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Steve Hackett - Momentum CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.17 | 204 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If it seems like Steve had decided to have two careers running in parallel by this point, it's because he had. On the one hand, you had the guy who was trying to incorporate contemporary influences into his sound, but often failing simply because he was a dude from the 70s trying to make contemporary music in the 80s, which wasn't working out even for a lot of people more talented than Steve overall. On the other hand, you had the guy who wanted to keep writing classically-influenced acoustic guitar pieces in his spare time, and who had decided it was better to release them in bulk than to release them piecemeal in his other albums. Even if there are some differences between the two albums overall, this is essentially Bay of Kings Part 2, and I'd be very curious to know the rationale one would have for rating the two significantly differently from each other.

If there are significant differences between this album and its predecessor, they would be the following: (1) the classical leanings are often more explicit (one track is based around a Chopin piece, and one of the bonus tracks is a cover of the same Bach piece that Jethro Tull used as the core of "Bouree"), and (2) the pieces are even more about atmosphere and less about memorability. I definitely do not find myself improvising hummed vocal melodies over these pieces like I did over some of the Bay of Kings pieces; for the most part, these are pieces that I definitely appreciate as nice background, but not as a great deal more. It's interesting to read Steve's brief comments on each of the pieces, giving a sense of what he was trying to convey with each, but even so armed with these notes I can't really make the connection between what I hear and what he says.

Honestly, aside from the slightly out-of-place "Concert for Munich," which prominently features an organ-like synthesizer to give some fuller orchestration to the piece, the album doesn't really become that engaging until the bonus tracks, two of which end up being the best pieces on the album. "An Open Window" is a bonafide nine-minute epic; the first 3:20 or so makes for a pleasant piece that would have been one of the best on the album if left by itself, but then there's a dramatic shift in tone, and the piece goes from loud to soft and angry to pleasant and never stops being engaging. "The Vigil" is a little less ambitious, but still very striking and memorable, as it's based around a small number of discernable themes that Steve effectively expands upon. In other words, it actually sounds like something from the Steve Hackett that I liked so much in the first place.

While Steve would do acoustic-centric work again, and while he'd do some classically- oriented work again, this ended up being the last of his all-instrumental acoustic guitar studio albums for a while, and this was probably a good thing. This and Bay of Kings make for some good music, to be sure, but aside from a couple of tracks here and there, they definitely don't make for great music unless you're addicted to classical guitar and it turns out that Steve was secretly a giant in that world (which I doubt). As with its predecessor, this is worth hearing a few times if you're curious and you're already a serious fan, but casual fans probably don't need to bother.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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