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Van Der Graaf Generator - ALT CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

2.48 | 216 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Although others have pointed out the experimental aspects of Alt - an album on which Van der Graaf Generator dispense with vocals entirely to create a set of improvised instrumentals - the truly fatal flaw of the experiment is that it almost entirely lacks in novelty. We've already had two releases of the band improvising away; a few jams emerged on the quasi-official compilation Time Vaults whilst the second disc of Present consisted entirely of improvised instrumentals. I don't know anyone who listened to the second disc of that album and said "You know what? What VdGG should do is create a whole standalone album just of this sort of stuff, because after sitting through that I am desperate for more."

To add insult to injury, the album isn't even particularly well produced. We're not talking full-on Time Vaults sound quality issues here, mind, but it is a marked step down even from the lukewarm standards of the second disc of Present. (In particular, Guy Evans' drumming is far too loud in the mix.)

Whilst this sort of noodling might be a good way for the band to hit on musical ideas to be worked into structured compositions, there's little satisfaction to be gained from listening to the process as it's presented here. I think this is one of those cases where an otherwise competent set of musicians have created an album deserving only of the minimum rating: not only is the album based on an idea with fundamental flaws which really should have been evident from the start of the process, but it's a re-run of an idea which they tried and didn't do brilliantly at before, and it isn't even recorded at their usual high standards of production. It's almost as though they strolled into a studio, humped the instruments for an hour, and then decided to sell the results as a VdGG album to see if any of us would notice we'd been had. We've noticed, lads.

Warthur | 1/5 |


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