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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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In CameraIn Camera
Extra tracks · Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$3.61
$4.88 (used)
Chameleon in the Shadow of the NightChameleon in the Shadow of the Night
Extra tracks · Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$3.61
$7.76 (used)
Silent Corner & The Empty StageSilent Corner & The Empty Stage
Extra tracks · Remastered
Caroline 2006
Audio CD$3.61
$9.75 (used)
Fools MateFools Mate
Extra tracks · Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2005
Audio CD$5.55
$5.00 (used)
OverOver
Extra tracks · Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$3.61
$11.25 (used)
Black BoxBlack Box
Extra tracks · Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2006
Audio CD$5.44
$9.42 (used)
Roaring FortiesRoaring Forties
Remastered
FIE 2003
Audio CD$10.68
$20.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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PETER HAMMILL shows & tickets


  • Other World on 9 Nov 2014

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)

3.74 | 212 ratings
Fool's Mate
1971
4.01 | 238 ratings
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night
1973
4.37 | 525 ratings
The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
1974
4.13 | 250 ratings
In Camera
1974
3.71 | 169 ratings
Nadir's Big Chance
1975
3.99 | 215 ratings
Over
1977
3.44 | 136 ratings
The Future Now
1978
3.63 | 134 ratings
pH7
1979
3.91 | 153 ratings
A Black Box
1980
3.46 | 117 ratings
Sitting Targets
1981
3.73 | 101 ratings
Enter K
1982
3.62 | 98 ratings
Patience
1983
3.30 | 51 ratings
Loops & Reels
1983
2.97 | 78 ratings
Skin
1986
3.56 | 76 ratings
And Close as This
1986
2.78 | 58 ratings
In a Foreign Town
1988
3.27 | 65 ratings
Out of Water
1990
3.41 | 70 ratings
The Fall of the House of Usher
1991
3.16 | 35 ratings
Spur of the moment (with Guy Evans)
1991
3.59 | 90 ratings
Fireships
1992
2.62 | 54 ratings
The Noise
1993
2.31 | 29 ratings
Offensichtlich Goldfisch
1993
3.11 | 63 ratings
Roaring Forties
1994
3.16 | 56 ratings
X My Heart
1996
2.35 | 37 ratings
Sonix
1996
3.41 | 59 ratings
Everyone You Hold
1997
3.38 | 57 ratings
This
1998
2.90 | 31 ratings
The Appointed Hour (with Roger Eno)
1999
3.74 | 67 ratings
The Fall of the House of Usher (New Version)
1999
2.61 | 45 ratings
None Of The Above
2000
3.24 | 48 ratings
What , Now?
2001
2.76 | 33 ratings
Unsung
2001
3.54 | 61 ratings
Clutch
2002
3.71 | 85 ratings
Incoherence
2004
3.51 | 67 ratings
Singularity
2006
3.25 | 74 ratings
Thin Air
2009
3.50 | 41 ratings
Consequences
2012
3.59 | 46 ratings
Other World
2014

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

3.66 | 34 ratings
The Margin +
1985
3.29 | 32 ratings
Room Temperature Live
1990
3.56 | 32 ratings
There Goes the Daylight
1993
3.59 | 29 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1995
3.08 | 12 ratings
Tides
1996
3.29 | 20 ratings
The Union Chapel Concert (with Guy Evans)
1997
4.07 | 39 ratings
Typical (Solo Performances)
1999
3.90 | 35 ratings
Veracious (with Stuart Gordon)
2006
3.73 | 11 ratings
In The Passionskirche - Berlin MCMXCII
2009

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

4.08 | 7 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Peter Hammill
1982
2.57 | 28 ratings
The Love Songs
1984
3.82 | 3 ratings
The Essential Collection
1986
3.87 | 16 ratings
The Calm (After The Storm)
1993
3.27 | 11 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
2.33 | 6 ratings
The Thin Man Sings Ballads
2001
2.50 | 2 ratings
Pno, Gtr, Vox, Box - 84 Live Performances
2012

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
Red Shift
1973
2.14 | 3 ratings
Birthday Special / Shingle Song
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
If I Could
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
My Experience
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Paradox Drive
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Film Noir
1983
2.26 | 8 ratings
Just Good Friends
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
Painting by Numbers
1986
2.00 | 1 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
4.37 | 525 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
3.91 | 153 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
2.90 | 31 ratings

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

Review by admireArt

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
3.74 | 212 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
3.59 | 46 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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 The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 525 ratings

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The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Peter Hammill's solo stint during Van der Graaf Generator's original hiatus continues in 1974 with the album ''The silent corner and the empty stage''.This was another record to feature the member's of the demised legendary British band minus bassist Nic Potter, who decided to focus on the attempts on the newly established Long Hello, a jazzy-flavored instrumental group of a Hamill-less Van der Graaf Generator line-up.However the new album features the surprising appearance of Randy California in one track, the guitarist of Psychedelic Rockers Spirit.''The silent corner and the empty stage'' was recorded during two periods, spring and autumn of 1973.The ever-supporting Charisma was once again the labelhouse to support another Van der Graaf Generator-related album.

Reputedly all these early Peter Hammill albums contained material intended for inclusion in future VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's albums, but this one sounds more like a team effort than Hammill's second album and for the first time so close to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's classic style.And what a team effort it was!It contains a mix of lyrical pieces with full-blown Prog Rock deliveries, based on an epic keyboard sound, an incredible balance between electric and acoustic moments and discreet sax/flute drives with Hammill's voice being deeper and more expressive than ever.The music follows the dark lines of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR with hidden jazzy flavors, atmospheric orchestrations and poetic singing, completing powerful, haunting and complex songs with great instrumental work, full of unexpected twists and sinister moods.The smoother pieces are mostly based on Hammil's unique voice, supported by his piano, guitar and sporadic organ, sax and flutes, but even these tracks are not easy for the non-mystified listener, evolving from poetic atmospheres to Classical nuances to pastoral, acoustic interludes.For the longer and more complicated pieces, words are poor to describe the monumental atmosphrere this group of musicians could create.From an extreme lyricism to the scratching saxophone of David Jackson, from mellow piano lines to symphonic themes, showered by Mellotrons, organs and harsichord, from psychedelic textures with abnormal structures and deep bass to minimalistic sounds with a dark atmosphere, everything seems well placed to create great, progressive pieces with an original character.

The definition of dark and doomy Progressive Rock.There are no silent corners or empty places in this album.This should be easily regarded as a Van der Graaf Generator offshoot work, which means that the content can be no other than passionate, complex and irritating.Highly recommended...4.5 stars.

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 The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 525 ratings

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The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars An album I bought in the 70s that baffled me and left me cold but which I have revisited many times throughout the years--and more recently--due to its acclaim and curious dissonance. Though Peter's voice has never quite won me over (though his performances on H to He, Who Am The Only One are wonderful), coupled with the fact that I am not a lyric/content man have always left me "outside" music like this. Plus, I do not find any of the instrumental performances impressive or to have stood up very well over time. There seems to be a lot of starkness and relative simplicity in PH/VDGG's recording styles that leave me cold and unimpressed. "Red Shift" is amazing and "A Louse Is Not a Home" is interesting but ultimately always forgettable. There is nothing else here that I can ever attach myself to much less remember despite numerous listenings over forty years.

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 Nadir's Big Chance by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.71 | 169 ratings

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Nadir's Big Chance
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by 1970sgenesisfan

4 stars When you think of progressive rock, the last band to come to mind would probably be the Sex Pistols, a group notorious for hating the genre to the point that burning life sized effigies of Keith Emerson was not uncommon practice at its shows. Considering this, imagine my surprise when I first discovered that John Lydon was a fan of none other than Peter Hammill. Not being all that well acquainted with Hammill's career at the time, I struggled to make the connection. What relationship could there be between Hammill's musings on louses and lighthouse keepers and the Sex Pistols' straightforward brand of punk rock?

This is the answer.

When I decided on a whim to pick up a cheap, used copy of Nadir's Big Chance at my local record store, put it on the car stereo, and pressed play for the first time, everything made sense. The opening track features Hammill in full-on pissed off mode as he nearly screams lyrics about how he's "gonna scream gonna shout gonna play [his] guitar" while his Van der Graaf bandmates make a wild, chaotic racket in the background. Even though it was recorded in 1975, this first track is very much punk, but at the same time it's clearly 100% Hammill. Oh, and it kicks some pretty serious @$$ too.

Still, title track included, I wouldn't say there are more than three LOUD, straightforward rockers in total on this disc, the others being "Nobody's Business" and the lyrically fantastic "Birthday Special" (both of which I love very much, if you must know). One thing which really stands out to me about Nadir is the sheer variety of material on offer here and, unlike quite a bit of Hammill's solo career, it's all very accessible and melodic. By a hair, my favorite track might just have to be "Open Your Eyes". I love how Hammill almost seems to be singing under the instrumentation in the verses before soaring above everything else when he sings "and I opened my EYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEES!" It's absolutely gorgeous, not to mention the fact that both Hugh Banton and Dave Jackson kill on this track. There's a fine line between chaos and absolute beauty here unsurpassed anywhere else on this album.

There are also a few ballads. "Been Alone So Long" makes my heart want to melt every time I hear it (God, I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true), and although it took awhile for "Pompeii" to grow on me, I now find myself listening to it more than nearly anything else on the disc. I'm also a big fan of "The Institute of Mental Health, Burning." The combination of the bizarre, sarcastic (almost joyful) lyrics with Guy Evans's eerie repeating drum pattern just works...somehow. There's even a re-recording of an old Van der Graaf Generator song, "People You Were Going To," which--despite a few awkward lyrics--comes off a great success. If there's a weak moment, though, I must confess that I've never been a fan of "Shingle Song". Lacking any interesting performances or notable hooks, it simply fails to keep my attention.

In the end, all flaws aside, this is a well constructed, melodic, diverse album of short, digestible songs. It bears mentioning, before I wrap up, that this album has one of the coolest atmospheres on any record I have ever heard, certainly different from Hammill's other work--dark, mysterious, somehow innocent--I'm not totally sure how to describe it. Listen and you'll see what I mean. Although this is quite different from the stuff VdGG was doing at around the same time, the band plays absolutely fantastic on here, and it almost goes without saying that Hammill's vocal performances are simply FANTASTIC, even if I get the feeling that the lyrics might not cut quite as deep as usual. Still, this is undoubtedly one of his best. Johnny Rotten liked it enough to play two tracks from it on national radio, and I must say that--for once--I am in total agreement. Recommended for anyone looking for an accessible way to get into Peter Hammill's work.

4 Stars

Originally posted (by me) on rockandprogreviews.wordpress.com

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 Other World by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.59 | 46 ratings

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Other World
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by 1970sgenesisfan

4 stars Hypothetically, if I were asked to pigeonhole this album into some sort of genre or category, the closest I would be able to come would probably be something along the lines of twisted, psychedelic folk. Let me explain. This collaboration between Van der Graaf Generator frontman Peter Hammill and guitar maestro Gary Lucas, of Captain Beefheart fame, is--in a word--otherworldly. For every track here which could be classified as a straightforward, melodic "song" (and there are plenty), there's a spacey, instrumental soundscape to match.

Of the "normal" songs, the opening "Spinning Coins"--short although it might be--starts the album off strong. Considering his age, Peter Hammill's voice sounds to be holding up very well, and Gary Lucas, who I was not acquainted with prior to hearing this album, makes his presence felt from the first note with some simple but oh-so-effective guitar chords. It's very solid, as are nearly all of the traditional songs, if not particularly remarkable. "Of Kith and Kin," by contrast, stood out from the beginning and has only gotten more enjoyable with repeated listens. I love how Hammill's earnest vocal in the verses is juxtaposed with the song's reflective, melancholy bridge to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The instrumental backing here, a tasteful mixture of Lucas's strong acoustic guitar and Hammill's soundscapes, is simply perfect. "This is Showbiz," with its layers of vocals and excellent sense of rhythm, is another standout, as is the melodic, almost playful "Black Ice".

Unfortunately, Otherworld isn't without it's weak points, and a particularly unfortunate one comes in the form of "Cash" which, despite a strong start, quickly starts to sound contrived, somehow lacking enough ideas to sustain its paltry three minute running time. I've also found that, try as I might, I can't remember much of anything when it comes to the vocal part to "Two Views". I really dig Gary's eerie, echoey guitar part, though, so it can stay. On the whole, these songs are--

--never all that far from veering in the direction of the bizarre. Whether they come in the middle of a relatively normal track or not (there's a pretty awesome psychedelic freakout in the middle of "Black Ice"), the instrumental, soundscape type work is something which really sets this album apart. "Some Kind of Fracas," for example, despite a fairly normal start, quickly dissolves into an ugly, almost Frippian mass of sound... and it works. I wasn't a huge fan of these pieces when I first heard the album, but the more times I listen the more details I pick out, and the more I realize how unique each piece is from the others. I won't try to talk about them in too much detail (I don't think I could anyway), but I will say that when combined with the other songs, they give this album a powerfully strange atmosphere that makes the whole thing work. Check out "Built from Scratch" or "Slippery Slope" to see what I mean.

To close, I feel that it's worth mentioning just how much Gary Lucas adds to this album. If Hammill had performed these songs alone, my evaluation would still be positive, but Lucas's often understated guitar playing takes things to another level, especially when compared to Hammill's more recent work. There's an energy here which I thought some of those albums lacked, good as they often were. Although Otherworld isn't likely to blow your socks off, it's worth checking out if you're a fan of either Hammill or Lucas.

3.5 stars, rounded to 4 because I'm in a good mood.

**Originally published (by me) on rockandprogreviews.wordpress.com

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 Birthday Special / Shingle Song by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
2.14 | 3 ratings

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Birthday Special / Shingle Song
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars Peter Hammill took a radical sidestep in his musical career in 1975 and relased the album Nadir's Big Chance. It contains very straight-forward songs that have almost nothing to do with prog, instead many songs sound like punk rock - before such genre even existed officially! And yet that honest and personally charming album has stood the test of time better than several others by Hammill.

The A-side of this single, 'Birthday Special', is among the punkiest songs by him. Not exactly raw in the execution, but a plain poor composition. To me it's not even interesting enough to listen to for a second time. Luckily it's not on the album, because if it was it would probably be the worst one.

B-side's 'Shingle Song' is featured on the Nadir album and is among its finest and calmest songs, a melancholic slow-tempo love song in fact. David Jackson adds his saxophone and Hammill's emotional vocals are very good on this one. For a bad non-abum song and a good album song I think two stars is fair enough.

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