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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 | 1539 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The artwork may be one of the weirdest things you'll see, but the music here is as progressive as you can get! For those who are a little confused by the title, I can inform you that 'H to He' refers to the fusion equation where hydrogen is fused to form helium, and the equations are shown on the sleeve. What 'Who Am The Only One' means is anyone's guess . After 'The Least We Can Do...', it seems that Van Der Graaf Generator now threw themselves whole-heartedly into the progressive rock vein. There are just 5 tracks here, but in my opinion 5 is the magic number when it comes to 70s prog. To me, this is a loose concept album, with each of the 5 songs portraying a different story about being alone.

With Killer, we take the form of a shark at the bottom of the sea. The verses are very catchy, but not the sort of thing you'd like to sing out loud. The highlight is the immensely energetic instrumental, which is nearly three minutes in length. This is a great album opener.

House With No Door is a slow, moving piece, much like Refugees from the previous album. Hammill shows off his impressive vocal range in the last verse. The flute solo is lovely, and the outro is also remarkable in it's simplicity.

The Emperor in his War-Room is a longer track, which is split into two sections. This is a lyric heavy track with very little time for instrumentals. Fortunately, the lyrics are very evocative, with wonderful eloquent descriptions. I particularly like second section, The Room as it gives great contrast to the otherwise rather repetitive song.

If you like your music complex, then Lost is for you. In addition to being over eleven minutes long, this track sports changing moods, tempos and time signatures! This song has tons of verses and changes the perfect amount to stay interesting the entire way through. The musical themes all sound great, and I can find no fault with this track! One particular highlight is the mathematical approach to the instrumental at 8:34, which would be copied later by Rush in By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

Pioneers Over c is a sci-fi song, to go with the scientific formulas found on the sleeve. For example, the c in the title refers to the speed of light. As with the last track, I can find no fault with this epic song. The music is always interesting with musical ideas being thrown back and forth. A wonderful prog classic. The inner gatefold gives a haunting image of what the lost astronauts in the song might see; their galaxy is out of reach, and they are abandoned.

If you have not heard 'H to He, Who am the Only One', then you are doing yourself an injustice. This is a shockingly good album, and is on par with 'Pawn Hearts'. Rarely will you ever hear so many good musical ideas on one album, which seems to be a norm with the legendary Van der Graaf Generator. Released in 1970, this album shows VdGG getting prog absolutely right before everybody else.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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