Steve Hackett

Horizons

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Steve Hackett's DVD Horizons opens with a cacophonous introduction to "Camino Royale," sheets of sounds spinning out of his guitar and Julian Colbeck's synthesizer. From that impressive opening, this 1990 concert film, shot in Nottingham, twists its way across his career, even giving a nod to Genesis with his lute solo "Horizons." The audio and video quality are extraordinary, especially given that this show was recorded before the advent of high-definition video, at a point when the notion of digital video playback was little more than a potentially promising idea for the future -- the stuff's been preserved well and remastered carefully so that, although there's a bit of presence lacking, the clean, bright audio more than compensates with a little volume boost. "Jazz Jam" gets the whole band showcased, including a nice duet on electric guitar and flute, and Colbeck even makes a good substitute for a string orchestra playing pizzicato on "Theatre of Sleep." The camera movements are surprisingly nimble and there's always some informative if unexpected dissolve somewhere in the close-ups. Probably the best track here, musically and visually, is "In the Heart of the City," which plays like a piece of impressionistic rock, on which viewers get exquisitely tight close-ups from multiple angles on the players making sublimely beautiful music. The only attribute that reveals the actual age of the performance is the fact that it's shot and mastered full-screen, predating HD video. The Dolby 5.1 digital Surround Sound is enveloping yet nicely delineated, and the chaptering, though a little confusing at first, proves easy to access and make use of. The disc opens automatically on a simple menu and offers the complete film, chapter access, and a showcase of the company's other rock DVDs.