Steve Hackett, “Wolflight” from Wolflight (2015): One Track Mind

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Beginning with a classical placidity, “Wolflight” instantly recalls Steve Hackett’s earliest baroque contributions to Genesis in the ’70s. But this song, like the album for which it gives a name, has much, much broader aspirations. We’re actually not hearing Hackett at all, but Malik Mansurov performing on the Tar, a long-necked ancient instrument that originated in Persia.

If it wasn’t clear already that this will be no Genesis Revisited III, there can be no doubt thereafter.

These exciting sounds only add to the track’s primordial, half-lit atmospherics, as “Wolflight” explores something more elemental in our consciousness — something that traces to our tribal nature or even further back, before even the most primitive civilization. The song soon bursts into a boisterous orchestral segment, all thumping heart and thudding paws, as this suddenly impellent track takes flight. From there, Hackett moves episodically, his urgent guitar providing a rangy narrative push into concentric rings of mystery.

The song’s see-sawing effect is pleasantly disorienting, like emerging into the expanse of a wilderness after being trapped under the eternal hum of flourescent office work for far too long. You can’t help but imagine Steve Hackett shares this sense of being unharnessed, after spending years now within the confines of memory while reanimating his past glories with Genesis.

He’s chosen the perfect title, too. After all, “Wolflight” is a colloquialism for that moment just before dawn, the equal and opposite of twilight, when the world is boldly rousing itself rather than falling into a warm and drowsy flush of deepening colors. Such is the wonder of “Wolflight,” the song, as Steve Hackett seems to be similarly coming alive again. Wolflight, the album, is due March 30 via InsideOut.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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