Van Der Graaf Generator



Van Der Graaf Generator

Postby EricBliss12345 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:14 am

For some reason I never really gave much thought to checking these guys out in the past, but on a whim decided to buy their H to He album after reading some good stuff about it online on various prog websites.

Holy shit where have these guys been all my life? I think I've finally found a prog rock band I listen to primarily for the vocals. It's not that the instrumentation isn't solid, but his voice is the obvious standout instrument of the band. Peter Hamill's voice is absolutely ridiculous! Talk about defining going way too far over the top at all times! I really love his biting, bitter sounding tone and the strong operatic vibrato. This guy can really put some intense feeling behind what he's singing, even if the lyrics are totally schizo and senseless which they can be at times. I also really love the organ work and the maniacal dual saxophone/flute stuff too.

One other unique thing about them is sometimes it sounds like a fusion of glam rock and prog at times, a unique and very compatible combo. At times here and there I swear it sounds like good old school Roxy Music plus his voice is also very Bowie-esque at times. The music is constantly twisting somewhere unexpected and thorny though to keep it firmly grounded in prog though. That's one other thing that I find really appealing - the music is so dangerous and unpredictable; at times it will sound like it's going to total fall apart and out of nowhere the whole ship tightens up and surprises you with some ridiculously complex passage slamming everything back into place.

I started with H to He and Pawn Hearts which are both really good albums but I'm finding myself liking later period albums like Godbluff and especially World Record quite a bit more which are a lot more accessable and to the point (yet still manage to be just as complex) than the first two I mentioned. They just seemed to grab me a lot sooner than an album like Pawn Hearts, which took me a lot of listens before I fully appreciated and even still "Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" has it's good and bad days.

Some of my favorite tunes so far are "When She Comes" (great example of the really theatrical glam-prog sound) "Wondering" (shatteringly gorgeous) "Lemmings" (for its awesome twisted dissonance and incredibly paranoid vibe) and "Sleepwalkers" (can't even describe that one!) but of course I like many others and of course gotta give a nod to the awesome jam "Killer" which seems to be their signature tune from what I've read about them online.

Any thoughts on these guys?
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Re: Van Der Graaf Generator

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:21 pm

I used to listen to them back in the 70's - we had an album or two that are now, unfortunately, in some box at my ex's place . . . :rolleyes:

Their music is just a memory - a good one, but fuzzy, as memories are. I'd have to give a proper listen to say much more.

I'm guessing their old stuff is now available on CD?
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Re: Van Der Graaf Generator

Postby thehallway » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:08 pm

EricBliss12345 wrote:For some reason I never really gave much thought to checking these guys out in the past, but on a whim decided to buy their H to He album after reading some good stuff about it online on various prog websites.

Holy shit where have these guys been all my life? I think I've finally found a prog rock band I listen to primarily for the vocals. It's not that the instrumentation isn't solid, but his voice is the obvious standout instrument of the band. Peter Hamill's voice is absolutely ridiculous! Talk about defining going way too far over the top at all times! I really love his biting, bitter sounding tone and the strong operatic vibrato. This guy can really put some intense feeling behind what he's singing, even if the lyrics are totally schizo and senseless which they can be at times. I also really love the organ work and the maniacal dual saxophone/flute stuff too.

One other unique thing about them is sometimes it sounds like a fusion of glam rock and prog at times, a unique and very compatible combo. At times here and there I swear it sounds like good old school Roxy Music plus his voice is also very Bowie-esque at times. The music is constantly twisting somewhere unexpected and thorny though to keep it firmly grounded in prog though. That's one other thing that I find really appealing - the music is so dangerous and unpredictable; at times it will sound like it's going to total fall apart and out of nowhere the whole ship tightens up and surprises you with some ridiculously complex passage slamming everything back into place.

I started with H to He and Pawn Hearts which are both really good albums but I'm finding myself liking later period albums like Godbluff and especially World Record quite a bit more which are a lot more accessable and to the point (yet still manage to be just as complex) than the first two I mentioned. They just seemed to grab me a lot sooner than an album like Pawn Hearts, which took me a lot of listens before I fully appreciated and even still "Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" has it's good and bad days.

Some of my favorite tunes so far are "When She Comes" (great example of the really theatrical glam-prog sound) "Wondering" (shatteringly gorgeous) "Lemmings" (for its awesome twisted dissonance and incredibly paranoid vibe) and "Sleepwalkers" (can't even describe that one!) but of course I like many others and of course gotta give a nod to the awesome jam "Killer" which seems to be their signature tune from what I've read about them online.

Any thoughts on these guys?


I'm unfarmilar. But they sound good from this description!
[8]
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Re: Van Der Graaf Generator

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:02 pm

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Re: Van Der Graaf Generator

Postby Greenglade's Frog » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:13 pm

yeah, heard about these guys, as contemporaries of Genesis, back in the naissance of prog rock
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