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

H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1073 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Peter Pan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is a review of the remastered version of "H to He, Who Am the Only One".

The album was first released in December 1970 and is a kind of link between "The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other" (February 1970) and "Pawn Hearts" (October 1971) . More accessible as the latter one but still the first full-fledged typical VDGG fusion music merging elements of rock, jazz, classic, the European romantic song - and maybe pre-punk.

The remastering process has led to a great transparency and clearness of all the instruments and voices and revealed fascinating details you couldn't hear before. The sound is so brilliant that you can even hear clearly David Jackson's blowing technique in a breath-taking sax solo in "Pioneers Over C".

The only short-coming of this exquisite edition is the handling of Peter Hammill's voice in some parts. It experiences de-emphasizing in volume in heavy instrumented sections - an effect I generally don't like in remastered material. And though the lead singer's voice is unique and impressing (I think Peter Hammill is the best singer in rock music) some unevennesses get shown now. He is a rock and not an opera singer but the former analogue and as well the modern digital recording techniques tend to smooth the lead vocals.

On the other hand all this contributes to the live atmosphere of the studio productions in these days. The remastered album demonstrates what great musicians the VDGG members are. As if you were in the studio yourself you can study their playing as a band on all takes but best in the ever-touching "A House With No Door".

Two songs which I formerly didn't like that much have profited most from the remastering process:

At first "Pioneers Over C" which is about one of Peter Hammill's favourite topics: scientific alienation and which goes into describing the fate of astronauts lost in time and space. Several science fiction movies like "A Space Odyssey"or "Event Horizon" were on to this topic - years and decades later!

The other song is "The Emporer in his War-Room". In the middle-section you can enjoy Robert Fripp's stunning overdubbed guitar(s) played similar to "21st Century Schizoid Man".

The bonus tracks bring two previously unreleased songs:

- At first the extensive and wild improvisation-like "Squid 1 / Squid 2 / Octopus", a part of VDGG's live shows then. Originally this tune was planned to become a part of the intended double-album "Pawn Hearts", which was released only as one LP as Charisma decided. Three other recorded but not published songs now emerge on the remastered "Pawn Hearts" CD.

- Secondly the first version of "The Emperor" which I like better than the released one though lacking "The Fripp".

Both bonus tracks have the same great sound quality since they are taken from the original tapes like all the remastered material of the VDGG catalogue.

Overall this gorgeous edition and the extensive beautiful booklet have been compiled with much love and care. This is the album of choice for the entrance of "A Young Person's Guide to VDGG".

Peter Pan | 5/5 |

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