Yes guitarist Steve Howe has confirmed that his collaborative album with his late son Virgil will be released next month as planned.
On Monday 11th September, Steve’s youngest son Virgil unexpectedly passed away aged just 41 and Yes immediately cancelled the remaining dates of their US Yestival Tour.
Virgil and Steve’s collaborative album ‘Nexus’ had just been completed prior to the start of the Yes tour and was due for release in late autumn via InsideOutMusic.
In a newly issued statement, Steve Howe says he is pressing ahead with releasing ‘Nexus’ in the “hope that the music just completed will stand as a fitting tribute to (Virgil’s) life and legacy.”
Steve said: “Virgil and I had only recently completed recording ‘Nexus’, which contains eleven of his tunes to which I added a guitar to suit each one. We delivered it to InsideOutMusic in August for release on 17th November.
“We started to work together in 2016 by selecting about nine tunes from his ‘stockpile’ of piano based music that he’d periodically sent Jan & I each time he’d written and recorded a new idea. I began adding guitars to them, then I’d play them to Virgil. He’d then surprise me by bringing up other channels of instrumentation which I’d never heard.
“The tunes went from straightforward ‘duets’ to something bigger & better, more of a complete picture than a mere shape. “Free Fall” & “Nick’s Star” were added from earlier sessions, the latter being his tribute to the passing of his best friend Nick Hirsch.
“‘Nexus’ explores a completely different side of Virgil’s ability, as a writer & keyboard player – ‘in his own right’. His talents were multi-diverse, so sitting at a keyboard & computer or in the middle of his drum kit, at all his regular DJ-ing gigs or on the radio, he always gave his best.
“We hope that the music just completed will stand as a fitting tribute to his life and legacy.”
InsideOutMusic label manager Thomas Waber and product manager Stefan Franke said in a joint statement: “The sudden passing of Virgil Howe deeply shocked the entire InsideOutMusic team as it happened just a few hours after he had approved the first press release about ‘Nexus’.
“It was supposed to be a new beginning for an exciting musical collaboration, but now it has become one of the saddest albums we have ever worked on. We left the decision over the release of ‘Nexus’ up to Steve and respect his wish to continue as originally discussed.
“Being fathers, too, we can only guess how hard it must be to deal with such a loss and we sincerely hope you will all enjoy ‘Nexus’ despite the circumstances under which it is coming out. Our thoughts are with the Howe family during this difficult time.”
The instrumental record saw Steve play all acoustic, electric & steel guitars while multi-instrumentalist Virgil took care of bass, drums and all keys.
According to InsideOutMusic, the results of the father and son joining musical forces are 'beautiful, diverse compositions varying between neoclassical elements, dreamy jazz, straight forward grooves, and cinematic, spacey themes.'
The album isn’t the first time Virgil and Steve created music together. Virgil performed keyboards and backing vocals on a number of his dad’s solo albums including 1993’s ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’, 2003’s ‘Elements’, 2005’s ‘Spectrum’ and 2011’s ‘Time’.
Virgil was a member of the indie-rock band Little Barrie for the past decade and released three studio albums with them. In January 2015, they wrote and performed the theme tune to Netflix’s Breaking Bad spin-off show Better Call Saul.
‘Nexus’ is released as a special edition CD digipak, Black 180g LP + CD and Digital Download on Friday 17th November 2017. Adding extra poignancy to the release, the vibrant artwork was created by Virgil’s five-year-old daughter Zuni.
The track-listing is as follows:
1. Nexus (04:57)
2. Hidden Planet (03:27)
3. Leaving Aurura (03:40)
4. Nick's Star (03:41)
5. Night Hawk (03:35)
6. Moon Rising (03:31)
7. Passing Titan (04:06)
8. Dawn Mission (05:07)
9. Astral Plane (03:37)
10. Infinite Space (02:08)
11. Freefall (02:09)