Reviewed by Nuno on 15 Feb 2002
With Darktown, prog veteran Steve Hackett has taken yet another loop jump in his career. Yes, this is a very different album, miles apart from everything Steve has done to date.
The use of samples and weird approaches to construct some of the tracks is completely new to this gentleman. He uses them to darken some songs in this album, such as Omega Metallicus; Darktown or Darktown Riot. The second of those is one of my favorites, with free-jazz sax attacks that enrich the music to its limits.
There are also romantic ambient, low melancholic tracks, like Dreaming with open eyes that feature all sorts of orchestral samples and a dream like bass line with flute to top it.
Some orchestrated songs, such as Man Overboard, Golden Age of Steam and In Memoriam are another turn of the cards for they are orchestral all right, but in a very unconventional and original way.
The instrumental piece Twice around the sun is all about a very Gary Moore sounding guitar solo, set upon a Mellotron base and some electronic beats, which are joined by a fretless Bass, molding a very bizarre combination between modern (the beats) and ancient (Mellotron) structuring music.
Steve continues with his explorations in Rise Again, which incorporates some up tempo rhythms and changes in direction, forming a very complete progressive song.
To sum, this is all about a brave new world of musicality. It’s Steve taking a step into mysterious paths and compromising with the new ways, the modern approaches. An experimental album that we must face as a courageous output from an historic character in progressive music.
Some may hate it, others will love it. Me, I may be somewhere in between, but much closer to the Love it section!