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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

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One Review of Remastered Edition by EMI/Virgin 2005

Years before, I listened to my original copy of "H To He, Who Am The Only One" and focused that it needs something like a new issued version. Well, EMI/Virgin must have been listening because my prayers have been answered. H to He is the first one I've picked up and based on the excellent quality I will absolutely be getting more. Peter Hammill himself handled the spiffy remaster, in consultation with his former bandmates, all of whom were involved in the production of this series. There is a 16-page book with lyrics, photos, credits and liner notes, and best of all two bonus tracks, a studio run-through of "The Emperor in his War Room" recorded 6 months before the album version, and the legendary "Squid/Octopus" recorded live in the studio.

VDGG were a progressive rock group of the highest order, featuring keyboardist Hugh Banton, drummer Guy Evans, woodwind virtuoso David Jackson and the inimitable Hammill on vocals, guitar and piano. Outgoing bassist Nic Potter appears on about half of the record, with Banton filling in on bass pedals for the rest. "H to He Who Am The Only One" was their second proper record and remains a great album to this day. As much as I love "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", I think this one is the superior record and marked the peak of creativity out of the first band period.

The opening track, "Killer", is the all-time prog classic here and sounds amazing in remastered form. VDGG were one of a number of early prog groups on the Chrysalis label, along with bands like Lindisfarne and Genesis, that suffered from murky production that sounds dated to modern ears. The detailed, cleaned-up sound here is revelatory and a real godsend for fans. The melodic piano ballad "House With No Door" is also here, featuring Jackson's wonderful flute work. Sometime VDGG collaborator Robert Fripp turns up to lend some electric guitar bite to "The Emperor in His War Room". "Lost" (one of the most sad and depressing pieces I've ever heard, with brilliant lyrics by master Peter Hammill) and "Pioneers Over C" are two excellent prog epics, with the latter going completely over the top a la "After The Flood" on the previous record.

But I'm saving the best for last! "Squid/Octopus" is a 15 minute jam filled to bursting with everything a prog fanatic could dream of and more. This is the only surviving track from an aborted live in the studio album intended to be part of "Pawn Hearts" before Chrysalis torpedoed the double-album idea. This is an absolutely killer prog epic of the highest order, unbelievably brought to light after all these years. Words really fail me except to say that it is reason enough to buy this CD. There you'll get also an early outtake of "Pioneers Over C", which sounds great and finishes this wonderful remastered cd nicely.

This is one outstanding addition to my prog collection and I highly recommend it to progheads. "H To He" was favourite VDGG album beside "Pawn Hearts and "Godbluff", now with the bonus material and the remastered mix with excellent bass sound, it stands alone. Pure prog excellence during 7 songs and about 71 minutes - what should a proghead ask for more?

10/10 points = 99 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Marc Baum | 5/5 |

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