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Van Der Graaf Generator - Time Vaults CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

2.39 | 68 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars An archival release of rehearsal tapes from the Van der Graaf Generator hiatus of 1972-1975. The idea that VdGG "broke up" during those years is technically correct since the group weren't recording and performing under that name, but in practice it was something of an illusion - as well as producing the first Long Hello recordings, Guy, Hugh and David were also regularly convening to record tracks for Hammill's solo albums from the break (the last one, Nadir's Big Chance, being a VdGG reunion from start to finish).

Bowing to pressure to release the rehearsal tapes from those years (or perhaps figuring that releasing them himself and making money out of them was a better option than leaving it to the bootleggers), Hammill seems to have done his best to pick out the best extracts this time around, though he doesn't appear to have had much to work with. The best and most polished track of the lot is probably The Liquidator, a comedic number with a rocking instrumental performance from the band and hilarious lyrics from Hammill in which he mercilessly skewers the ridiculous rumours in the music press about VdGG's breakup.

Much of the rest of the album consists of jams and improvs, the most interesting piece probably being the title track -which seems to be a montage of extracts from different tapes, making it an intriguing change of pace from the rest. At the useless/redundant end of the spectrum is Faint and Forsaken - a dry run of some instrumental sections which would turn up in their finished form on The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (Forsaken Gardens) and In Camera (Faint-Heart and the Sermon) - and Blackroom, an early version of In The Black Room which was performed (with the full VdGG lineup) on Chameleon In the Shadow of the Night.

Ultimately, this isn't the Great Lost VdGG album the fans must have been hoping for - and to be honest, most of the material from that ended up being released in nice studio-quality versions on Hammill's first three solo albums of the hiatus, so it isn't even "lost". Time Vaults is very much for collectors and fans only.

Warthur | 2/5 |


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