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Defector Extra tracks, Import, Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Best known as the main guitarist for Genesis from 1971 to 1977, Steve Hackett has long been regarded as one of the leading progressive rock guitarists of his generation. This remastered pressing of his 1980 album features 15 tracks including the 5 bonus tracks 'Hercules Unchained', 'Sentimental Institutions' (live), 'The Steppes; (live), 'Slogans' (live) & 'Clocks' (live). EMI. 2005.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B000AM1THQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,178 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The four albums Steve Hackett released in the 70's (of which this is the last) represent the core of his enormous body of work. While he has released many more albums since then, these four remain essential listening for Hackett fans and fans of classic progressive rock. In fact, there are times I think this might be my favorite Hackett CD.

On Defector, Hackett's guitar truly takes the lead for the first time. His previous albums all had killer solos but for this album he moves the guitar from out of the band mix and into the spotlight. Listen to his impassioned lead on The Steppes, or his brilliant finger tapping technique on Slogans or even the expressive sound he gets from the nylon string guitar on Two Vamps As Guests. The band as usual is in excellent form, but this is Steve's baby.

As usual, on a Steve Hackett album, the instrumentals are just as important as the vocals, but this may be his most balanced album in terms of strong lyrics and great singing. Sadly, this would be the last album with Pete Hicks on lead vocals and all subsequent albums would suffer as a consequence, at least in my opinion.

My favorites are The Steppes, Jacuzzi and Slogans, but for me there is not a bad song on the album. Even his attempt at disco/dance music (The Show) is a fun tune in only the way Hackett could do something like this. And like his early albums there is a novelty tune, in this case Sentimental Institution with Pete Hicks singing somewhere between Al Jolson and Louie Armstrong.

Highly recommended album from one of the most original rock composers of his generation and light years better than anything Genesis was doing at the time.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a huge Steve Hackett fan and "Defector" is one of my all-time personal favorites. I bought the record in 1981 and I still listen to it at least once a month (which is saying a lot, since I have a fairly expansive prog rock collection).
Just like Hackett's other solo efforts, the music on "Defector" ranges from wildly experimental to relatively straightforward. Some tracks evoke memories of early Genesis - while others are distinctly Hackett. In many respects, this is a "sister" album to its predecessor, 1979s "Spectral Mornings" (in fact, Hackett has the same superb band backing him on this record - including Nick Magnus on keyboards and John Shearer on drums).
As I mentioned in my review for "Spectral Mornings," Hackett is an amazing composer - but his ability to write music is often overlooked by fans who are obsessed with his guitar playing. In many respects, he is a "minimalist" as a guitarist - capable of zipping off a million notes a second, but known for holding back until the right moment comes to show off his technical ability. His emphasis often appears to be on the composition first, technical ability second, especially on his first five solo albums. In my opinion, this is what makes his solo material so damn good. It is also what has allowed his music to stand the test of time.
"The Steppes," the opening track on this record, is a slow-driving, powerful, majestic instrumental which sounds like it draws on eastern scales (but I'm not sure that it does - at least not the entire tune). I've never seen this music in sheet form, but I would love to see how it works mechanically, and, in particular, which scales Hackett is using.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Many Hackett fans consider "Defector" to be the last album from his classic solo period. The album is another solid effort from Hackett featuring a nice mix of vocal and instrumental songs. The emphasis here is still on progressive rock in the classic 70's style, but you also hear the beginning of some more adventurous experimentation which would permeate Hackett's later releases. "Defector" would be the last Hackett album to feature someone other than himself on lead vocals. The guitar is the main instrumental focus on much of this album, as it should be, and Hackett pulls of some really nice work throughout the disc. The album opener "The Steppes" has become a live classic with other tracks like "Slogans", "Time To Get Out"; "Leaving" and "The Toast" are all strong ones. Hackett even takes a stab at a rocking commercial single with "The Show" which is almost funk / disco in nature, and actually works much better than you might think it would. The album closes with a novelty 1920's style ditty called "Sentimental Institution" which reminds me of some of the stuff Freddy Mercury used to do with Queen. Overall I don't think this is Hackett's best album, but it is another solid release from a guitarist who has been sadly overlooked by the mainstream over the years.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm thankful my older brother introduced this album to me when it first came out; allow me to introduce it to you.

There are some albums you own that make you think: 1) I'm so glad this album has come into my life--I'm richer for hearing it; 2) The artist has mastered his/her instrument and plays with a wisdom that conveys unspoken language; 3) It isn't enough to own it, you have to tell others about it, so that they won't miss out on it. Steve Hackett's Defector is one such album.

I pulled this CD off my shelf the other day and found it has not lost any appeal whatsoever for me. The music (vocal-laced songs and instrumentals) is beautiful, clever, occasionally precious, gentle, sometimes hard, and confident. It is always interesting aurally.

Steve Hackett is such a wonderfully good guitarist with an ear finely attuned to interesting melodies and harmonies. His writing comes across as effortless; a natural progression.

If you are looking for an entry into the Steve Hackett catalog, Defector is my recommendation for where to start. Another fine Steve Hackett CD, but just so you know it is acoustic and quite relaxed, is Bay of Kings.

If you have an enormous CD collection, you might already own this album (get it out and give it another spin!), but if not and you are just browsing reviewers' recommendations desparately looking for something not on the well-trod path but altogether interesting look no further that Steve Hackett's Defector.
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