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Van Der Graaf Generator

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Van Der Graaf Generator Time Vaults album cover
2.34 | 58 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Collectors/fans only

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Liquidator (5:24)
2. Rift Valley (4:40)
3. Tarzan (2:09)
4. Coil Night (4:12)
5. Time Vaults (3:33)
6. Drift (I Hope It Won't) (2:40)
7. Roncevaux (6:55)
8. It All Went Up (4:07)
9. Faint and Forsaken (2:45)
10. Blackroom (8:52)

Total time: 46:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Guy Evans / drums
- Hugh Banton / organ, bass pedals and guitar
- David Jackson / saxes, flutes

Releases information

First officially released on musicassette only by Sofa Sound in 1982, later on LP by Demi Monde (DM 003) and on CD by Thunderbolt (CDTB 106).

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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Time VaultsTime Vaults
Spalax 2000
$12.99 (used)
Time Vaults by Van Der Graaf Generator (2000-10-26)Time Vaults by Van Der Graaf Generator (2000-10-26)

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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Time Vaults ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Another of these side releases that are really for confirmed and even absolutist VdGG fans, but hardly nobody else. Actually this release could've been of a major interest had the recording quality been at least correct, but here it is more often cringey than anything else. All of these tracks date from the period between the two VdGG classic eras and most of them are unheard elsewhere (a few on Hammill's solo records of those years) and most of the songs are work in progress, completely unfinished and some even sound like other official tracks (whether this particular track led to a future official track or whether it was meant to be inspired or digress from an established track is a bit unclear for me), others being simply atrocious sound quality (Roncevaux). Tracks like the closing Blackroom are indeed interesting as work in progress, and are still plenty of drama, but be prepared to have you ear butchered by the sound.

While some of these tracks are of interest to unconditional fans, others are just a bunch of seemingly useless collage (thinking of the title track, Time Vaults), but overall the average/casual fan will only find frustration at such a release as it doesn't do justice to the group's oeuvre. Don't get me wrong, this "album" is worth throwing an ear on it, but this should be done before considering whether to splurge into it. Just make you pick your aural organ up, because you'll need it for more worthy causes.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I am always sceptic about unreleased tracks. Most of the time (let's say 90%), there were very good reasons not to release them at the time of production.

This effort fully falls under this concept.

Some "lost" tracks. On top of being quite average songs, the recording sound is pretty poor (sounds like a boot).

The universe of VDGG is there, at (very few) times they sound like we are used to. "The Liquiditor" is not bad, but on the contrary "Tarzan" is pure crap, "Coil Night" is on par : a repetitive and very poor instrumental. Useless. With " It All Went Up" the band pursues in the same vein : typical VDGG improv. You could swallow four minutes or so from these type of gig while they play on stage; but on a studio album. Gosh !

"Ronvevaux" and "Black Room" are also typical examples of potentially good songs that are completely screwed up thanks to an awful recording. How is it possible for a band of such a standard to record in such extreme conditions (even if these are lost tapes) ? And then releasing such "product"! Shame on you VDGG.

FYI, I am a huge fan of VDGG, I started to listen to (and love) them in 1974. I have most of their albums, I saw them live in 1976 and I am going to see them again in 2007 (but unfortunately Jackson won't be there).

I feel pretty sad with the only rating I can think of : one star. Sorry guys.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars What we did on our holidays

"Time vaults" is not an official VDGG releases, and indeed it was never intended that the music it contains be released at all. While some tracks, such as "The liquidator" are pretty much completed, others are clearly works in progress. The tracks here are all Peter Hammill compositions recorded during the band's sabbatical between "Pawn hearts" and "Godbluff". The tracks originally found their way onto the bootleg market, but have since been (perhaps reluctantly) legitimised.

During the period covered by these tracks from 1972 to 1975 VDGG did not officially exist. Hammill was pursuing a solo career, with other members of the classic line up helping out along the way while also working on their own material.

The opening track "(The) liquidator" is the best of the bunch here. Opening with some delightful echoed piano, Hammill offers a fine vocal performance on a rousing, rocking number. The song sits alongside the band's most accessible material, a sort of "Theme one" with vocals.

Unfortunately that's about it really. Much of what remains is made up of studio jams, rehearsals and demos. As the quality of the sound dips, so does the quality of the music. To be fair to Hammill and the rest of the band, the experimentation which can be heard here was just that, this is not a final product by any means. Some of the tracks (such as "Coil night" and "Tarzan") remain in instrumental form, presumably intended as backing tracks for as yet unwritten lyrics and vocal melodies.

The title track is the most bizarre, the piece drifting in and out of "Rudolph reindeer" and a plethora of other themes. "Faint and forsaken" sounds like a loose attempt to recreate "Theme one", but without the benefit of a memorable melody. It sounds great with all those thumping keyboards, but a tune would have been nice.

In short, one for the VDGG fan who has to have everything by them. That said, worth acquiring just to hear "Liquidator".

Review by Warthur
2 stars An archival release of rehearsal tapes from the Van der Graaf Generator hiatus of 1972-1975. The idea that VdGG "broke up" during those years is technically correct since the group weren't recording and performing under that name, but in practice it was something of an illusion - as well as producing the first Long Hello recordings, Guy, Hugh and David were also regularly convening to record tracks for Hammill's solo albums from the break (the last one, Nadir's Big Chance, being a VdGG reunion from start to finish).

Bowing to pressure to release the rehearsal tapes from those years (or perhaps figuring that releasing them himself and making money out of them was a better option than leaving it to the bootleggers), Hammill seems to have done his best to pick out the best extracts this time around, though he doesn't appear to have had much to work with. The best and most polished track of the lot is probably The Liquidator, a comedic number with a rocking instrumental performance from the band and hilarious lyrics from Hammill in which he mercilessly skewers the ridiculous rumours in the music press about VdGG's breakup.

Much of the rest of the album consists of jams and improvs, the most interesting piece probably being the title track -which seems to be a montage of extracts from different tapes, making it an intriguing change of pace from the rest. At the useless/redundant end of the spectrum is Faint and Forsaken - a dry run of some instrumental sections which would turn up in their finished form on The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (Forsaken Gardens) and In Camera (Faint-Heart and the Sermon) - and Blackroom, an early version of In The Black Room which was performed (with the full VdGG lineup) on Chameleon In the Shadow of the Night.

Ultimately, this isn't the Great Lost VdGG album the fans must have been hoping for - and to be honest, most of the material from that ended up being released in nice studio-quality versions on Hammill's first three solo albums of the hiatus, so it isn't even "lost". Time Vaults is very much for collectors and fans only.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This was originally available only as a bootleg. It appears that Hammill gave into the pressure to release it proper despite the very poor sound quality. There are plenty of great moments here and if the sound quality was better there would be a lot to get excited about. As it is Liquidator is ... (read more)

Report this review (#146356) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Work announced in 1985 "Time Vaults(Unreleased tracks 1971-75)". Album that collected unpublished tunes of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. It is a work that supplements tone quality by the power of the sound and is too much."Roncevaux", "It All Went Up", "Faint And Forsaken", and "Black Room" are ver ... (read more)

Report this review (#47234) | Posted by braindamage | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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