Squackett — A Life within a Day
(Esoteric Antenna EANTCD 1002, 2012, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-10-25Here is one of the most anticipated releases of 2012, bringing together prog titans Steve Hackett of Genesis and Chris Squire of Yes (in case the groan-worthy moniker didn’t tip you off). The album was an outgrowth of collaborations begun with Hackett’s last two releases, and if you liked those songs then you should enjoy this collection as well. The lead-off title track establishes the pattern for what is to come, setting Hackett’s vocal against bombastic orchestrations that are balanced by bass and guitar pyrotechnics. The songwriting leans more toward Hackett than Squire, though the big guy never fails to make his presence known, whether on backing vocal harmonies or with his signature bass sound and playing. Long time Hackett partner Roger King is the critical third leg in the arrangement with his sophisticated orchestrations, keyboards and production mastery cementing everything together. Hackett fans are well acquainted with his work but it’s great to hear Squire in such a rich tableau. The few relatively lightweight songs (“Divided Self,” “Aliens”) may not win many fans among hardcore progheads, but that’s not what this collaboration was about to begin with, since what bonded Squire and Hackett was their mutual love for melodic vocal acts like The Hollies and CSN. This shows up in gems like “The Summer Backwards” or “Can’t Stop the Rain” (which also features some uncharacteristically jazzy guitar from Hackett). Squire’s excellent “Perfect Love Song” finishes things off in style, leaving me hoping for more. Recommended.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more