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Steve Hackett - To Watch The Storms CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 373 ratings

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4 stars Steve Hacket music is a kind of magic to me. I know exactly that he is mediocre in singing - the quality of his voice is not excellent - sorry Steve, this is an honest statement. But I dunno why for some reason, his voice fits really well with the textures of his composition. Track 3 "The Devil is An Englishman" is a good example of this. On the positive side, Steve is the master that can create a wonderful compositions despite any barriers and/or limitations he has. It demonstrates how masterful he is!

"Strutton Ground" opens with an acoustic guitar and sampling sound augmented with a keyboard sound. It's an excellent opening track to my personal taste. The second track "Circus Of Becoming" starts with a simple keyboard followed with a circus-like music in a happy mood. It's not an unplugged track as there is drumming and organ part that accentuate the music. Melody-wise, it's a strong tune with excellent songwriting. The traditional Steve Hacket guitar touch is featured in this tune.

"The Devil Is An Englishman" is my all-time favorite with an interesting and catchy opening acoustic guitar fills. The song flows in a sampling textures with wonderful guitar effects mixed thinly at background. Steve's vocal line is delivered in low register with almost growling (?) style. Composition-wise, this is one of the strongest ones in this album, and . very enjoyable. I love the sound effects produced by electric guitar. Nuance-wise, this track reminds me to "The doll was made in Japan" from Steve's "Till We Have faces" album. Just the nuance, not the melody or the music.

"Frozen Statues" starts off with an atmospheric electric piano sound that accompany the vocal line augmented with trumpet sound at the background. This track is heavily influenced by old time jazz music, performed mellow. It's like a "midnight jazz" tune. But it does not stop here as this track serves really well to set the tone for next track: "Mechanical Bride". Yeah .. this track is really SUPERB man! It has an excellent blend of traditional music of Steve as well as the new sound (Dark Town's vein) with a complex and sometimes avant-garde elements. The jazzy part in the interlude demonstrating the distorted organ / keyboard sounds as well as guitar is really excellent piece of music! The bass line proves the jazzy style. The music then return to the kind of early King Crimson style especially during complex piece. Oh my GOD . this is my true favorite! It's an amazing music.

"Wind, Sand And Stars" is an acoustic piece that demonstrated the technical capability of Steve in playing his guitar. To me, this track is like the "Bay of Kings" part of this album. It serves a nice break; heavily influenced by classical music. The piano and keyboard parts at the ending have created symphonic and spacey nature of this creation. "Brand New" starts of with dynamic acoustic guitar and vocal line. The music enters in a rocking style with some breaks with acoustic guitar sound and vocal line. The interlude with saxophone works reminds me to Van der Graff Generator music. The guitar improvisation has made it different though. It's an amazing interlude. This track is probably the closest with early album of Steve. An excellent track with a very strong songwriting!

"This World" is a slow / medium tempo song with a straight forward melody, composed in a simple structure. It has no prog elements at all, but it's enjoyable. "Rebecca" is in the same vein as "This World". But the interlude has some intense prog elements with excellent solo and acoustic guitar work.

"The Silk Road" is the track where I have a big problem with. It's not with the composition as this track has been composed at its highest standards combining ethnical music available in the world. So, composition wise, it's a top notch song! So, what is my problem? My problem is with the sleeve note. My CD is a "Special Edition" one. For each song Steve has written the background of songwriting. He writes for this track: "Roger King really made this track possible by painstakingly constructing percussion scenarios - some 'electric' and some 'acoustic' - where Africa meets Brazil, India, Canton, Andalusia [my emphasis] and New Orleans .". When I listen to the music I am sure that what he meant by Andalusia is actually Indonesia, to be exact it's coming from Bali, part of Indonesia. The sound of gamelan Bali happens at minute 00:34 - 00:46, 01:10 - 02-08 (not continuous, some parts only) and also some passages in this track. Yes, it's a Balinese traditional music. Many composers have used this gamelan Bali in their composition, especially rock music, because the nature of this gamelan is suitable for rock music. Germany's composerEberhard Schoener has collaborated with Balinese gamelan through his album "Bali Agung" sometimes in the 70s. Also you can find in Discus 1st and " .. tot Licht!".

So Mr. Hackett, I think you should revise accordingly as the sound is really gamelan Bali of Indonesia and NOT Andalusia. Unless . the Andalusia music is similar with Balinese gamelan, then I'm wrong .But, please do check .

"Fire Island" is completely a straight forward blues outfit with no prog elements. "Marijuanna Assasin of Youth" is a rock'n'roll tune. "Come Away" is a mediocre track with some traditional music. "The Moon Under Water" is a "Bay of Kings" outfit. "Serpentine Song" is a spacey ballad. "If You Only Knew" is another Bay of Kings outfit again. The bonus tracks do not attract me at all. All are mediocre ones.

It's highly recommended. Rating: 4 out of 5. Keep on progging! - GW, Andalusia (ahem sorry .. I mean .. Indonesia).

Gatot | 4/5 |


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