I know there are those who feel artists who rework their older material are being creatively lazy by not simply issuing new music. I sometimes wonder if such critics are the same folks who complain if they don't get note-for-note renditions of their favorite hits when legacy bands hit the stage.
But I see considerable merit when performers and composers like Keith Emerson, Jeff Lynne, or Steve Hackett take the time to devise fresh approaches for the classic releases they became known for. For one matter, albums produced back in the day were typically shaped in comparatively short time frames. The music was mixed and engineered using the technology available at the time. So it shouldn't be surprising that as the decades have progressed, creative folks are inspired with new ideas to refresh what they did so long ago.
In some cases, as with Lynne, they hear shortcomings they'd like to improve on and now have access to technology that can be used to brighten or enhance old analog sounds. And, as in the case of Hackett, they now have the opportunity to reinvigorate their early work by drawing from a new vista of sonic possibilities.
I realize it would be heretical to suggest Hackett's Genesis Revisited II in any way supersedes the 1971-1977 era of music from Genesis that Hackett participated in. But I admit feeling this two-CD set is something of a major achievement for Hackett. Yes, the foundations, building blocks, arrangements, melodies, spirit and flavor of the original recordings are alive and well in Hackett's revisions. At the same time, it's clear Hackett invested considerable time and care in shaping what he couldn't have done before with a wide range of collaborators that enlarge the cast of characters in the Genesis theatre of songs.
In fact, there are 35 vocalists and players in this production. Singers including John Wetton (Asia), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth), Simon Collins (son of Phil), Conrad Keely, Francis Dunnery, Neal Morse, Nad Sylvan, and Nik Kershaw provide a rich palate of voices that is sometimes very evocative of Gabriel's quivering tenor but just as often deliver the stories as if playing different parts in a prog rock musical. For but one example, "Ripples" features a female singer, Amanda Lehmann, to evoke the vibrato of Marianne Faithful.