Guitarist joins forces with an international line-up on new long-form recordings, and announces dates for his upcoming Spectral Mornings tour.
There’s a new Steve Hackett album and tour on the way, plus all the latest news from Marillion, Arena, Andy Mackay, DBA, The Flower Kings, NAO, Roger Dean and more…
When Steve Hackett releases his next album, At
The Edge Of Light, he hopes to ruffle a few feathers. The follow-up to 2017’s The Night Siren comes from a similar mindset, while the former Genesis guitarist has re-embraced long-form composition and even tried a love song on the new collection, which arrives on 25 January via InsideOut.
“In the face of right-wing politics and fierce nationalism, I’ve been wanting to do products that are as international as possible, with an international cast,” Hackett tells Prog.
Along with Durga and Lorelei McBroom, Jonas
Reingold, Nick D’Virgilio and others, his star cast also includes Azerbaijani tar player Malik Mansurov, “a man who can’t tour the States. They won’t give him a visa because mugham, the style of music he plays, is common to Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. I want to make stuff that in some places is banned. I want to do things that aren’t popular with politicians.”
He states,“I have to speak emotionally about the album. I’ve been trying to make an album like this for a long time, where you combine different schools of approach. You’ve got the rock school, you’ve got the ethnic, if you can call it that, and you’ve got the orchestral.”
He has chosen Fallen Walls And Pedestals as the opener because of its contrasts. “It’s very proggy,” he states. “You can hear a pin drop, then something that’s very, very big. The best [part] of prog is arrangements. It’s a big word but all it really means is that you chuck in a guitar, you decide to put some drums with it, [and] then you go on adding because it sounded good.”
Those Golden Wings, the longest piece, is about his wife Jo. “Although we tend to write lyrics together, in this case it was something that was obviously for her,” he says, adding that it opens with something akin to a Tchaikovsky ballet. “It’s going to be some kind of flight. It’s got a very
romantic kind of thing but it goes into rock. It also goes into chorale. So, back to long-form for me. I’m not denying that any more – I’m up for that. It gives the instruments a chance to speak.”
The last three tracks, entitled Descent, Conflict and Peace, were originally devised as another long-form construction. “But we decided to name them separately because people might prefer one bit rather than another,” he says. “So you’ve got that sort of trilogy in there.”
In presenting his own version of the meltingpot concept, Hackett reflects: “Protest songs are incredibly important. There hasn’t been a finer song since [Bob Dylan’s] Blowin’ In The Wind just nailed it in a few short sentences. And the honesty of songs that were written at that time.” He adds that he loves “songs about the vulnerability of the human condition,” citing Eleanor Rigby as his favourite Beatles number.
After a long gestation period, was it an easy album to complete? “When recording I’m very serious; I don’t really relax until it’s done,” he replies. “It’s thrilling and daunting. You get to a point, hopefully, where you think, ‘This might actually be better than last time.’ I was having this conversation with [artist] Roger Dean and I asked him,‘What’s your favourite painting?’ He said,‘The one I’m currently working on.’ I have exactly the same feelings.”
Hackett plays two acoustic UK shows in December before touring Europe in April and May. He returns to the UK in November 2019 with shows celebrating Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound, and his 1979 solo album Spectral Mornings.
For the full list of tour dates, visit www.hackettsongs.com. MK
“I’ve been trying
to make an album like this for a long time.”
STEVE HACKETT: OPENING UP TO PROG ABOUT THE GENESIS OF NEWALBUM AT THE EDGE OF LIGHT.