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Peter Hammill - In Camera CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 452 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IMHO, 'In Camera' is Peter Hammill's most amazing accomplishment, since its repertoire shows him developing his creative powers as a songwriter and performer and pushing them to levels of demential complexity and incredibly obscure awareness that he had never reached before and would never try to reach again. In this album, he continues to exorcise his VdGG ghosts like he previously did in 'Chameleon' and 'Silent Corner', but this time, the sonic paraphernalia is enriched by some heavy use of synthesizers and mellotron, as well as an enhanced (as if it were possible,... which apparently was) sense of dramatism and intellectual passion: generally speaking, the most aggressive parts of 'In Camera' remind me a lot of the ultra-disturbed spirit of "Pawn Hearts". The frustrated adult anger in 'Sub-mariner', the existentialist reflective confusion in 'Faint-Heart', and the apocalyptical delirium in 'Gog/Magog' are relevantly equalled by their respective bizarre instrumentations. Electronic tour-de-force rooted on the piano bases (track 2). Symphonic layers and counterpoints on various keyboards treated as a Gothic instrumental ensemble (track 5). A fiery marriage of creepy loud harmonium and tribal multi-drumming (track 7), followed by a 10 minute limbo-esque passage of electronic and percussive effects (including a somber agonizing soliloquy), which serves as an oppressive sonic portrait of never ending putrefaction. Very much in the vein of krautrock at its most bizarre, 'Magog' ends the album with that kind of psychological distress that leaves you speechless for a while, after the music has died: not easy to digest, but definitely a delicious meal for privileged tastes. But not all of this album is about explosing psychedelia: there is also room for acoustic-driven introspections, such as the opening track (actually, an old VdGG acoustic number from their very early days), the beautiful ballad 'Again', and the reflective 'The Comet, The Course, The Tail'. The latter brings an emotional tension directly related to the mood provided by the stronger songs. 'Tapeworm', although built on a rock'n'roll basis, includes complex vocal arrangements and some occasional tempo shifts in order to avoid any frivolous catchiness. In conclusion, this is a masterpiece not supposed to be "literallly" enjoyed, but to be assumed as a challenge by the listener regarding their sense of aesthetical adventure, and eventually a test to their mental health, as well.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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