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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 | 1091 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Xonty
5 stars Van Der Graaf Generator's "H To He" is a very difficult to describe. It has very strong yet also subtle themes throughout, from mathematical equations explaining the speed of light in the inside booklet, to these sort of ordeals that lead to power, hence isolating you from the rest of the world. You can read so much into these topics, which makes the album appreciable on so many levels - from absolute scrutiny to relaxed and half-asleep. The album is a substantially huge step onwards from their previous album "The Least We Can Do Is Wave At Each Other", both musically and thematically. The lyrics, too, are just as good and if not better than ever before, and prove VDGG to be a truly indulgent progressive band, creating timeless music and... unique album names and artwork.

"Killer" introduces some of these themes, but furthermore shows the rawness of VDGG for me. The basic saxophone riff allows lots of room for the piece to be played out and to build up. Has a wonderful atmosphere and does actually very musically sophisticated as the piece goes on. Great lyrics and tones on all of the instruments, with intriguing effects towards the end of the song, and some excellent chord progressions - one of the highlights being the acoustic guitar entering about midway through. Sounds outstanding on the album, and an immense opener. "House With No Door" then comes nicely out of it to contrast the chaotic heaviness of a killer's tale. Brilliant chord progressions with some inspiring yet very basic lyrics. Almost as good as its majestic successor "Man-Erg", but lacks the climatic sections. Perhaps more time was required for it to allow it to develop onwards. Nevertheless, still outstanding, and a great track that you can really relax to, and interpret the lyrics - possibly the best song on the album for me.

"The Emperor In His War-Room" features incredible experimentation and orchestrated saxophones and Hammill's guitar harmonics and keyboards. The lyrics and vocal techniques are entirely spectacular. Develops very well as a track, one of the keys to this being a fantastic Robert Fripp guest solo, in the style of his newly released "Lizard" with King Crimson. Superb melodies and tensions too, and enters the "Lost" suite brilliantly. This track is a little too played out and saxophone-centered for my liking. Some glorious moments but doesn't quite hold together or is as structured as the previous tracks to me. Still much more than commendable, and finishes on a certainly regal climax of organised chaos, as heard on "Killer", plus the hauntingly sung lyrics "I love you" presenting perhaps a hallucinating, indefinite reunion with a loved one as indicated by the music.

"Pioneers In C" ends the album, and I still think I haven't entirely understood it yet. Beautiful and very vivid melodies and lyrics by Peter, especially the "We are the ones" sections - nothing at all like it! I can't help feeling I'm missing something though... Fabulous and honest experimentation as progressive music should be, with very talented instrumentalists conveying the piece to the listeners so exquisitely and precisely. Just about every instrument each member can play makes an unreal appearance on here, and ends the album on another musically puzzling humming organ. "H To He, Who Am The Only One" is such a grand, kind of palatial album, that marks the beginning of a string of otherworldly albums by the ridiculously underrated Van Der Graaf Generator.

A-: One of the early masterpieces of progressive rock. Very true to the genre and the album in question being so delightfully timeless and thought-provoking as any great work.

Killer: ***** House With No Door: ***** The Emperor In His War-Room: ***** Lost: **** Pioneers Over C: *****

Xonty | 5/5 |

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