Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Van Der Graaf Generator - ALT CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

2.48 | 227 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Once it is understood that there are no vocals or songs as such on this hour long extrapolation of VDGG's improvisatory moments, and the album is appreciated on its own terms, there is much to enjoy here.

Beginning with birdsong and cymbals recorded by drummer Guy Evans, it passes through some 14 sections of music where exploration in the moment is key. From shorter jazzier workouts, to longer textural pieces none of it was seemingly `consciously' recorded, it emerged as a by product be it at gig sound checks or instrument checks during the recording of the last two song based albums...almost like an alternative version of the spirit of Van Der Graaf which manifested itself and demanded to be heard.

When the music gels such as on the excellent 7 minute `Repeat After Me', it is a pure pleasure to hear the band in the midst of the creative process and demonstrating that music is an endless set of possibilities.

Ironically, if anybody takes something of a backseat it is Peter Hammill, as Guy Evans' chattering exploratory drumming, and Hugh Banton's relentless pursuit of new keyboard ideas tend to dominate. Banton's organ sounds are perhaps the most recognizable in the midst of pieces where the direction isn't entirely clear, and this is certainly no place for VDGG newbies. For seasoned supporters of the band however, it is a worthwhile addition to the unexpected and most welcome post 2005 reformation catalogue. `Alt' is most successful when it's at it's furthest away from the VDGG we know and love, such as on the closing 10 minute `Dronus' which is redolent of `Atem' era Tangerine Dream.

The album serves very well as a stop gap until the next collection of Hammill penned song material, and also as an encouraging indicator that Van Der Graaf Generator (on tour in the USA as I write) are still very much a going concern.

beebfader | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives