Hackett, Steve - To Watch The Storms

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMA 2058-2/SPV 085-65732
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:28:00

Steve Hackett has had an impressive career that spans almost three and a half decades and spanning genres such as rock, folk, jazz and even classical music. His discography starts with his appearance on the Nursery Cryme album by Genesis (1975) and he played on 6 further Genesis albums, after which he began his solo career that has provided his fans with many releases. His last studio album, Darktown, was released in 1999 and now, some 4 years later, he surprises us with the very diverse To Watch The Storms, which the accompanying press release describes as "a lavish work full of experiments, enthusiastic playing and joy of life as well as a revelation of new details with every listening."

After the first spin of To Watch The Storms, I can tell you this is not a boring album at all! On the contrary, there are almost as many styles as there are songs and these form an interesting contrast, in the way that some are very quiet, acoustic songs and others are heavy, electronic, with cacophonic elements. Nothing predictable and this makes listing to this album something like going on an expedition to uncharted lands. A few songs are noteworthy here, like "Circus Of Becoming," with a charming merry-go-round tune in it, as well as a great heavy guitar riff supported by powerful drums. And what about the weird "The Devil Is An Englishman," a heavy electronic sounding song with dark, half spoken lyrics, which was originally written by electronic freak Thomas Dolby as the score of a bizarre horror comedy, Gothic. In absolute contrast to this, we find the classic sounding "Wind, Sand And Stars." A very powerful song is "Mechanical Bride," with a sound we heard also in King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man." The beautiful "Serpentine Song," with his brother John on flute, is dedicated to his father, who is an artist and with whom Steve Hackett shares many great memories.

Of course there is much more to say of To Watch The Storms, as not a single song is the same or even close to sounding alike to other songs on the album. Hackett is a true virtuoso on the guitar, but also a good singer with a pleasant sounding voice. Many instruments have been used in the songs and this has resulted in a very innovative and progressive album, which holds many surprises and musical discoveries and I can only invite you to go and explore this musical landscape Steve Hackett has given us. Let the music be your guide on this journey.

[This review originally appeared July 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site]

Strutton Ground (3:04) / Circus Of Becoming (3:48) / The Devil Is An Englishman (4:27) / Frozen Statues (2:58) / Mechanical Bride (6:40) / Wind, Sand And Stars (5:08) / Brand New (4:41) / This World (5:19) / Rebecca (4:20) / The Silk Road (5:25) / Come Away (3:13) / The Moon Under Water (2:14) / Serpentine Song (6:56)

The special edition adds four additional tracks: Pollution B / Fire Island / Marijuana, Assassin Of Youth / If You Only Knew

Steve Hackett - vocals, guitar, optigan, harmonica, koto, rain stick, chimes, quatro
Roger King - piano, organ, synthesizer, vocoder, programming
Rob Townsend - brass, woodwind, whistles & one-man serpentine chorus machine
Terry Gregory - vocals, basses, pedals & thunder
Gary O? Toole - vocals, acoustics & electric drums, percussion
John Hackett - flute solo (13)
Ian McDonald - sax (7)
Jeanne Downs - backing vocals
Sarah Wilson - cello
Howard Gott - violin

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: December 1st 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 684
Language: english


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