Steve Hackett — Wolflight
(Inside Out Music 07078, 2015, CD+BlueRay)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2015-05-25
Anticipation has been higher than normal for a new Steve Hackett album following his recent, triumphant Genesis Revisited touring. I wondered how being immersed in those genre-defining classics would rub off on new compositions, and for the most part the results are positive. But if you’re expecting a Nursery Cryme Pt 2 — or even Spectral Mornings Pt 2 — prepare to be disappointed. Instead, Wolflight fits comfortably alongside Hackett’s recent solo releases like Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth and Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. Many of the musicians who participated on those albums appear again here, most notably keyboard player, orchestrator, and engineer Roger King, who seems indispensable to Hackett these days. But front and center on each track is Hackett’s guitar, both electric and acoustic. His voice also graces seven of the eight vocal tracks, although the one song he does not sing on — the closer “Midnight Sun” — is unusual in that Hackett is essentially guesting with Icelandic group Todmobile. It’s a more modern and vital sounding song and only hints at what a Hackett album might sound like if he cut the cord to Roger King and let others take over on vocals. But despite a nagging sense that Hackett is stuck in a formulaic trap of his own devising the album mostly succeeds. Even the vocal songs are buoyed by excellent playing, plus the arrangements give plenty of space to instrumental workouts that leave one convinced that touring all those old Genesis songs rubbed off on him after all.
Note that the two-disk Special Edition also includes a Blue-Ray “Mediabook” with a 5.1 mix, interviews, plus two bonus tracks.
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