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Steve Hackett - Darktown CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 303 ratings

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4 stars Through this album Steve Hackett has embarked his music into new kind of gothic settings with a darker nuance and heavier style while maintaining its original roots. I have found a considerable use of sampling / programming in this album. I have owned this CD long time ago and considered it as an excellent album. When I observed on track by track level, I found there are definitely reasonable number of great tracks and also some good ones. That's why I will give my track by track review under these two categories.

The Great Tracks

In my review of Steve's Live Archives box set, I did mention a wonderful bass player Sir Douglas Sinclair. Yep, Steve asks him to perform great job in this great track: "Omega Metallicus" (track 1). He does a superb job in this track with his dazzling bass guitar style accompanied with Steve' guitar style. The main rhythm section uses a sampling designed by Roger King. This song represents new Hackett style in his music creation.

The title track "Darktown" (track 2) is a fantastic track that blew me away at first listen. It opens nicely with a soft guitar effects and (almost) growling Steve's vocal. The rhythm that follows after the first paragraph of lyrical part is really catchy and memorable. Luckily this rhythm section is repeated quite often throughout passages of the song and the form like a central melody of the song. Lyric-wise this song represents Steve's quest about the school system in Great Britain. The drum work is programmed (I guess Roger King did tit). Ian McDonald's saxophone work has created an image of avant-garde sort of music. Oh man . I love this second track very much!

"Man Overboard" is a nice track opened by an acoustic guitar outfit augmented by a soft keyboard sound at background. When the voice line enters, there is an inclusion of strange sound - that I guess it's a thumb piano - which enriches the song textures. The melody part is composed by maintaining the roots of Hackett's music.

"The Golden Age of Steam" (track 4) is another fantastic track that brings us to a further darker nuance through a tightly composed music. It begins with a woodwind work followed with an excellent orchestration. Oh man .. I never imagined before that Steve would ever create this wonderfully crafted tune! This song is inspired by a book "The Diary of Anne Frank" about character's development from child, to spy and to monster - a story of opportunism at its worst (as put in CD sleeve). It's a great track!

"Darktown Riot" is an excellent instrumental tune that revolves its main rhythm around sampling and adopting the catchy segment from "Darktown" (track 1).

The Good Tracks

"Days of Long Ago" is a mellow track featuring the only guest vocal for this album: Jim Diamond. The main rhythm is Steve's acoustic guitar work. "Dreaming With Open Eyes" is a mellow track with sampling rhythm. "Twice Around The Sun" is a nice song with a really stunning guitar solo. It flows to the next track "Rise Again" which probably the only track that uses real drum set, played by a fantastic drummer: Hugo Degenhardt - whom I commented in my review of Live Archives box set. "Jane Austen's Door" is again another mellow track. "In Memoriam" uses soft keyboard sound as its main rhythm section using virtual drum (designed by Roger King). It's a symphonic outfit, I would say. I find that this song duration should be made around five minutes as this current version makes me boring with repeated melodies.

Overall it's a recommended album with 4 out of 5 stars rating. - Keep on progging!

Yours progressively

GW - Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |


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