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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover

GODBLUFF

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.50 | 1343 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JrKASperov
5 stars Godbluff, the third album of van der Graaf Generator I got. And this is where my love for vdGG sparkled. I had H to He and Pawn Hearts first, liking H to He better at first, but slowly growing into the more coherent songs on Pawn Hearts. It was sˇmwhere on my favourite list of prog bands. Godbluff changed all that with a bang.

Godbluff is an album consisting of four songs of about 10 minutes. My favourtie is 'The Sleepwalkers', but there is hardly any difference in my preferance. I found all pieces to be inspiring, emotional, brilliant in composition, even more brilliant in the cooperation of instruments and most of all: moving.

Godbluff starts off with 'the Undercover Man'. Starting off quietly, the first two minutes feature Peter Hammill using his almost opera-like voice underlined by keyboards and flute that greatly add to the mysterical athmosphere. Then the song jumps into a 'spring'like section, with great fluteplaying underlining the dynamic time signatures and moving composition. Not only moving in emotional sense but also in the sense that the melody is diverse,evolving and interesting both in rythym and melody. Indeed, the interaction between bass, drums and flute are the reason I find myself moved. After this part the song takes into a sax-solo, which is a bit darker because of the organ sound. Again a rythmically genious motif is used. After the solo, the song takes up again in the up-taking way the second part started off after the first two minutes. From there it is basically a repetition, but with beautiful second voice and inspired improvisations on bass. The song ends in a crescendo which ends in the organs leading out the song a bit dissappointingly.

Scorched Earth is a more aggressive take, starting off with militaristic drumrolls. Here we hear the more aggressive thumping of the organ and after a while a more harsh sounding Peter Hammill singing about a battlefield. This turns into a part with a quite complex changing of time signatures. Throughout my vdGG experience, I have discovered they are quite subtile and genious with these changing timesignatures. A quiet passage leads into a more uptempo part, which again leads into a organ part. After this a riff which is the culmination of prog starts off. Brilliant rythym, riff and ending of this part with a more chaotic part going all over the scale and returning into the riff. Then the song picks back up again with the second part. They will interchange these parts until the ending of the song, during which some interesting parts 'outside of the song' are played by the keyboards. Listen to it and be awed how it DOES fit in.

Arrow starts off with a strange almost stoned like part. Listen for the 'war horn' in this part, I find it a genious idea to put that in there. A jazzlike saxophone solo and the music drops dead. The organ picks up with a harpschiord sound giving a flavour to this song that is almost medieval like. The next part is a quiet, laidback part, flowing into a somewhat more active part with Hammill singing. Especially 'against the horiZON' sound good to me, a good example of Hammill's virtuosity of the voice. Peter Hammill's scraping voice and the crescendo played on the instruments give the part up to the climax a greatly exciting athmosphere. Throughout the song, the harpschiord sound give the song a flavour of drama and almost digital like warzone. The end part is somewhat like that in the Undercover Man, only slower, and somehow i find that less dissappointing.

My favourite, the Sleepwalkers, starts off fast and happily. Flute greatly underlying a brilliant melody, soon followed by Hammill's pleasant almost falsetto singing. On 1:26 the song really takes off, with sax and flute working together to create a melody based on an evolving changing timesignature. This ends in Hammill working the dirt in his throat again. In between a short again more laidback part, with Hammill increasingly singing more dirty. Then follows a part with interesting second voice. This voice continues from here. But first is a part that weirds out some people on progarchives I've found. A cha-cha-cha like part that sounds almost like a carnaval. I find it a great and adding part, however, and it gives the song the air of experiment, which is something I can tolerate, especially when the carnaval like part is executed so well. After five minutes of the song, the song takes off into the bridge, more uptempo, and somewhat shoved aside(wrongly so), a great solo like improvisation on keyboards. This part is quite long, maybe too long some might think, but I think it increases the fulfillment when the song takes off into the sax-solo. Indeed, what a climax that is! And this is completed by the powerful singing of Hammill paired with that unusual but bueatiful second voice again. The song continues it's old course from here, with the cha-cha part. Then the end is slow again, with some noodling on guitar, organ and bass. Then it fades out.

I found this album to be like a travel, taking me up, a bit down, and then onto the top. The musicianship is wonderful, especially how the instruments work together to create interesting time signatures, unusual sounds and beautiful melodies. Above all this, Peter Hammill comes crashing in with his remarkable voice, working it to add to the timbre of the instruments, creating the athmosphere of the songs, with great emotion and drama. Ineed, I found vdGG to be a band working on everything, finishing all their parts so it's a big complex web, sounding treacherously easy.

JrKASperov | 5/5 |

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