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PETER HAMMILL

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Peter Hammill biography
Peter HAMMILL is one of the most unique and influential voices in prog. He was the pivotal figure in VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR (VDGG for short) who formed in 1967 at Manchester University. His obsession with lost love, lost faith, time, space and existence itself are the cornerstones of both his work with the band and his solo albums. He was also their principle songwriter. The classic line-up was the HAMMILL, Banton, Jaxon, Evans combo which produced the peak "Pawn Hearts", "Still Life" and "Godbluff" albums. He has since brought out at least 30 solo albums, marked by lyrics of the utmost insight (usually) and a total refusal to compromise. Their complex music, as often brutal as it was lyrical, fitted somewhat uneasily into the once and then niche of Progressive Rock. An interesting figure whose albums certainly merit investigation..!

The first of a classic trilogy in progressive rock history, "Chameleon"... and its companion pieces "The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage" and "In Camera", are as good if not better than many of the VDGG albums. FOR FANS OF PETER HAMMILL...!

See also:
- Van Der Graaf Generator
- The Long Hello

Peter Hammill official website

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Nadirs Big ChanceNadirs Big Chance
Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2007
Audio CD$4.99
$6.98 (used)
SkinSkin
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2007
Audio CD$10.16
$55.00 (used)
OverOver
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$4.99
$9.98 (used)
Silent Corner & The Empty StageSilent Corner & The Empty Stage
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline 2006
Audio CD$4.99
$9.30 (used)
Ph7Ph7
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$4.64
$4.62 (used)
All That Might Have BeenAll That Might Have Been
Box set
Fie 2015
Audio CD$30.00
$48.19 (used)
ConsequencesConsequences
Fie 2012
Audio CD$11.01
$10.89 (used)
Fools MateFools Mate
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2005
Audio CD$6.80
$6.49 (used)
Chameleon in the Shadow of the NightChameleon in the Shadow of the Night
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$4.99
$4.99 (used)
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PETER HAMMILL discography


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

PETER HAMMILL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 262 ratings
Fool's Mate
1971
4.03 | 291 ratings
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night
1973
4.34 | 680 ratings
The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
1974
4.14 | 309 ratings
In Camera
1974
3.74 | 213 ratings
Nadir's Big Chance
1975
3.96 | 274 ratings
Over
1977
3.48 | 175 ratings
The Future Now
1978
3.66 | 169 ratings
pH7
1979
3.92 | 193 ratings
A Black Box
1980
3.52 | 143 ratings
Sitting Targets
1981
3.74 | 118 ratings
Enter K
1982
3.66 | 114 ratings
Patience
1983
3.21 | 68 ratings
Loops & Reels
1983
2.96 | 98 ratings
Skin
1986
3.56 | 100 ratings
And Close as This
1986
2.78 | 77 ratings
In a Foreign Town
1988
3.31 | 82 ratings
Out of Water
1990
3.43 | 84 ratings
The Fall of the House of Usher
1991
3.07 | 51 ratings
Spur of the moment (with Guy Evans)
1991
3.69 | 111 ratings
Fireships
1992
2.63 | 66 ratings
The Noise
1993
2.29 | 37 ratings
Offensichtlich Goldfisch
1993
3.16 | 74 ratings
Roaring Forties
1994
3.18 | 69 ratings
X My Heart
1996
2.38 | 50 ratings
Sonix
1996
3.43 | 69 ratings
Everyone You Hold
1997
3.39 | 67 ratings
This
1998
2.80 | 40 ratings
The Appointed Hour (with Roger Eno)
1999
3.93 | 73 ratings
The Fall of the House of Usher (New Version)
1999
2.63 | 56 ratings
None Of The Above
2000
3.25 | 59 ratings
What , Now?
2001
2.78 | 45 ratings
Unsung
2001
3.57 | 66 ratings
Clutch
2002
3.75 | 88 ratings
Incoherence
2004
3.57 | 76 ratings
Singularity
2006
3.28 | 86 ratings
Thin Air
2009
3.57 | 56 ratings
Consequences
2012
3.65 | 61 ratings
Other World
2014
3.67 | 30 ratings
...all that Might have Been..
2014

PETER HAMMILL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 40 ratings
The Margin +
1985
3.31 | 40 ratings
Room Temperature Live
1990
3.60 | 31 ratings
There Goes the Daylight
1993
3.61 | 29 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1995
3.07 | 14 ratings
Tides
1996
3.22 | 23 ratings
The Union Chapel Concert (with Guy Evans)
1997
4.20 | 41 ratings
Typical (Solo Performances)
1999
4.04 | 33 ratings
Veracious (with Stuart Gordon)
2006
3.47 | 15 ratings
In The Passionskirche - Berlin MCMXCII
2009
4.00 | 3 ratings
PNO GTR VOX - Live Performances
2011

PETER HAMMILL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.96 | 8 ratings
In The Passionskirche - Berlin MCMXCII (video)
1992

PETER HAMMILL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 9 ratings
Vision
1978
3.00 | 1 ratings
Peter Hammill
1982
2.57 | 33 ratings
The Love Songs
1984
3.82 | 3 ratings
The Essential Collection
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
Enter K / Patience
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Rock
1989
3.96 | 14 ratings
The Calm (After The Storm)
1993
3.28 | 13 ratings
The Storm (Before The Calm)
1993
3.02 | 6 ratings
Past Go - Collected
1996
3.20 | 5 ratings
After The Show (A Collection)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ο Άγγελος Του Παράξενου
1997
2.33 | 6 ratings
The Thin Man Sings Ballads
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Fools Mate / In Camera
2003
3.33 | 3 ratings
Pno, Gtr, Vox, Box - 84 Live Performances
2012

PETER HAMMILL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Red Shift
1973
2.14 | 3 ratings
Birthday Special / Shingle Song
1975
4.50 | 2 ratings
Crying Wolf
1977
2.00 | 2 ratings
If I Could
1978
1.50 | 2 ratings
My Experience
1981
2.50 | 2 ratings
Paradox Drive
1982
2.00 | 2 ratings
Film Noir
1983
2.26 | 8 ratings
Just Good Friends
1985
1.50 | 2 ratings
Painting by Numbers
1986
1.50 | 2 ratings
A Fix On The Mix
1992

PETER HAMMILL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.34 | 680 ratings

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The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by LSDisease

5 stars This is my favorite Hammill's album and along with VDGG's Pawn Hearts my favorite album of all time. The most shoking and most artful in the same time. This album same as VDGG releases isn't for those who think that Pink Floyd defined art rock , no no no, this album is for those who are deranged enough to sit through 50 minute apocalypse and later say : would you like another cup of tea dear? Well, anyway, I really love this album. If Pawn Hearts can be described as an organized chaos this one is chaos and beauty. Yes, so much beauty in this chaos, that's why I like it so much. It's not just chaos, you can find many misarable albums with just chaos. But this, this is MUSIC. And like other early Hammill's albums, the best in that box. Unless you don't want music. So If don't, buy some Can album. But if you want music listen to Peter Hammill and enjoy the perils of pure pleasure.

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 In Camera by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 309 ratings

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In Camera
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hammill's creative progress for another solo album begins immediately after the release of the genuine ''The silent corner and the empty stage''.He stated that with every new work he wanted to explore something different and this time he decided to work on a project more or less by himself.Around the same time his younger brother Andy fell into coma after an accident with his bicycle and Hammill put all his stress into a creative process.He performed his arrangements on guitars, bass, piano and keyboards and received help in a number of tracks by ex- and present Van der Graaf Generator's drummers Judge Smith and Guy Evans, famous prog-related graphic artist Paul Whitehead on percussion and recording engineer David Hentschel on ARP synthesizer.The album, titled ''In camera'', was released on Charisma in June 1974.

After a vocal-heavy Art/Psych Rock effort and a dark Prog Rock masterpiece, ''In camera'' finds Hammill performing somewhere inbetween these two works, it is definitely his most sinister and haunting album of his early works, filled with dark piano lines, eerie synthesizers and muddy guitars to go along with Hammill's expressive and unique vocals.With no so many comforts regarding the sessions of an album by multi-instrumentalist, this one sounds more minimalistic, instrumental naked and extremely lyrical with only a few sections executed on three or more instruments, so it moves a bit away from the very complex and dense arrangements of the previous album, still holds series of interesting, atmospheric qualities noone except Peter Hammill could offer.''In camera'' is actually led by Hammill's vocal depth and a set of different musical backgrounds, including synth lines and piano movements, lots of acoustic soundscapes and some more regular moments with drumming and an effort closer to a normal group.Consider this more of a lyrical, theatrical and mystic delivery of orchestral, folky and cinematic arrangements with a poet leading the way.An original album in its own way with a powerful contrast between vocals and music and the first few attempts by Hammill on Experimental Music as proposed on the 17-min. ''Gog Magog'', the first part of which is a Gothic-like, intense Prog Rock opus with a full keyboard sound and dominant percussion, where the second 10-min. segment is filled with sound effects and noises, definitely one of an acquired taste, still seeing Hammill doing what he stated, developing his musical horizons.

Dark Art Rock by Mr. Hammill here.Impressive album for a work practically composed and executed by one man back in 1974, slightly too minimalistic and vocal-oriented, still containing the genuine values of Van Der Graaf Generator's offerings.Recommended.

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 Over by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.96 | 274 ratings

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Over
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by Jeff Carney

2 stars No matter how much I admire Peter Hammill and no matter how much I adore so much of what he came up with in the first half of the seventies, I cannot understand the appeal of this album.

I've always wanted to like it. Always felt that given my level of appreciation for his work, perhaps I even should like it. But viewed through a somewhat objective musical lens, this album is a misstep of the highest order. A self-pity party wrapped up in often less than stellar songs, unfulfilling arrangements, less than interesting riffing and lyrical content that crosses the line between admirable self-confession and just plain pseudo-intellectual misery rants.

"Crying Wolf" starts the album in a fairly straightforward rock and roll manner. The problem is that the riff is somewhat of a throwaway and reveals a tendency that plagues some of Hammill's post- Nadir work; whereby the conceptual overrides the end result or even musical value. It's Hammill having decided that Rikki Nadir deserves a voice in his music, but to what does that concept equate? Here, I'm afraid it fails to move the meter much at all. The riff is played with little intensity. The shortcomings of Hammill's electric guitar playing give way to the concept, and the possibilities of the music struggle underneath this pretext. There simply isn't enough there in the first place to then strip things down.

"Autumn" is perhaps the best piece of music on the album. A gorgeous, twisting and hauntingly melodic song which contemplates the values in growing older in a relationship. Still, something here keeps this from being a home run. In this case, I think the arrangements are a bit cluttered and Graham Smith takes over at times when I want to hear *this* song in a somewhat more sparse manner. This is sometimes a problem for me with Hammill's work. I'll find his unaccompanied live versions of songs to be absolutely mind boggling but the arrangements on the albums to be undisciplined and a victim of the more is less approach.

"Time Heals" makes evident just what pain Hammill was enduring during the recording of this album. And despite one of his worst musical shifts about halfway through this one into a two chord piano riff that just doesn't need life, I think I should state at this point that in my book he is to be commended. Commended for being able to finish this project during a time when he was clearly in tremendous pain. I suppose that, particularly in youth, most of us understand all too well the lack of logic that sometimes follows the heart, so granted it is with older eyes that I say this; but this song leaves me wondering if this woman deserved an entire album devoted to her? Hey! She ran off with your friend, man! Come on. Talk about "over." But instead Hammill begins to spend time on this album examining his own flaws. Even asking in "Alice" whether this is really the end of the story. Clearly a moment of hope amidst his heartbreak which fails to acknowledge the deeper issue at hand: What kind of woman leaves a seven year relationship and runs off with your friend? I can't help but feel a combination of sympathy for and frustration with Hammill at this point.

"Looking Glass" is a beautiful piece of work. For some reason it reminds me of Black Sabbath's "She's Gone" in that both songs seem to be rooted in unabashed sadness and seek to never leave a drop of hope on the floor for anything but loneliness. For some reason I find Hammill's delivery here to be solid but not on par with his very best. Can't really out my finger on why. It's a damned good track. I'll leave it at that. As is "Betrayed," which follows, featuring Hammill in a pure, raw form as only he can capture.

And that about does it. By the time I get through "Yoga" and "Lost and Found" I am ready to play "The Peel Sessions" and remind myself just what a genius Hammill could be on his own. On Over, he has revealed a side to his writing which, while entirely original, lacks defined musical passion and power. It's an album for his ex, not for me.

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 Fool's Mate by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 262 ratings

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Fool's Mate
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Peter Hammill's debut album stands in relation to his solo career much like "The Aerosol Grey Machine" does to his output with Van Der Graaf Generator: as a worthwhile anomaly separate from the main body of his recorded work. The album is notable for its refreshing lack of tortured self- analysis, placing it alongside the sunny proto-punk of "Nadir's Big Chance" as the easiest Peter Hammill album to digest in a single sitting.

Compared to subsequent efforts it can appear disarmingly facile at times. Song titles like "Happy" and "Sunshine" suggest an uncomplicated optimism rare for such an otherwise thoughtful artist. And "Vision" stands as arguably one of the purest love ballads ever written, by Hammill or anyone else. But as always there's more to the album than what first meets the ear, and when played in isolation there isn't one song here that isn't unblinkingly honest, or less than typically literate.

Even the jaunty album opener "Imperial Zeppelin" undermines its own Utopian vision of rising above a planet where "hate is seething / nothing's worth believing" with a quick, cold shower of fatalism uncommon in 1971: "Of course we all know very well / It wouldn't work, but what the hell..." And that's during one of the album's lighter songs! By the time Hammill begins slashing at his acoustic guitar with unconcealed fury (in the otherwise gently reflective "I Once Wrote Some Poems") it's clear a very different and darker species of butterfly was emerging from its musical chrysalis.

Very little here conforms to the accepted Prog Rock stereotypes of the 1970's, except the creative thinking and restless intellect ("Let me sleep / Let me dream / Let me be!" he implores us in "Re- Awakening"). At this early stage of his career Hammill was already staking his position as a uniquely personal singer-songwriter, standing apart from the Progressive Rock ideals of the time. Despite the crowded guest list on his first solo album, including all his Van Der Graaf pals, plus Robert Fripp and members of Lindisfarne, Hammill was (and remains) the driver, chief mechanic, and conductor on a bandwagon of one.

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 Other World by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 61 ratings

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Other World
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Impressive but...

Soon after that I had heard "The Silent corner and the empty stage" beacame I very curious about hearing the totally new record by htis romantic hero, Peter Hammill, the record "Other world" from 2014 which is done together with guitarist Gary Lucas.

On the cover we see and area of antoher planet and it feels like the theme of emptyness is present also here, but actually even more here. I was overwhelmed when I realized that Peter Hammill could still perform pure musical art just as that romantic stage poet he is. On "Other world", Hammill's thirty-eighth studio album it's just he and Gary Lucas, the guitarist who play. They do perform impressive things on these minutes. Lucas is a great guitarist who can capture every feeling and play both rough and sophisticated.

But, when I am impressed do I just rate this three? Well I think the record is too calmed down, too ambient and partially even too weird. I like experimental stuff and I know it's progressive but I want to hear more of the Hammill I am used to. I would like to recommend some beautiful songs though such as: " Of Kith & Kin" a quite acoustic song with the famous voice poet telling us the truth and "Cash"- rough and mighty , "This is Showbiz" - fast and furious, "Black Ice" an experimental beauty and "The Kid" which all deserve (8/10) from me. Some of the others are also good but I wouldn't recommend them.

This is definitely a record for fans of Peter Hammill but perhaps even more for fans of very experiemtal and/or calm ambient music. I look forward to hear all the other Hammill records!

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 The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.34 | 680 ratings

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The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars Peter Hammill was born in London 1948 and has a huge discography of progressive rock. I know him particularly for his twelve Van der Graaf Generator record but he is also a solo artist which has done thirty-eight records. These records was in the beginning done with the same line-up such as Van der Graaf Generator so it's not strange that I like this record very much. "The silent corner and the empty stage" from 1974 is Peter Hammill's third studio album. It is amazing that this one celebrates its fourtieth birthday this year. The cover is discreet, showing something soft I don't figure out. The line up is Peter Hammill of course who plays guitar, piano, bass, harmonium, keyboards, mellotron and oscillator and sings, Randy California who plays guitar, Hugh Banton who plays organ, guitar and keyboards, Guy Evans who plays drums and percussion and David Jackson who plays flute and saxophone. So it's almost a common Van der Graaf Generator-record. But I would consider this record different from VDGG anyway. The compositions are more artistic and romantic and not as bombastic, even if they're bombastic enough.

I haven't heard this many times but I know that I love this record. If a musician wonder how to do rock music as pure art this is the answer. The music is brutal as punk and the vocal performance of Hammill is monumental. He extends the though of what you can do on an empty stage. When you listen to this record the stage is definitely not empty anymore. The record has also a longer playing time than other lp:s which is great. The record starts with the new thinking and heavy "Modern" which hits the romantic level this album happens to stand for(9/10). The "Wilhelmina" starts which is one of the most lovely songs I have found in a very long time. The lyrics, the melody and Hammill's vocals make my feelings swell over(10/10). "The Lie" is almost as fantastic, a track of a genius(10/10) and "Forsaken gardens" has a lot of drama and the famous Jackson saxophone and I love this too(10/10). The little acoustic piece "Rubicon" is the least fantastic part of this album(8/10) because the bottom is high. The final is of course "A louse is not a home", the longest track which is a fantastic symphonic tale for those ears which are not afraid of new thinking rock and cacophony. How I wish more musicians were blessed with a musical mind as Hammill(10/10). This record has a self-written place in every prog rock collection and I do not doubt a second to rate this high. A have hard to pick the best songs but "Wilhelmina" holds a special place in my heart, partially because I love the name, and the final "A Louse is not a Home" can you not hear to many times I pick them.

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 A Black Box by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.92 | 193 ratings

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A Black Box
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by madcap68

3 stars Even the biggest heroes can err...

As we all know, don't we, Peter Hammill isn't only one of prog's most prominent visionaries (and one of my all time favourites, see the hero above) but also invented punk rock. Sort of... With Jargon King and The Wipe he also invented the weird genre of Jungle Prog Step or whatever, which really doesn't work for me. I use to constantly sing Peter's praise to my friends and colleagues but I come back to these two tracks that even the most valiant heroes... er, yes, we had that one before..

On the other hand, we have the epic Flight, which combines "classic" Hammill with his Wave style offerings. At least in parts, Flight makes for a 5 star candidate. I also like the dark and moody Fogwalking but all in all, for me, this is one of his weaker albums.

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 The Appointed Hour (with Roger Eno) by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.80 | 40 ratings

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The Appointed Hour (with Roger Eno)
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars The audiophiles who knew too much!

I am going to bore you a bit, about how this "The Appointed Hour", 1999, music experiment came upon. On a specific hour and date, Roger Eno in his "studio", miles away of Peter Hammill´s one, recorded unconnected from each other for an hour exactly and then stopped at the same "appointed hour". Then met afterwards to mix both impro/compositions... Mmh! All of this, promptly explained in its packaging. Also an emphasis that - no overdubs or time/syncs were used. That shows how happy they were with the actual results!

The progger's ratings are quiet average. And then again, the average young progger does not even consider this kind of music to be prog for starters!..., I mean, "modern classical piano music" with "impressionistic influences" + "ambient" and no "happy" moments, all hell broke loose!

Anyway! 20 unaltered songs came out of this "dadaistic" way of composing. Completely "instrumental", impro like, but similar in its "classic music" oriented, "ambiental" tone.

All tracks do behold an above average quality, some are shinier, some others more "impressionistic" and some move towards the "obscure", but really all catch your attention, beyond a purist prejudice of this way of songwriting.

As I listen, Satie's and Debussy's piano pieces come to mind, as a reference not a comparison. "No masterpiece but neither trash!", ***3.5 PA stars.

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 Fool's Mate by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 262 ratings

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Fool's Mate
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Peter Hammill - Fool's Mate (1971)

Van Der Graaf's frontman Peter Hammill's first solo-album comes right at my favorite moment of VdGG history. The sound of the band of the '69-'71 period was especially well put onto record by producer Mark Anthony, whose absence in later years in de studio would be a disadvantage to the band in my opinion. I just love that soulfull sound with the pastoral reverbs and classic- rock organs of 'H to He' (1970). Moreover, Peter Hammill's voice sounded best in this period in my opinion. Soulfull, free, deep, emotional - but not too troubled.

Fool's Mate feels to me like a logical step forward from the VdGG debut 'Aeresol Machine', which originally was planned to be Peter Hammill's debut. The songs are short, tight, slightly adventerous without being bombastic. Clearly progressive and innovative, but without the elements that would eventually lead to progressive rock's demise. All songs are original in their own way and the performances of Peter Hammill are destinctively different on every one of them. Some songs are playfull and could even be considered to be happy-sounding, whilst on side two slightly darker (but not bleak!) compositions give depth to the total listening experience. VdGG is present as a backing band, but the sound is often a bit more eclectig with use of more instruments. The background presence of Robert Fripp on one of the later songs can't be missed by the fans.

This is a perfectly enjoyable record from start to finish. I liked it at first spin, I adored the eight spin I've just had. One of Peter Hammill's finest, happiest and most easily approachable. Only stubbern masochistic progressive rock listeners would look down on such a fine album. Five stars!

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 Other World by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 61 ratings

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Other World
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is a very interesting album, because it is not a normal Peter Hammill release. It really is a collaboration with lots of ambient passages. You will get your fill of Peter Hammill, but Gary Lucas is equally felt on this release. The title is fitting, because this release is experimental space rock in many ways and rewards a very patient listener. If you are looking for something different, but very familiar at the same time, this is a great choice. With the exception of And Close as This and A Black Box, this is his best album since the 70s.

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