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Steve Hackett post Defector - any good?

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fudgenuts64 View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 16 2015 at 09:58
I absolutely love Steve Hackett's solo career. So far, that is. Everything up to Defector is fantastic, with Please Don't Touch being a bit iffy at times, but it's not a cohesive album anyway. I do have Cured, and while the pop influence is clearly there, stuff like The Air Conditioned Nightmare and A Cradle of Swans keeps my interest. Nick Magnus is REALLY good too, and I know he plays on Highly Strung and Till We Have Faces as well. Additionally, I have Bay of Kings and it's quite nice, love it for downtime, but I'm mostly looking for the main studio stuff, not classical guitar or live albums. So the big question is...

How is the stuff from Darktown onwards? Pretty late into his career, but with that said, his good stuff was always the instrumental material. And I have a strong feeling he probably keeps this up still. I'm honestly quite excited for Wolflight despite not knowing any of his newer stuff. Is it worth exploring? Or should I stick with the old stuff?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 10:09
Please Don't Touch "iffy" and "not cohesive"? MY AS, IT IS!! I enjoyed Hackett up to Till We Have Faces, although he unfortunately screeched his way through that one blues number on it. Darktown has been a challenge to get into. It hits all the marks but in a rather subdued fashion. It's hard for me to want to invest in any thing since, although I hear that second album of Genesis standards is quite good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TODDLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 10:20
Darktown is magnificent because the songwriting isn't geared toward a melodic "Pop" oriented melody. To be honest, some of Steve Hackett's songwriting containing vocal melody is not all that different from 10CC or Supertramp. He is very crafted at writing instrumental music as well. As in the case of Anthony Phillips who is yet another instrumentalist type that occasionally crosses into commercially viable songwriting styles. Another fine guitarist who produces great instrumental music and writes radio friendly material is Andrew Latimer. Although he never scored a hit, he was to the level of some of the greats like 10CC, Supertramp. and Mike Oldfield. Steve Hackett is skilled in being an instrumentalist and a songwriter. You would have to surf through tracks to find the right album, but I would recommend Darktown.

Edited by TODDLER - March 16 2015 at 10:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 10:25
I only have a few Hackett albums, but "Til We Have Faces" is one of them and I can vouch that it's a good album.  It's got some interesting African music ideas on it, if I recall correctly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 10:29
To Watch The Storms is probably my favourite SH album. I also like Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. I have not heard too much by him I don't like. Never occurred to me there was a cut off point. He's had a great career and its still going strong!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TODDLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 11:03
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

To Watch The Storms is probably my favourite SH album. I also like Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. I have not heard too much by him I don't like. Never occurred to me there was a cut off point. He's had a great career and its still going strong!
 
 
it's not so much a cut off point as it is an impression left on people who bought Voyage Of The Acolyte in the 70's , impatiently waited for the next album which was Please Don't Touch and realized that it wasn't the same kind of entertainment. That was a real scene and a reaction within it from people who acted as if they were let down by Hackett's choice to record more commercially viable songs. "Hoping Love Will Last" and "Racing In A" were more melodically appealing by far. Voyage contains a few songs, but more hardcore progressive in every aspect and sometimes reminding me of something musically epic, especially with Sally Oldfield singing on the closing track.  It's only natural to seek out Hackett's instrumental music if your bugged out by songwriting or if you're one of those people who was overly disappointed by Mike Oldfield in the 80's when he wrote songs and apparently some people feel a bit cheated if they have to surf through Defector to find the instrumental pieces. I really don't mind. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 11:32
Steve decided to turn back to prog rock more with Darktown.  I enjoy all his studio albums from then forward.  His classical stuff is not too shabby either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Moogtron III Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 15:55
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

I only have a few Hackett albums, but "Til We Have Faces" is one of them and I can vouch that it's a good album.  It's got some interesting African music ideas on it, if I recall correctly.

Brazilian, because his ex-wife Kim Poor is from Brazilian origin, if I'm not mistaken.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2015 at 18:01
Guitar Noir is fantastic. Some highlights are his debut with harmonica, the beautiful guitar driven musical piece, Sierra Quemada, Dark as the Grave, and Like an Arrow.

To Watch the Storms is probably his best songwriting ever. Tony Banks ought to give it a listen. My highlights would be the entire track listing.

Out of the Tunnel's Mouth is nice. It has a fast paced prog rockin' instrumental piece called Tubehead. Another nice instrumental of slower pace is Ghost in the Glass. Nomads is something reminiscent of Guitar Noir, starting off gentle and the picking things up toward the second half. Same deal with Emerald and Ash. Anthony Phillips plays 12-string on a couple pieces too.

Wild Orchids is highly recommended. It has a lot of tracks and some real value for your money. Transylvanian Express is an electric instrumental with a lot of quirkiness and original vision. Howl has a lot of Hackett doing his thing with massive sustain and lots of vibrato bar to be followed up with some pretty classy piano.

I really like Beyond the Shrouded Horizon as well. Two Faces of Cairo is an especially nice instrumental with a Middle Eastern flare to it. And disc 2 contains some really iconic guitar lead pieces, Four Winds: East and She Said Maybe. It also has Hackett doing a cover of Focus' Eruption: Tommy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2015 at 02:54
Originally posted by TODDLER TODDLER wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

To Watch The Storms is probably my favourite SH album. I also like Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. I have not heard too much by him I don't like. Never occurred to me there was a cut off point. He's had a great career and its still going strong!
 
 
it's not so much a cut off point as it is an impression left on people who bought Voyage Of The Acolyte in the 70's , impatiently waited for the next album which was Please Don't Touch and realized that it wasn't the same kind of entertainment. That was a real scene and a reaction within it from people who acted as if they were let down by Hackett's choice to record more commercially viable songs. "Hoping Love Will Last" and "Racing In A" were more melodically appealing by far. Voyage contains a few songs, but more hardcore progressive in every aspect and sometimes reminding me of something musically epic, especially with Sally Oldfield singing on the closing track.  It's only natural to seek out Hackett's instrumental music if your bugged out by songwriting or if you're one of those people who was overly disappointed by Mike Oldfield in the 80's when he wrote songs and apparently some people feel a bit cheated if they have to surf through Defector to find the instrumental pieces. I really don't mind. 
 
Thinking about it I didn't start buying Steve Hackett albums until much later , probably it was the classical albums that peaked my interest. I always thought as an artist he was hard to pin down as the instrumental pieces were never the be all and end all. He demonstrated in Genesis that he could write a good song when given the chance with Blood On The Rooftops. Of course Acolyte is understandably a highlight of his solo career.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2015 at 03:38
I can vouch for Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. Admittedly, I gave up on Hackett after Cured - i did try a few after that but wasnt too thrilled by them, received Guitar Noir as a birthday gift at the time of release, has some nice things on it, then more recently acquired the vinyls of Tunnel and Shrouded Horizon, and they're both engaging listens, especially Tunnel (which came with a bonus LP of him and his band doing Genesis tracks !!). You can't go wrong with the SQUACKETT album, either. I love that one too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperial Zeppelin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2015 at 06:38
I haven't heard much from Hackett's solo albums, but I quite enjoy Bay of Kings.

I have heard Darktown and Wild Orchids, but didn't like either of them.


Edited by Imperial Zeppelin - March 17 2015 at 06:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flight123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2015 at 05:10
Steve Hackett was the prog saviour during the dark days of 78 - 80.  Then came 'Cured', and although I saw the tour I thought he would go the way of his peers - into commercial nothingness.  However, he came back with 'Highly Strung' which I think is underrated - Cell 151 is a belter, for instance.  I saw the tour as well and thought it was a return to form after 'Cured'.  However, he seemed to disappear after 'Till We Have Faces', not a bad album at all.  I eventually caught up with Steve some 27 years later at the much missed High Voltage festival - it had been a long time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2015 at 23:10
Interestingly....for such a revered prog guitarist he only has 2 albums over 4 stars, most in the  3-4 star range, and 5 that  rated in the 2 range.
I have the first 4 and as someone mentioned above I still think Voyage is his most accomplished as far as prog rock goes. I have always felt disappointed in his later albums though they do have some nice tracks on them but overall they seem  tame and a bit boring at times.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2015 at 14:39
A friend turned me onto Metamorphous recently, so I slipped it into the ol' truck CD player and enjoyed it greatly as I drove around completing chores on a hot summer day. Classical to the point that the listener might think Hackett is doing his take on existing classical pieces. From what I know, it's all his own, and it's a wonder this guy hasn't ventured more into film scoring (to my knowledge, he's done a little TV music with his brother). Gently, exquisitely epic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2015 at 19:45
Yeah great album.  Just came up in my rotation as matter of fact.  I've had it for years.   He has other original classical music albums out there as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Barbu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 26 2015 at 00:30
You should check : Guitar Noir, To Watch the Storms, Beyond the Shrouded Horizon

Really digging Wolflight atm, another strong one.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 26 2015 at 10:05
You can't go wrong with Hackett's first four albums, IMO. After that, things get spotty for a bit, but he's recorded loads of great music throughout his career.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fudgenuts64 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2015 at 00:13
Since this I've finally gotten around to Highly Strung and Till We Have Faces. First one is pretty iffy - but Hackett to Pieces is awesome. Second one is quite good - still synth pop in places but definitely has that signature sound to it and the songs are generally good. His best lead vocals yet as well.

Edited by fudgenuts64 - June 27 2015 at 00:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote prog4evr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2015 at 08:20
Originally posted by verslibre verslibre wrote:

You can't go wrong with Hackett's first four albums, IMO. After that, things get spotty for a bit, but he's recorded loads of great music throughout his career.

Definitely agreed on your first sentence statement.  Also agree with your second sentence, with a caveat:  Have you heard his "feat" solo work on the Gordian Knot album, 'Emergent' - the track, "Some Brighter Thing?"  CD listings say that "...Brighter Thing" features both Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Hackett.  When you hear the track, you will definitely know "which" guitar is Hackett's! (Malmsteen though is not bad).  An amazing hidden gem of Hackett's "feat" talent that most probably do not realize is there.  It also features Bill Bruford on drums.  Buy just the single off of Amazon or Spotify - a "must have" for Hackett (and, even, Bruford) fans...
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