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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

4.31 | 1087 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

con safo
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The first VdGG Masterpiece.

H To He Who Am The Only One was my first exposure to VdGG, it was a hard album to understand on first listen, but after a few listens its true beauty is realized. The exclusion of electric guitar in most songs may seem odd to some but VdGG create music like noone else. Hugh Banton (Organ) and David Jackson (Sax) create a swelling, swirling texture that is VdGG's alone. All complimented brilliantly by Guy Evans fantastic and original drumming style. But VdGG could not be mentioned without naming the seemingly insane but ultimately brilliant front man Peter Hammill. His vocal style is all his own, and his versatile delivery is unmistakable.

The album opens with one of my favorite songs of all time, "Killer" a song about a killer fish living in the ocean who longs for love and companionship but is essentially doomed to be alone due to his killer instincts. Sounds quite silly but Hammill makes it work. The music is the real treat in this song, peter Hammill's slight acoustic contribution mixes great with Hugh's sinister organ, and David Jackson gives one of the most insane solo's of his career, squealing and unpredictable, this is a heart attack put to music.

"A House With No Door" is a rather depressing track lyrically, but one of the most beautiful VdGG compositions as well. Mournful piano and beautiful flute, delicate and dark, all a perfect backdrop to one of my favorite Hammill performances. "The Emperor in His War Room" is again a very dark song about the consequences of living a life of war and death. The song describes the torture and eventual killing of the emperor without mercy, Hammill's delivery is very vivid and powerful. The song also features the guitar of King Crimson front man Robert Fripp, adding some much needed magnitude to the track.

The last two songs are the high point of the album, two 10+ minute masterpieces. "Lost" is a song about lost love and the madness, fear and confusion that ensues. Quite frantic at times, but musically brilliant. David's eccentric sax is the highpoint of this song and remains one of Jackson's crowning moments IMO. The final song "Pioneers Over c." is a brilliant closer to this album, a long spacey song about a space mission gone wrong, where upon reaching the speed of light the crew is sucked into an alternate universe, and all on the ship become lost in a place unknown, "dimly aware of existence" and doomed to float in a living death for all eternity. Quite the trip. Near the end of the track all structure seems lost when Dave's sax is the only instrument playing only to explode into a psychedelic and atmospheric freak out, an immense but eerily beautiful passage. The song regains structure and the song ends with only Hammill's voice: "I am the one who crossed through space, or stayed where I was, or didn't exist in the first place" classic Hammill, and a very fitting ending to this trip of an album!

A masterpiece of progressive rock, and an essential addition to any prog fans collection! 5/5 - con safo

con safo | 5/5 |

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