Monday, 12 November 2012

Genesis Revisited

For a lover of Progressive Music like myself, it was a great delight to see Steve Hackett's latest project 'Genesis Revisited 2' receive quite a bit of media attention around its launch - there was even an appearance on the sofa of BBC Breakfast!


The album is a re-working of a number of Genesis tunes from the period when Steve Hackett was incumbent with the band - 1971-1977 - along with some of Steve's solo material, and a very good collection of songs it is too. The musicianship is tremendous, and there are contributions from an array of Prog luminaries including Steven Wilson (who seems to be everywhere these days), John Wetton, Michael Akerfeldt, Roine Stolt & Steve Rothery, as well as usual collaborators, Nick Magnus, Nick Beggs, Amanda Lehman and Steve's brother John Hackett. Everything seems to fit together well, and on the whole these are faithful renditions of timeless classics from the Genesis canon. My pick would probably be 'The Lamia', with Nik Kershaw on vocals.

The title of this current collection, of course, hints of a previous similar venture, and having listened to the 2012 offering I acquired a copy of the first 'Genesis Revisited' from 1996. This again is a collection of tunes from the classic era of Genesis, and I have to say that this earlier collection strikes me as a more interesting package: the recordings are much more re-envisionings of earlier songs than the second collection, and add a depth to the music that seems to be lacking in the latest discs. 'Firth of Fifth', one of the best songs Genesis recorded, is given a new life with a fresh orchestration; 'I Know What I Like' takes on a reggae feel with echoes of the Bonzo's 'Intro & Outro' (or Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells') in places; and 'Waiting Room Only', a restatement of The Lamb's 'Waiting Room' veers from driving rock to 'Revolution #9'.

Not that I'm saying GR2 is a bad collection: far from it. But I think there is more inventiveness in the earlier package, and for me that's at the heart of Progressive music.