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Van Der Graaf Generator

Eclectic Prog

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Van Der Graaf Generator An Introduction album cover
3.28 | 22 ratings | 2 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Darkness (11/11)
2. Refugees
3. Killer
4. Theme 1
5. Man -Erg
6. Sleepwalkers
7. Still Life
8. When she comes
9. Sphinx in The Face

Line-up / Musicians

Peter Hammill/vocals,paino,guitars
Guy Evans/drums
Hugh Banton/organs
David Jackson/saxes,flute
Nic Potter/bass

Releases information

Virgin Uk, released with the 4CD SET The Box as an intro to the band. both the cd and the box were compiled by myself with input from the band on The Box only

Thanks to ukprogmaster for the addition
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR An Introduction ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR An Introduction reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
3 stars Speaking of albums for completists here it sits. Although this is a very nice compilation of the great Van der Graaf Generator that features quintessential VDGG namely Darkness (11/11), Refugees, Killer and Man-Erg. No compilation of the band should exist without these which are undoubtedly prime examples of the band at their very darkest and ultimately their best.

The curiosities are here too such as Theme 1, and When she comes, which are not usually linked with the best material the band has produced. No arguments though with Godbluff's amazing zombie homage Sleepwalkers and the ultimate in reflective melancholia, Still Life. The album closes with Sphinx in The Face from the sporadic Quiet Zone mish mash.

So really you have a collection of gems from The Least to The Quiet Zone, as stated on the cover but many treasures are missing and a newcomer to the band should own 'the big 4' VDGG albums in any case, so this compilation would be rendered obsolete in this case. A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers had no hope of getting on this one CD but is criminally absent. However this is not too bad for a 1 CD collection and sits in well with the packaging and the remastered tracks are an aural feast. Not the best, not the worst, so sits in the middle there at 3 stars.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 194

Few progressive rock bands have ever been cluttered with so many controversies as Van Der Graaf Generator was. Even for many progressive rock fans, Van Der Graaf Generator is often viewed as a ridiculous and pompous band that made music too much complex and difficult to listen to and understand. They are often viewed as a bunch of guys who took only the worst aspects of the progressive rock music and never bothered to throw in any of the best. However, Van Der Graaf Generator always was a cult band like Gentle Giant, except that they always had a really big and great number of followers all over the world, especially in some countries with a penchant for the "deep and dark progressive rock".

"An Introduction" has nine tracks. The first track "Darkness" was released on "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other". It's a great opener for that album and is also one of its best tracks. This is a song dominated by the continued presence of the keyboards of Banton and by a very good and strong bass line. It's the song where we can hear, for the first time, the incredible and unique sound of the saxophones of Jackson. The second track "Refugees" was released on "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other". It represents the most sentimental moment on that album. This is a very beautiful song, very melodic and peaceful with a nice flute work by Jackson. It's a song that reminds me very much "Running Back", the third track of their debut studio album "The Aerosol Grey Machine". This is one of the most beautiful songs ever written by Hammill. The third track "Killer" was released on "H To He, Who Am The Only One". It's a catchy and beautiful dark song. The saxophones of Jackson and the organ of Banton are present continuously and are very well supported by a brilliant rhythm section by Potter and Evans. This is one of my favourite songs of them. It shows the great atmosphere so typical of their sound. The fourth track "Theme 1" is a song taken from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts". The track didn't appear on the UK release, but did appear on the release of the album in the USA. It was also released as a single with "W" as the B side. This is a truly amazing instrumental piece dominated by Jackson's saxophones. It has a funy tune and retains the optimistic vibe of the band. It manages to relesse for a while the emotional tension that we can feel on the whole album. I'm sure it was used in many radio stations. The fifth track "Man-Erg" is a song taken from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts". It's a song with a beautiful piano introduction and is followed by Hammill's voice. On it we can hear Banton's organ accompanied by Evans' very expressive drumming, great Jackson's saxophones and some very pretty acoustic and electric guitar work made by Hammill and Fripp. Probably, this is the most beautiful song on "Pawn Hearts". The sixth track "Sleepwalkers" was taken from "Godbluff". It represents the highlight of "Godbluff". This is the lengthiest track on that album and is one of their best songs. It's a very energetic track with very powerful vocals by Hammill, which combines an aggressive saxophone work by Jackson and an astonishing orgn work by Banton. The seventh track "Still Life" was taken from "Still Life". This is a very dark song that speaks about the death and one's own resignation before the death. It's about the consequences of the immortality and the inevitable paradoxes of the eternal life, if there is such kind of thing. It starts with Hammill's singing and Banton's playing organ. The song grows with intensity all over it. The eighth track "When She Comes" was taken from "World Record". This is a song related with Peter's personal love affair. It relates how unstable and unpredictable the relationships are, and how we can live with a person that we didn't know as well as we thought. This is a very sarcastic song with excellent works of saxophones and organ by Jackson and Banton. The ninth track "The Sphinx In The Face" was taken from "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome". It's the dynamic rocker song on that album, representing Van Der Graaf Generator's heaviest moment on it. This is a kind of a blues rocker track. It was, perhaps, the weakest track on that album. So, it wasn't a great option to add this track on this compilation.

Conclusion: "An Introduction" is a good compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator. It has songs from almost all their studio albums of the 70's. The exception was "The Aerosol Grey Machine", without any songs. So, the songs were from "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", "H To He, Who Am The Only One", "Pawn Hearts", "Godbluff", "Still Life", "World Record" and "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome". The selection of tracks is very good. It has two of the best tracks from "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", "Darkness" and "Refugees", one of the best tracks from "H To He, Who Am The Only One", "Killer", one excellent track from "Pawn Hearts", "Man-Erg", probably the best track from "Godbluff", "Sleepwalkers", one of my favourite tracks from "Still Life", its title track, one of the highlights from "World Record", "When She Comes". Relatively to "Theme 1", is also a good track but it hasn't the same quality to be compared with all the other tracks on this compilation. Still, a compilation can never substitutes the original albums, especially in the case of progressive rock bands. So, this is only a good compilation, but none an essential purchase.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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