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Peter Hammill - Over CD (album) cover

OVER

Peter Hammill

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars This album is pretty unique among prog records in it's brave determination to write solely about love and relationships. I give it extra points for that. Unfortunately it is not very interesting musically and it also displays pH's maudlin side almost constantly. There are some magnificent break-up albums in rock, most particularly Dylan's "Blood On the Tracks" and Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love". IMO "Over" compares to both very poorly.

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Send comments to Silk (BETA) | Report this review (#17782)
Posted Friday, February 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars As far as I am concerned , this is the last album worth investigating if you were a a classic period Hammill-VDGG fan. On later albums , his way to write and record will change in a manner I am unable (or at least willing) to grasp . On this album , the musician reflect the line-up of VdG (the Generator word had disappeared) that recorded Quiet Zone and it does change the sound somewhat.

This album is definitely his most personal one depicting very private sentiments sometimes with an absolute awesome force. I will start with the numbers I don't appreciate: The opener is Bowie-like sung and its follow-up is rather unremarkable as the well as the overly long and boring Looking Glass with unfitting string arrangements . However , some of his best songs ever are on this album and especially the hautingly beautyful Time Heals , the surprising Alice , the spine-tingling Betrayed and Yoga.

Over is an uneven record (as were all of Hammill solo effort) but holds some real masterpieces of songs sometimes reaching the despair of Nick Drake on Five Leaf Left.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#17783)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I think "Over" is a turning point in Hammill`s career. This is the last "old style" Hammill record, with some hints of the modern (and quite sterile) sounds of Hammill`s newer recordings. There are some beautiful and sad songs (Autumn, Time heals, This side of the looking glass) reminding us about Hammill`s most creative years in the early seventies. "Crying Wolf" is one of Hammill`s heavy rock pastiches. The rest of the songs are too "personal" stuff, it seems they are made not for a listener but for Hammill himself.

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Send comments to coaxial (BETA) | Report this review (#17784)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's hard to explain to the uninitiatedwhat it is that makes Hammill fans so devoted to the man and his music but this album may go a long way towards an explanation.A genuine classic,not only of the Hammill catalogue(which is extensive) but a classic fullstop. This is Hammill's equivalent to Joni Mitchell's Blue an intensely personal album where Hammill allows the listener a window onto his soul.As is suggested by the title this is an album about the demise of a relationship and accuratly portrays the emotions of guilt,anger,despair and tragedy that we have all endured at some time or other,it would be pointless to go through a track by track analysis looking for weaknesses there simply aren't any.There many album's from Hammill's long,varied and illustrious career that demand anyone genuinely interested in music listen to,but if it's a first your looking for this would be a really great to start.An incredible album and a must for any follower of real music!

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Send comments to dougiejs (BETA) | Report this review (#17787)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Being the singer of one of the most influential British progressive rock bands ever, Peter Hammill's solo works are not what you should expect from the man who delivered most of the songs for VDGG. Especially the albums that were released after the split up of the band."Over" is released during one of the last VDGG years. It sounds more as an album of a singer songwriter than as a progressive rock release. "Over" is one of the most intense listening experiences you can imagine. Clearly the boundaries of musical styles don't bother Hammill. The listener hears some influences from folk, rock and classical music as well. Being 17 when I heard this album for the first time, I didn't like it at all then. Too less instruments were used besides the voice to hold my attention. I wasn't used to his way of singing either. Hammill is a varied vocalist. His voice is sounding raw, unpolished and very emotional at the same time. Highly original are the vocal harmonies which show many different sides of the man's voice. At first, being not familiar to the work of both Hammill and VDGG, the sound of this album seemed too confusing and chaotic to me. After a while, I slowly began to appreciate the delicate music and lyrics and after another while I started to love this album. This artist is shoddy in his work but in a way this is quite appealing. Emotion can be expressed a lot better in chaotic psychedelics than in perfectly restraint music. Every time this guy performs live, the songs sound different but this makes his gig an exciting experience. I suppose the same thing could be said of the man's records. Sometimes the way the album sounds seems coincidental but at the same time this couldn't be more accurate to express the emotions the album is all about. Some tracks are plain acoustic with only one or two instruments present other tracks do have full instrumentation. In either case the overall feeling is sobriety.

"Time Heals" was the first track to get my attention. Not a surprise this is the most progressive song on this album. It actually consists of a combination of two tracks Hammill wrote some years earlier. First song are making the opening and closing parts out, the second song is the middle section. The opening and closing parts are observations from a distance, the middle part is the story which turned him into a martyr. It's structure is almost like a movie. From a lyrical point of view this is the heart of the album. The main subject is getting over a relationship that's ended. This tale holds the essence of any unfortunate love relationship. Someone wants someone who wants someone else. This idea may be cliché that's common for cheesy ballads, Hammill brings this in a personal, sincere and original way. Therefore this song and album can be used for purposes of emotional therapy. This is the only artist who is capable of touching the essence of feelings which one experiences when dealing with such a matter. Musically "Time heals" has a progressive arrangement which includes the use of a harpsichord and some moogs. This adds a medieval touch to the music. The piano parts carry the most essential part of the music here. A stand out track in the history of prog !

If the lyrics for "Time heals" are the perfect introduction to the main theme of this album, Alice is the essential part. Another plain track with Hammill's voice accompanied by just one acoustic guitar. Without any musical arrangements or poetic language, this is the story how things really happened. It's a great track. You can hear the emotion is Hammill's voice is getting more intense towards the end Passionate is the right term to describe this.

"This side of the looking glass" is another emotional highlight. There's an orchestra present to enhance the melancholy. This shows the romantic side of longing for the presence of a loved one. The beginning of the song creates the same kind of atmosphere like a beautiful summer morning does. Later that morning the sky gets darker..The track may be too melodramatic for my sake but I simply have to admit I love it. Here, Hammill sings very high tones. Years later he would record another version of this song for the compilation album "the love songs".

Hammill's voice is sounding biting on "Betrayed" but the violin parts does lighten the bitter mood. The song starts off quite gentle but soon the lyric turns out to be quite cynical. Smith contributions to this track gives the music an optimistic touch if you don't listen to the lyrics. Not a track to listen to if you're in a happy mood.

The lyric of "Lost and found" is based on the idea that the bad times can turn into good times quite fast. This is my all time favourite of closing tracks. Hammill sounds at ease at the beginning, again there's a sober atmosphere. Suddenly he remembers his last meeting with Alice and his voice is getting more dramatic again introducing what seems like a leftover excerpt from Still Life : la Rossa, one of the highlights of the VDGG- album wich appeared in 1977 as well. To understand the subject of the lyrics better you should listen to the aforementioned track as well. This interesting intermission is followed by some psychedelic sounding distortion guitars which illustrates the chaotic confusion of the mood the man's in. Towards the end the mood is turning to hope again and the tempo is speeding up.

On "On tuesday she used to do yoga" the feelings of depression are nearby by using one simple bass tone that forms a sort of chorus. Besides that this is just another acoustic song with little sound effects. Especially the end of the track expresses the feeling of despair and loneliness perfectly.

Older people who feel themselves useless after their children have grown up and left them. This is the main idea for the lyric of "Autumn" The only connection with the rest of the material is the emotional level. This is another song to include wonderful orchestral contributions. Nice track but maybe it's appearance on this album is a bit misplaced.

"Crying Wolf" is another odd track. Here, the lyric is fitting in, the music doesn't but does it have to ? Musically it sounds as a leftover from Nadirs big chance but this time it lacks rock star allures. Hammill's voice is showing anger but a close look at the lyric tells you he's angry 'bout himself. This lyric deals with the subject of the consequences of too much self pity. Strange idea to include a lyric which deals with this matter on this album in particular. Isn't self pity the source of inspiration for the tracks of this album ? 'Exercises in solitude' is the way Hammill puts it in the lyrics. It's obvious this is the opening track. If this were a book this would serve well as an epilogue.

Usually I don't give much attention to the lyrics in my reviews for this site. But here you can hardly ignore them as they are the most dominate aspect. This may be a blessing if you're dealing with a failing relationship. Listening to this album gives the listener the opportunity to cope with the negative feelings an end of a relationship brings along. It's a curse for listeners who are not in this stadium of their life. This is not music you will play much in every day life. Only few songs can be played without attention to the lyrical subject. However I do like this album a lot. Every track has its own charm and flavour. I consider this as the last great Hammill record of the seventies. I believe it deserve 4 stars for a progressive record, though it deserves 5 as a rock album.

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#17788)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion it is a vaery good album, and quite unique among other hammill works. One reason is that it's very personal. In my opinion most of the lyrics here are not very good - and in one case ("this side of looking glass") - very bad. But musically it's a great achievement. It's also an album which closed the first period in hammill's career. MAybe it was the best period, surely music from early seventies was the most intense and emotional. But later on Hammill grew up as a lyricist and as a performer - i think his live interpretations are getting better and in '90 solo-performing Hammill is a genious.. But that's not the subject for the "Over" review. A masterpiece.

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Send comments to kajetan (BETA) | Report this review (#72988)
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
amaden@alden.
4 stars Oh yes, another Hammill classic, my personal second favourite (after The Silent Corner...) contains some gorgeous ("This Side of the Looking Glass") and some bitter ("Betrayed" - makes you want to put an arm around him and tell him it'll be ok) songs. The set's only let down by "Crying Wolf" which I find slightly leaden. This is the proper soul music. When will people learn?

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#77906)
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
naji.chmayssa
5 stars This album is superb. Although it is far away from the VDGG stuff, it is a deeply personal album about a break-up. Hammill opens up his heart and delivers it, bleeding, all over this album.The songs are all fragile emotional glimpses, and the listener is sometimes embarrassed to be witnissing his hurting and suffering with such openness. No wonder Marillion have pictured the cover of this LP on their "Fugazi" album, which was also dealing with very charged emotional and personal stuff. If you're looking for a prog album in the vein of Pawn Hearts you'll be disappointed, but if you embrace this album for what it is, you're in for a moving and deeply disturbing personal experience. Highlights are "Yoga", "Alice", er...welll all of them actually. 5 stars.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#77949)
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars I had read in advance that this is the most openly self-reflective (ie. dealing with an ended relationship) album in Hammill's catalogue. I took that information as an encouraging rather than discouraging thing, having always respected his music's emotional depth. ((By the way, Marillion's Fugazi album's cover art includes the sleeves of this one and Fools Mate!))

But this album left me quite cold right from the start, and none of the tracks have become my favourites later either. It's not the question of lyrics but the music. Apart from bass and drums - and violin on a couple of tracks - all instruments are played by Pete. The sound is often quite stripped down, low-toned and melancholic. Some tracks, 'Crying Wolf' and 'Betrayed', are really too full of angst to my taste and many of those that are good are a bit unmemorable as compositions. Maybe 'Time Heals' and 'Yoga' are my favourite tracks. I don't like 'The Looking Glass' with the syrupy orchestration and high-pitched tender vocals. 'Autumn' is a little out of place with the lyrics about offspring leaving their parents - or perhaps it is deliberately just a parallel to the leaving of a lover? Anyway, Over is not among my favourite Hammill albums but of course it might be that to you. Definitely it's not among his weakest works either.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#126813)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well add another half star at least, especially if you're a long date fan - cause despite of being aligned to the last VDGG album entitled "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome - you can find some remarkable introspective and sad songs inside the present work dated 1977. Think for example of the emotional tunes like "Looking Glass" or "Betrayed", this latter enriched by means of a great vocal performance by Peter or of other interesting tracks such as the desperate "On Tuesdays..." and once again the progressive oriented tune entitled "Lost And Found" (Peter never forget his roots!!).

Of course I prefer the music of Hammil with VDGG, like for instance within the excellent "Pawn Hearts", but the songs mentioned above are anyway respectable. Instead "Autumn" is easier but in the mood of the next solo albums by Peter, characterized by his piano and the violin as well, a kind of ballad ...then you can listen to "Yoga" with its "simil-crimson" structure (a sort of art rock style), which is not bad as well as the plot of the whole album, in general regarding life with its dramatic vicissitudes.

Besides the bonus tracks - as an extract from a John Peel radio show - are not so useful neither better than their original studio version, but however the output is remarkable and the songs well structured anyway.

Make your own choice, but if you're a long date fan you can't miss it!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#133192)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an important Peter Hammil release. It is one that any serious VDGG fan should own, it is essential. It is harrowing, It is sad and it is intensely moving. Here Peter lets one side of his personality out, he excised many demons and in the process he produces some of his most interesting melody's. This is not easy Peter Hammil and it is not VDGG despite having a few band mates along, this is not rock and roll by any stretch of the imagination, and then as suddenly as you think it has wallowed long enough it is rock and it is uplifting and it was a worthwhile journey after all.. This LP is one of Peters most consistently good solo recordings. Crying Wolf (5:12) starts the record off to a good start with a simple rocking number , it is self incrimination and he spits out his contempt and anger, great start. Autumn (4:13) 3. Time Heals (8:42) 4. Alice (Letting Go) (5:33) seem autobiographical and paint the picture of a dying but once passionate love. 5. (This Side Of) The Looking Glass (6:57) Is brilliant a lovely and truly sad song about love lost, this features a full orchestration and is the strongest track on the LP.6. Betrayed (4:44) Oh my this one is almost embarrassing it so raw, turn it up load and wallow to your hearts content, powerful and full of spite.7. (On Tuesdays She Used to Do) Yoga (3:55) is a weaker cut.8. Lost and Found (7:11) Here and finally Van der graff is back and we are emerging back into the light, a ripping pleasant rocker to end a difficult but worthwhile journey into Peter's and our agony. This may not be the last classic Peter Hammill but it certainly is one of the classic run. There are a few albums that come later that approach this level of excellence but none that eclipse it. It deserves 4 stars for effort. However because it is not an album that is to everyone taste it cannot be termed a true classic of prog, but it comes dam close.

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#146259)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Very rarely does an album have an intense emotional effect on me. I could name a select handful of all the albums I own and call them life-altering or groundbreaking in my own personal development. Peter Hammill's Over, though, has had probably the most profound effect on me out of all the albums I own. I first got it because I knew Hammill from a few of his previous solo albums and Van Der Graff Generator, I listened to it casually and without really letting it all sink in, as its lyrical concept was something I was not experiencing in my life. As I look upon the album now, I can surely say that I've lived this album and at some point in the last year or so I have felt everything expressed on this album, and I know the pain and anguish that Hammill had been through nearly 30 years prior. The fact that its musical content was also of the same intensity and cynicism for humanity only helped strengthen the point of what Hammill was pouring out to his listeners with the utmost sincerity.

This primarily acoustic album shows Hammill at his rawest and most spiteful. Songs like Crying Wolf and Betrayed create webs of malaise and despair while cutting down yourself and everyone around you. Hammill bites his way through these songs with sneering, piercing vocal performances that cut through the listener like tiny razorblades. At the same time, the album contains charmingly beautiful melodies and somber, despairing moods with pieces like (This Side of) The Looking Glass and Autumn. Hammill's tasteful choice in diversity and creating peaks and troughs in intensity help convey the overall message of the ups and downs of regret, love, loss, despair, isolation, and loneliness. For the most part, though, the songs that I found so entrancing were the two longer pieces on the album. Time Heals is Hammill's story of love and loss, his regrets and woes of losing the only person he loved in the world, and his intense reflection back on what he had. Musically, the subtle use of synthesizers during key buildup moments adds an eeriness to the overall vibe of the piece. Finally, Lost and Found is the big realization of the album. If there's one song that I can say I wholly relate to, it is this piece. References to La Rossa and a moody, eerie outro help drive out the final vocal call of, Everything is going to be alright?

It would be unfair of me to say that I had given this album a completely objective overview and sufficiently ruled out the pros and cons of it. But when I listen to this album, Hammill reflects upon me a situation in his life that I most certainly relate with, and still somewhat do to this day. In any case, Over by Peter Hammill is an intense, emotional album that reaches out to the listener's heart and pleads for mercy. It's a rare treat for me to feel so strongly about an album, for very few in the past have really gripped me like this one. There is no doubt in my mind that Over is Peter Hammill's strongest outing, a true masterpiece in his extensive catalog.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#160826)
Posted Tuesday, February 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Peter Hammill's 6th release as a solo artist. 'Over' was composed after his marriage break-down to his first wife, Alice, and all the anguish and misery that goes with such a thing. Here, Hammill gives us an album of 'songs', as opposed to highly experimental instrumental displays, and as usual, fellow VDGG band-mates Guy Evans (Drums) and Nic Potter (Bass Guitar) help him out on some tracks. Also, future VDG violinist Graham Smith makes his appearance for the first time with the genius. PH is an intelligent, profound man, and this is an incredibly profound album, whether he sings of life experiences, or contemplating future situations. There are moments of delicate poignancy, reflection, disappointment and, after all is said and done, even hints at some optimism. The range of PH's larynx is amazing, and his expression is limitless. Depending on his lyric, he can spit out scorn and bitterness, or allow his voice to gently flutter in a fragile manner, but, he will always draw the listener in to actually feel what/how he feels , to enlighten people on the boundless emotions human nature can emit when faced with certain situations. Musically, the songs come in various forms, from acoustically oriented pieces, albeit, somewhat disturbing ('Alice', 'Betrayed', 'Yoga') , to more involved, 'Progressive' ones ('Time Heals', 'Lost and Found') - we even get a grand-scale Orchestral arrangement with the love-song 'This Side of the Looking Glass'. 'Crying Wolf' is one of Hammill's 'Rockier' moments, and 'Autumn' is a plaintive ballad with weepy violins. Whilst I wouldn't consider 'Over' to be a masterpiece, it is a fantastic, highly recommended album.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#165756)
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is something unique. The man in such pain that his words and singing takes the listener beside him, making you feel like a personal friend of Hammill, trying to find some words that could relief him. It is so sincere that it seems your best friend telling you his broken heart story. There are some incoherences with the story and some dubious music, but the maelstrom in Peter's feelings shouts that this album shouldn't be coherent or perfect at all. The most outstanding pieces of the album IMHO are the central part, when he is narrating the key moments of his heart breaking: Time Heals, Alice, Looking Glass, Betrayed, Yoga. It is so sincere, so touchable, that it makes of it an album you can only listen with a certain mood. I would add that I was into a similar kind of heart breaking first time I listen to it. I could deeply understand every single bitter word from Peter. Since then this record is part of my life forever. Essential not only in progressive but in life.

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Send comments to Salmancis (BETA) | Report this review (#167559)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Almost logically, Peter is surrounded by the last VDG formula. Without Jackson the giant.

The Quiet Zone" was not precisely my favorite VDG(G) album and I was a little afraid before listening to this "Hammill" album. But maybe that this fear was not justified.

And once again, the magic operates. In the old fashioned way for "Crying Wolf" and in a more modern way with "Autumn" which leaves the main role to the violin of play instead of the sax's one. But of course, Peter's role is also a major one.

He is such an artist who impregnates your senses to the bones, such a conviction, such a powerful seduction. At times, he might sound too desperate while vomiting his lyrics; but at times he is so emotional and subtle like during this great "Time Heals". A unique and grandiose song.

One already knows quiet well his tendency to darkness, so you can imagine how he could feel after the collapse of his marriage. A (too) late and vibrant homage to his (ex)wife in which he depicts himself maybe too much as a victim is of course the most personal song Peter has maybe ever written. Minimalist (him and the acoustic guitar), this style perfectly fits the story. Serious and solemn.

The melancholic violin sounds almost joyful during "Looking Glass", which is in perfect contradiction with the extremely sad lyrics. Of the darkest ones. A profound sadness and a perturbing feeling is palpable every second of this dramatic song. Peter is desperately lost.

This album seems to be one a dramatic, desperate novel during which the reader-listener is conveyed to watch-listen to the several episodes of this catastrophe. This album is really a lyrics affair. Music only seems to sustain these and in a certain way, is seriously over-shadowed. Under these circumstances, the violin use and its crying sound was probably more appropriate than a heavy sax. But maybe that Peter didn't think of the flute.

It is true that these combinations vocals/violin or vocals/acoustic guitar almost all the way through might be considered at times as monotonous. But again, the main factor here is the storyboard.

One of the few positive wordings appear as the last line of this album: "Everything's going to be alright?" but when one sees the question mark that is attached to it, one can get some doubt on Peter's "optimism.

It is not an easy album to rate. Between two and four stars, according the importance one leaves to the lyrics. These ones are always impregnated with some fever, distress, power and anger. "Lost And Found" is the final consideration of this drama.

Seven out of ten.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#169953)
Posted Monday, May 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Over is another unique album in the Hammill catalogue. It's Hammill at his most solemn, heartfelt and intimate. The songs are very direct, stripped of all abundances. The arrangements are cut down to acoustic guitars, muffled drums, bass and bits of violin here and there. Almost as if they are performed right next to you in your living room. Crying Wolf is built around a catchy guitar hook, a rare beast in Hammill's world. It's a clear warning that this album won't revolve around complex song structures and thickly layered instrumentation like you get in your usual Hammill / VDGG deal. The songs are bare and blunt and provide no distraction whatsoever from their bleak message that is all about personal pain, loss and betrayal. Time Heals and the mainly acoustic tracks Alice and Yoga grip me the most. Be warned. It's not an easy listen and has nothing to do with progressive rock whatsoever. It's an album that I overlooked, misjudged and neglected for many, many years. 3.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#237553)
Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Being a student music therapy I believe music can help people to deal with emotions and cope with the hard times in our lives. Writing and singing about your misary is a good way to gain control over the situation and it releases your pain from the abstract world of the mind. Peter Hammilll must have had a vision in which this information (music therapy was rare in the seventies) was revealed to him. Since his divorce had left him unhappy with the situation he decided to write a lot of material, and I say a lot of material, about his situation. I've rewritten my original review of this album because I recently got kind of addicted to this album. At first I couldn't accept the fact that Peter Hammill is so extremely harsh on himself and the people involved in this situation and he even calls the name of his ex-wife. This is highly unethical in my opinion. When it comes to the music itself I was too quick to jugde. The compositions have grown on me and I sometimes can't wait to hear Peter Hammill cry out in pain, the music is just so intense! From a artistic point of view it's actually quite interesting to write and record an album during a personal crisis (though I still think it's kind of unethical to those involved).

Peter Hammill's composition style is different from that of Van der Graaf Generator, but the intensity (both during quiit and heavy passages) is almost the same. Most tracks on 'Over' are based on guitar-licks (small paterns) of synth chords progressions, but somehow there's enough diversity. Most of tracks are however dead-serious, painfull and confroting. I can now say I really like all the track except the ending track, that's still way to dull for me. The opening track reminds me a bit of early Judas Priest. The symphonic 'This side of the looking-glass' stands out as a beautifull orchestrated track on which Peter Hammill actually sings quite melodic and friendly. 'Time Heals' are particularly bleak, but I love that ending section with the dark spoken words. 'On Tuesday she used to do yoga' has a nice horror-film like sound and a nice guitar-lick.

Conclusion. This album is still hard to rate for me. I personally became really fond of it, but it's not too progressive and I extremely hard to get into if you haven't been exposed to a serious doses of VDGG before. I would recommend this to those who like confronting music and who are not to depressed themselves. Otherwise this album is deadly. Three and a halve stars.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#276746)
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Truth
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars I'm a sucker for albums like these, I really am.

Peter Hammill's emotional solo album from 1977 is really one of those albums that you have to have an acquired taste for. It's not his best work by any means but he didn't go into it wanting that. He wanted to vent and venting is what he did. The man apparantly just had a scarring breakup and he had some things he needed to let out and that is the kind of album I'm a sucker for. The one's that are just pure emotion, they don't even have to be prog (this one isn't prog alot of the time). The way Hammill releases this emotion is just pure beauty, and if you can relate to the lyrical theme you are going to be taken for a ride.

I can relate to the lyrical theme (boy can I) and that is the main reason this is a masterpiece. This will not be a masterpiece for everybody, I guarantee it, but for those who are just coming off of a breakup that is leaving you weathered, give this album a spin. You'll love it.

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Send comments to The Truth (BETA) | Report this review (#284207)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Over, Peter Hammill, 1977

It's quite hard to write about Over in a positive way... which is odd because I love this album. Commenting on the musical variety, technical qualities and details of the album seems demeaning to its raw emotionality and vice versa. It's Hammill's most personal album, which some will probably find either difficult or distasteful, and for me, it's his most powerful. Over is about sustained moods more than bursts of fire, and while reviewers here have picked up a lot on the darker and more miserable side of the album, I personally think its appeal lies also in its hopeful, ironic, self-deprecating, speculative and resigned content and if you acknowledge the one element without the other, the overall effect will probably be quite depressing.

The vocals are, of course, extraordinary and innovative. Aside from some of Hammill's best lower-register work and higher-register work, this contains his most obviously powerful conventional performance. I have never heard anything like the singing on any of the songs here before and the detail, emotion and harmonies in each performance are without parallel. The production of the vocals matches up to this. The music is individual to the pieces and remains excellent but, in isolation from the vocals and lyrics would be somewhat pointless.

Crying Wolf ? from the first notes you can feel the fragility of the album. Some of the many particular musical features of this song are the dense layering, Guy Evans' delicious hi-hat (I think) work near the opening, the various awesome low-in-the-mix keyboards and the vocal development of the main riff. Hammill's guitar solo as usual is strictly devoted to the mood and not to impressing people.

Autumn: the versatility of this album is not solely in the personnel and style but also in the kind of perspective offered. The speculative mood of Autumn enhances a simply exceptional self-duet from Hammill (the vocals sound so old).

'I simply don't know what it all means... this pointless passage through the night, this Autumn time, this walk upon the water.'

Time Heals is the most immediately eye-catching thing on the album and there are a couple of extraordinary live versions out there as well so I'll try not to over-introduce it. Guy Evans and Nic Potter's rhythm section is unshowy and supportive and yet entirely unique to this album.

Alice (Letting Go)... the album's most stripped down singer-songwriter piece. Deliciously bitter and well-produced acoustic sound (which is something, I confess, that the very charming In Camera's pieces didn't have), extraordinarily heart-rending and detailed vocal contrasted with almost spoken bursts. The jolts of directness in the writing are something that makes this album and in particular this song so unique and honest, 'cause I don't wanna just be your friend.'

This Side Of The Looking Glass... if you have ever doubted Peter Hammill's ability to sing extraordinarily well in a conventional manner, you should listen to this song and repent your sins. The orchestration is rich and individual and a unique excursion by Hammill into territory unknown for a striking centrepiece to an individual album.

Betrayed has a much more ferocious and snarling Graham Smith as well as some utterly acidic acoustic guitar. An especially angry, desperate and despondent piece but so well executed as to be of interest to anyone who doesn't find that notion unbearable. The conclusion is wonderful.

(On Tuesdays She Used To Do) Yoga features the single most evil sound I can think of (and I have no idea what it is but you'll know it when you hear it). The echoed vocals are heart-breaking and the writing has both menacing edges and ironic ones to its basic honesty.

Lost And Found is the album's catharsis, and its fragile yet definite optimism is entirely crucial to understanding the album. It is amazing.

Well, I'm sure I've said this about three or four Peter Hammill albums by now (In Camera, ) and I'll probably say it about a couple more, but the thing about those many times I say that the vocals on a particular Peter Hammill album are in my honest view the best ever is that A) trust me: I mean it and B) I feel that the vocals on Over are so amazing for different reasons to those on Hammill album y or z. Hammill's ability as a singer to emote and to communicate emotions in different ways is now so self-evident to me that I can neither really recall the bemusement with which I first heard the quirky vocals of Sleepwalkers nor can I really fathom those who as a rule find his vocals unpleasant either in general or especially on this album.

So, five stars. Though Over is probably only going to be a life-changing album for those who are already self-avowed fans, it remains one of the site's most extraordinary albums and should come early in the Hammill collection expansion process.

Rating: 15/15, or thereabouts Favourite Track: Lost And Found, I think

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#290162)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It doesn't get much more personal than this does it ? These are for the most part songs about Peter's breakup with his first wife Anna. It's like he allows us to peer into his soul and experience his anguish and pain. It's not exactly uplifting music but no one writes better lyrics than Hammill, and the way he expresses himself here is worthy of some kind of award. He's helped out by VDGG members Guy Evans and Nic Potter while we get violin from future VDGG member Graham Smith.These are words from Peter himself. "Here be pain; here be raw emotion; here be a degree of measured narrative...It had come to me (not for the first or the last time) that if I was to consider myself something of a songwriter then I could hardly avoid documenting my feelings as life gave me a bit of a turn on a bumpy stretch of road...So when I wrote these songs it was in a strange mixture of professional compunction and a magma flow of outpouring of feelings. I was not, though, so lost in misery and self-pity that I lost all touch with self-awareness. Equally, I was not exactly a bundle of laughs at the time,either."

"Crying Wolf' is interesting as we get this simple riff with Hammill's passionate vocals. Catchy stuff. Piano before 3 minutes followed by guitar. Organ before 5 minutes to end it. "Autumn" is the only song not about the breakup. It's still a sad song though about the time in life when your children leave home for good. Could he be thinking "What if ?" here. Violin and piano help out on this one. "Time Heals" is the longest track, close to 9 minutes. Reserved vocals and piano to start. Drums before 1 1/2 minutes as the tempo starts to pick up. It picks up even more after 3 minutes. Amazing tune.

"Alice (Letting Go)" features strummed guitar and solemn vocals. It does brighten a little though. It's still so sad. "This Side Of The Looking Glass" opens with fragile vocals only as violin joins in.This is a very orchestral-like track. "Betrayed" opens with strummed guitar and vocals.Violin joins in.The vocals are pretty passionate at times. "(On Tuesday's She Used To Do) Yoga" is a sad slow paced song with laid back guitar. "Lost And Found" is that glimmer of hope really. Drums and bass to open as almost spoken vocals join in. A change 2 1/2 minutes in with passionate vocals. I like the guitar before 4 minutes.

This one is certainly all about the lyrics and mood. Many have told Peter over the years how much his words from this album helped them get through a similar experience.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#298548)
Posted Saturday, September 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Over is my personal favorite solo Hammill album, and would probably be in my top five list of things Hammill has ever recorded even with Van Der Graaf Generator. The reasons for this is the lyrical themes, as I've never heard Hammill write this way before. The album of course is about a breakup, and he captures this theme so well. The end result of Hammill's great lyrics and a theme like this is a very therapeutic experience. The greatness of it all is that the last song shows hope and is very bright, and is probably my favorite on the album along with "Time Heals". Another thing that is interesting is that there is a part in the last song, "Lost and Found", where Hammill does a quick reprise of La Rossa. The lyrics to this part of the song along with the melody make for a beautiful experience. Every track on this album is great, and there's no filler anywhere to be heard.

Speaking instruments, the album is fine in this category as well. Guitar, Piano, Organ, are all here and are all played very well. Of course Van Der Graafs own Guy Evans does all the drum work, and we get old member Nic Potter playing bass. Top it off with some great violin work and we have a winning formula.

In conclusion this album should be more well known and deserves your listen. This masterpiece is highly recommended.

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Send comments to Billy Pilgrim (BETA) | Report this review (#321768)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I dont know if it is prog and I dont care. It's hard to give this album 5 stars because many people dont like hammill and I wouldn't say this album is essential for them, but it is also hard not to give it 5 stars because Over is such a great album. If you already like hammill, or even can stand hammill and like emotional music, then this album is absolutely essential. This is one of the most emotional, soul-baring albums I have ever heard and it comes from one of the most expressive vocalists in progressive rock. It is a breakup album and I'll admit that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy it, but I think that is the case with many very emotional albums. I would say that this album is essential because even if you arent a fan of hammill you can connect emotionally with this album much easier than some of his other works. However, if you are a fan of hammill then you have no place not owning this album. I took way too long to get this album because I was fooled by mediocre PA ratings (it's his highest on rym though), but really it is one of his best (probably the best but so hard to compare).

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Send comments to rpe9p (BETA) | Report this review (#356197)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With Van der Graaf Generator in a state of flux following the departure of David Jackson and Hugh Banton, Hammill took some time to lay down a solo album featuring the talents of Guy Evans, Nic Potter and Graham Smith - all of whom would end up forming the core of the reconfigured and reimagined Van der Graaf.

A concept album surrounding his messy divorce, Hammill recounts how he recorded the piece at a sufficient distance from the split itself that he was able to gain some perspective on things - thus the album also includes Crying Wolf, a prog-punk piece of self-criticism reminiscent of Nadir's Big Chance (it's like Rikki Nadir stepped in to tell Hammill to pull himself together and stop lashing out at people) and Autumn, which posits an alternate path where the split never happened and both parties ended up miserable.

The meat of the album, though, consists of Hammill exploring the raw pain that resulted from his wife abruptly leaving him, and doing so in a brutally honest manner. The prog singer- songwriter approach of Chameleon In the Shadow of the Night makes a mild return here, bolstered by Hammill's greater confidence with his guitar, and the piece as a whole is a stark, stripped-down affair closing with a heartwarming crescendo as Hammill acknowledges that things are, bit by bit, getting better once more.

Whilst it's not a dazzling masterwork of symphonic prog complexity, it is an emotionally genuine album in which Hammill shows an unprecedented level of honesty and directness with the audience. Marillion fans with sharp eyes will have noticed its presence (along with Fool's Mate) on the cover of Fugazi, and it was probably this album which inspired many neo-prog artists to address more down-to-earth issues as opposed to the metaphysical and allegorical meanderings of previous prog lyricists. A triumph for Peter Hammill as a songwriter and lyricist, and a truly unique album in his discography, but not one for those who seek complexity above all over considerations or are uncomfortable with raw emotion.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#550854)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permalink

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