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Which 5 Peter Hammill albums are 'essential'

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Category: Progressive Music Lounges
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Topic: Which 5 Peter Hammill albums are 'essential'
Posted By: friso
Subject: Which 5 Peter Hammill albums are 'essential'
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 11:12
Pick your five favorite Peter Hammill solo albums from the vinyl age. Feel free to add some words of advice, I already own 'In Camara', 'Over' and 'A Black Box' (of which I only like side 1).



Replies:
Posted By: Horizons
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 11:15
Ive only heard 5 soooo.. :D

Chameleon, Camera, Stage, ph7, Black Box


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Posted By: TrevRockOne
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 13:26
That was not easy.  But I went with...
Silent Corner,
In Camera,
Over,
Black Box,
and Sitting Targets

But Patience could have easily found a spot, too.


Posted By: progtapper
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 13:52
Vision


Posted By: chefrobb
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 14:11
Silent Corner (not only top 5 of PH, but top 5 period), Over, Future Now, Nadir (love Rikki), In Camera

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chefrobb


Posted By: Triceratopsoil
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 14:13
I voted Chameleon through Over

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Posted By: Wanorak
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 14:16
I picked Over and then In Camera, The Future Now, PH7 and The Silent Corner.

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Posted By: Barbu
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 14:22
Camera>Silent Corner>Over>Black Box>Patience

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Posted By: Lynx33
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 14:27
Unf., there're only two I like: Sonix & The Appointed Hour.

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Mindez elmúlt. Ma már tudom köszönteni a szépséget.


Posted By: Hercules
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 15:03
Originally posted by Lynx33

Unf., there're only two I like: Sonix & The Appointed Hour.
 
That's two more than I like!
 
 


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I have many faults. Being wrong is not one of them.


Posted By: jean-marie
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 16:17
The first five, by far.....

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Posted By: Fox On The Rocks
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 18:50
The first 7 are all great, but if I had to pick one I'd go with In Camera for sure.


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Posted By: treebeard
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 19:00
Over is fantastic as is stage, te top 4 and over is my 5
I didn't see in a foreign town, shame


Posted By: memowakeman
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 19:33
Over
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
PH7
Fool's Mate
In Camera


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Posted By: HolyMoly
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 21:04
Silent Corner
In Camera
Over
The Future Now
Enter K


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Posted By: Rasvamakkara
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 23:06
Over
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
The Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
Nadir's Big Chance
In Camera

Outiside of the list I'd like to mention And Close as This, which in my opinion doesn't get the attention it deserves. It may be a bit inconsistent, but it includes several of Hammill's best and most heartwrenching songs (Empire of Delight, Too Many of My Yesterdays, Other old Cliches, Silver).




Posted By: Man With Hat
Date Posted: January 15 2012 at 23:17
The first nine are probably the most essential from a progressive rock standpoint (Even though I'm not the biggest fan of Chameleon or Nadir.) even though the rock quotient will vary. You should certainly get Silent Corner if nothing else.
 
My favorites from the above list are: In Camera, Silent Corner, Loops & Reels, Fool's Mate, and Over.


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I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
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Posted By: bucka001
Date Posted: January 16 2012 at 07:26
Originally posted by Hercules

Originally posted by Lynx33

Unf., there're only two I like: Sonix & The Appointed Hour.
 
That's two more than I like!
 
 
 
If I see a topic called "Top 5 Jethro Tull albums" or "Tony Banks'/Genesis' best ARP synth sounds of the 70's", I'm not even going to open it up (why would I? To say that I think they all suck? I do, but that's beside the point). Why would you even open this thread; I can't imagine your comment is helpful to the OP...
 
Almost any PH album from the 70's is considered a 'classic' amongst the PH/VdGG fan(atic)s (and many critics). It's the golden Charisma age, when a youthful Hammill was as creative as he was prolific. 
 
With the 80's, things started out great and got patchy. A Black Box, Sitting Targets, and the following K-Group albums are all excellent. The second half of the decade was a bit spotty. And Close As This is really good, though.
 
The 90's is really spotty. My two personal faves are Fireships (a really mature album) and Roaring Forties (one of his best, from any era).
 
The 00's... Started out patchy, but seemed to pick up when the VdGG era kicked in. Maybe having the band back together gave him a burst of creative enthusiasm. Singularity is a startling return to form, a really glorious album. I haven't heard all of Thin Air, but the consensus is that it's a real belter.
 
So, that's my two cents. Sorry, I could never pick just five!


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jc


Posted By: Saperlipopette!
Date Posted: January 16 2012 at 08:42
Silent Corner, A Black Box, Over, In Camera, and either Fools Mate or the uneven Chameleon.. 

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All the world is drowning
The ice caps are melting
The tide is rushing in
All the world is drowning
To wash away the sin

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Posted By: ergaster
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 05:18
Silent Corner, In Camera, Nadir's Big Chance, Over, and I'll have to toss a die for the fifth spot.....

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Posted By: npjnpj
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 05:44
I have this way of looking at it:

I find that the (classic) VdGG studio albums and the first 6 Hammill solo albums are one body of work, preferably heard in order,  which would then be:

Aerosol Grey Machine
The Least we can Do is Wave to Each Other
H to He Who Am the Only One
Fool’s Mate
Pawn Hearts
Over
Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
In Camera
Nadir’s Big Chance
Godbluff
Still Life
World Record
The Quiet Zone - The Pleasure Dome

So for me personally the first actual PH solo album is The Future Now.

I can't vote on this because each one of those PH albums above is essencial.

And although I'm a Graaf and Hammill fan, I don't think any of the PH albums after and including the Future Now are really essential. I always found them to be a weak echo of the VdGG that went before and never got anywhere near what they achieved as a unit. Perhaps not the general point of PH's output, but it's what I was looking for.


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I like the music of any era, regardless of when it was made.


Posted By: bucka001
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 07:02
Originally posted by npjnpj

I have this way of looking at it:

I find that the (classic) VdGG studio albums and the first 6 Hammill solo albums are one body of work, preferably heard in order,  which would then be:

Aerosol Grey Machine
The Least we can Do is Wave to Each Other
H to He Who Am the Only One
Fool’s Mate
Pawn Hearts
Over
Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
In Camera
Nadir’s Big Chance
Godbluff
Still Life
World Record
The Quiet Zone - The Pleasure Dome

 
Over would actually come after World Record (Chameleon comes after Pawn Hearts).
 
While I disagree with your assessment about any PH albums not being essential after and including The Future Now (I personally feel that the coupling of Future Now / pH7 is as worthwhile as anything before... they're all 'the Charisma years'), I can see where you're coming from with the 'one body of work' outlook for PH's solo albums during the VdGG era. For me, though, it's the 70's in general where Hammill was beyond brilliant. And even the early 80's w/A Black Box, Sitting Targets, and the K-Group albums... all extremely worthwhile. What a run! From the late 60's to the mid-80's -- every album a singular artistic success. Very few artists can boast such a run, especially given that PH released (incl. VdGG) around 22 or 23 albums in that period.


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jc


Posted By: npjnpj
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 07:52
Woops, the order was screwed up, sorry.

I agree with your assessment of the brilliant run of albums, but at the same time I still don't find them essential. The problem here might be that we differ on the word 'essential'  (to what or whom), lacking a general definition of the term.

If my CD collection got destroyed or stolen, I'd replace the albums from my list immediately, but I don't think I'd bother replacing the other PH albums, at least not for quite a while.

I think that what bothers me most about them is that I have to be in the right mood to be able to listen to them, whereas I can always play and enjoy a VdGG album. Most of his later output I see as being too whiney, and even the run of good late 70s and early 80s output suffers from bad production and (worse) inept instrumentation and playing. Not all of it, but a lot.

Whiney is OK in small doses, but not over several albums and over several years, even if it does go under the guise of deep philosophical thought (This applies mainly to his guitar only or keyboard only albums). Privately the guy is supposed to be quite cheerful, but then again I suppose he'd have to be or he'd have committed suicide a long time ago.

VdGG material can be quite dismal at times, indeed a lot of times and herein lies a lot of its appeal, but it also all contains an abundance of contrast which his solo output would largely lack. Additionally, his decision to release a lot of albums without any  rhythm section at all is a big mistake in my eyes.

I admire him for sticking to his guns for such a long time though, but the decision to reform VdGG was the best thing he could possibly do, for himself and for us.


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I like the music of any era, regardless of when it was made.


Posted By: friso
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 08:39
I do agree that the musicianship on a lot of Peter Hammill's albums is lacking a professional attitude. The rhythms are often unstable, the guitars by Hammill himself often sound a bit out of pitch and the production of some albums isn't always too pleasant. It would have been nice if Peter Hammill would have had a network of professional musicians to help him record his songs. Still the pure energy and 'realness' of Hammill his style keeps impressing me (over time).


Posted By: bucka001
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 10:08
Originally posted by npjnpj

Woops, the order was screwed up, sorry.

I agree with your assessment of the brilliant run of albums, but at the same time I still don't find them essential. The problem here might be that we differ on the word 'essential'  (to what or whom), lacking a general definition of the term.

If my CD collection got destroyed or stolen, I'd replace the albums from my list immediately, but I don't think I'd bother replacing the other PH albums, at least not for quite a while.

I think that what bothers me most about them is that I have to be in the right mood to be able to listen to them, whereas I can always play and enjoy a VdGG album. Most of his later output I see as being too whiney, and even the run of good late 70s and early 80s output suffers from bad production and (worse) inept instrumentation and playing. Not all of it, but a lot.

Whiney is OK in small doses, but not over several albums and over several years, even if it does go under the guise of deep philosophical thought (This applies mainly to his guitar only or keyboard only albums). Privately the guy is supposed to be quite cheerful, but then again I suppose he'd have to be or he'd have committed suicide a long time ago.

VdGG material can be quite dismal at times, indeed a lot of times and herein lies a lot of its appeal, but it also all contains an abundance of contrast which his solo output would largely lack. Additionally, his decision to release a lot of albums without any  rhythm section at all is a big mistake in my eyes.

I admire him for sticking to his guns for such a long time though, but the decision to reform VdGG was the best thing he could possibly do, for himself and for us.
 
All fair enough! VdGG had better production values (even when they produced themselves in the mid-latter part of the 70's). Hammill's later solo (i.e. late 70's, early 80's) albums would have sounded more 'accomplished' if he didn't play the drums or guitars himself. Yet, it's the very organic nature of those albums that I find appealing. One critic of the time commented that it's as if an artist entered an attic full of junk and, through his creativity, put it all together and came up with something unique and special. So, with that sort of take on it, I can get past the clunkiness of execution. And anyway, from Enter K ('82) through The Margin ('85) he had the K Group going strong and they were more than accomplished musicians, obviously. But I hear what you're saying.


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jc


Posted By: bucka001
Date Posted: January 17 2012 at 10:11
Originally posted by friso

I do agree that the musicianship on a lot of Peter Hammill's albums is lacking a professional attitude. The rhythms are often unstable, the guitars by Hammill himself often sound a bit out of pitch and the production of some albums isn't always too pleasant. It would have been nice if Peter Hammill would have had a network of professional musicians to help him record his songs. Still the pure energy and 'realness' of Hammill his style keeps impressing me (over time).
 
Again, I hear you and he probably would have been more 'successful' if there was better musicianship on some of those albums. But, he did put together the K Group (w/great musicianship) and I don't think those albums were any more successful (sales-wise) than any previous efforts. Of course, with Hammill, I'm sure none of us base our love/disappointment of his work on sales!


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jc


Posted By: friso
Date Posted: January 18 2012 at 05:05
Originally posted by bucka001

Originally posted by friso

I do agree that the musicianship on a lot of Peter Hammill's albums is lacking a professional attitude. The rhythms are often unstable, the guitars by Hammill himself often sound a bit out of pitch and the production of some albums isn't always too pleasant. It would have been nice if Peter Hammill would have had a network of professional musicians to help him record his songs. Still the pure energy and 'realness' of Hammill his style keeps impressing me (over time).

 

Again, I hear you and he probably would have been more 'successful' if there was better musicianship on some of those albums. But, he did put together the K Group (w/great musicianship) and I don't think those albums were any more successful (sales-wise) than any previous efforts. Of course, with Hammill, I'm sure none of us base our love/disappointment of his work on sales!


Yeah we tend to look at artistic success. Fully agreed upon.


Posted By: AtomicCrimsonRush
Date Posted: January 18 2012 at 05:08
Over
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
Fools Mate
Nadir's Big Chance
In Camera

in no p/o


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Posted By: ProgressToChange
Date Posted: April 25 2012 at 06:42
A little late but......

Chameleon
In camera
Silent corner
Room temperature (he does some amazingly passionate live versions here)

The 5th one is difficult but I have to go with 'This'.



Posted By: JeanFrame
Date Posted: April 25 2012 at 10:00
Silent corner


Posted By: Equality 7-2521
Date Posted: April 25 2012 at 11:33
The five from Chameleon to Over all must be heard.

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"One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall. "


Posted By: moshkito
Date Posted: April 26 2012 at 14:44
Originally posted by friso

Pick your five favorite Peter Hammill solo albums from the vinyl age. Feel free to add some words of advice, I already own 'In Camara', 'Over' and 'A Black Box' (of which I only like side 1).
 
I'm not sure that the choices made here are not the best ones ... Silent Corner is probably the best and most valuable of these for me, although as time goes by, I am liking Godbluff and Still Life a lot more ... where I thought that Silent Corner and Empty Space was personal, it is more angry than personal, and both Godbluff and Still Life are much more personal and interesting for me.
 
Out of Water has one of my favorite pieces by Peter ... "A Way Out". It's so simple ... that no one gets it! What a concept, hey?
 
But I can tell you that the anger in Bernina will always be there ... and I want to blow up some of these vampire bs movies with it!


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Posted By: MFP
Date Posted: April 26 2012 at 16:46
Originally posted by moshkito

Out of Water has one of my favorite pieces by Peter ... "A Way Out". It's so simple ... that no one gets it! What a concept, hey?


One of my favourites too.


Check out this version:
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Posted By: harpagroom
Date Posted: May 21 2012 at 08:22
I love the unexpectedness, genuinity, experimentalism of some of PH's albums, so I vote:

In Camera,

The Margin+,

Patience,

The Appointed Hour &

In A Foreign Town (the latter undeservedly underestimated by many, even Peter himself, if I understand well one of his newsletters at Sofasound!!)






Posted By: snowsnow
Date Posted: May 22 2012 at 02:13
In camera (by some distance)
A black box
Over
Nadir's big chance
Sitting targets


Posted By: refugee
Date Posted: May 22 2012 at 06:24
They’re all good. Voted for:

Chameleon
Silent Corner
In Camera
A Black Box
Patience

I don’t know how I can convince you that the second half of A Black Box is a masterpiece. I will never forget when PH performed Flight single-handedly at a concert in Oslo in the 80s.


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He say nothing is quite what it seems;
I say nothing is nothing
(Peter Hammill)


Posted By: harpagroom
Date Posted: May 29 2012 at 08:48
Come on, I am dark green with envy. Flight is one of his best. However, I would also be flying on a real wing if I, say, saw the VdGG of Vital Live (naturally with Jackson!) play Flight on a stage. I think this is the strength and calibre of the best PH / VdGG big, complex prog pieces (like eg. Still Life).


Posted By: sleeper
Date Posted: May 29 2012 at 10:33
I only have two, Silent Corner and the Empty Stage and Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night, I love both si I voted for them regardless as they are both well worth listening too. 

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Spending more than I should on Prog since 2005



Posted By: Pinkhead
Date Posted: May 29 2012 at 21:59
Over
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
PH7
Fool's Mate
In Camera



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