Hackett, Steve - Voyage Of The Acolyte

Year of Release: 1991
Label: Blue Plate
Catalog Number: CAROL 1862-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 40:52:00

This release, the first solo effort from the Genesis guitarist, gives us a good idea of what the founding members of Genesis were denying themselves by declining to consider the great majority of material written by Hackett. This classic 1975 release shows what a huge fountain of creativity was being ignored by the founders of the band from Charterhouse, for this is without a doubt one of the most serene and beautiful works I have heard in a long time. Yes, I know that I come a bit late to this conclusion, only recently revisiting the works of Genesis and its members with a critical ear, but Voyage Of The Acolyte (Charisma, 1176) has, quite frankly, enthralled this listener. This is a work of great vision and sensitivity, bearing much in common with the best work of Genesis and, with the presence of both Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins, it might be thought of as one of the great unknown works of that band, the best album that Genesis never recorded, if you will. It also shares a good bit of the gentle, pastoral spirit of the Italian progressive rock scene of the 1970's. This release showcases not only Steve Hackett, but also his talented multi-instrumentalist brother John and a bevy of fine sidemen (and women), including the absolutely gorgeous vocals on the final track from another progressive rock sibling, Sally Oldfield.

With its song titles inspired by the Tarot deck, this release strikes me as a sonic fantasy film, bringing endlessly magical and mystic images to mind. This enticing work fairly drips with grand washes of Mellotron, wrapping Hackett's seductive guitar playing in a lovers embrace. The use of temple bells, flute, oboe, cello and harmonium gently underscore Hackett's masterful and generally restrained guitar work. The minimal use of vocals allows the music to speak for itself, though Hackett's vocal on "The Hermit" and Collins's vocal on "Star Of Sirius", as well as Oldfield's breathtaking work on the albums finale "Shadow Of The Hierophant" are all quite captivating and beautifully matched to each individual song. Steve's brother, John Hackett, comes close to stealing the show here with his sparse yet strong synth work and most of all, his translucent flute work. His delightful, melodic lines on "Hands Of The Priestess, Part I" are as lovely and inspiring as anything I have ever heard. If any recording ever perfectly demonstrated the romantic era's emphasis on theme, variation and repetition, this is it.

Have I made this sound like its all lushly romantic and devoid of any muscle? Perhaps I have, but the first and third cuts, "Ace Of Wands" and "A Tower Struck Down" are both powerful and energetic pieces, bristling with electric energy. "Ace Of Wands" in particular showcases Hackett's six string power, containing some of his best work ever on both acoustic and electric guitar.

"Star Of Sirius" is a showcase for Phil Collins, as he contributes not only his fine drumming, but also his vocals and vibe playing. The final cut, "Shadow Of The Hierophant" is another brilliant display, this time for Sally Oldfield's voice, sounding much like Renaissance's Annie Haslem, only more robust in tone, with the ever present Mellotron competing with Oldfield's vocals for the listeners attention. Few songs in this genre can match its ever building emotional impact, alternately grand and then plaintive. Hackett's strong guitar work on this tune, and all over this magnificent release, reveal his penchant for classical music, which Genesis could surely have benefited from.

This is an absolutely essential release for your collection, consistently beautiful and stirring. This disc has been in my changer since the day I received it, and not a day has passed that I have not listened to all or part of this release. I trust that you will find it as enchanting as I do.

Ace Of Wands 5:23 / Hands Of The Priestess Part I 3:28 / A Tower Struck Down 4:53 / Hands Of The Priestess Part II 1:31 / The Hermit 4:49 / Star Of Sirius 7:08 / The Lovers 1:50 / Shadow Of The Hierophant 11:44

Steve Hackett ? guitars, mellotron, harmonium, bells, autoharp, vocals, effects
John Hackett ? flute, ARP Synthesizer, bells
Mike Rutherford ? bass, bass pedals, 12 string guitar
Phil Collins ? drums, vibes, percussion, vocals
John Acock ? mellotron, harmonium, piano, Elka Rhapsody
Sally Oldfield ? vocals
Robin Miller ? oboe, cor anglais
Nigel Warren-Green ? cello
Percy Jones ? bass
Johnny Gustafson ? bass

Genesis - Nursery Crime (1971)
Genesis - Foxtrot (1972)
Genesis - Live (1973)
Genesis - Selling England By The Pound (1973)
Genesis - Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)
Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975)
Genesis - Wind And Wuthering (1976)
Genesis - Trick Of The Tail (1976)
Genesis - Seconds Out (1977)
Please Don't Touch (1978)
Spectral Mornings (1979)
Defector (1980)
Cured (1981)
Highly Strung (1983)
Bay Of Kings (1983)
Til We Have Faces (1983)
GTR - GTR (1986)
Momentum (1988)
Genesis - Three Sides Live (1982)
Genesis - Genesis Archive 1967-75 (1988)
Time Lapse (1992)
The Unauthorised Biography (1992)
Guitar Noir (1994)
Blues With A Feeling (1994)
There Are Many Sides To The Night (1994)
A Midsummer's Night Dream (1997)
Watcher Of The Skies: Genesis Revisited (1997)
The Tokyo Tapes (1997)
Darktown (1999)
Genesis - Genesis - Turn It On Again (1999)
Sketches Of Satie (2000) (w/John Hackett)
Feedback '86 (2000)
Genesis - Genesis Archive #2 (2000)
Live Archive 70s 80s 90s (2001)
Live Archive - Newcastle (2001)
To Watch The Storms (2003)
Live Archive NEARfest (2003)
Live Archive 03 (2004)
Live Archive 04 (2004)
Genesis - The Platinum Collection (2004)
Metamorpheus (2005) (w/The Underworld Orchestra)
Live Archive 05 (2005)
Live Archive 83 (2006)
Wild Orchids (2006)
Tribute (2008)
Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (2010)
Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)
Genesis Revisited II (2012)

Steve Hackett Live (VHS) (1981)
The Tokyo Tapes (DVD) (1998)
Hungarian Horizons - Live In Budapest (DVD) (2003)
Somewhere In South America - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2003)
Once Upon A Time (DVD) (2004)
Spectral Mornings (DVD) (rec 1978; rel 2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 8th 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 1125
Language: english


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