THE IN­TRO

Gui­tarist joins forces with an in­ter­na­tional line-up on new long-form record­ings, and an­nounces dates for his up­com­ing Spec­tral Morn­ings tour.

Prog - - Contents -

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.

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