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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Van Der Graaf Generator biography
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR is an English eclectic progressive rock band with front man Peter HAMMILL from 'the classic period' that has proven be one of the most important bands of the progressive genre.

In England, 1967 Chris Judge SMITH formed 'VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR', but after his departure it was up to Peter HAMMILL (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Hugh BANTON (organ, bass on organ), David JACKSON (sax, flute) and Guy EVANS (drums) to become one of progressive rock most proliferate and unique bands as well as the first band to be signed to the Famous Charisma Label. The band was named after the scientific instrument 'the Van de Graaff generator', which is used for accumulating high voltage bolts. VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR (VdGG for short) is known for its extrovert dynamics (ranging from slow, calm & peaceful to fierce & heavy), its intense and emotional 'love it or hate it' vocals by Peter HAMMILL, its celebrated contribution to extended progressive songwriting and its combination of psychedelic, jazz, classical and avant-garde or even acid influences. Moreover, VdGG can be seen as the first band that was to combine the very progressive with the very personal, whereas other bands used to work with abstractions and fantasy. Peter HAMMILL has a talent for singing out intense graving, anger, panic and confusion whilst still being able to sing warm and caring in other passages. The band never really fitted in the symphonic progressive rock subgenre because of its widespread influences and unique style, though the band would have symphonic leanings throughout it's career. Unusual for the time was the focus on organ, drums and sax, whereas in the sixties the guitar and the bass guitar had played a major role.

The band had a leading role in the very first progressive phase releasing high-rated albums from 1970 to 1975. The strong conceptual 'H to He Who am the only one' (1970), the intense and highly innovative and daring 'Pawn Hearts' (1971), the bleak and ever evolving 'Godbluff' (1975) and the matured 'Still Life' (1976) are often cited as masterpieces of the progressive genre. Alongside VdGG there would be a very interesting solo-career for Peter HAMMILL who frequently invited members of the band to come and join on his seventies recordings, some of which are seen as 'lost VdGG albums'. VdGG would directly influence a lot of Italian progressive acts, a country in which they were particularly well received. The band stopped performing in its clas...
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Do Not DisturbDo Not Disturb
Import
Esoteric Antenna 2016
Audio CD$14.99
H To He Who Am I The Only OneH To He Who Am I The Only One
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline World Service 2005
Audio CD$3.75
$2.58 (used)
Aerosol Grey MachineAerosol Grey Machine
Import
Fie 2005
Audio CD$9.69
$6.95 (used)
Pawn HeartsPawn Hearts
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline World Service 2005
Audio CD$4.01
$3.99 (used)
Classic AlbumsClassic Albums
Import
EMI International 2012
Audio CD$5.36
$5.36 (used)
Still LifeStill Life
Import · Remastered
Caroline 2005
Audio CD$4.49
$5.07 (used)
GodbluffGodbluff
Import · Remastered
Caroline 2005
Audio CD$5.13
$4.93 (used)
After the Flood-The BBC 1968-77After the Flood-The BBC 1968-77
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$10.48
$10.50 (used)
The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each OtherThe Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Astralwerks 2005
Audio CD$3.90
$5.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
ALT Van Der Graaf Generator Audio CD USD $13.19 Buy It Now
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Van Der Graaf Generator Godbluff CD album (CDLP) UK VJCP-68761 EMI 2005 USD $36.00 Buy It Now
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Van Der Graaf Generator, 68 - 71, U.K. Import LP. 1972 EX Condition USD $17.99 Buy It Now 12h 25m
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 515 ratings
The Aerosol Grey Machine
1969
4.05 | 842 ratings
The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
1970
4.31 | 1346 ratings
H To He, Who Am The Only One
1970
4.41 | 1773 ratings
Pawn Hearts
1971
4.49 | 1663 ratings
Godbluff
1975
4.29 | 1224 ratings
Still Life
1976
3.83 | 633 ratings
World Record
1976
3.63 | 541 ratings
The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome
1977
3.65 | 429 ratings
Present
2005
3.52 | 414 ratings
Trisector
2008
3.42 | 404 ratings
A Grounding In Numbers
2011
2.48 | 178 ratings
ALT
2012
5.00 | 3 ratings
Do Not Disturb
2016

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 227 ratings
Vital
1978
4.12 | 115 ratings
Maida Vale (The BBC Radio One Sessions)
1994
4.11 | 155 ratings
Real Time
2007
3.68 | 73 ratings
Live at the Paradiso
2009
3.57 | 34 ratings
Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London
2012
3.92 | 40 ratings
Merlin Atmos
2015
4.62 | 20 ratings
After the Flood: At The BBC 1968 - 1977
2015

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.11 | 99 ratings
Godbluff Live 1975
2003
5.00 | 3 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
2003
3.13 | 25 ratings
Inside Van Der Graaf Generator
2005
3.08 | 6 ratings
Live Broadcasts - Collector's Rarities
2006
3.97 | 50 ratings
Live at the Paradiso
2009
4.47 | 32 ratings
Live at Metropolis Studios
2011

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 32 ratings
68-71
1972
4.50 | 2 ratings
Repeat Performance
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
Reflection
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock Heavies
1978
2.31 | 53 ratings
Time Vaults
1982
3.44 | 60 ratings
First Generation (Scenes from 1969-1971)
1986
3.41 | 44 ratings
Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977)
1986
2.15 | 38 ratings
Now And Then (Van Der Graaf Generator / Jackson, Banton, Evans)
1988
3.32 | 51 ratings
I Prophesy Disaster
1993
3.91 | 61 ratings
The Box
2000
3.46 | 16 ratings
An Introduction
2000
4.50 | 2 ratings
First Generation / Godbluff
2012

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.54 | 16 ratings
People You Were Going To / Firebrand
1969
4.08 | 20 ratings
Afterwards / Necromancer
1969
4.58 | 24 ratings
Refugees / Boat Of A Million Years
1970
3.63 | 27 ratings
Theme One / W
1972
3.80 | 15 ratings
Masks Part 1 / Masks Part 2
1976
4.50 | 16 ratings
Wondering / Meurglys III
1976
4.06 | 18 ratings
Cat's Eye
1977
1.69 | 17 ratings
The Masters
1998
2.67 | 3 ratings
Highly Strung
2011

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Godbluff by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.49 | 1663 ratings

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Godbluff
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The resurrection of Van Der Graaf Generator

Fans of alternative prog, rejoice! After four years of silence, Peter Hammill, David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans unexpectedly reunite in 1975 and simply offer one of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's best albums! "Godbluff" inaugurates the band's second era in the mid-70's and proves that miracles exist. After "Pawn Hearts", Hammill started a solo career and his works were a bit different from VdGG's style. Same goes for the other members, who released average jazz-rock albums, under the name "The Long Hello", without their singer. These three separation years thus demonstrates that Peter Hammill is not VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR all by himself, and, vice-versa, that VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR cannot exist without its lead vocalist.

Composed of four mini-epics, "Godbluff" is their first self-produced opus, as well as their most accessible. Again, the music, somber depressive, tortured and dominated by keyboards and saxophone instead of guitars, investigates the depths of the human mind. This time, the atmosphere is maybe even more bitter and aggressive than on "Pawn Hearts". In addition of his raging and theatrical voice, Hammill makes an important usage of clavinet and Jackson's saxes are literally possessed here. Also featuring various changes and complex rhythms, the songs are perhaps a little less demanding than those of VdGG's first era, but still as interesting, creative and touching.

Opening with whispering vocals and saxophone, "The Undercover Man" is sad and beautiful. Melodies to cry for. The tension then rises with the raging and somber "Scorched Earth". After its heroic overture, the music goes crescendo, stronger to conclude with a surprising distorted guitar section. A powerful track, driven by the organ and Jackson's demented sax.

Do not trust the ambient free jazz introduction of "Arrow": this song is the most violent and darkest of the record, but also the maybe the most heartbreaking. A magnificent explosion of mastered wilderness! Back to calm with the more melodic "The Sleepwalkers" and its strange bossa-nova interlude. This ethereal ender contains also quite spacey keyboards and a grandiose finale. Epic!

Out of time, "Godbluff" is much more than just the return of a major progressive band, it's a miraculous resurrection, a musical black meteorite darker than most other disc of the same time-period. Each track is superb and offers its own variety of ambiances. A little gem of tortured and frightening impressions, so human...

Most accessible record from the band, this fifth opus is definitely the one to start with for newcomers. "Godbluff" is a masterpiece of depressive prog, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's creative peak, with "Pawn Hearts" of course...

 Pawn Hearts by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.41 | 1773 ratings

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Pawn Hearts
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Heart touching progressive music

Fourth opus by Peter Hammill and co., "Pawn Hearts" marks the end of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's first era as well as its pinnacle. After three interesting but somehow uneven and still experimental albums, the band fully defines its own musical identity and proudly enters the heights of the progressive sphere, in 1971. Driven by saxophone and keyboards instead of guitars, their style and sound are unique, tortured and delicate, depressive and beautiful, exploring the depths of the human mind. This was completely different from what other prog bands were proposing at the time.

Initially planned as a double album, only the first half of the recordings was finally released as "Pawn Hearts". These three lengthy, sophisticated and varied songs were composed one year before major progressive milestones such YES' "Close to the Edge" or GENESIS' "Supper's Ready". Maybe not as accessible as the aforementioned suites, but certainly as inspired and magical.

The first mini-epic sets immediately the tone. Oppressive and frightening, "Lemmings" offers complex structures and rhythm breaks for calm floating passages and plaintive anguishing moments. Organ and saxophone create a particular troubled watery atmosphere that supports perfectly Hammill's haunting and aerial vocals. Great, easily one of the best tracks from VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR! "Man Erg" is a musical transcription of our internal conflict between good and evil. The first part alternate melancholic and glorious passages representing the opposition of the "angels" and the "killers" inside us. Opening like a piano ballad with a beautiful melody, the pace suddenly accelerates, the instruments start a brutal fury illustrating the battle between the two entities. Cosmic and jazzy ambiances then interlace until the rhythm slow downs for the ballad reprise and a quite terrifying finale. What a journey!

The record concludes with THE VdGG epic, the band's "Supper's Ready" before it even exists: the satiric "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers". The story narrates the helplessness of a lighthouse keeper to save the stranded bodies on the coast. Its spacey powerful overture mutates into a mysterious sonic chaos, letting the listener lost through the immensity of the sea. Unpredictable, this suite features numerous changes, slow and fast sections. Sublime, dark, touching, depressive, demented are one of the few adjectives that could describe this unbelievable piece. Beware: combined with Peter Hammill's possessed voice, you'll find yourself at the gates of despair and delirium. The finale is just not of this world...

Although lesser-known compared to the other progressive milestone records, "Pawn Hearts" shines like a lighthouse inside the night of the obscure side of prog. A creative and pioneering album, that may have influenced the representative bands of the genre in 1971. The songs offers a wide range of different atmospheres as well as delightful melodies to cry for. No weak passages, every section stands at its right place.

Demanding, intimidating but not the least accessible from the band, "Pawn Hearts" is undoubtedly VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's best album, with "Godbluff". An essential and major opus, resembling no other. If you don't know Hammill and co., you'll discover a new universe of truly progressive 'non-rock' music. You may not fully appreciate it at first listen, but its treasures will reveal themselves over time...

This fourth effort will gain a surprising success in Italy. One year later, Peter Hammill will embrace a solo career and other members will go their way. Fans of this unconventional prog will have to wait three years until the band reunites...

 After the Flood: At The BBC 1968 - 1977 by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Live, 2015
4.62 | 20 ratings

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After the Flood: At The BBC 1968 - 1977
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars You get a real sense of how long ago Van Der Graaf Generator started with recordings going back to 1968. Considering I was born a year earlier, I actually have not had a chance to appreciate their body of work until my prog loving adulthood. The double disc has some of the best performances that you will ever hear from the band. It is so unfortunate that a few tracks suffer from poor sound quality, but they really improve as the years move along. Van Der Graaf Generator was so far ahead of its time, and this is an excellent showcase of their early catalog. I would call After the Flood an absolutely essential release for any fan of the band, and a non-studio album must purchase along with Vital.
 Vital by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Live, 1978
3.77 | 227 ratings

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Vital
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars Vital is absolutely vital for any Van Der Graaf Generator fan. Fans should be diving into the live stuff to increase their collections, so this should already be in there. What I really like about Vital is that it is less like anything studio related, and more like a raw concert with the great musicianship and vocal performances you would expect. If you are new to the group, this is not a place to start. You are better off getting familiar with Pawn Hearts, Godbluff, Still Life, and the rest of their amazing studio albums. Once you have gone that route, this album will please as an amazing live offering from an early lineup. I would not call this essential to any progressive rock fan since Van Der Graaf Generator is an acquired taste, but a must buy for any fan of the group.
 Still Life by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.29 | 1224 ratings

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Still Life
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by LittleJake

5 stars I know a lot of VDGG fans like to talk about Pawn Hearts, Godbluff, and even H To He... when considering their best work; but for me, Still Life is their absolute zenith. Everything VDGG had done before was preparing them for this magnum opus of an album.

It starts out with the pensive and very catchy "Pilgrims", causing us all to reflect on our journey through life. The interplay between Hugh Banton and Hammill is what makes this song work so well.

Next comes perhaps the greatest piece VDGG ever produced - "Still Life". This has everything - Peter Hammill doing all he does best. I find the lyrics quite uplifting, even though it deals with a somewhat depressing topic of death. Very beautiful and poetic treatment of our relationships in death, and the music takes one through all the emotions one might experience through the trial of losing a spouse or other loved one. Screaming, yearning, grooving, rejoicing, understanding, acceptance, peace. Just stunning.

"La Rossa" - sheer brilliance. Absolute power. Hard to find words to describe the majesty of this music.

"My Room" - wow. the greatest jazz ballad not about love ever? Absolutely beautiful. David Jackson shines brightly.

"Childhood's Faith In Childhood's End" is an epic close. Much has been written about this piece and so I need not hash out the same.

5+ stars!!

 Pawn Hearts by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.41 | 1773 ratings

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Pawn Hearts
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Van Der Graaf Generator is a bit of a touchy subject. On the one hand, they're an incredibly influential band and if there were a prog award given out for most original sound, they'd be a shoe-in. On the other hand, this band that has a lot going for it in theory happens to have the most marmite-like, controversial vocalist on the planet, Peter Hammill. For some, Pete's vocal work can strike their ears and permeate into the deepest reaches of their souls, conjuring emotions that they didn't even know could be felt, let alone articulated. For others, Hammill's vocals strike the ear in much the same manner as a cheese grater.

So, like I said, Van Der Graaf Generator is a love it or hate it type of band and "Pawn Hearts" is probably the most extreme example of Graafian excess. Peter takes center stage, giving no room for the rest of the band, a competent bunch of musicians, to carry out any roles past giving tinny, dry, uninspired accompaniment. Hammill, on the other hand, gives himself plenty of liberty to go off on tangents, often far, far longer than I'm comfortable with.

So if you've listened to other Van der Graaf Generator works and can tolerate, or even enjoy, them, this is a good album for you to check out. But despite its ambition and influence, this album is too divisive to call essential. 2 stars; fans only.

 Still Life by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.29 | 1224 ratings

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Still Life
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After releasing Pawn Hearts, Van Der Graaf Generator enjoyed respectable chart success, got a fair amount of radio play and started touring a lot more than before. This obviously included a lot of hard and exhausting work. That combined with lack of support from Stratton-Smith and Charisma label led to financial problems, resulting in Peter Hammill leaving the group. At that time, he recorded a few solo albums such as Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night or The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage. In 1975, the group reunited, refusing to play audience's favorites, and continued to create ambitious material. The same year, Goldbluff came out meeting a relatively warm welcome. In 1976, the band recorded Still Life. The keyboardist Hugh Banton considers this album as one of the quartet's most accomplished works.

1976 was not the best year for progressive rock. Peter Gabriel left Genesis, King Crimson broke up, Yes slowly gravitated towards radio-friendly pop songs with Going For the One. Of course, many interesting things came out after that, but the overall freshness and vigour of the genre once so exciting, was nearly gone. Despite that, Still Life sounds vivid, with Van Der Graaf Generator's "classic" sound in a great condition. Compared to Graaf's previous works, this album is more organ-centric and not as dark. However, the classic moodiness and theatricality, that the band became so renowned for, is very much present. The group's signature outer space-like quality still reverbrates in places.

It sometimes seems like Van Der Graaf Generator's sound is shifting towards more soul-influenced scenario with the symphonic influences being estranged. Some of the pieces like "My Room" sound a tad more pop-oriented, but it is all done with phenomenal taste and does not sound ubiquitous. David Jackson's jazz-inspired saxophone appears in places bringing back the band's older material to mind. Besides phenomenal organ playing, Hugh Banton plays bass guitar, and quite proficiently may I mention, which I found to sit very loud in the mix. Peter Hammill's unmistakeable voice has a very melodic factor to it, making it appear almost like another instrument. All in all, the musicianship on this release is excellent.

The album consists of five tracks, all fairly long, never getting below the 7-minute mark. What I especially like is that musicians seem to be taking their time in drawing the charming soundscapes, rather than rushing because of the recording time limitation. Some find the album boring because of its slow, phlegmatic development, but I have grown to appreciate that. "Pilgrims" and "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End" are two pieces that I feel are the most representative of this work, showcasing all of the previously mentioned elements.

Van Der Graaf Generator are back in a tasteful fashion with Still Life. Although their material might not be as exciting and luminous as it used to be, it s without a doubt of superior quality. All of the band's classic ingridients are there, put into great use once more! Naturally, Still Life is a treat for Van Der Graaf Generator fans and is a perfectly accessible album. A gem of progressive rock, recommended!

 The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 842 ratings

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The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" is the first album that really made Van Der Graaf Generator stand out. Still not as complex and dark as their following works, but this one created basis for masterpieces like "Pawn Hearts" or "H To He Who Am The Only One". It shows a strong progress from their already steady and extrordinary, but rather comic debut, which followed many trends of psychedelic movement. A virtuoso saxophonist David Jackson joined the band giving it a rather jazzy and unique feel, somewhat inspired by John Coltrane and even Ornette Coleman. Again, Peter Hammill is the mastermind behind this work. A superb poet, musical genius and an outstanding, creative composer. Every instrument works like a Swiss watch. The music on "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" incorporates elements of passing psychedelic rock, folk, jazz with romantic-era classical music sensibilities. Still not what we would call full-blown progressive rock, it encourages many qualities of so called "proto-prog". "Darkness (11/11)", a theatrical and relatively eccentric piece is in my opinion the highlight of the album and a spark of what would be to come. Recommended! Should be found in every prog nut's collection!
 Pawn Hearts by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.41 | 1773 ratings

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Pawn Hearts
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Van Der Graaf Generator were always in their own universe and had a precise, distinct vision of what their music should sound like. After a groundbreaking album H to He Who Am The Only One, which was one of the first works to present the band's "classic" sound, the group recorded Pawn Hearts. The name comes from Dave Jackson's soporenism on his task of recording "horn parts". The iconic album cover was designed by Paul Whitehead.

Van Der Graaf Generator take their musical vision one step further. Thes album contains just three tracks. All of them are eccentric, dark, theatrical, literary and very challenging epics. Conceptuality is one of Pawn Hearts' strongest point. Moods are proficiently expressed with one-of-a-kind musicianship. The music is very smooth, lush, spacey and watery. The group's instrumentation is much different than any other progressive rock group. It does have a strong symphonic element, notably at the end of "Lemmings". However, influences of free jazz and even some world music are put on the first plan. The mixing of the album is great and very dynamic. Pawn Hearts goes from light percussion touches supported by gentle acoustic guitar to Ornette Coleman-like sax solos.

The highlight of the album would probably be a side-long suite "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers". This one in particular presents all of the elements of Van Der Graaf Generator's music we came to know and love. "Man-Erg" is the most ballad-esque of the three, while "Lemmings" draws one the most beautiful musical textures to be seen in progressive rock. This track in particular gives me goosebumps. A beautifully twisted trio!

This is a highly complex album, so it naturally won't be a great experience to newcommers. It was the same with me. It took me quite a few listens to figure out what Pawn Hearts is all about. Regardless, it is an iconic prog rock album and really one of top ten most renowned works of the genre. Highly recommended!

 H To He, Who Am The Only One by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.31 | 1346 ratings

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H To He, Who Am The Only One
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 64

In my humble opinion, Van Der Graaf Generator is with Gentle Giant and King Crimson, probably, one of the three most creative, original and progressive bands that ever existed. With the exception of King Crimson, which always had an impressive number of fans, Van Der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant, had only a very small but very faithful group of supporters, probably due to the originality and the difficulty of their music.

This is my fifth review of a Van Der Graaf Generator's album. The others are their fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh studio albums 'Pawn Hearts', 'Godbluff', 'Still Life' and 'World Record' which were released in 1971, 1975 and the last two in 1976, respectively. 'H To He, Who Am The Only One' is their third studio album and was released in 1970.

The line up of the album is Peter Hammill (lead vocals, acoustic guitar and piano), Hugh Banton (vocals, Hammond and Farfisa organs, piano, oscillator and bass guitar), David Jackson (vocals, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and flute), Guy Evans (drums, percussion and tympani) and Nic Potter (bass guitar). The album has also the presence on guitar of Robert Fripp of King Crimson, as a guest musician. Potter left the band mid-way through the recording sessions. After it, the group decided to carry on without a new bass guitarist, with Banton alternating bass guitar and organ bass pedals. Therefore, the Hammill, Banton, Jackson and Evans quartet is considered the classic Van Der Graaf Generator's line up, and were they, that recorded and released their following great masterpieces.

'H To He, Who Am The Only One' has five tracks. The first track 'Killer' written by Hammill, Chris Judge Smith and Banton is 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 from the band. It portrays the usual hunting musical atmosphere that this band is able to create with their music. The second track 'House With No Door' written by Hammill and Jackson is probably the most calm and beautiful ballad composed by the band and it's also a rather depressing track, lyrically speaking. It's a very delicate and dark song and is also one of my favourite songs from the group. It can show us how great this group can be, even in their quietest musical moments. The third track 'The Emperor In His Room' written by Hammill is a track divided into two parts: 'The Emperor' and 'The Room'. This is another very dark song, which is about the consequences of living a life of war and death and describes the act of a tyrant with torture and the dying of the emperor, with some very violent lyrics. It's the fear and aggression that speaks here. This is another brilliant piece of music with great lyrics and with a magnificent flute work by Jackson. Here we can listen to the guitar work of the master Robert Fripp who plays guitar as a guest as he also did on their next album 'Pawn Hearts'. The fourth track 'Lost' was written by Hammill and is also divided into two parts: 'The Dance In Sand And sea' and 'The Dance In The Frost'. This is another brilliant track. It's a song about loneliness, lost, love and madness, also with very good lyrics, which is a Hammill's traditional trademark. There is a lot of musical variety in this piece of music. 'Lost' is one of the most depressing pieces of music written by this brilliant artist called Peter Hammill. The fifth track 'Pioneers Over C' written by Hammill and Jackson also contains the usual hypnotizing sax and keyboard musical lines. 'C' is the scientific name of the speed of light, and this song is a sort of a musical interpretation of faster than light travel and its consequences on the travellers on their voyages. Musically, it's one of the strongest songs on the album, which sounds great, and finishes perfectly well, this wonderful masterpiece. 'Pioneers Over C' represents a mature and complex end to a superb collection of songs.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, Van Der Graaf Generator have five studio masterpieces, 'H To He, Who Am The Only One', 'Pawn Hearts', 'Godbluff', 'Still Life' and 'World Record'. Unfortunately, of all these five masterpieces 'H To He, Who Am The Only One' is the only one that I own a copy only a few years ago. Due to the high quality of the others, I had never paid much attention to it and I always thought that it probably wouldn't be at the same quality level as the other four. I was truly wrong and I'm deeply ashamed of it. But now, I'm finally doing justice to this another great album released by this so fantastic and unique band. To my taste, this is probably the most beautiful of all their albums. 'H To He, Who Am The Only One' was probably released too early for the progressive standards, but it remains, as unique as it was then. It has so many parts of Van Der Graaf Generator's music that have set the benchmarks for many bands to came next. I really think that every musical progressive collection should have, at least, three Van Der Graaf Generator's albums, 'H To He, Who Am The Only One', 'Pawn Hearts' and 'Godbluff'.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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