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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 | 1486 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Finally! A VDGG/PETE HAMMILL album that I absolutely love! Neither Pawn Hearts, Silent Corner, Camera, nor Godbluff were able to win me over. But this! This is glorious! Great singing, great variety in instruments, tempo and mood. With the opener, "Killer," (10/10) we get great, tight musicianship with powerful vocals. As a matter of fact, this is the first time that I've really felt the power of Hammill's vocals--and how they actually fit the song and the music supports and intertwines with them. Great drumming, and--a first! a truly awesome electric guitar solo. Amazing mix of the instruments, too. I love the wayward sax being mixed so far forward, and then moving all over--as if he's running from the law, trying to get away from the band. And then he fades to back (caught/subdued?) B-vox! Yes, there are strains of King Crimson, ELP, Black Sabbath, and even Moody Blues here, but this is a killer song! My favorite VDGG/Hammill song yet.

"House with No Door" (8/10) softens the mood with an almost-Hal David lyric, sung quite delicately--and quite melodically. Kind of a pop-blues song of the Procul Harum school, nicht wahr? Love the double flutes backed by flutey organ. Nice restraint from Pete. (I always expect that scratchy-screechy power voice at each song's climactic points.) (I wonder where this song went after the fadeout, i.e. what kind of jam it evolved into.)

"The Emperor's in His War-room" (7/10) explores some sounds that are more familiar to me from Uriah Heep (organ style) and Jethro Tull (breathy flutes) sounds. Here we also have the type of Hammill vocal that always turns me off: where the engineering/mixing effects used to 'compartmentalize' or 'quarantine' his voice make him feel so separate from the music. Not like "Killer." 5:20 shift in music is very cool?kind of Moody Blues-ish.

"Lost" (10/10) brings us down the rabbit hole. A very engaging, mesmerizing beginning, swirling and spiraling until church organ and breathy sax comfort us for a few moments. Back to swirling--this is a rollercoaster ride! Now the flat 'recovery' zone--then swirling, climbing, swirling, climbing, until we're in free fall (3:00)--but no crash! Instead, we level out and get to catch our breath. Then a slow climb (military march drums). Where are we going? We're lost! In Limbo! Then it starts again: very slowly the swirling sneaks up on us. Hammill's trying to earn our trust--or hypnotize us! Love the Jefferson Starship "White Rabbit" chord change after Hammill sings out "Reality ?" Then the JC Superstar descending chords around 8:15 and continued starting at 9:15. "I love you-u-u-u-u!" fades Hammill as the train proceeds to its crash ending and souls fade away. Brilliant!

"Pioneers over C." (10/10) starts quietly. I love that Hammill's voice is mixed 'into' the music at this point. A composition of amazingly tight twists and turns--performed to perfection! So tight! Great vocal tricks to portray the various persons/beings in the song. Amazing section from 5:10 to ! So sensitive--almost heart-wrenching! Hammill is a god! Love the tympanis. And the other- worldly sax. "Help!" 8:18 section is one of the best space music representations since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Truly a masterpiece of theatric rock.

No question: A masterpiece of progressive rock. Essential.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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