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Van Der Graaf Generator

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Van Der Graaf Generator The Masters album cover
1.70 | 19 ratings | 7 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Saigon Roulette* (4:43)
2. Gentlemen Prefer Blues* (2:58)
3. Tropic of Conversation* (7:19)
4. Tarzan (2:13)
5. Rift Valley (4:41)
6. Liquidator (5:27)
7. Coil Night (4:15)
8. Roncevaux (6:55)
9. It All Went Red + (4:00)
10. Faint and Forsaken (2:55)

Total Time: 44:26
Album contain 7 tracks from "Time Vaults" and 3* from Jackson / Banton / Evans "Gentlemen Prefere Blues" (Demi-Monde DMLP 1011, UK, 1986)
No 9 appears on "Time Vaults" as "It All Went Up"

Line-up / Musicians

- Guy Evans / drums, percussion, baliphones
- Hugh Banton / keyboards, drum programmes
- David Jackson / saxes, flutes, keyboards
- Peter Hammill / vocals, piano

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR The Masters ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(5%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (26%)
Poor. Only for completionists (32%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
1 stars This is more like a warning than a review (by a VDGG fan): This cheap-looking collection of some studio recordings of mid-seventies or so (that seem to be made just for fun) is so poor that I wonder why it appears under the name of Van Der Graaf Generator. Most have appeared in "Time Vaults" which I haven't heard but probably it at least has some information about these recordings. When I bought this cheaply years ago, I was so embarrased after the first listening that I took it almost straight to a second-hand shop. Music is - what I remember of it - sorta jamming, relaxed, actually nothing but some little riff-based doodling that was never taken to a level of a song composition. Even the sound quality is terrible. So, be warned.
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This one is quite similar to "Time Vaults". Actually seven tracks out of ten are the same. Here was my feeling about "Time Vaults" :

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" ("It All Went Red" on this one) 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" is a typical example of a potentially good song that is 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).

Since, I rated "Vaults" as a one star album, there is no wonder that this one gets the same poor rating. There are virtually NO reason to buy/get hold of this one. The three songs from Jackson / Banton / Evans effort are useless as well. Avoid it by all means. One star.

Review by Warthur
1 stars What a disgusting scam. This Van der Graaf Generator compilation lures in listeners with the promise of strange, unfamiliar-sounding songs from the band, but don't be fooled! Most of these tracks are recycled from Time Vaults, and suffer from exactly the same poor sound quality issues and general inconsistency as those tracks. (Not that this should reflect badly on the band - the material there wasn't recorded with public consumption in mind.) The three remaining tracks aren't even VdGG pieces at all, but from the Jackson/Banton/Evans collaboration Gentlemen Prefer Blues - a reasonable enough release in its own right, perhaps, but to pass off material from it as VdGG songs rather than giving credit to where it is really due is insulting to all parties concerned. It's debatable as to whether the credit to VdGG or the term "classic tracks" is the bigger lie on the front cover of this one.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
1 stars 10 Classic Tracks? In whose universe?

"The Masters" is 10 tracks of which 7 are lifted from "Time Vaults". It begins with an insipid instrumental 'Saigon Roulette' and this is a sign of things to come on this time waster. The mediocrity is a constant reminder that the band are at their best when they are indulging in weird time sigs and existential lyrics with inspirational musicianship. 'Tropic of Conversation' is lengthy and quite a decent instrumental jazz fusion exploration but is still far inferior to material on genuine VDGG albums. Hammill does inject some vocals which is pleasing; namely 'Rift Valley', that is low fi quality but at least Hammill is there, and also 'The Liquidator' with some jumpy jazz fusion. These tracks are not as creative as usual but still not too bad overall. The sax is manic throughout and it has a cool melody but still lacks that VDGG magic.

If every track had vocals and was as quirky as this it may have been a worthwhile effort. However there are too many throwaways and this is really forgettable mediocrity. Wasted talent.

'Coil Night' has that familiar sax blast and jaunty rhythm but as an instrumental it is lacking. 'Roncevaux' is very buzzy bassy low fi but actually grabs me more than a lot of these other pieces collected here. It has a strange melody and time sig, and the only thing that spoils it is the bad quality recording.

'It All Went Red' is a bad quality instrumental but it does capture some VDGG improvisational skill as the music wanders blissfully all over the map, with mad sax blasting over an incessant organ and bass driven melody. The percussion is sporadic and overall this piece would have been wonderful if not for the low fi recording.

VDGG are at their best when Hammill is in his existentialist mood and is banging on about Lighthouse keepers, Killer sharks and the intense darkness of loneliness and alienation, but these warbling instrumentals are mere time fillers. The poor quality recordings ruin what would otherwise be quite intense music. There are some nice moments but the quality is a contributing factor in why this is not a good VDGG album. In fact it is an album to be avoided for all the reasons stated, better left as a bonus CD rather than a genuine album. A real disappointment in almost every department, and whoever calls these "Classic Tracks" needs their head read! Collectors need only apply.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This record is low fi, that's a sad fact. However I am currently part way through a re-record (not my first attempt at this recording) at least with equalisation something valuable can be salvaged from this frustrating disk. This is the point my friends this record is not for the casual visitor ... (read more)

Report this review (#156995) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars From what I also remember, the quality was quite terrible, but the funny thing is, my flat mates dog at the time actually chewed the CD so I couldnt play it. The only track which is worth its salt I suppose is "The Liquidator" which is a very funny track about the members of VdGG.. (from what ... (read more)

Report this review (#111520) | Posted by Frippertron | Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The preceding review by Mr. Pajuniemi has it right, I'm afraid. So I, like him, say : warning, this is "un fond de tiroir", very poor quality, don't buy. If you buy it, you'll regret it. But you may borrow it, though. Yes, if you are a VDGG fan - but a real, kind of maniac fan - you should bor ... (read more)

Report this review (#8079) | Posted by | Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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