Steve Hackett, The Night Siren (InsideOut, 2017)
Tracks: Behind the Smoke (6:58), Martian Sea (4:41), Fifty Miles From the North Pole (7:08), El Nino (3:52), Other Side of the Wall (4:01), Anything But Love (5:56), Inca Terra (5:54), In Another Life (6:07), In the Skeleton Gallery (5:09), West to East (5:14), The Gift (2:45)
I think we all know by now that Steve Hackett is a genius. Over the last several years of this current wave of progressive rock, it seems that everything Mr. Hackett has touched has turned to gold. Indeed, he recently told the fine folks over at Prog magazine that he is currently in one of the most creative phases of his life (Prog 73). Considering his remarkable musical catalog, that is saying a lot. It rings true, however, when The Night Siren and his previous album Wolflight are concerned. They are some of the best albums of his solo career.
Both of these albums include a lot of what some might call “world music.” He features instruments and musicians from all over the world, including Azerbaijan, Scotland, Iceland, and Israel. He even includes both Jewish and Palestinian singers from Israel on the same song. Throughout all of this mix, Hackett’s message is clear: if we can have peace through musical collaboration, why can’t we have world political peace? This is certainly an excellent question to which it seems world leaders have no answer.
One might think that this conglomeration of disparate instruments and styles would create an off-putting wall of noise, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hackett masterfully blends these different influences with his signature guitar licks. The result is truly breathtaking.