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Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.31 | 1486 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
3 stars H to the He, Am the Only One is the first album from Van Der Graff that I listened too, and consequently I believe it is probably the first essential album (though the previous two are not bad by any means). Perhaps the first thing one notices is the very unique sound these guys achieve. The band (and this album) is marked by extremely complex instrumentation filled with crazy tempo changes, odd time signatures, and erratic song structures. Peter Hammill's theatric vocal style, and constant use of the saxophone (and to a lesser extent, the flute) are also heavily associated with the band. Finally, like fellow eclectic proggers King Crimson, VDGG experiments greatly with a variety of sounds and styles, which include dissonant and/or free form passages.

Each song represents a different part of VDGG, in my opinion. The opening 'Killer' is probably the most common sound and style the band usually plays, which is a series of up- tempo, and sometimes aggressive sax melodies that are repeated and developed throughout. 'House With No Door' shows the softer side of the band, which is mostly in a low-tempo, and with restrained instrumentals, especially Hammill's vocals. The structure is relatively simple, being divided in two similar parts by a very nice flute solo.

'The Emperor In His Room' is a rather gloomy song, filled with wandering flute. But there are still tons of heavier, up-tempo passages throughout, especially near the end, which has a nice loose jam feel.

'Lost' and 'Pioneers Over C' are two classic lengthy VDGG tracks, which combine a ton of blazing, heavy, rhythmically complex passages with slower, softer, melodic parts to achieve some interesting dynamics. The latter is probably the lesser of the two, if only for the annoying free form sax solo in the middle.

This is one of those albums which I like, but need to be in a certain mood for. The dissonance, experimentalism, and overly aggressive and theatric vocals don't always work for me like they might others, and unfortunately, the production is abysmal at best. VDGG have done better in future albums, but, despite my relatively low rating, I believe this is a solid introduction to the band's unique sound and style and is a good album in general.


Mr. Mustard | 3/5 |


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