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Steve Hackett - Feedback 86 CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett

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4 stars Ive always been a Hackett there´s no knocking down here,despite the fact thatmany a reviewer found this record a bit on the down side.At long last this has surfaced (it was recorded in 1986) after much delay and contractualdifficulties...its a GTR-period Hackett thing..and it is (OK OK) more on the pop side thanhis other outings....but with people like:Pete Trevavas,Brian May,Ian Moseley,Chris Thompson..amongst cant be all bad now can it??"Stadiums of the damned" are one superb track in the real-Hackett style!! Wonderfull!!"Cassandra" another great was actually on the: Guitar Noir- abonus track..including dual guitars of Hackett and May.Track 5 are kind of a blues tune...not least...thanks to the harp intro!!#6 are a ballad with the fantastic voice of Mr. Thompson (he of Earth band fame)...good track.#7 is Hackett at his absolute acoustic best!! Beautiful!!!Last track "The Gulf" is another "real" Hackett tune....nice guitar Steve!!Plus there are MP3 track on this release!!Hackett fan? Go get it!!
Report this review (#26238)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Without a question the music of Steve HACKETT has been a personal love of mine for many years now and although much less "Progressive" than other works still carries some wonderful instrumentation and HACKETT'esque moments. "Feedback '86" is a long lost album recorded back in '86 during the GTR era which never saw the light of day. "Feddback 86" carries some real nifty content like the tune "Cassandra" which features Ian Mosely and Pete Trewavas (MARILLION), "Prizefighters" - a slower version than played live druing the GTR tour (written by Steve HOWE and Steve HACKETT) which is sung by Bonnie Tyler. Throughout lead vocals are handled by Chris Thompson (MANFRED MANN) and of course Mr HACKETT. Brian May (QUEEN) also stops by for an electric duo with Steve in a strange little tune called "Slot Machine". Overall this a quirky album with some marvellous instrumentation granted more in the straight forward rock vein, but I really like it...

Report this review (#26239)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steve HACKETT's legacy has reached legendary proportions over the years due to his contributions to progressive rock in bands like GENESIS. His solo career has also left its imprint upon the history of progressive rock. Although I haven't heard too much of his solo work, these two releases gave me a good idea of what direction HACKETT went on two of his outings.

"Feedback 86" was his post GTR solo album [of material intended for the second GTR album], and it probably was a huge disappointment, it certainly was for me. It all sounds like over produced fluff; it's overtly technical, fake and plastic. It's really a shame, as HACKETT is a great guitar player, one of the best. What saves the day are the 20 MP3 bonus tracks. I suggest you skip right over the album and go right to the MP3's, they are excellent. Chester Thompson and Ian McDonald also contribute tracks. Several of the songs are of the unplugged variety. Of particular interest are the cuts from the Tokyo Tapes. "Court Of The Crimson King" and "Heat Of The Moment" are fantastic acoustic adventures that will have prog fans and collectors reeling. "Sketches of Satie-Pieces Froides #2," "Skteches of Satie-Gnossienne #2," and "Momentum- Cavalcanti" show a beautiful side of HACKETT's guitar playing. All the tracks have a decidedly Latin flavor ala Segovia.

"Darktown" is a much better solo effort. HACKETT seems much more focused and the music is more codified and driven with purpose, whereas "Feedback 86" was a unfocused mish mash of cold and calculating technology. His guitar work is exemplarily, and many of the songs have a world feel to them, as many different instruments are employed. It's like what Peter GABRIEL has done in the past, filling the studio with a wonderful cross section of musicians from around the world to create a rock and roll hybrid all his own.

I know that Steve HACKETT has garnered rave reviews and the respect of his peers over the years, and I am a little disappointed that I couldn't rant and rave about his work. I hope I have the opportunity to hear more of his catalog in the near future so I don't have to look at his solo career through just two CDs. I have a feeling he did a lot of great work over the years that I just haven't had the privilege to hear yet. I believe regardless of my feelings that these two discs were well worth the listen and any prog rock diehard would find some value and entertainment in them, I certainly did, especially in all of the MP3s.

Report this review (#26241)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars A great line-up for a poor album.

Brian May, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosely and Bonnie Tyler were embarked on this fully AOR-ish adventure. Maybe not the best choice of their musical life.

During Steve's career, one goes from heaven to hell. This one is hell. Awful beats, poor compositions of which "Slot Machine" is probably the worst you can expect here. It is very difficult to listen to this album from start to finish.

The "GTR" experience was a huge disappointment of course. To believe that these two great men (Hackett/Howe) produced so average music was quite incomprehensible. But here we go again with this material from another time (hence the title).

I have really been suffering a lot while listening to this album. Steve has embraced lots of musical genre during his solo career; and to be honest when he moved too much away of the symphonic style, I couldn't embrace it too much.

One of the very few good tracks here is the beautiful instrumental "Notre Dame Les Fleurs". Three wonderful minutes in Steve's musical repertoire. Far too little of course to consider this album worth more than one star even if "The Gulf" which is the closing number is another good song. But this only makes ten good minutes.

Report this review (#161966)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Total eclipse of the prog

Following his return to a band environment with GTR, Steve Hackett set about writing tracks for a second album by that band in 1986. GTR however split up following various disagreements, and Hackett began instead to record his follow up to "Till we have faces". For one reason or another, the songs on this album were not released at that time, although several have appeared in modified form on subsequent Hackett albums. This collection however only saw the light of day as an album in its own right in 2000.

The album actually boasts an excellent guest list. Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) provides much of the vocals, Bonnie Tyler also sings, Brian May (Queen) adds a second lead guitar on a couple of songs and Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley of Marillion form the rhythm section on track one. Nick Magnus provides keyboards and drum machine rhythms on virtually all the tracks.

The thing we notice straight away as the opening track unfolds that this album has the same commercial leanings as the GTR album. "Cassandra" is an up tempo pop rock number, with a catchy hook and a repetitive refrain. Personally I enjoy it, and I would not criticise Hackett simply for seeking a more direct path for a change. The following "Prizefighters" is a slower ballad type song featuring the fine voices of Chris Thompson and Bonnie Tyler. It has the atmosphere of songs such as Tyler's "Total eclipse of the heart", complete with a pure AOR guitar break by Hackett. Once again, a pleasantly enjoyable pop number.

Things do become just a bit too gooey on songs such as "Slot machine", a totally anonymous pop rock song which even Chris Thompson cannot save and "Don't fall" fares just as badly. After a fine intro, Hackett takes on lead vocals himself for "Stadiums of the damned", a disappointingly ordinary number given the first minute or so.

"Oh how I love you" borders on the cringe-worthy, but Thompson's voice suits such songs well, lifting it out of the ordinary. Magnus's simple, sympathetic piano contribution is just about right, Hackett being relegated to a distant supporting role. Steve's only solo spot is the acoustic guitar solo "Notre Dame des Fleurs", a simple "Horizons" like piece.

The album closes with its longest track, the 7+ minute "The gulf". Here we have something much more in line with what we might expect from a Hackett solo album, the track featuring dramatic keyboard bursts, distorted vocals and some incisive guitar. Ironically for the most distinguished and diverse track on the album, it features contributions from only Hackett and Magnus.

OK, maybe this is not Steve's finest hour, and certainly from a prog point of view it offers little. We must remember though that the songs here were mainly written for GTR, and as such, were intended to fit in with that band's commercial style. Heard on that basis, there is some pretty good material here, plus a couple of smelly ones. Those who enjoyed the GTR album should pop by though.

The belated release of this album includes a plethora of MP3 tracks (20 or so running to 78 minutes in all) from other Hackett albums. Also present are two from Chester Thomson's "A joyful noise" album, and two from Ian McDonald's "Driver's eyes" (one of which is the excellent "Let there be light").

Report this review (#186465)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars GTR 2? Not quite.

I was surprised to find that I had not reviewed this one yet. Possibly it was because I didn't know exactly how to rate it. This disc was released in 2000, but the material is - as the title implies - from 1986. This was the time when Hackett had just recorded the GTR album with Steve Howe which disrupted normal proceedings. One of the songs here originates from the GTR setting, but not one that appeared on the self-titled GTR album. Prizefighters was however written for GTR and performed live on their tour (which can be heard on the very good live album Roundabout). The version found on this album though, is not sung by Max Bacon, but by Bonnie Tyler! Personally, I prefer the live Max Bacon version. Cassandra is another song that might have fitted well on that second GTR album that never came into being. It is a great Rock song, but not a Prog Rock song. It is sung by Chris Thompson of Alan Parsons Project/Manfred Mann's Earth Band fame who sings most of the songs on this album. It also features Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley on bass and drums respectively.

Slot Machine is a song featuring Brian May on guitar and some vocals. Stadiums Of The Damned sounds like something from the weak Till We Have Faces album (and indeed this song featured as a bonus track on the CD version of that album). It is not bad, but not special either. Don't Fall is a bluesy rocker that is again not bad, but not very good either. At this point it should be clear that Feedback 86 is a rather mixed bag. Some of the songs have clear potential, but others fail to impress. Oh How I Love You belong to the latter category. Notre Dame Des Fleurs is a very nice little guitar instrumental in typical Hackett style and The Gulf is one of the few songs here that might be called Prog. I do enjoy this somewhat mixed album, but then again I am a hard core fan of Steve Hackett and it is probably for people like me that this release is primarily intended. Recommended for fans and collectors, but newcomers should definitely start elsewhere.

Report this review (#603585)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars If this album doesn't scream out "CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION" I don't know what album could. I don't really know what the target audience was for a collection of previously unreleased tracks from 1986 ("Stadiums of the Damned" and "The Gulf," the latter of which has a slightly extended introduction, had been included in the reissue of Till We Have Faces, but I don't think that album was in print when this was released); anybody who was a Hackett fan in 2000 probably would have been the kind of fan who loved the 70s stuff and liked his mild 90s "comeback" but liked to ignore the 80s stuff. I guess there was some impetus to release these songs given that some of them had made it to bootlegs, and I suppose there's mild historical interest in "Prizefighters" (which was originally intended for the 2nd GTR album), but this is a very underwhelming collection of music.

Half of the album (four tracks) is actually pretty listenable all things considered, but since two of the tracks were already on Faces, I don't really consider them in my overall assessment. The opening "Cassandra" initially feels like 80s arena rock hell, with Brian May (yup, of Queen) guesting on guitar and Chris Thompson (of Manfred Mann's Earth Band) guesting on (really overdone) vocals, but it's based around a solid looping guitar riff that owes a lot to "Layla" without being a ripoff (actually, the same can be said about the lyrics, the vocal melody and the solo), and the song ends up coming out pretty decently. There's also a perfectly acceptable acoustic number in "Notre Dame Les Fleurs," which would have just blended into Bay of Kings or Momentum, but here seems amazing; the loveliness of this track in this context only reinforces my belief that it was somewhat of a mistake for Steve to release so many of his acoustic tracks together rather than spreading them out better.

The other four tracks are hideous if you're not already addicted to what most people of good taste would consider the worst aspects of the 80s (including the simple programmed percussion which the album credits have the gall to refer to as "virtual drums"). Chris Thompson sings on all of them, and he's definitely no better in this context than Max Bacon was on GTR, so that's a major negative. And the songs, oh dear, they're dreadful. "Prizefighters," featuring a guest performance from Bonnie Tyler on vocals, as well as from The Phil Henderson Orchestra, is schlock of the worst kind, and I don't get how somebody could praise this and put down, say, Invisible Touch (where not even "In Too Deep" came within miles of these depths). "Slot Machine" starts and ends with samples of a woman speaking as if she were at a snooty ball of some kind, but the bulk is metallic synth pop with one of the worst choruses imaginable, and I look forward to never hearing it again. "Don't Fall" starts off with some promise, with Steve bringing in his harmonica, but it quickly becomes an awkward funk-rocker-turned-hair-metal-extravaganza, and all that promise is wasted. "Oh How I Love You" makes a stab at making a tender ballad that's not overloaded with arena rock elements, but the vocals just don't do the song any favors, and it's just as tacky as anything else on the album.

Yup, this was a rough time for Steve Hackett. I like this album a smidge more than I like GTR (again, if I ignore that "Stadiums of the Damned" and "The Gulf" were originally elsewhere, they make for nice relief from the other material, and the other two tracks mentioned are fine), but this is still torture on the whole. There are too many good albums in the world to waste time and money on this, even if it's worth hearing the good tracks.

Report this review (#932958)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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