or invective, or so) inside, their quintessence may be expressed by the word 'bliss' or 'beatificate'. For example, Wakeman's Suntrilogy, especially Aspirant Sunrise. There were also prog albums bearing 'happiness' or even just 'joy' as a musical quintessence. For example, the only album by ABWH, or Minimum Vital's Esprit d'Amour, or Fanatic by Jadis. But what if some complacency can be heard in joy expressed by musical means? What if the music sounds as if it was written by a rich tourist for other rich tourists? I have nothing against epicureanism in music. But if the only message I get from an artist is 'I'm fine and my circumstances are OK', I suspect I wasted my time for listening. Is a message of this sort enough for a musician of Hackett's caliber? I doubt it. But since Wolflight he steadily makes a rich tourist's music, bringing the only message 'I feel fine and enjoy my life', full of superficial joy and confined emotions. At The Edge Of Light seems to be the extreme degree of Hackett's current musical epicureanism. Not only the emotions but even the melodies and arrangements are confined. Yes there're a couple of interesting orchestral moments in Beasts In Our Time and Those Golden Wings. There are also pleasant hints of world music in a few tracks. But where is that unique and inimitable Steve Hackett of spectral mornings and shrouded horizons? Who took him away? and does he plan to get back in the foreseeable future?
proghaven | 3/5 |


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