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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 | 1477 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Each album of the VDGG first era (except The Aerosol Machine which I discovered recently - 2003) has had a strong influence on me. I really do not know why. I already have described my love for "Refugees" on The Least We Can Do, let's hear what they have achieved here.

"Killer" is an old number from Hammill during VDGG's prehistory (he wrote it 1968). It has the typical VDGG's sound. A bit heavy at times but good. Lyrics are talking about a killer fish living alone on the bottom of the sea. Quite simplistic according to VDGG standard. "House With No Door" is a beautiful pearl. Another example of Pete's great songwriting and interpretation: such emotion in his voice. Low tone, pleasant and quiet, so quiet. It brings you a feeling of tranquility. Jackson will play some flute as well on this number. Peter invites the other band members to join him in this melodic trip (you know, I love melody). IMO, it is the second best number of their first generation era (my fave one being "Refugees" of course).

"The Emperor In His War Room" starts accordingly with a Chinese style instrumental intro. One can easily imagine the court of a Chineese Emperor ... Very quiet. One could think that is an ode to a beloved one while it describes the act of a tyran, with violent lyrics "They stare out, glass-eyed aimless heads, bodies torn by vultures. You are the man whose hands are rank with the smell of death." These lyrics remind me those of "One For The Vine" (Genesis) : smooth and melodic song with warlike lyrics.

Harmonious moments, soft song, not too complex (it is the second of the genre on this album, which is quite unusual for VDGG). Great bass from Potter and strong keys by Hugh. This is how I like the band the most and probably why I believe that the second VDGG generation will deliver the best output.

On the contrary "Lost" is a more complex song : at times very melodious (oh boy, how much I love those moments !), at others quite difficult to approach, almost reaching the cacophony level (but that's VDGG). Jackson at his best. Peter so expressive. Just listen to the end of the section :"The Dance In Sand and Sea". It is pure emotion, so tense and subtle. A wonderful moment. The finale (quite usual) will provide a scary and dark feeling, the whole band exploding in a furious storm of bass, keys and sax. Another highlight (but it is almost the third one...).

"Pioneers Over C" is another episode in the VDGG story. Peter will say that it was his sole attempt to write a sci-fi song. I quote Peter : "In this particular case, my hypothesis (I reserve the right to other time/eventuality options) is that the pioneers go into a time warp, endless living death, the void: unable to get back to earthly reality at all". At times (around the sixth minutes, for about 3'30") they remind me of KC : impro and jazzy. These moments are NOT the ones I liked the most in their repertoire.

A very good album that could have led to a masterpiece if "Pioneer" would have been shorter and less disjointed. Since I purchased the vynil version in 1974, I haven't heard yet the bonus tracks available on the remastered CD release. When reading the track list, I guess they should be interesting. Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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