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Steve Hackett - Bay Of Kings CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.36 | 242 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Steve Hackett's first classical album has him treading in unmarked territory in his repetoir. An album comprised solely of classical works can either be two things, boring or interesting. This album treads into both territories, but the variance in these pieces offers up a diverse atmosphere. There are majestic pieces, there are somber pieces, there are saddening pieces, but they are all wonderfully performed by Hackett and his brother John (who offers some great flute work on a few songs). That brings up another point, there are only two musicians on this album, Steve and John Hackett. That means that this album is very guitar oriented (as it should be). Overall, Hackett's first clasiccal album would ultimately be his best.

Bay of Kings opens the album with a majestic guitar only piece. Hackett's classical work compares considerably well to his electric work, and this track is a perfect example of that. His guitar sound is warm and very vibrant. The Journey is another vibrant track with a more melodic feel mainly because of Hackett's textured and layered keyboard work (which uses an orchestra tone). The album features two old Hackett classics, the first being Kim, which appeared on Please Don't Touch. John Hackett's flute line on this track is different than the original version, and Hackett's guitar tone is vibrant and very bright. Marigold features a steel guitar as opposed to a classical guitar, and Hackett uses a harmonizer to create the illusion of a 12 string guitar. It's a very majestic and somber track all at the same time.

St. Elmo's Fire finds Hackett experimenting with dissonant progressions and uplifting motifs. Petropolis has interesting unison guitar lines from Hackett and a majestic overall feeling. Second Chance has a majestic and very interesting flute line from John Hackett and some interesting underlying guitar work from Steve. Cast Adrift has Hackett drifting into atmospheric and minimalistic guitar themes, and it comes off very well. The second classic Hackett song on this album is Horizons, which is more warm and vibrant than it's Foxtrot predecessor. Black Light features fast unison "cluster notes" from Hackett and some more Spanish influenced arpeggios. The Barren Land has a more desolate feeling and utilizes some very warm classical guitar themes.

Calmaria is a forgettable piece that doesn't really go anywhere and detracts from the overall quality of the album. Time Lapse at Milton Keynes has an uplifting and majestic feel, maybe because Hackett wrote it around the same time as the brief Genesis reunion in the 80s to help Peter Gabriel. Tales of the Riverbank is based off a classical piece by Giuliani titled Andante in C. It's a dynamic and interesting classical piece. Skye Boat song has a majestic and interesting melody as well as an overall uplifting atmosphere. It ends the album wonderfully.

In the end, Hackett's first all classical album was a truly original effort overall. It may be a tad bit on the boring side and some pieces may sound similar, but overall it's a perfect piece that has some great melodies and some superb musicianship. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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