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Steve Hackett - The Tokyo Tapes CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 160 ratings

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4 stars Hackett, Genesis and Crimson in ASIA sound

Having conducted a progressive rock workshop An Appreciation for GENESIS last week down here at Jakarta, Indonesia - I don't know for some reason my attention then went on to Steve Hackett. For me personally, Hackett is a brilliant musician and composer, who was a very key member of Genesis. During the workshop, I played "Please Don't Touch" tune just to indicate to the prog audience who participated actively at Mario's Place (the workshop venue) that this tune has a strong historic value for Hackett, I believe. It's because this song was originally approved by the band during the recording of "Wind and Wuthering" album but . at the later stage it was dropped by Phil Collins. So then . we all knew that Hackett left the band right after the release of Wind Wuthering and completing the tour which was recorded under "Seconds Out" live double album.

Hackett's composition is for me so unique and he has explored his musical talent not limited to just rock but he also adventured into a blues, jazz and a bit of avant-garde music. Have you listened to "Mechanical Bride" (To Watch The Storm) or "Dark Town" (album title track)? You will find his interpretation of avant-garde music in these tracks.

This live album "Tokyo Tapes" has been with me since it was released and by then when I got it, I was not so impressed with this record. The main reason was being the fact that the sound is not like typical nuance of Hackett album. It's totally different with "Voyage of The Acolyte" or "Spectral Mornings" or "Defector". Something strange for me and I did not pay further attention with this record until recently. I try to spin many more times and forget about the Hackett nuance at all. It helps a lot because by doing so I do not need to expect anything on the sounds of this music at all. What I got was a totally different experience: the overall live album sounds like an ASIA album. It's probably on John Wetton's singing style which reminds me to his tenure with ASIA and not with King Crimson at all. So I call that this is like the music of Steve Hackett, King Crimson, and Genesis are being played with ASIA nuance. That's what I feel.

Why liking this album?

Different Sound. Oh yes, this was actually the thing that turned me down to further explored this album - because the sound was not exactly what I expected with Steve Hackett. I thought that this album should not be titled under Steve Hackett solo album because I did not find the "soul" of Hackett music in here. Time went by and by the time I switch my mind by releasing any expectation at all from Steve Hackett, I then can easily enjoy the music this album offers. Even from the start of the album with "Watcher Of The Skies" (8:59) I can sense how this legendary track by Genesis is being played with modern keyboard sound of Julian Colbeck. Even when "Riding The Colossus" (3:32) is being played I can sense different sound than the "Genesis Revisited" album. This also happens beautifully with "Shadow of the Hierophant" (7:14) which offers different nuance under this version.

Music Experimentation. This thing happens wonderfully - to my ears - for tracks with great insertion of avant-garde style. This happens, for example - with "Firth Of Fifth" (9:32) . In a nutshell I don't like this version until I find its beauty during interlude where this collaboration of genius musicians produce avant-garde style. I think Ian McDonald's role in this nuance is very critical. This also happens with "Los Endos" where so far I has considered that the version of "Genesis Revisited" album is the best one but now I think this live version is also great. I especially like when Ian McDonald plays his inventive sax work. It's great!

Collaborative Effort of Great Musicians. This is a live performance of great musicians from legendary bands like Genesis, Asia, King Crimson, Asia and even Frank Zappa. You can find ASIA track "Heat of The Moment" as well as King Crimson "The Court of The Crimson King" and "I Talk To The Wind". All of them are performed combining the strengths of each individual musician from other bands. It's very enjoyable to listen to Hackett's guitar interpretation of Robert Fripp's (King Crimson) unique guitar playing. Chester Thompson is Genesis' drum player during tour, so he should be familiar with some Genesis tracks. For my taste, I do not actually enjoy his style of playing at this album. John Wetton plays like how he played with Asia and not in such a way represents his style with King Crimson (at all!). "Battlelines" (6:43) is the best example of Asia sound.

Why (you are) NOT liking this album?

Newbie. If you are newbie to prog or to any of Hackett, Genesis, King Crimson, or Asia music, I do not recommend you to have this album directly. It's too risky for you if you have not listened to the studio albums before. But of course this is not a 100% guarantee because actually you might still have some holes on how to best enjoy this album. For newbie in prog, you should listen to the studio albums of Steve Hackett, Genesis and King Crimson prior to listening to this album.

Don't want improvisation. well, I understand that some people are so peculiar on maintaining the originality of composition and don't want to listen to any improvisation from its original version. If you are this kind of people, it's gonna be very hard for you to enjoy this album.


I consider this album, overall, is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. I experience it myself that since couple of days ago I keep listening to this album many spins already. On other thing, I also like the insertion of some Genesis parts like "Cuckoo Caccoon" or "Blood on Rooftops" guitar shots in "Black Light". This also happens with some improvisation on "Los Endos". All of this sum up into one excellent album that any prog head should have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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