Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Getting zapped by Van der Graaf Generator

Yes, music lovers - time to take cover. It's the next step on the journey through my favourite 70s prog rock bands that I am still fond of today.

This is a particularly obscure taste - certainly an acquired one. Van der Graaf Generator was a Manchester band fronted by Peter Hammill whose sound was sparse, haunting and original, with songs that often verged on the depressing in theme. A particularly distinctive part of their sound was a saxaphone, usually electronically distorted. Hammill's voice ranges from a gentle sigh, through sprechsing to harsh, almost shouted lyrics.

This isn't pastoral music by any stretch of the imagination - but it is music that rewards the listener. The band went through two main phases (followed by some solo work from Hammill and a couple of reunion albums) - the earlier stuff like H to He, Who Am the Only One is a bit too raw for me - I particularly like the slightly slicker albums starting from Godbluff , with my favourite being World Record.

Here's a not atypical track from World Record:

Post a Comment