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Van Der Graaf Generator - Present CD (album) cover

PRESENT

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 497 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars When I bought this album with my eyes closed and without wanting to hear it at the shop, (I knew this was going to be good since there was no reasons that VDGG would do something lame and tame), I brought it home and the first thing I did was to spin it in my deck. From the first second it started playing, I was hooked! Right from the first moment Hammill's vocals filled my speakers and ears, shivers ran down my spine, goose bumps stated appearing all over my starved body.

A month later , I am definitely hooked to Every Bloody Emperor and the very next song the Jackson-penned Boleas Panic which is a breathtaking (and rare in VDGG career) instrumental switching from one wind instrument to the next (actually there is a lot of flute on this album compared to the other ones). Nutter's Alert is another superb but very aggressive track but it seems to suffer from at times from poor sax recording and even for a moment in Peter Hammill's singing. Abandon Ship and Babelsberg cannot hold the tempo set by the first three tracks but are still fine in the VDGG mould. The studio albums ends on a beautifully reflective track On The Beach but it is a bit overstretched/endless and would've better fit on a Hammill solo album.

The second album is full of improvisation, which is a bit surprising when you know that VDGG's writing standards for tightly arranged and intricate measures were sort of a rule (the notable exception being the Reggae-ish end to Meurglys III on World Record). The fact that I mention that track is no coincidence as most of this second disc will make you think about that very album and track especially on Manuelle. But if the improvisations from the Graaf clan are fascinating (most notably on Vulcan Meld and Architectural Hair), a whole record of it is a little too much, really!!!! They might have cut down those 60 mins to half of that and then stuff the first disc to the brim and have made it a single CD affair. The last track Price Of Admission may be a little conceited and overstated but ends in a flurry of waves as had ended the first disc.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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