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Howe, Virgil & Steve: Nexus

2017 has been another tough year for music as many musicians have left us far too soon. Virgil Howe, son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe, passed away tragically and unexpectedly before his new album was released. The album is titled Nexus and is one of those records that is so incredibly poignant, made all the more so with his son's passing, that it is hard to put into appropriate words. All of the tracks were written by Virgil and were already worked out with the elder Howe adding his distinctive guitar work later in the process. After listening to the album a few times it certainly feels as the two were connected musically, as though they recorded it in the same room playing together.

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is just how excellent a musician Virgil Howe was. I am new to his music so I wasn't sure what to expect. He plays everything but guitar; keyboards, piano, synths, bass and drums. It's like each musician brings out the best in the other, creating something fresh, exciting and really quite beautiful. Some might find the music a little mellow but I think the album works just great starting with the album opening title track. A lovely piano and guitar motif in tandem leads into some wonderful Fender steel guitar from Howe over the slow and steady groove. The music stops and its back to the beginning guitar and piano building ever so subtly. This is as poignant a song you will hear this year. "Hidden Planet" follows and features a shimmering synth backdrop, another wonderful piano melody and Howe's droning guitar dominating the soundscape. The bittersweet "Leaving Aurora" is adorned with atmosphere, both dark and light and creates another incredibly poignant moment. The piano and acoustic guitar meld together in near perfect harmony and the swirling synths and shimmering keyboards create a dense backdrop of sound. "Nick's Star", a tribute to Virgil's friend who passed away is another pretty tune. The fender steel is dominant in this one. "Night Hawk" is another excellent track and although the tempo is slow the duo do create a bit of heaviness here as Steve's guitar is again front and center. On the trippy "Passing Titan" the ambient soundscape relies heavily on synths and keys, although as is the case with all these songs, both artists make their presence felt.

Nexus is an excellent album and I highly recommend it, especially for late night listening. It is certainly a fitting tribute to a musician who still had a lot to give.

An InsideOut Music release.

Track Listing:
1. Nexus (4:56)
2. Hidden Planet (3:26)
3. Leaving Aurora (3:40)
4. Nick's Star (3:41)
5. Night Hawk (3:35)
6. Moon Rising (3:31)
7. Passing Titan (4:05)
8. Dawn Mission (5:07)
9. Astral Plane (3:37)
10. Infinite Space (2:08)
11. Free Fall (2:09)

Added: December 6th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 1631
Language: english

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