Personnel: Steve Hackett (guitar, psaltery, electric sitar, harmonica); John Hackett (electric guitar, flute); Christine Townsend (violin, viola); Richard Stewart (cello); Rob Townsend (flute, alto flute, tin whistle, bass clarinet, saxophone); Chris Redgate (oboe); Colin Clague (trumpet); Roger King, Nick Magnus (keyboards); Dick Driver (double bass); Gary OToole (drums); Benedict Tobias Fenner (programming).
Audio Mixer: Roger King.
Wild Orchids marks the return of the former Genesis and GTR guitarist to his progressive rock roots. If 2005's Metamorpheus was Steve Hackett's penultimate classical record, then Orchids is his art rock flagship. A heady mix of David Gilmour, Adrian Belew, Yanni and Future-era Leonard Cohen, fans of the genre will look upon this 13-track collection (seventeen if you pick up the Special Edition) as a template for excess, but for those who still reserve an upper level seat in the stadium of their hearts for silly narration ("Down Street"), extended blues jams ("Blue Child") Thrak-era King Crimson-inspired arena-rockers ("Ego and Id") Dixieland interludes ("Why") or heavily orchestrated Dylan covers ("Man in the Long Black Coat:"), then this impeccably-crafted, surprisingly playful and alternately wince-inducing and beautiful barrage of superior musicianship should inspire the flickering flames of a thousand lighters. ~ James Christopher Monger