John Hackett - 'Moonspinner'

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John Hackett - 'Moonspinner'

A fine album.

Younger brother of Steve, John Hackett is a celebrated UK-based flautist whose work spans both the progressive rock and classical music genres. Although the flute is his primary instrument he is something of a musical polymath as he is also adept with the guitar, keyboards and bass guitar. The subtitle of the present album (his fifth solo recording) “for flute and guitar” underlines his credentials for he has played all the relevant instruments here, with the exception of guitar on one of the tracks (‘Andante’) where Andy Gray has done the honours, and has also taken responsibility for the guitar arrangement.

The sixteen tracks presented here are all original instrumentals written by Hackett with the exception of the final two, which are classical compositions by Bach (the aforementioned ‘Andante’) and Debussy (‘Syrinx’). Using some probably inexcusable stereotyping (for which I apologise unreservedly, if necessary!) we are very much into “chill out territory” here and for those of you who enjoy putting your feet up at the end of the day, quaffing a glass of “red” (or “white” or even “rose” I suppose) with some ambient or other non-demanding furrowed brow-smoothing instrumental music, then this is just the album for you. It is, on the other hand, certainly not for those of you who like your music hewn from a large lump of rock while swigging down your fifth can of the amber nectar…

Opening with ‘Witchfinder’ which is stylistically very much in Ian Anderson territory, the album moves through a cornucopia of aural delights which seek to satisfy Hackett’s hope of starting to build a bridge between the classical and progressive genres. It is the plethora of shorter tracks such as the languid ‘Overnight Snow’, the pastoral ‘The Great Including’ and the effervescent ‘Moonspinner’ that are most firmly rooted in the former whilst some of the more involved, slightly lengthier numbers such as ‘The Prince Of Morimont’ and especially ‘Thoughts Turn Homeward’ lean towards the latter.
I’m not convinced there is a natural convergence between the two genres here, but nonetheless, this is a fine album of its type and demonstrates Hackett’s virtuosity in spades.

Paul Jerome Smith

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