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Peter Hammill - The Future Now CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.51 | 239 ratings

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4 stars Hammill's previous 2 solo albums were harsh and bleak statements that alienated many fans that were solely dedicated to the symphonic side of prog. With The Future Now he shed what little that remained of that fanbase and launched himself into the 6 most defining years of his solo career.

While my heart and sentiment will forever be with The Silent Corner, Hammill's albums from the 1978-1983 period are actually his most innovative and mature works. They are recommendable to any lover of rock music. However, for people that define progressive by pure formal features (such as song length, theme progression, time-signatures etc), the leanings toward art rock and new wave will probably be too distracting.

This album is a logical continuation of In Camera though. But the experiments are more functional, less excessive and a lot more effective. With songs like Pushing Thirty and The Second Hand he's actually not too far from what David Bowie and John Cale were doing at the time, but the sharp bite of Hammill's vocals give this an extra dimension for me. The most alluring aspect of the album is its huge diversity. Frenzied experimental pieces like Trappings and Energy Vampires balance against emotional ballads such as The Moustrap and If I could. The first 6 songs (side A of the original LP) are just perfect and deserve 5 stars by themselves.

The second side is maybe a bit less consistent. The very emotive The Future Now and the haunting Mediaevil are classic pieces where Hammill spews his thoughts on contemporary matters. Yes, this is music with passion! Still In The Dark is a little balladry rest point. A Motor-Bike in Afrika can be seen as rather self-indulgent or as just a bit of fun. The Cut and Palinarus are very impressive again, emotive and dramatic, innovative and original. Sure, this music sits closer to the experimental side of Bauhaus and Siouxsie then to Close to The Edge. So what?

Together with Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel, Hammill is one of the few artists from the classic prog area that did not turn progressive rock into a stale and formulaic affair that was derived of any creativity. Instead he stayed true to his ever developing artistic vision and continued to push the boundaries of rock with his passion, originality and excellent song writing skills. Hats off. Essential piece of music.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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