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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Aerosol Grey Machine CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 623 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars I could never take seriously a band whose name was accidentally mis-spelled, so I ignored VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR during the 1970s. I've caught up on them since, and because this their first album, I'll start here.

Except ... this isn't really VDGG's first album. It was written and recorded as a PETER HAMMILL solo album, and only after pressure from their record company did the band's name get appended to what was essentially a solo effort. Of course, it could be argued that subsequent VDGG albums also bore the HAMMILL mark.

That mark, on this album, is derivative of late-60s psychedelica. Compared with the dark prog rock to come, this is a light affair, with none of the operatic, theatrical feel VDGG generate at their best. Nor is there much of the threatening, dissonant sound that became their trademark. It's all swirling organ, basic rhythms and hippy sentiments, reminiscent of DONOVAN. The relatively simple compositions are largely forgettable, with nothing here either challenging or enthralling the listener. Worse, it's rough. GUY EVANS misses the mark on too many occasions, and the synchronisation between drums and bass could have been far better. The only real clue that this is VDGG is HAMMILL's voice, which is less dominant here than on any subsequent VDGG release; certainly it is not the instrument of aural torture it was to become.

There was so much great music being made in 1969, it's hard to see how the band even got to make a second album after this inauspicious debut. Fortunately they did, as they went on to make some excellent albums.

russellk | 2/5 |


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