Genesis' Steve Hackett, Yes' Chris Squire at work on collaboration

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Prog-rock veterans Steve Hackett of Genesis and Chris Squire of Yes are at work on a collaborative project, to be called (not making this up:) Squackett. Esoteric Records will release the album on May 8, 2012.

Hackett appeared on Squire’s 2007 holiday-themed Swiss Choir project, and the two have reportedly been working together off and on ever since. (A collaboration called “Stormchaser,” recorded in 2009, is below.) Meanwhile, the guitarist issued Beyond the Shrouded Horizon last September, while the Squire-led Yes’ Fly From Here reached No. 36 on the Billboard charts over the summer.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett talks about collaborating with Chris Squire, the deep impact of Bach and a lasting passion for his old band.]

Hackett was a member of Genesis from 1971’s Nursery Cryme through 1977’s Wind and Wuthering, before departing for a solo career. He was also part of the mid-1980s group GTR (known for the No. 14-hit “When the Heart Rules the Mind,” and “The Hunter”) with Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Bassist Squire is the only member of Yes to appear on each of its recordings since the band’s inception in 1968.

“There’ll be certain things on there that I think you’ll be hard-pressed to say this is a combination of guys that have come from Genesis and Yes,” Hackett told Blog Talk Radio. “I think it’s bigger than that. We cast a wider net over all the genres.”

Here’s a look back at previous reviews of Genesis in the Hackett era, and Squire’s Yes. Click through the titles for expanded reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: YES: We dig back into deep cuts and favorites from Fragile, Relayer, Drama, and 90125 — including “South Side of the Sky,” highlighted by “Chris Squire’s gurgling bassline. Listen closely: Bill Bruford is also mesmerizing behind the drums. It seems simple but it gathers steam as the song wears on, packing in more twists and turns than seems necessary and yet seems perfectly sensible. Rick Wakeman compliments all of this with organ and, in the breakdown, a beautifully elegant piano line. On top of it all, Jon Anderson’s airy vocals narrate a polar expedition gone tragically wrong.”

GENESIS – SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND: There’s music I like, music I love, and then there’s music that literally gives me goosebumps. The list of music that falls into the goosebump category is a rather short one: No matter how many times I hear Steve Hackett’s guitar solo on “Firth of Fifth,” the hairs on my arm stand on end and I find myself moved nearly to tears by the emotive beauty of his guitar-tistry.

YES – IN THE PRESENT: LIVE FROM LYON: There was at least one benefit to the departure of Jon Anderson from Yes in 2008: The presence of new lead singer Benoit David immediately opened the door for a rewrite of what had become a very rote setlist. David handles things as well as can be expected on the big Anderson-sung hits here — and that’s really all Chris Squire and Co. were looking for, I suppose. You get a broader sense of what he brings to Yes as it stands today, however, on a churning, metallic fever dream like “Machine Messiah.”

GENESIS – A TRICK OF THE TAIL: The era immediately following Peter Gabriel’s departure contains some of Genesis’ best music. While Gabriel was a creative force for the band, I’ve always preferred Phil Collins vocals even while I missed the progressive leanings of the band after their turn to a pop-oriented sound following Steve Hackett’s departure. “Ripples” from this album would be one of the last, best examples: Collins’ vocal delivery is haunting and powerful. Hackett’s guitar playing is brilliantly emotive as always. And Banks piano work on this song, I’d argue, is some of the best he ever did for Genesis.

YES – FLY FROM HERE: This album is, in many ways, better than it has any right to be. The band even attempts something it hadn’t in decades — a multi-part thematic suite, and to great effect. As always, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White are compact and versatile, expertly facilitating complicated journeys like “Fly From Here Part III: Madman at the Screens,” which switches back and forth from a crunchy stomp to soaring ambiance. And the new singer acquits himself well.

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