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Peter Hammill - pH7 CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 246 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is another overlooked item of the extensive back catalogue of the ex VDGG front man. This was released after "the future now" which showed Hammill moving in a different modern direction. One could easily think this album contains more of the same. I've always considered hammill's 78 - 80 output as one of the most original sounding of his whole carreer. PH7 is the most consistent album he released during this period where 3 albums were issued. The electronic influences which he introduced on "The future now" are still present. Yet it's more integrated in the sound. Although "My favourite" seems a sign the man has found his urge for romantic melodies again, "Carreering" seem to be a perfect example of the new Hammill. A track that is built on the idea of the spelling of the name of the song. Hammill would maintain this working method in the future. "porton down" is a magnificent alternative pop track. It starts with computerised keyboard and electronic drums although the chorus has a strong emotional melody and on the background there's the jazzy sax of David Jackson. The song gets driven by a dry sounding but compelling guitar riff. Somehow this intriguing track just works ! In the lyric of the ballad "Handicap and equality" some interesting social commentary is included. Lovely track where every instrument seem to fall in place. On his solo albums Hammill seems like a cross over artist, somewhere between an excellent songwriter, a rock artist and a progressive artist but during this period the progressive leaning seem to be minimal. This album shows his excellent abilities to write good songs. "Not for Keith" which is a simple piano ballad, became a classic. Most tracks on this album are quite simple but effective in translating an emotion into a song. In "The old school tie" the piano and the sound effect provide a strange form of rhythm. Especially in the second half of the album there's a lot of tracks without any form of percussion. "Time for a change" is a melodic track of world class. It has sparely arrangements but it doesn't need to have more to support the strong composition. This track shows the wide range of high and low notes Hammill's voice is capable of. Hammill is a terrific vocalist but either you hate or love his rather raw voice. This track could have been included on an album like "Chameleon in the shadow of the night". When I hear a static sounding track like "imperial walls" it reminds me on the third Gabriel album. It must not be a coincidence these two guys are living in the same town. In the late seventies Gabriel also started to write music that was rather based on rhythm than on melody. Hammill's past comes alive the most on the final track "faculty x" , another great track which includes classical influences in its violin, flutes and sax parts. This must be the closest that Hammill gets to prog on Ph7 though the classical influences are sounding quite minimalistic.

The artwork for this album could not illustrate better the main atmosphere on this album : cold, dark and symmetric but still containing a human cry. It's hard to mention a highlight as the track listing shows no flaws at all, each song is a pearl on his own. The musical ingredients that are used on this album are pretty much the same like on "The future now", yet I prefer this album above the aforementioned one. I suppose the reason for that are the emotional compositions, the excellent melodies, the arrangements that mix electronic sounds with real instruments. This is a great album full of Hammill classics but fans of symphonic progressive better take another album first for getting to know the work of this gifted composer.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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