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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Aerosol Grey Machine CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 622 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Van der Graaf Generator - The Aerosol Grey Machine (1969)

Late sixties psychedelia listeners read this!

I've become a great fan of VdGG in 2009, but this album didn't got my attention until recently when my brother gave a vinyl copy for my 21th birthday. I've read a lot of mixed reviews on PA so I got pretty excited to hear it myself.

This record is in no way clumsy, immature, amateurish or simple. This is record made in '69 that sounds like it was made in '69. This is no symphonic or eclectic prog, it's pure late sixties psychedelia! Songs with nice atmospheres, strange lyrics, a distinctive sound and above all a (relatively) happy pre-VdGG sound. The recording of this record is perfect for the time being, really good! It was recorded in twelve hours, which is quite unbelievable.

On side two there are some promising long compositions 'Aquarian' and 'Octopus'. These two tracks may remind you of the later VdGG sound with heavy organs and drums and even some frenzied key-playing of Hugh Banton. The vocals of Hammill get darker during the last part of the album and it feels like you could listen to The Least we can Do right after the last song of this record.

Peter Hammill does a great job with his gentle vocals on this album, something rarely seen after this short period. Your friends won't even notice this is one of the most disliked vocalists of the genre! This makes it a good album to try for people who didn't get into VdGG earlier because of the vocals.

Hugh Banton plays gentle throughout, but rages on Octopus. His sound isn't quite like the later work of the band but you can hear he uses the right equipment on the right moments. Classic organ sounds always get me into the music.

Keith Ian Ellis plays bass and does a great job on the album. His wahwah bass sometimes sounds like acid music and give the music a powerful sound. It made my brother order a copy of this re-issue vinyl himself. The drums of Guy Evans are very effective and introvert most of the time, but the sixties recording gives it that magical vibe.

The lack of a wind section by our beloved Jackson is compensated by some nice flute sections by Jeff. Jeff who? No-one knows.

Conclusion. This is great material! An album with an own sound, that does not necessarily appeal to VdGG fans. It is however a very important sixties psychedelic record that should be tried by every-one that likes the genre. I myself am very happy to own this record. Three stars for progressive rock, but four-and-a-half stars for late sixties rock. Just try it!

* Edited

I've changed my rating to four stars. This album is just too effective and has had too many replay to give it a three. I just love VdGG with this sound and I hope to find some early Hammill albums soon!

friso | 4/5 |


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