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Van Der Graaf Generator - Trisector CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 454 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Almost 40 years after the release of their accidental debut album, the resurrected Van der Graaf Generator is still not too old to rock'n'roll, as the opener to their 2008 offering Trisector shows: 'The Hurlyburly' is pure rocking fun with a slight touch of sophistication filtered through the jamming mood, something like Rolling Stones-meets-Rick Nadir. Van der Graaf Generator is neither too old to face new challenges or provide genuine strength to their music: in fact, they were driven to do the latter in order to achieve the former, because that's what a band like this has to do when saxophonist David Jackson, the real instrumental protagonist in the ensemble, is missing - face a new challenge. And so they did, and successfully. As it happened with the comeback gem Present, the band's nuclear sound is well set on the paths followed during the 75-76 era, although the remanent trio is forced to bring out a tighter sound: the ethereal aspect of the VdGG sound has to be underscored since banton has to stop creating layers and ambiences as background for Jackson's archetypical sax flourishes and textures. These are gone, so it leaves Banton as the leading instrumentalist, which in turn forces Evans to reinforce his rhythm foundations in a peculiarly rocking fashion: in order to make the whole ensamble work integrally in this new scheme, Hammill has to focus (either in the fast or slow songs) on his recognizeable energy, related to the most powerful passages of his later solo albums. Much guitar input by Hammill here, when compared to volume 1 of Present. Even though his singing is a bit waned, you can still notice the passion, conviction and muscle whe ndepicting his tales of solitude, coming of age, lovers' suicide, etc. So, Trisector ends up being more robust and less atmospheric than Present: both albums are equally excellent for different reasons, always making sense in the VdGG idiosincracy. After the catchy fun of the instrumental opener, things starts getting serious immediately with 'Interference Patterns', a rack solidly based on the dynamic interaction between the organ harmonic flows and the tight drum cadences. This course of action will also prove relevant in on tracks such as 'All That Before' and the tremendus closer '(We Are) Not Here'. The former bears a reasonably constrained anger recycled through elegant energy, while the latter brings a moderately bombastic mood not too far from the staple 'La Rossa' (albeit, not as epic: this song was designed to especifically close down the album). The real epic stuff is comrpised in 'Over the Hill', whose almost 12 minute span is full of a well organized set of various sections, diverse moods and alternations between climaxes and relaxed passages: the whole amalgam is really hypnotic, yet another VdGG gem, yet another gigantic step for prog music. 'The Final Reel' is a jazzy ballad that finds the piano and organ creating a sonic community of grey moods. While keeping a similarly ethereal instrumentation, 'Lifetime' patently delivers more tension, with the soft organ putting thoughts of mysterious menace in the listener's mind. 'Drop Dead' brings back the rockiest side of Hammill and co., again in a Nadir sort of way, something halfway between 'Nobody's Business' and 'Two or Three Spectres'. 'Only in a Whisper' is a 5/4 nidtemp owhose jazzy cadences make it related to 'The Final Reel' - arguably, here 's Evan's mos taccomplished performance in the album. Well, well,... it is OK to miss Jackson when it comes to facing the opportunity to listen to Trisector for the first time, but once you get to listen to it, then comes a new idea in mind, an idea that can be easily confirmed after one or two more listens: the new material works well for this trio format, and so do the arrangements. This is an indication of how talented this band is with any format.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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