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STEVE HACKETT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Steve Hackett biography
Stephen Richard Hackett - Born February 12th 1950 (Pimlico, London, UK)

GUITAR BASED MUSIC WITH VARIOUS STYLES
(Blues, Classical, Folk, Jazz, New Age and Progressive Rock)


Steve HACKETT needs no introduction. He is definitely one of the major guitarists of this century. Ex-GENESIS, he is now a major force in the domain of music composed for guitar, rock as well as classical. Steve is a complex musician, drawing influence from a wide variety of styles and melding them into super compositions. His music has evolved over the years, and while some of it was not up to the standards that he set with other albums. They are still excellent.

HACKETT joined GENESIS as guitarist in early 1971 and featured across ten albums of their history. He replaced Anthony PHILLIPS, and stayed with the band during their successful mid-70s progressive rock period. I remember once reading that, if GENESIS lost their "brains" when Peter GABRIEL left, then they surely lost their "heart" when Steve left. In a way, it is easy to see how HACKETT was "crowded out" of Genesis in 1977. From "Nursery Crime" in 1971 to the double-live "Seconds Out" in 1977, he created in his solo albums his own style, dominated by his guitars, sometimes very classical or at times furious. His tracks go from a symphonic Progressive style to a more energetic rock.

From the first album "Voyage Of The Acolyte" while he was still with GENESIS to his most recent ones, all are MUSTS. For the most part, all of the compositions on HACKETT's first five solo albums are well-thought-out and impeccably well crafted. I would highly recommend "Voyage of the Acolyte" (missing GENESIS album), "Please Don't Touch" (powerful), his TRADEMARK "Spectral Mornings" (pure magic), "Defector" (another amazing album by Steve), and "Cured" (pop-oriented). This, along with "Time Lapse", "The Unauthorised Biography", "Guitar Noir", "Darktown" and "To Watch The Storms", are the best for people curious about the HACKETT "feel". However I believe these are his bests - it could rightly be called "THE HISTORY OF MUSIC ACCORDING TO STEVE HACKETT." Get them ALL...and HAPPY LISTENING!!!

Discography with GENESIS (1971-1982):
1971 - Nursery Crime
1972 - Foxtrot
1973 - Live
1973 - Selling England By The Pound
1974 - Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
1976 - Wind and Wuthering
1976 - Trick of the Tail
1977 - Second...
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STEVE HACKETT discography


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STEVE HACKETT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 1514 ratings
Voyage of the Acolyte
1975
3.60 | 634 ratings
Please Don't Touch!
1978
4.15 | 929 ratings
Spectral Mornings
1979
3.65 | 520 ratings
Defector
1980
2.44 | 339 ratings
Cured
1981
2.93 | 298 ratings
Highly Strung
1982
3.35 | 273 ratings
Bay of Kings
1983
2.43 | 242 ratings
Till We Have Faces
1984
3.17 | 194 ratings
Momentum
1988
3.29 | 258 ratings
Guitar Noir
1993
2.89 | 157 ratings
Blues with a Feeling
1994
3.44 | 354 ratings
Genesis Revisited
1996
3.60 | 199 ratings
A Midsummer Night's Dream
1997
3.78 | 343 ratings
Darktown
1999
3.44 | 165 ratings
Sketches of Satie (with John Hackett)
2000
2.56 | 149 ratings
Feedback 86
2000
3.78 | 413 ratings
To Watch the Storms
2003
3.59 | 211 ratings
Metamorpheus
2005
3.73 | 344 ratings
Wild Orchids
2006
3.53 | 127 ratings
Tribute
2008
3.67 | 392 ratings
Out of the Tunnel's Mouth
2009
3.85 | 450 ratings
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon
2011
3.90 | 534 ratings
Genesis Revisited II
2012
3.74 | 417 ratings
Wolflight
2015
3.75 | 207 ratings
The Night Siren
2017
3.91 | 318 ratings
At the Edge of Light
2019
3.60 | 74 ratings
Under a Mediterranean Sky
2021
4.10 | 104 ratings
Surrender of Silence
2021

STEVE HACKETT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 79 ratings
Time Lapse
1992
3.92 | 62 ratings
There Are Many Sides To The Night
1994
3.97 | 163 ratings
The Tokyo Tapes
1998
4.50 | 87 ratings
Live Archives 70,80,90s
2000
4.24 | 17 ratings
Somewhere In South America... - Live In Buenos Aires
2002
4.07 | 14 ratings
Hungarian Horizons
2003
4.58 | 14 ratings
Live Archive NEARfest
2003
4.06 | 28 ratings
Live Archive 03
2004
4.25 | 31 ratings
Live Archive 04
2004
3.70 | 26 ratings
Live Archive 05
2005
2.85 | 22 ratings
Live Archive 83
2006
4.31 | 116 ratings
Rails Live
2010
4.53 | 136 ratings
Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith
2013
4.19 | 96 ratings
Genesis Revisited: Live at The Royal Albert Hall
2014
3.43 | 7 ratings
Access All Areas
2014
4.14 | 56 ratings
The Total Experience Live In Liverpool
2016
3.96 | 24 ratings
Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers (with Djabe)
2017
4.27 | 44 ratings
Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham
2018
4.74 | 37 ratings
Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall
2019
4.10 | 30 ratings
Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith
2020
3.65 | 8 ratings
Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More
2022

STEVE HACKETT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Live!
1992
4.12 | 70 ratings
The Tokyo Tapes
2001
4.28 | 56 ratings
Somewhere In South America... - Live In Buenos Aires
2002
3.99 | 39 ratings
Hungarian Horizons - Live in Budapest
2003
4.02 | 25 ratings
Horizons
2003
4.38 | 91 ratings
Once Above a Time
2004
3.23 | 12 ratings
Live Legends
2004
3.71 | 31 ratings
Spectral Mornings
2005
4.14 | 14 ratings
Estival Jazz Lugano
2009
4.02 | 40 ratings
Live - Fire & Ice
2011
4.28 | 12 ratings
The Bremen Broadcast - Musikladen 8th November 1978
2013

STEVE HACKETT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 34 ratings
The Unauthorised Biography
1992
4.31 | 13 ratings
Guitare Classique
2001
3.35 | 32 ratings
Genesis Files
2002
3.13 | 32 ratings
Genesis Revisited II: Selection
2013
4.80 | 20 ratings
Premonitions: The Charisma Recordings 1975-1983
2015
4.46 | 13 ratings
Broken Skies Outspread Wings
2018

STEVE HACKETT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 8 ratings
Ace of Wands
1975
3.85 | 11 ratings
How Can I?
1978
2.62 | 10 ratings
Narnia
1978
3.18 | 16 ratings
Clocks
1979
4.00 | 7 ratings
Every Day
1979
2.04 | 6 ratings
Sentimental Institution
1980
2.15 | 11 ratings
The Show
1980
2.38 | 7 ratings
Hope I Don't Wake
1981
3.25 | 4 ratings
Picture Postcard
1981
2.80 | 17 ratings
Cell 151
1983
3.20 | 5 ratings
A Doll That's Made in Japan
1984
2.33 | 3 ratings
Timeless
1994
3.07 | 8 ratings
Your Own Special Way
1996
3.00 | 5 ratings
Days Of Long Ago
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Feedback 86 + Live 90's
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live Recordings 70's, 80's
2001
4.00 | 4 ratings
Brand New
2003
3.25 | 4 ratings
Man In The Long Black Coat
2006
2.16 | 6 ratings
Til These Eyes
2012
3.62 | 12 ratings
Spectral Mornings
2015
3.75 | 4 ratings
Behind the Smoke
2017
2.28 | 6 ratings
When the Heart Rules the Mind
2018

STEVE HACKETT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Surrender of Silence by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.10 | 104 ratings

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Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I think this is Steve's 28th studio album, which is probably more than the combined output of those he left in Genesis, but although I saw him play earlier this year none of this material was featured as he was touring his highly popular Genesis Revisited shows. So, when it comes to prog he has two back catalogues that are very different, while he is still releasing new and wonderful music even though he is now in his seventies. Over the last 40+ years he has released music from many different styles, being one of the few prog musicians to go the whole hog and write and record classical music, and he can play solo acoustic classical performances as well as standing in front of an electric band, and in many ways this album is a coming together of his past while also looking in new directions.

He provides nylon, steel string & 12-string guitars, oud, charango, sitar, harmonica, and vocals, and is joined by one of his touring line-ups with Roger King (keyboards, programming & orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (saxophone, clarinet), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals) and Craig Blundell (drums) while he has also brought in additional musicians which includes two more drummers in Phil Ehart (Kansas) and Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard etc). Musically he is moving through tribal, New Age, classical and prog, but surely the whole album should be deemed as progressive as he is truly pushing boundaries and mixing and blending styles together to create something which is vital and hugely impressive.

Many old progheads, like me, will have a strong fondness for his early solo albums as they were released when we were teenagers and had a massive impact on us. However, unlike many of his contemporaries from back then he has continued to tour and record incessantly, and his current output is to the same high standard as it has always been. When asked my favourite period of Genesis, I always give the same answer, Hackett (as opposed to the normal Gabriel or Collins) and there is no doubt that he has continued to develop and deliver even since leaving that entity. Listen to his music with an open mind and discover that Hackett is still pushing himself and his followers yet even though he keeps moving this is always identifiable and part of his canon as opposed to being removed. One never knows what to expect from his albums, except they will always be sheer class, and this is no exception.

 Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Live, 2022
3.65 | 8 ratings

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Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

3 stars To my knowledge, I haven't reviewed a live album, like maybe I have but I just forgot. That being said, I did feel like doing one today because I thought with the amount of new stuff this year, it is befitting to get into the car and take a little detour from the studio stuff with the live elements. I usually love live albums. Usually, mind you. Sometimes they can be pretty garbage, whether it be a bad set or just a bad recording, but relatively speaking I never find any live album. Hearing a band play their best songs with new changes compared to the studio works, sometimes refreshing a song in your head so it can be revitalized more clearly. They are also, in my mind, way better than compilation albums, which only have studio recordings that you'd get from the normal studio album, and with streaming services, it'd be really weird to listen to the compilation version of a song when you can just hit play on the one from the original album, ep, or single. With live albums, that problem is vindicated out of the picture, with a new song, and ultimately a new idea out in place for the audience to enjoy.

So that is where I'd like to point towards Genesis and their live albums. If we are gonna talk about Genesis live shows, we'd have to talk about Seconds Out. It is a 2 LP goliath of the Phil Collins era Genesis that shows songs from Trick Of The Tail, Lamb, Selling England, and even a smidgen of Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot. It is a must-have for any Genesis collector and fan. With that being said, it is also a given to talk about Steve Hackett and his live concerts, specifically the Genesis Revisited shows. He has released a number of these live albums where he would play a collection of songs from the classic period of Genesis, starting with Live At Hammersmith in 2013. These shows included songs in the albums he was a part of, so no material (from what I could see) from Genesis To Revelation, Trespass, and Then There Were Three through Calling All Stations. Most of these live albums are around 2 hours long, giving you a wallop of Genesis live content to sit through and take in. As an avid Genesis lover, these are some neat little souvenirs in the gift shop after riding the Genesis rollercoaster. I decided to review one of them, specifically this one where they play a session of the entirety of Seconds Out, plus a few other songs from Steve's solo career since it was released this year and I have a bit to say about it.

So due to this being a live album, I feel it'd be odd to do a track-by-track layout like how I do most of my reviews. Instead, I figure to do a compare and contrast of sorts and then give some pointers about how I think this album is good, and some things I am not a huge fan of. So I will be comparing and contrasting this and Seconds Out, not to see which is better, but to see how this one is different from the very stellar live album.

Let's contrast first. To start, at the beginning we get some solo stuff from Steve's back catalog, specifically his recent solo album right now, Surrender Of Silence. I think they played these songs here because A. Shadow Of The Hierophant is a song that every Steve Hackett fan knows too well and B. Too warm up for their actual Genesis stuff. Speaking of which, I have noticed some parts of the two songs have become a bit heavier. Not to the point where they become metal, but enough to interest me a bit, those songs being Supper's Ready and Los Endos. The Apocalypse in 9/8 part in Supper's Ready has this ominous aura in it, which I think helps it a lot in its being an apocalyptic measure. Los Endos on the other hand has the melody played after the start a lot heavier. These differences are noticeable to my Genesis-trained ears, and such have become key points of interest for this record.

However, that is the only point that contrasts it, because aside from the obvious different band members, aside from Steve Hackett of course, this is just Seconds Out. Not front to back, but if you took away the Steve Hackett songs you'd just find Seconds Out. Every song is played exactly like how you might hear from early Genesis, nothing short of great songs, but honestly, this is where my problems lie. It doesn't try anything new, Steve doesn't try anything new, and when they are new they'd be reserved for only a specific moment. While these moments are memorable, there are only two.

For me, the Genesis name is a name that means innovation, creativity, and a golden age of progressive rock long past. Steve was a part of that creativity and innovation, but I believe here more than ever those memories of Genesis have blinded him to not try new things with these Genesis songs. I do not want to just hear Supper's Ready no matter how much of a masterpiece it is, I want to hear Steve taking Supper's Ready and making it his own. Mr. Hackett here is doing what'd be considered the bare minimum, and I know this is discrediting his effort, I can see that, but having over 5 Genesis Revisited albums is way too much.

I know the Genesis name sells, and I know these songs are good, but I also know that Steve Hackett's other stuff also sells as with the popularity of albums such as Voyage Of The Acolyte, or Spectral Mornings. It is odd to me that he never revisited his early solo works for live shows since they are also very popular among progressive rock heads, of which he is one. I think my main problem with Hackett's Genesis series is that it's Genesis, nothing more and nothing less. It doesn't make me want to listen to Steve Hackett, it makes me want to listen to Genesis, and I guess if you want a little more Genesis in your life this will do nicely, in fact, if you do not mind the whole of it then I bet you'd love it, and I cannot deny that I liked it. However for me, if you are gonna liven up the Genesis name and you aren't Genesis themselves then you gotta have a trick up your sleeve.

I'd be dishonest to say that I dislike this album, I'd be also dishonest to say that I love this album. This is a fine live show, totally harmless and inoffensive. The album is true to its word, a revisiting of Genesis, nothing more nothing less, but that is the album's downfall. I hope Steve tries to move a bit more away from Genesis in his coming years and shows off more of his talents rather than those he has worked with. Who knows, maybe it'll work out spectacularly.

 Surrender of Silence by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.10 | 104 ratings

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Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars After the peaceful acoustic release "Under a Mediterranean Sky", Steve Hackett is back on his electric formula mode. He is with long-time musicians, Roger King on keys, and orchestral arrangements, and Rob Townsend on sax. The drum parts are split up between 3 drummers. Jonas Reingold is on most of the tracks on bass.

The first track is instrumental and sounds like a movie score for an action hero film. The song "Natalia" is Russian music with some well-known passages done in collaboration with his wife. Steve is singing with some opera singing and orchestral arrangements. Again you can hear an action movie in the instrumental section. Then it has some tasty and authentic violin playing. "Relaxation Music For Sharks" has some intriguing special effect intro before the drums of Nick D'Virgilio kick-off to bring the song to a faster pace. Steve is getting loose on his guitar playing. Not too relaxing, but it's for sharks!

"Wingbeats" has some African beats and singing that is not too far from what Peter Gabriel made with his band. There are some tribal drums but adding the guitar, it's done in a Hackett style. "The Devil's Cathedral" has a horror atmosphere with the dark organ playing of Roger King all this embellished with some orchestral arrangements. "Held in the Shadows is a love song dedicated to Steve's wife. It's romantic but with a kick of Rock! I enjoy the heavy parts that are in contrast to the beginning.

"Shanghai To Samarkand" put us now in the oriental part of the world where classical music meets world music, the music doing most of the talking here. When the Kansas drummer arrives, we are in a more familiar Hackett style before going back to the world music beat. "Fox Tango" Steve is getting loose again with his Gibson guitar which reminds me in some specific passages of Brian May.

"Day of the Dead" is another horror-inspired movie now a Mexican one. "Scorched Earth" is a warning song to save the earth from destruction. It's a beautiful song that has a clear and intentional lighter mood. I enjoyed the orchestral arrangements here. It ends with a short and peaceful song with some lovely guitar parts of Steve showing his love for classical music.

As much as I still rave for Steve Hackett's first albums, He has improved a lot in his songwriting style surpassing the Genesis influence with some fusion music that brings more variety and textures to his music.

 Surrender of Silence by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.10 | 104 ratings

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Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars For me, Steve Hackett is a wonderful musician and a prolific composer with a huge body of work that continues to grow apace. Surrender Of Silence was his second release of 2021, with Under A Mediterranean Sky, another fine release, coming out early in the year having been written in the pandemic period 2020. I never got around to rating Surrender of Silence but loved the album straight away and it ended up with more than double the number of full album listens than any other 2021 release. I found the more I listened the more I loved it and that has continued into 2022. I feel I must record my appreciation for what is surely an under-rated 2021 album. I find all tracks on the album to be highly enjoyable and it is one of the few albums that I continue to listen to from beginning to end. While all the tracks are good, it is worth mentioning Relaxation Music For Sharks which I disliked the first time until I realised what it was trying to depict and what an extraordinary piece of music it is. I also particularly love the melody and its associated story in Natalia. Wingbeats is a great foot tapper. Shanghai To Samarkand opens with an exquisite Chinese melody and develops cleverly through various phases. The other track worthy of mention is Day Of The Dead for the way it develops. Some eight months after I first started listening to the album, I am still returning to it on a regular basis with no sign of growing tired of it. Worthy of a five-star rating, this album is now in my top 30 albums of all time and is my highest rated Steve Hackett album.
 Defector by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.65 | 520 ratings

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Defector
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 497

"Defector" is the fourth solo studio album of Steve Hackett and was released in 1980. This release doesn't stray so far musically from the early Genesis, containing a healthy dose of the traditional progressive rock music. This is also the last solo album of Steve Hackett's first musical era as a solo artist, with this style of music. He would go by a different musical direction after this album. This is also, in general, considered his last great musical work, for quite a while.

"Defector" represents also the second Steve Hackett's solo project with the same line up, the line up of his previous solo album "Spectral Mornings". So, the line up of the album is Steve Hackett (vocals, guitar, Optigan and Roland GR 500), John Hackett (concert and alto flute), Peter Hicks (vocals), Nick Magnus (keyboards), Dick Cadbury (vocals and bass) and John Shearer (drums and percussion).

"Defector" has ten tracks. The first track "The Steppes" is with any doubt an excellent opener and the highlight of the album. It's also, in my humble opinion, one of the best musical compositions ever written by Steve Hackett. This is a song with a simple musical structure, repetitive, but with great harmony between keyboards and an excellent typical Steve Hackett's guitar work. Like "Please Don't Touch" from the same album and "Clocks - The Angel Of Mons" from "Spectral Mornings", it's a song that needs no introduction because appears on many of his live recordings. The second track "Time To Get Out" is the opposite of the previous song and represents one of the weakest points on the album. It's a pleasant song to hear but it doesn't represent for me an attractive song. This is a melodic song with a very simple musical structure but to much poppy for my taste and to this album. The third track "Slogans" is, fortunately, the return of the album to the great songs. It's another song with great combination and harmony between keyboards and guitars. This represents also the magnificent technical virtuosity of Steve Hackett on guitar work. It's another of his legendary songs, also often performed live in his concerts. The fourth track "Leaving" represents another great musical moment on the album. Its musical structure is very classical and personal, and it reminds me strongly the good old times of Genesis. It's a very calm and mellow track exploring mainly keyboards, guitars and vocals. The fifth track "Two Vamps As Guests" is another song that reminds me once more Steve Hackett in Genesis. It's a very short acoustic ballad totally performed by Steve Hackett on acoustic guitar and where we can clearly hear the beautiful classical guitar style of him. It represents another great musical moment on the album. The sixth track "Jacuzzi" is another highlight of the album. It's another instrumental song that once more combines beautifully keyboard and guitar works and where once more Steve Hackett plays wonderfully. This is really another great song which also became as one of his favourite songs performed live. The seventh track "Hammer In The Sand" is a short and nice piano tune harmoniously combined with keyboards. It's a very calm, slow, melancholic and beautiful song with nice melody and wonderfully performed. This is another high point of the album. The eighth track "The Toast" is a very melodic song, very warm and with a very simple musical structure and a happy mood. It's another song with nice harmonies, very sentimental and that we can simply resume as simple and beautiful. The ninth track "The Show" is only a simple, nice and enjoyable song to hear. It's also, in my opinion, one of the Achilles' heels of the album and one of the motifs why I can't consider "Defector" as a masterpiece. It's too much pop and is dangerously too much close to Genesis' territory after Steve Hackett left them. The tenth and last track "Sentimental Institution" is a jazz style song with some sense of humour but it's for me the weakest song on the album. I don't really like this song and sincerely I think that it's completely out of the place on this great album. It isn't definitely one of the best songs on the album and represents also the worse way to end the album.

Conclusion: It's true that "Defector" isn't as good as "Spectral Mornings" and especially "Voyage Of The Acolyte", but is, without any doubt, as good or maybe even better than his second solo work "Please Don't Touch". "Voyage Of The Acolyte" is considered by many of us a kind of a Genesis' lost album, and in a certain way I agree with that point of view. Still, "Defector" can also be considered a kind of Genesis lost album too. "Defector" is, probably, the most melodic and sentimental album from Steve Hackett's solo musical career and it has, in my opinion, many of the traces of Genesis' music. I think we can consider "Defector" the turning point on Steve Hackett's music as a soloist, because from that moment, he is definitely leaving behind Genesis and its last traces in his music. "Defector" is truly an excellent album. Still, it's an album with some weaknesses that starts brilliantly with "The Steppes" but unfortunately ends not so brilliantly with "Sentimental Institution". However, it's a consistent, cohesive, catchy, mature and refined album, full of many great musical moments and where some of them represent some of his best musical moments ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Surrender of Silence by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.10 | 104 ratings

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Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Formentera Lady

4 stars Steve Hackett is one of the busiest artists in the prog world. Since 1975 and also after his departure from Genesis he released an album nearly every year. And with these albums he never ceased to surprise me. In his latest release 'Surrender of Silence' he combines more than ever before classical inspiration (especially from the neoclassicism period and Prokofiev) with rock and world music to a surprising melange of varied styles. The variety is also expressed in the instrumentation which ranges from classical orchestra over rock band to more exotic instruments like tar and dutar. The result is an album which is probably the most varied of his works so far. Two years ago I called 'At the Edge of Light' his best album since 'Spectral Mornings', but I stand corrected. This one is his best since 'Spectral Mornings'.
 Spectral Mornings by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.15 | 929 ratings

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Spectral Mornings
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 469

'Spectral Mornings' is the third solo studio album of Steve Hackett and was released in 1979. It was also the first album to feature Hackett's first true touring band, which brought more consistency and balance to his solo musical career. To his credit, Hackett learned from some of the mistakes made on 'Please Don't Touch', and delivered a much-improved mix of songs and instrumentals on 'Spectral Mornings', despite the undeniable quality of 'Please Don't Touch'. He exploits his strengths with progressive instrumentals, pastoral pop songs and a true healthy dose of English humor.

So, the line up on this album is Steve Hackett (vocals, guitars, Roland guitar synthesizer, koto and harmonica), John Hackett (flute and bass pedals), Peter Hicks (vocals), Nick Magnus (keyboards, Vox string thing, Novotron, harpsichord, clavinet, RMI, Fender Rhodes, mini moog, Roland string synthesizer and SH 2000), Dick Cadbury (vocals, bass, bass pedals and violin) and John Shearer (drums and percussion).

'Spectral Mornings' has eight tracks. The first track 'Every Day' is, without any doubt, one of the best tracks on the album and is also one of the best tracks ever composed by Steve Hackett. It contains good lyrics and fine guitars with a great solo on the second part of the song. This is the only song on the album that reminds me strongly the sound of the good old times of Genesis. The second track 'The Virgin And The Gypsy' is a very beautiful ballad with nice flute played by his brother John Hackett. It's a song with a simple musical structure, very calm and melodic and where Steve Hackett plays very beautiful acoustic sections. This is a song that flows gracefully from the start to the end. The third track 'The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere' is another beautiful instrumental track where Steve Hackett plays Koto, a traditional Japanese string musical instrument with a very typical sound. It's a very unusual Steve Hackett's song with a complete oriental sound that transports us to the traditional Japanese atmosphere. The fourth track 'Clocks - The Angel Of Mons' is another highlight on the album. Like 'Every Day', this is one of the best tracks on the album and is also one of the best tracks ever composed by Steve Hackett. This is an instrumental song dominated by powerful guitar work and with a drum solo in the end. It's a song that needs no introduction because it's a very well known instrumental track that appears on many of his live recordings. The fifth track 'The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man' (Featuring 'The Office Party')' is a completely different song from the others. This is a funny song but isn't as interesting as the rest of the album. It seems to me a song somehow misplaced from the rest of the album. Songs like this and the Steve Hackett's version of the original song of 'Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', 'Waiting Room Only' released on his studio album 'Genesis Revisited', don't add anything positive to the cohesion and the perfect balance of any album of him. The sixth track 'Lost Time In Cordoba' is a very nice acoustic piece of music composed for guitar, flute and other woodwind musical instruments. This is an excellent classical piece of music with beautiful musical moments and it's perfectly in vein with the very own Steve Hackett's musical style. The seventh track 'Tigermoth' is a very dark and strange song. This is a very sad song that speaks about war and the dead of the soldiers in it, an anti-war demonstration. Sincerely, I think this is a very good song with some nice interesting musical parts, especially with nice and lovely guitar moments. The eighth and last track is the title track 'Spectral Mornings'. It's another instrumental track. This is, in my opinion, one of the highlights on the album with 'Every Day' and 'Clocks ' The Angel Of Mons'. Here, we are in presence of about six minutes of the magnificent guitar hand work of Steve Hackett, which made of him as one of the favourite guitarists in the progressive rock music. This is a perfect way to close this magnificent album.

Conclusion: 'Spectral Mornings' is, without any doubt, a great musical work of Hackett. It's true that it isn't as good as his debut solo studio album 'Voyage Of The Acolyte', but in reality, 'Spectral Mornings' is almost as good as it is, and definitely, is better than 'Please Don't Touch'. 'Spectral Mornings' is much more mature compared with his two predecessor albums, and is also, in my opinion, the musical work where Hackett found his own sound as a solo artist and where he definitely emerges with his musical different style from his previous musical contributions for his band, Genesis. Despite 'Spectral Mornings' isn't, in my opinion, a musical work as brilliant as 'Voyage Of The Acolyte' is, it's, in reality, a much more consistent album than 'Please Don't Touch' is. However and despite 'The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man' be, for me, a little bit out of the general musical context of the rest of the album, nevertheless, is very well done, and because of that, it isn't enough to spoil the overall quality of the entire album. So, 'Spectral Mornings' remains a great album, despite the lacking of the musical perfection of 'Voyage Of The Acolyte'. However, I think it has enough consistency and quality to be considered a masterpiece and consequently be rated with 5 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Surrender of Silence by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.10 | 104 ratings

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Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars Steve keeps closing the gap between his both approaches to prog, that's to say, between his 'classical' leanings and his more specifically rock oriented output. In his previous album, he had already melded the contributions of his band with the sounds of orchestra & soloists, but keeping things strictly acoustic. Now, he is taking the next step by adding electric flow and density to the music. Even so, the resultant sound is not defined by the typical band-with-added-orchestra approach, but rather an inextricable fusion of both instrumental forces, with voices contributing specific textures (showing a huge variety of color and presence in the mix). The axeman in Steve is present altogether, for the most part as an 'orchestral' soloist, very concerned with the general tonal balance. Yet, there are moments of pure rock electric magic, like Held In The Shadows and Scorched Earth (which's not a VdGG cover).
 How Can I? by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
3.85 | 11 ratings

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How Can I?
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Please Don't Touch! (1978) was Steve Hackett's second solo album, but the first one after he left Genesis. He had felt that as a composer he didn't get room enough in Genesis, and by listening to that album one truly can hear the thrill and joy of doing whatever he wished with all his flourishing musical ideas. The album isn't as well received here as the albums around it. Many listeners say it lacks direction and coherence, but I am personally very fond of it, perhaps helped by the fact I found it from library at the early stage of my diving into the classic 70's prog (I was probably sixteen). One thing I appreciate in it is the well chosen host of American guest vocalists: Steve Walsh of Kansas, and two black vocalists, at the time pretty unknown Randy Crawford (her vocals on the lovely ballad 'Hoping Love Will Last' are absolutely gorgeous) and the longtimer folk/blues/soul singer-songwriter Richie Havens, who sang two songs on Please Don't Touch! This single contains the folkier one of them. According to Wikipedia "the members of Genesis were fans of Havens, and the singer agreed to open for them for their series of concerts at Earls Court, London in 1977. Hackett invited him to dinner at his home, during which he wanted Havens to feature on a song of his."

'How Can I?' is an acoustic and rather simple song, but exactly for that reason it functions so brilliantly amidst more adventurous stuff. Havens' warm and raspy voice fits into it so perfectly that it's hard to imagine being sung by anyone else. On the B side is the instrumental track 'Kim' also taken from the album. It features Steve on acoustic guitar and his brother John on flute. The piece was named after Steve's beloved Kim Poor who also made the cover designs for his albums. It was clearly inspired by Erik Satie's music, especially by 'Gymnopedie No. 1' which it actually resembles a lot. Much later the brothers made a whole album of Satie's music called Sketches of Satie.

A lovely single altogether!

 Voyage of the Acolyte by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.25 | 1514 ratings

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Voyage of the Acolyte
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Sheep

4 stars While still in Genesis, Steve Hackett recorded his debut studio album, namely "Voyage of the Acolyte". This is a gorgeous album that any Genesis or Steve Hackett fan should listen to, or even anyone who simply loves symphonic prog, mainly instrumental prog in this case. Side one consists of five shorter songs, all of which are instrumental except for the fifth and final track of the side. Side two is two longer tracks with vocals binded by a short instrumental interlude between the two longer tracks.

Now let's take a look at each individual song!

1. Ace of Wands: This is a fantastic opener. Bombastic opener with fantastic guitar work by Hackett. No low points in this song, easily one of the best songs on the album. 9/10

2. Hands of the Priestess pt.1: This is a beautiful way to follow up the much heavier opener. This flute and acoustic guitar driven track slows down the mood and is a perfect song to follow up the great opener. 8/10

3. A Tower Struck Down: This track opens up very hauntingly and is overall a very cool song. One of the weaker songs on the album overall but still a fantastic song that deserves to be on this incredible album. 7.5/10

4. Hands of the Priestess pt.2: This is not surprisingly very similar to the second song on the album but just much shorter. This track certainly acts just as a interlude between what came before and what follows. 4/5

5. The Hermit: This is the first song with vocals and the only one where Steve himself does the vocals. I quite enjoy his vocals here and think this is a very strong song. 8.5/10

6. Star of Sirius: What a fantastic way to open up side 2 of the vinyl. This is a fabulous song that essentially sounds like a Genesis song as it has Phil Collins on vocals and of course Steve Hackett's signature guitar sound. I do think Phil's vocals are a bit off at time but still a highlight of the record for sure. 9/10

7. The Lovers: This is a cute little interlude. Nothing special but nothing wrong with it. It has one main job which is binding together Star of Sirius and the epic closer, which it does beautifully in my opinion. 4/5

8. Shadow of the Hierophant: From the first two seconds of this song playing you can hear that it is going to be fantastic. Vocals from Sally Oldfield kick in after a short introduction and are easily the best vocals on the entire record. Simply beautiful. This same general structure repeats two more times with the guitar introduction repeating and two new verses coming in. After this the song slows down for a while and starts the beginning of the end. The second half of this song is one of the most incredible playouts in music. Period. Incredible guitar work from Steve Hackett and drums and pass pedals build up more and more as the song goes on, sending shivers up and down anyone's spines. A perfect song and one of my all time favorite songs of any genre by any artist. 11/11

Overall this is a fantastic record that is worth buying for Shadow of the Hierophant alone. The openers of each side of the vinyl are fantastic as well and the record does not have any clear weak points. A strong 4/5 for sure.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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