Nick Magnus - A Retrospective
With the recent release of Nick’s latest album, N’Monix I thought it might be useful to reacquaint ourselves with Nick’s previous offerings.
Apart form his brief stint with The Enid, Nick’s career finally got under way with the release in 1993 of his first solo album: Straight On Till Morning. A marvellous collection of instrumentals ranging from the delightful stately Lac Lucerne and the tongue-in-cheek On The Piste and Campus Fugit. The music is evocative and descriptive throughout and even includes the first of many references to Greek mythology - Miranda was ( I think) one of the Pleiades. An interesting album and one which set the blueprint for much of Nick’s later output.
Straight On Till Morning (Voiceprint Records VP 142 CD 1993)
Fans had a six year wait for Nick’s next album but when it came it was a real masterpiece. I admit I am still not sure even after all these years and hearings that I know what the concept behind Inhaling Green actually is but that really doesn’t matter. What you have here is another superb collection of music ranging from the marvellous foot to the floor cover version of Theme One to the elegiac Conquistador and Dixon Hill which always reminds me of the theme tune to the Bergerac TV series for one reason or another! The title track, subdivided into three parts is without doubt one of the most intriguing pieces of music I have ever heard and still gets my grey cells ticking over whenever I hear it - another excellent effort.
Inhaling Green (Centaur Discs CENCD 017 1999)
Five years separate Inhaling Green from its successor, Hexameron. Here Nick and his collaborator, Dick Foster really come into their own with a truly magnificent album based around the Greek and other creation myths. Featuring a whole host of incredible musicians including his old band mates Steve Hackett and Peter Hicks, this one really has it all: lush and evocative vocals delivered superbly well by Peter Hicks, Siobahn McCarthy, Tony Patterson and Claire Brigstocke and some truly wonderful musical performances too making this the album of 2004 for me and still one of my personal favourites to this day.
Hexameron (Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1001 2004)
Another four years’ wait was to elapse before Nick graced us with another album and the next offering: Flat Pack was a collaborative effort with his old sparring partner from his Steve Hackett days, Peter Hicks. An almost totally song based album this one has some real belters in it with some brilliant lyrics from Peter and one instrumental, the scintillating First Light. In many ways, this one is similar to Anthony Phillips’ Invisible Men album, another underrated example of the song writer’s art and one which fans will enjoy.
Flat Pack (Beach Hut Records BHCD 16074701 2008)
Nick’s next album tackles the benefits and downsides of science and the uses and abuses thereof. Focusing especially on the prospect of human cloning the album begs the question who are the heroes and who are the victims of such work? Those who perfect it or those who are created by it? You decide. Once again, this is an album replete with observant lyrics delivered in stunning fashion by Tony Patterson, Peter Hicks and Linda John-Pierre while the music is equally accomplished and thoroughly enjoyable all round.
Children Of Another God (Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1002 2010)
Nick had been part of John Hackett’s all too short series of gigs back in 2004 and in 2010 he was able to go out on the road with John again in the company of Italian Proggers The Watch. Between the two of them, aided and abetted by The Watch’s Giorgio Gabriel they managed to bring some of the classic cuts from John Hackett and Nick’s work to the live context where they so richly belong. Classics such as Double Helix and Dreamtown mix with a few staples from the Steve Hackett repertoire such as Hammer In The Sand and Jazz On A Summer’s Night. All in all an extremely enjoyable document of what these two musicians are capable of when they put a gig together - more please!
2010 Live (Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1003 2010)