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Steve Hackett - Momentum CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett

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4 stars Momentum is a natural follow-on from the "Bay Of Kings" album and sees Steve exploring more textures than in his previous acoustic album. The mood varies quite considerably - from the child- like playfullness of "A Bed, a Chair and a Guitar", the up-tempo title track and finally to the almost heart-tearing melancholy of "The Vigil". In his playing, Steve seems to be very comfortable with this collection of instumentals. My personal favouite is "Last Rites Of Innocence" which gets me every time I listen to it. While Steve has earned his postion as one of the leading electric guitarists of our time (as important as many of the others like Dave Gilmour, Andy Summers and Robert Fripp), with this offering he really shines - a must for anyone who appreciates the subtle tones of the spanish guitar.
Report this review (#80085)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Steve's work is very diverse. And I guess that his fan database as well.

There are some who might like his incursions into the world music, but I'm not of these ones. Some might prefer his commercial aspect or even AOR-ish repertoire, but I am not. Some might adore his acoustic works, but I'm not like them either.

FYI, I have just received my mail order of the remastered edition of "Voyage Of The Acolyte". Just for the two bonus tracks "Ace Of W ands" (live) and the extended version of "Shadow Of The Hierophant". So, yes : I am one of those who love his symphonic prog side. A lot.

If "Bay Of Kings" was an enjoyable acoustic album, this one is not of the same calibre. Almost fully guitar- oriented while more fluting and keyboards were available.

There are very few tracks which are appealing to me here. Two actually : "Concert For Munich" which is pleasantly backed up with beautiful flute as well as.keys. And the remastered edition features "Bourée". Good of course. It allows a nice comparison with the flute Tull version. This represents 6'29" out of fifty.

If you fancy pure acoustic sets, maybe that you can appreciate this album but it is too much the same sounds all the way through. It is a relaxing album while you are in the middle of the traffic jams but to fully pay attention to it it rather difficult. Sorry Steve.

Three out of ten. But I'll upgrade it to two stars.

Report this review (#160239)
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have always felt that 'Momentum' is almost the forgotten Hackett classical guitar album. It seems to me that 'Bay Of Kings', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Metamorpheus' are far better known, and maybe better received. Nevertheless 'Momentum' is a fine album, and takes its place easily amongst the others I've mentioned. Ok, some may say it's 'Bay Of Kings' part two, but there isn't anything wrong with that in my book! Every track here is classic Hackett, atmospheric and delicate, with the standouts being, for me, 'Cavalcanti', 'The Sleeping Sea', 'Concert For Munich' and 'The Vigil'. But there aren't any weak tracks here. Steve's technique is superb, and I still wonder at his ability to play this type of music so well, and then to revert back to 'rock god' status so easily. For lovers of Steve's classical guitar playing, this is simply a must have. His talent just seems to keep on growing, and I always admire his willingness to experiment. He is so consistent, yet diverse; I am truly amazed. This album isn't prog, of course, but it's still an excellent addition to any discerning music lover's collection. Buy it now!
Report this review (#161212)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars The momentum is lost

Bay Of Kings constituted the beginning of Steve Hackett's career as a Classical guitarist. Momentum is the follow up to that album and these two albums (together with some future albums in the same vein) should best be seen as making up a parallel recording career, rather than as being part of Hackett's Rock output. Contrasting Bay Of Kings and Momentum with the surrounding Rock albums Highly Strung and Till We Have Faces, the radically different sides of Steve Hackett could not be clearer.

While it is very interesting and highly admirable to have such diverse musical interests and talents, I think that Steve Hackett is best when he blends all of his influences into one rather than focusing on one aspect at a time. There are many Classical guitarists in the world, and many Blues guitarists too, and Rock guitarists, etc. But what is so special about Steve for me is his ability to fuse different styles into something unique and exciting. This ability is put on hold whenever he decides to go into one single direction for a whole album like here when he goes fully into Classical music. A few years later he would make a pure Blues Rock album that I feel the same way about. His 1994 album Guitar Noir, on the other hand, is a great example of an album that shows all the different aspects of the man within the context of the same album; Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Folk and Classical.

While Bay Of Kings had revisited a couple of earlier pieces (like Genesis' Horizons), Momentum is made up entirely by previously unheard material all written by Hackett himself with the exception of one traditional piece. Apart from occasional flutes by his brother John Hackett, Steve's acoustic guitar is the only ingredient of Momentum. The opening number Cavalcanti is the highlight for me with a beautiful flute part. But very soon the momentum is lost and the album cannot stay interesting for very long I'm afraid. It lacks diversity and any real distinguishing features. Even if many of the individual pieces are very nice, the album as a whole gets boring quite quickly.

Steve Hackett has a Rock career and a Classical career running parallel to each other. It is obvious which one of these is of most interest to the people on this site. Like Bay Of Kings I can recommend this album only to fans and collectors of Steve Hackett and to people with a strong special interest in Classical guitar music.

Report this review (#230460)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars 2.5 stars, really. It´s interesting - and also quite telling - that this Steve Hackett acoustic album is so obscure. it is even more classical driven than his first, Bay Of Kings. And that´s the problem here. It is almost pure classical music and nothing else. The instrumentation is kept to the acoustic nylon stringed guitar most of the time. Sometimes, just sometimes, you can hear a flute in the background and some very discreet string keyboards. As usual, Hackett does display his fine technique, but this is an album for the ones who like acoustic guitar classical music. The prog element is missing here and tehre is not rock, of course.

Having said that, I must say this is not a bad album. It has some good melodies here and there, but don´t expect anything with the same quality of something like Horizons or After The Ordeal. The best tracks to my ears are Vigil and his arrangement for the traditional tune Bourée. Concert For Munich is also quite interesting. The rest is nice too, but the CD gets a little boring after some time. SH is capable of much beter things, acoustic ou otherwise.

If you like classical music played on the guitar, there is a chance you like this album very much. But I don´t think SH wrote his best instrumental pieces on this album. It just didn´t click for me.

Report this review (#347271)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars i consider Momentum to be a superior classical guitar album over Bay of Kings, mostly because the guitar doesn't sound drowned out by synthetic amplifier filters. Also, the compositions have a bit more energy and are overall much more in the classical style. In addition, the new-age symphonic sounds are absent for the most part, though some small touches are noticeable occasionally. Of course, as always, Steve Hackett can play some mean guitar. All of his original compositions here are played with fantastic technique, and the compositions themselves are written with integrity. Most contemporary classical guitar composers have a tendency to write over-simplified and unbearably boring compositions (Andrew York!... ahem). Hackett's compositions are consistent in sounding authentically classical while also adding touches of contemporary styles that make his music stand out above most others' music, making Steve Hackett among the best contemporary classical composers around today.

Report this review (#431201)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars If it seems like Steve had decided to have two careers running in parallel by this point, it's because he had. On the one hand, you had the guy who was trying to incorporate contemporary influences into his sound, but often failing simply because he was a dude from the 70s trying to make contemporary music in the 80s, which wasn't working out even for a lot of people more talented than Steve overall. On the other hand, you had the guy who wanted to keep writing classically-influenced acoustic guitar pieces in his spare time, and who had decided it was better to release them in bulk than to release them piecemeal in his other albums. Even if there are some differences between the two albums overall, this is essentially Bay of Kings Part 2, and I'd be very curious to know the rationale one would have for rating the two significantly differently from each other.

If there are significant differences between this album and its predecessor, they would be the following: (1) the classical leanings are often more explicit (one track is based around a Chopin piece, and one of the bonus tracks is a cover of the same Bach piece that Jethro Tull used as the core of "Bouree"), and (2) the pieces are even more about atmosphere and less about memorability. I definitely do not find myself improvising hummed vocal melodies over these pieces like I did over some of the Bay of Kings pieces; for the most part, these are pieces that I definitely appreciate as nice background, but not as a great deal more. It's interesting to read Steve's brief comments on each of the pieces, giving a sense of what he was trying to convey with each, but even so armed with these notes I can't really make the connection between what I hear and what he says.

Honestly, aside from the slightly out-of-place "Concert for Munich," which prominently features an organ-like synthesizer to give some fuller orchestration to the piece, the album doesn't really become that engaging until the bonus tracks, two of which end up being the best pieces on the album. "An Open Window" is a bonafide nine-minute epic; the first 3:20 or so makes for a pleasant piece that would have been one of the best on the album if left by itself, but then there's a dramatic shift in tone, and the piece goes from loud to soft and angry to pleasant and never stops being engaging. "The Vigil" is a little less ambitious, but still very striking and memorable, as it's based around a small number of discernable themes that Steve effectively expands upon. In other words, it actually sounds like something from the Steve Hackett that I liked so much in the first place.

While Steve would do acoustic-centric work again, and while he'd do some classically- oriented work again, this ended up being the last of his all-instrumental acoustic guitar studio albums for a while, and this was probably a good thing. This and Bay of Kings make for some good music, to be sure, but aside from a couple of tracks here and there, they definitely don't make for great music unless you're addicted to classical guitar and it turns out that Steve was secretly a giant in that world (which I doubt). As with its predecessor, this is worth hearing a few times if you're curious and you're already a serious fan, but casual fans probably don't need to bother.

Report this review (#933049)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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