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Peter Hammill - In Camera CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 452 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A major change in the line-up for this fourth solo album (or is it the first one?).

The great Jackson is absent (although I would swear to hear some sax in here). But there is another surprise here: one of the founding VDGG member Judge Smith is featured on percussion and backing vocals on "Magog". As I already have told you, these Hammill works are closely linked to the band (past, present or future)...

It is obvious again that one could have get another very good VDGG album while listening to "In Camera". Although it starts in a more personal way with "Ferret" (already written in 1969 and which should have fit on "Aerosol") , the next couple of songs "Sub Mariner" and "Tapeworm" are so deeply rooted into the VDGG dark atmosphere that they almost belong to their repertoire. Two great tracks by all means of which the latter was written well before these recording sessions (1971).

But there are some Hammill oriented songs as well. On the soft side ("Again"); maybe to give the time to breathe in-between some more weird and obscure numbers.

I am also deeply impressed with the sensible "Faint-Heart & The Sermon". This album is very much "religion" oriented. As if Peter had something to be forgiven for. Anyway, I am not at all into religion and this aspect is not really relevant to me. Being a Hammill concern or not. The music is good, and this is what is important.

After an average Comet etc., a very much contraversial song. Or half of it. While Gog definitely belongs to the good songs from his repertoire with truly contagious vocals, Magog is another affair. Since I started my day to post my review for the reunion album Present and talked about my feelings about the second CD of this set, I can compare this to the second part of Gog, Magob which starts after almost eight minutes of another great performance.

The next nine minutes are fully experimental and honestly not very interesting. Here is what Peter told about this part:

I stuck Paul and Judge in the bathroom and fed them prepared and not-so-prepared tracks. Two passes of tape, I think...and then a lot of work. It didn't seem that odd to me to stick concrete stuff like this together with, say, Ferret. The rules are the same: tension and release. Use of accident, captured on tape. The sproing (for want of a better term) sound which occurs at the end (and is the release of tension) was, for instance, a once and once only effect of hitting on the button of the bass compressor. As if you needed to know that. Such accidents are strewn all over these recordings and contribute, I think, both to their charm and to their other-worldly menace.

They don't make 'em like this any more. Actually, they didn't at the time. Then, you were a serious concrete artist, or a sensitive singer-songwriter, or an all-out rocker, or a Progmeister, or whatever. Weren't you? As now...aren't you? Get in your cage or box!

I begged, I beg, to differ. And you definitely did.

Still, due to these experimental sounds, I downgrade this album to three stars.

Fair to say that some kind of future for me started here. Future, interrupted.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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