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Peter Hammill - Singularity CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.53 | 116 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Peter Hammill is a productive guy. Every year there's a new album released. Sometimes it's hard for the fans to catch up with all the material that's been released. Moreover the music of Peter Hammill is not for every day use. You really have to be in the mood for this kind of rough and emotional music. In the past this man's work has been a great source of inspiration for many rock artists (both progressive and other). This can't be a coincidence.

"Singularity" is not an exceptional or surprising Hammill album but simply a very enjoyable one. If you know what to expect from the guy from Bath, you can't possibly be dissatisfied with this album ; the compositions are most inspiring. This is Hammill at his best. On some Hammill albums, the arrangements are too bare but on "Singularity", the arrangements and production work are elaborated. There's a moody atmosphere throughout all of the album. Take "Famous last words" for an example. At the beginning only a harp and a keyboard can be heard. Gradually there's the addition of a piano, a background choir of dubbed vocals, bass, drums and again a soaring electric guitar that I always enjoyed on Hammill records. This could well be my favourite track because of the great mood and the strong melody lines. The classical elements in the arrangements are awesome ! "Our eyes give it shape" is a perfect opening track in the vein of "I'll find you" from "Fireships", only this is more rockier. The up tempo track is dominated by the acoustic & electric guitar parts. "Vainglorious boy" is a typical wild and psychotic track that could fit in on albums like "The black box" or "Roaring forties". There's a soaring, psychedelic guitar and Hammill rather shouts than he sings, Hammill fans will know hat I mean.. "Meanwhile my mother" is a seventies sounding track where the domestic intimacy is illustrated in a familiar seventies sound. There's a Hammond organ accompanied by a violin ensemble. Great melody line by the way. "Of wire, of wood" is a odd little instrumental that is reminiscent to the work of Gabriel in the beginning of the eighties. The combination of a piano solo and an ethnic percussion motive on the background has a fascinating effect. On "Friday afternoon" Hammill proofs another time what a magnificent songwriter he really is. Even though the track exists of little more than a vocal and a piano, the melodies are compelling. The last track "white dot" is definitely the strangest of the bunch. This is comparable with the material you can find on his late seventies releases. Layers of disturbing keyboards and guitars provide a sinister atmosphere. This gives the listener the disturbing feeling something isn't right and that was probably the intention. With tracks like that, I always have the feeling this has never been finished sufficiently. The roughness is typical for most of Hammill's work and this really is how he wanted it to be done. I sometimes compare his work with a rough jewel. There's a lot of musical creativity to discover on the inside but on the outside the surface isn't smooth. Die hard fans are familiar with this kind of musical chaos. New listeners better start with another track.

"Singularity" is an album that I treasure from the first moment I started listening. The songs are great and accessible, the arrangements serve the purpose perfectly. Sometimes the sound is broad and big, sometimes the atmosphere is intimate. There's a good balance between quiet moods and up-tempo excerpts. The sound of this album is timeless. It could date from the seventies, eighties or nineties. That's a good thing cause it means we still will be playing this album within 10 or 20 years. Although it's not a masterpiece, this definitely is one of his better records to my humble opinion. I wonder how it can be that Peter Hammill still sounds so vivid on "Singularity" in his older days. It seems that time has little effect on him.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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