(Warner Classics)


On Time—as usual, Steve Howe is brimming with eclectic guitar ideas, incorporating all the groundbreaking attributes he’s brought to YES (and in fact the entire progressive rock world) over the past 40 years. Of course, Time is a Warners Classic CD, so yes, there is a definite urbane, classical guitar-esque edge here but it’s done so with the same cutting edge taste and sonic vision Howe has built the indestructible YES empire upon. Steve’s cohort on Time is keyboardist / soundtrack composer Paul K. Joyce. Throughout the 12 track CD, the synthesized keyboards of Paul Joyce adds Wakeman-esque depth and color to Howe’s flights of guitar fancy. Also on hand, here with co-compositional credits, is long time Howe collaborator Paul Sutin as well as welcome contributions on a track from Howe’s musically gifted son Virgil Howe (keyboards) who plays on and composed a track here“Kindred Spirits”, which is dedicated to Howe’s daughters and Virgil’s sisters Georgia and Stephanie. Added real strings and things on several tracks are supplied by The Classical Ensemble, conducted by Joyce. There’s plenty here for YES fans to enjoy—with some tracks here harkening back to the neoclassical rock vibe of Howe’s first solo album from 1975. Howe’s wide palate of fretboard sounds is sonically supported by the array of guitars, both acoustic, classical and electric, in his arsenal. There’s also a track here, a Bach cover, dedicated to the late Andrew Pryce-Jackman. Sometimes the air is mournful and then Howe shifts into neoclassical prog-rock mode, going full flight. With Time, Howe reinvigorates the progressive music world once again and Paul K. Joyce makes a perfect musical accomplice on what some are already saying is Howe’s best solo album in 36 years. presents an interview with
STEVE HOWE collaborator

mwe3: Can you say something about your background in the music world and about your earlier recordings? I didn’t know you played with Kim Wilde. Also who were some of your key musical influences?

PKJ: I began playing piano at the age of about 10 and by 18 was recording extended self-penned solo works in the same vein as Mike Oldfield. My earliest influences were Bowie, T.Rex, Yes, Alice Cooper and a multitude of pop and rock acts whose sounds and ideas I absorbed. I formed several bands but it was my synth-based trio, Sense who secured international releases and toured Europe with Kim Wilde and Depeche Mode in the winter of 1983. After 6 years I became frustrated with the record business and decided to pursue writing for film and TV.

mwe3: How did you meet Steve Howe and can you tell us something about the circumstances that lead up to the release of the new Steve Howe Time album and when did you become involved with Steve on this project? Also where and when the tracks were written and recorded?

PKJ: Steve contacted me in the winter of 2006 as he’d read an interview I’d done in which I’d discussed my orchestral writing and arranging as well as the fact that I held Yes music in such high regard. We met up and began to discuss the possibility of developing a project featuring guitars and a classical ensemble. Some guitar parts already existed, some were recorded in Switzerland but the bulk were created at Steve’s Devon studios with piano and synths recorded at my studio in Cornwall, UK. The ensemble itself was recorded in London at British Grove Studios.

mwe3: You’re credited with the arrangements and the production on the Time CD. How do you feel your keyboards worked with Steve’s sound and can you describe some of your work involved in the production. Also how did the Classical Ensemble play a role in shaping the music and did you write all the classical scores? It sounds great on the Bach piece!

PKJ: My main role as co-producer and arranger was to continue Steve’s tradition of creating high-quality music while hopefully bringing a fresh approach to content and overall sound. I didn’t want the arrangements to be too bombastic preferring instead the classical ensemble to be an integral part of the sound. I also wanted the synth sounds to be restrained and colorful juxtaposed with the occasional ostentatious flourish!

mwe3: What was Steve’s mind set with these recordings and who else was involved with the making of the Time CD? I know Steve’s son Virgil contributed a track too. Can you say something about how Virgil’s track was recorded? It’s a pretty cool track I must say. Steve’s 345 sounds amazing. That’s why I love that guitar.

PKJ: Steve is a wonderful person to collaborate with and the project developed organically over several years with new tracks being added as its scope and range became apparent. It was really just the two of us developing it during this period. We listened to and discussed other musical forms and allowed ourselves the time to experiment with different ideas. Virgil’s track is a really lovely piece with an expressive electric piano solo played by Virgil himself. I had the task of taking the original audio and rebuilding the track from its elements to the piece you hear on the album. It’s always a responsibility working on someone else’s music and hoping that you can please both yourself and the original writer.

mwe3: Time almost sounds neoclassical in places especially as there’s covers of Bach, Vivaldi and Villa-Lobos. I was amazed by the Bach piece here, a tribute to Andrew Pryce-Jackman. How did that track come about?

PKJ: Steve has always loved this composition by Bach. It is a timeless melody and Steve’s effortless interpretation is complemented by a rich orchestral accompaniment. This track originally featured Steve’s guitar with a backing track created by Paul Sutin.

mwe3: How did you and Steve record the tracks with Paul Sutin? “The Explorer” is another interesting track. How about that track?

PKJ: Several of the tracks on Time resulted from Steve’s prior collaboration with Paul Sutin. These include the Bach and Vivaldi tracks plus “Apollo” and “The Explorer”. My role was to edit and rearrange them where necessary and create a new accompaniment weaving orchestral sounds and synths. I’ve worked hard to try to ensure that the new arrangement does justice to the original work whilst satisfying the concept of Time.

mwe3: Interesting to see Time came out on Warner Classics & Jazz. How did Warner become involved and is the album coming out in the US and elsewhere too?

PKJ: I introduced the project to an experienced industry consultant, John Cronin here in the UK and he brokered the deal.

mwe3: What’s the plan in further promoting the Time album and will there be any live shows to feature the album and how about your other plans, musical and otherwise going into 2012?

PKJ: Depending on Steve’s Yes and Asia commitments we’re hoping to squeeze in some ‘live’ dates in 2012. Next year I’m continuing to develop the sci-fi film, NON-STOP and will re-stage my version of THE SNOW QUEEN.

Thanks to Paul K. Joyce @ and


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