Artista: Van der Graaf Generator
Género: Progresivo ecléctico
Género: Progresivo ecléctico
Lista de Temas:
1. The Hurlyburly
2. Interference Patterns
3. The Final Reel
5. Drop Dead
6. Only in a Whisper
7. All That Before
8. Over the Hill
9. (We Are) Not Here
1. The Hurlyburly
2. Interference Patterns
3. The Final Reel
5. Drop Dead
6. Only in a Whisper
7. All That Before
8. Over the Hill
9. (We Are) Not Here
- Hugh Banton / organ
- Guy Evans / drums
- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitar, piano
- Hugh Banton / organ
- Guy Evans / drums
- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitar, piano
La vida del Generador es tumultuosa, pasional y complicada, tanto que luego de reunirse nuevamente después de casi 30 años, en el año 2005, Van Der Graaf Generator regalado cuadros completos de magistral sapiencia musical y compositiva y aunque con resultados desparejos, ya que si bien "Present", su disco post-reunión, fue celebrada por todos, lo cierto es que no estuvo del todo a la altura de las circunstancias y de lo esperado, salvo en sus tremendas presentaciones en vivo donde los viejitos mostraron que arriba del escenario se les van todos los achaques.
Y es así que en un momento, uno de los pilares fundamentales del grupo (dejando a Hammill de lado, por supuesto), me refiero al brillante Jackson a cargo del saxo y demás vientos y bronces, pega el portazo y se va al carajo.
Siendo un elemento tan importante en el típico sonido del conjunto, otro grupo hubiese optado por:
1) desintegrarse nuevamentePero no olvidemos que los viejitos son temeriarios y experimentales, así que aún cojos en su sonido, decidieron llevar adelante "Trisector, su nuevo álbum, aún sabiendo que llevaban las de perder y que al resultado final le faltaría el plus de los vientos que siempre fueron protagónicos, o incluso el violín que lo suplantó antiguamente, pero ellos emprendieron la maratónica tarea de demostrar la validez de haberse juntado aún cuando tuviesen una pierna menos. De hecho, el título del disco se refiere a esta nueva etapa.
2) Para la máquina, uscar reemplazante y seguir cuando lo encuentren
Bajo ese prisma, "Trisector" tuvo un pésimo inicio, el manto de dudas se posó sobre el trío y el resultado del disco...
Vayamos por pasos, ese fue el inicio de este disco... y veamos que es lo que comentan quienes lo han escuchado y escrito sobre él. Luego mis conclusiones y mi opinión.
Trisector, de Van der Graaf Generator (...o como reinventar el power trío)Daniel Battiston
Cuando en 1978 Peter Hammill firmó el acta de defunción de Van der Graaf Generator, todo indicaba que el final del grupo era definitivo. Hasta que a finales de 2005 reaparece con una joya doble titulada Present.
Dos años y medio después, y ya como trío -Jackson no es de la partida- continúan en la brecha con Trisector.
El disco es, simplemente, perfecto. Ya desde la portada, Hammill, Evans y Banton de pie en un espacio aséptico, blanco, que nos trae la imagen de una fábrica abandonada, nos preanuncia una de las facetas del Trisector: una sonoridad moderna, que por momentos coquetea con el pop; pero, al mismo tiempo es uno de los álbunes más decididamente rockeros que haya hecho Hammill, tanto solo como con VdGG.
El primer tema, The Hurlyburly, comienza con sonidos industriales, parecen máquinas en plena actividad; luego, entra la banda con el tema. Un tema instrumental -sospecho que es una zapada-; y entonces sí, ya en el segundo corte, puede decirse que comienza Trisector.
Son nueve temas que recogen lo mejor del espíritu del grupo, desde el caos sonoro a las canciones evidentemente rockeras o de inspiración jazzística, hasta algunos momentos breves de pura calma, y los fugaces pasajes de neto sonido pop.
Y por sobre todo ello, la voz de Hammill que continúa intacta. Y éste año ya cumple los 60; un verdadero prodigio.
En definitiva, un disco poderoso en cuanto al sonido y a la propuesta musical. Y, como preanuncio en el título, VdGG está reinventando al power trío.
Personalmente no creo que sea para tanto, "Trisector" no es perfecto, pero sí es un muy buen disco. Fue la forma en que Hammill y compañía enfrentan este traspié. Y, francamente, no se aleja mucho del sonido característico del grupo, aunque es un registro más directo, menos complejo y más... tradicional, por decirlo de alguna manera. Sí, es cierto que el saxo de Jackson brindaba un matiz único, pero Banton y Hammill, acompañados de un energético Evans, suplen de muy buena forma el vacío que dejó el vientista y nos entregan una placa que suena y se siente a VDGG, pero con otros aires y que se asemeja a muchos de los trabajos de Hammill en solitario.
Me gusta especialmente el siguiente comentario, visceral y pasional como la música del propio grupo:
Veamos… ¿qué es un Trisector?Marcelo Morales
Nos dirigimos al diccionario de la Real Academia Española y… nada.
Fuimos al Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary… nada
Al Cassell’s Spanish – English / English – Spanish Dictionary… tampoco.
Lo que sí sabemos es lo que significa sector: sustantivo masculino; parte, sección, grupo, fraccción, departamento.
Y tri es un prefijo que significa “tres”.
Trisector debería ser algo así como “tres sectores”. Buscando llegamos a que un Trisector es un triple de secciones verticales espaciadas a 120 grados. Y tozudamente dimos con el “Teorema Trisector de Morley” que, sinceramente… podría escribir que no viene al caso explicarlo; pero la verdad verdadera es que mis infinitas capacidades no son suficientes para explicar en forma clara y fidedigna (o no) de qué moños se trata el teorema del no-tan-querido Frank Morley, un anglo-americano que se puso a jugar en 1899 con escuadras y transportadores para terminar diciendo algo similar a que en cualquier triángulo, los tres puntos de interseccción del ángulo adyacente forman un triángulo equilátero, al que denominó “Triángulo de Morley”.
Fue al divino botón…
Pero tratemos de iluminar la cuestión; el enunciado original expresa: “Si una cardioide variable sea tangente a los lados de un triángulo, entonces el lugar geométrico de su centro, esto es, del centro del círculo sobre el cual rodan las circunferencias iguales, es un conjunto de 9 rectas que son paralelos 3×3 a las direcciones siendo ellas de un triángulo equilátero. Las intersecciones de estas rectas corresponden a las tangentes dobles y también son las intersecciones de pares de trisectrices de los ángulos internos y externos del primer triángulo”.
Pasemos entonces, ya que veo que sigue complicándosele… al enunciado reducido del teorema: “Los pares adyacentes de las trisectrices de los ángulos de un triángulo siempre se encuentran en los vértices de un triángulo equilátero”
¿Sigue igual de confundido que yo?
Espere, no se rinda, que tal vez con esto… “Los tres puntos intersección de las trisectrices adyacentes de los ángulos de un triángulo cualquiera forman un triángulo equilátero.”
Bueno, como sea… la cuestión es que Morley pasó a ser una celebridad porque parece ser que esta cuestión de geometría clásica (¿clásica?) se les escapó a los griegos simplemente porque no le encontraron la vuelta a la trisección de un ángulo con regla y compás.
¿Y si simplificamos la cuestión pensando que Trisector refiere a “tres sectores”… quidistantes?
Yo no soy Adrián Paenza, así que me planto acá.
Lo que usted se preguntará con buen Tino (Pascalli o el de Los Parchís) es a qué viene tanta lata con el bendito (o no) Trisector, el teorema y un tal Morley..
Dejemos la situación en suspenso por un momento y, justamente, cambiemos el ángulo de la información.
Van der Graaf Generator, banda liderada por el más grande, Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill, un letrista e intérprete como no habrá (temeraria afirmación, pero el que entró en el universo el querido Pedro sabe que hay con qué respaldar lo antedicho) debutó discográficamente en 1968. Pero antes de la edición de Aerosol Grey Machine (que originalmente iba a ser un álbum solista de Hammill) ya se habían separado. Luego de 4 discos, se produce el segundo parate en 1971, luego de la edición de Pawn Hearts. Se reúnen en 1975 con la intención de editar un álbum doble pero la idea no prosperó, así que Godbluff (1975) y Still Life (1976) salieron por separado. En enero de 1978 brindaron su último concierto, registrado en el álbum doble Vital.
Peter Hammill siguió con su carrera solista (que lo trajo a la Argentina en cinco oportunidades y cómo se lo extraña…) y permanentemente recurriría al aporte de sus compañeros de banda.
Hasta que, contra todo pronóstico y luego de negarse en forma sostenida, en 2005 Van der Graaf Generator resucitó nuevamente.
Fue con un CD doble en estudio, Present, y uno en concierto, Real Time.
De la aventura formaron parte Guy Evans en batería, Hugh Banton en órgano y teclados, David Jackson en saxos y flauta y, por supuesto, Hammill, en voz, guitarra y teclados.
O sea, la formación histórica.
Algunos sostienen que el líder decidió reflotar a VdGG luego de haber sufrido, a finales de 2003, una fuerte descomposición que hizo peligrar su vida.
Como fuere, la banda sigue en pie. Pero… ¿por qué no volverían a producirse los encontronazos entre Hammill y Jackson?
La cuestión es que el cuarteto quedó reducido a una formación inédita: trío.
Entre las distintas alternativas posibles estaba la disolución; o un reemplazo, que bien podría haber sido el violinista Graham Smith. O Stuart Gordon.
Por primera vez en 40 años, Van der Graaf Generator es un trío.
Hammill ha apostado nuevamente y a esta altura podríamos decir que está bien, que el camino ya está hecho, que a nadie tiene que andar dando explicaciones, que el pasado lo avala y sigan enumerando ustedes.
Pero es que Hammill siempre ha asumido riesgos.
Es una de las cosas que se le reconocen.
Y esas cosas no son pocas.
La cuestión es que VdGG tiene disco nuevo, en estudio, cuyo título es… ¡Trisector!
Caramba… ¡qué coincidencia!
Al grano: Banton, Evans y Hammill. Ningún músico invitado, ningún saxo, ningún violín.
Nueve flamantes composiciones, una de ellas instrumental.
Solamente un tema largo, que supera los doce minutos.
Y varias cuestiones.
Desde un principio me resistí a una nueva reunión de la banda.
Present no me convenció.
Real Time me reventó el melón.
El instrumento supuestamente líder pasaría a ser la guitarra eléctrica de Hammill.
Que no es Jimi Hendrix, eso está claro.
Su voz, a pesar de andar por los 60 años y de no tener la potencia de otrora, sigue siendo inmaculada.
Hablar de las bondades de PH como compositor sería ocioso.
Pero habíamos dicho “al grano”.
Se me hace difícil, espero sepan comprender.
Todos tenemos (o deberíamos tener), al menos “un” artista considerado como “propio”.
En el supuesto caso de que usted haya adherido a la frase anterior (y si no… también), le cuento que en el reparto me tocó el querido Pedro.
Aunque lo cortés y el afecto no anulan la valentía.
The Hurlyburly (La batahola) abre el CD y es el único instrumental. Sonidos de teclados, apagados, reforzados por golpeteos en los tambores se llevan el primer minuto. Aparece la guitarra de Hammill con un riff tan obvio como la melodía que se desencadena, una suerte de rockito gobernado por colchones de teclados a cargo de Banton. El tema finaliza de una manera tal que da para pensar “¿por qué empezó?” No es lo que se dice un comienzo auspicioso, créame.
Interference Patterns ofrece desde el inicio un contratiempo protagonizado por el órgano y el hi-hat, sobre los que aflora la voz de Hammill clara, potente. El caos comienza a adueñarse del tema hasta que un abrupto y preciso corte obliga a comenzar de nuevo. Evans está tremendo, dicho sea de paso. Levantamos el sport de manera significativa.
The Final Reel es una típica balada hammilliana de las que hemos escuchado muchas… e infinitamente mejores. Aquí parece sobrar toda instrumentación. Pedro, solito y solo, puede llegar a hacer un destrozo sobre un escenario. Pero aquí suena… a ver… ¿cómo decirlo? Esteee… da la sensación de… vetustez. Perdón.
Lifetime tiene un comienzo similar en instrumentación a Interference Patterns, pero sin métricas irregulares ni caos. Y tal vez tengo la idea fija, pero… ¡qué buen tema hubiera sido en el contexto de Fireships!
Pero aquí no funciona.
Porque esto es Van der Graaf Generator...
Drop Dead trae una lectura distinta de lo que es un “Power Trio”. Sin complejidades armónicas ni de las otras, tenemos un verdadero tour de force, directo, potente, compacto, casi un hit single para escuchar a volumen altísimo y que vengan los vecinos a preguntar quiénes son esos jovencitos alocados que no saben hacer otra cosa que “rocanrol”. Evans sigue impecable y Banton, además de llenar absolutamente todo sin empalagar, mete hacia el pre-final un solo que bien podría ser de Medeski. Y el final, con cierta dosis caótica, hace que odiemos definitivamente ese pésimo invento que es el “fade out”.
Only in a Whisper tiene una intro que me hace recordar (alegremente) a Gentle Giant. Señores… estamos en presencia de un verdadero tema hammilliano. Banton se confirma como jugador de toda la cancha y Evans es el encargado de hacer que el equipo ataque o no. El dueño de la pelota, el gran Pedro, aquí la lleva atada. Es así… no hay que descuidarse con estos tipos… cuando menos lo esperás te meten un tema que te deja patitieso, con cara de “¿será posible?”
All that Before es toda potencia, también con métricas irregulares y Evans haciendo fácil lo (casi) imposible. Hammill distorsiona su guitarra en contraste con su garganta, potente y amenazante. Estamos en otro gran momento de Trisector. All that Before podría estar incluido en cualquiera de los (irreemplazables) álbumes de VdGG. Tres no-tan-pibes abocados a un verdadero apocalipsis sonoro enraizado en los ’70 pero marca Siglo XXI. Y un final memorable.
Over the Hill es el tema largo del álbum al que hicimos referencia. Como muchos de los temas de la banda (y de la carrera solista de PH también), parece una rapsodia. ¿No lo es? Varios temas en uno; distintos climas y texturas. El calmo comienzo, las letras siempre inteligentes, la voz inmaculada, pasajes asociables al free jazz en una formación de lo más convencional: batería, organo y piano. Aceleraciones y desaceleraciones. Luego, y sobre esa columna indestructible conformada por el baterista, las guitarras distorsionadas que se entrelazan con los teclados de Banton. Contundencia y precisión. Tampoco están ausentes los climas épicos, casi emparentados con el gospel, atajos melódicos y sonoros que recuerdan a The Sleepwalkers… y la calma final.
Al principio Over the Hill no me atrapó, ni me conformó, ni me convenció… ni nada.
Afortunadamente todavía suelo darme segundas y terceras oportunidades, no sé si he sido claro…
El cierre del álbum es con la potente (We Are) Not Here, con un Hammill bucólico sostenido instrumentalmente con solvencia. Está bien.
Van der Graaf Generator sigue entre nosotros y lo hace con toda dignidad.
Un sonido emparentado con World Record (1976) y donde, reconozcámoslo, se extrañan los colores ya sea del saxo o el violín.
Por supuesto que está lejos de gemas impardables que resisten tozudamente el paso del tiempo.
Pero yo a Pedro lo quiero y debo decir que Trisector es desparejo.
Esto, visto desde cualquier ángulo.
Y, a pesar de Frank Morley, si el álbum fuera un triángulo… no sería equilatero.
Porque a la hora de valorar… hay algo que no puedo soslayar.
Y es que esto es… Van der Graaf Generator.
¿La mejor banda inglesa de rock?
Si hay que pelear, me peleo.
No habrá demasiados en este disco.
Pero tengo argumentos de sobra.
Evans, sigue siendo un monstruo de la batería, la voz de Hammill sigue siendo teatral y magnífica y los teclados de Banton, quien además hace los pedales con la pedalera, nos deja muy en claro que ellos podían ofrecer mucho aún cuando falte una parte importante y que seguramente se iría a sentir su falta.
Significativo en cuanto a riesgo y propuesta, quizás nunca antes VDGG había engrasado tanto sus motores, donde se muestra un sonido más antiguo emparentado con elementos más rockeros, a veces entre el jazz-rock y el sonido propio y curtido de la banda y en el que no falta la experimentación, digamos que el disco tiene para todos los gustos. El disco posee fuerza, potencia, excelente lírica, todo lo que es atribuible al sonido que es marca registrada de VDGG, salvo con un saxo menos, y pinceladas más modernas pero siempre crudo y visceral, aún cuando transitan por senderos suaves y delicados... "Trisector" no sólo cumple sino que, además, los dejará impacientes para escuchar la nueva entrega de este revitalizado trío. Aunque, debemos decirlo, no es una obra perfecta y tampoco se convertirá en un de sus discos clásicos, pero que ello no les quite mérito.
Veamos que tenemos más gente que opina sobre el disco de VDGG amputado:
Todas las piezas compuestas por Hugh Banton, Guy Evans y Peter Hammill, salvo “Lifetime” escrita por Peter Hammill. Producido por VDGG. Las bases fueron grabadas entre los días 2 y 13 de 2007. Añadidos, tratamientos y mezclas entre agosto y diciembre del mismo año. Publicado el 17 de marzo de 2008.icrp1961
Éste es el álbum de la expectación y también el del escepticismo, por parte de muchos, ya que es difícil lidiar con ciertas ausencias. Pero parece que esto es más un problema de un sector del público que de los propios músicos.
Hay dos aforismos de Guitar Craft que pueden aplicarse aquí. El primero es “honra la necesidad” y el segundo “convierte tu desventaja en una ventaja”. Incluso, desde la perspectiva de Guitar Craft pude matizarse más ya que “cuanto mayor sea la aparente desventaja, mayor será la ventaja obtenida”.
¿Quién aparece aquí? En primer lugar está la columna vertebral de VDGG, la pareja de músicos que siempre han estado en todas las formaciones del grupo que han grabado: Peter Hammill y Guy Evans. Además, está Hugh Banton, el cual aparece en todos los discos publicados a nombre de Van der Graaf Generator. Es decir, que está claro que hay una continuidad y legitimidad incuestionable.
Lo sucedido en el grupo guarda similitudes con lo que se estableció cuando VDGG pasó a ser VDG. De hecho, esta situación ha sido un revulsivo que ha propulsado un cambio en éste. No debe esperarse una continuidad literal sobre lo ya hecho, sino una evolución sobre aquello. Ahora, como entonces, verdaderamente se abre una etapa nueva y este álbum la documenta.
¿A qué suena? Pues a mi buen entender, es una nueva manera de hacer VDGG, no de ser. Cada vez tengo más clara en mi mente que la idea de Fripp sobre los grupos –él lo simplifica en King Crimson– como una tradición, una manera de hacer las cosas, es cierta. Hammill declaró que esta formación era el VDGG del siglo XXI. Yo, después de escuchar el álbum, no tengo más remedio que estar de acuerdo. Trisector es un álbum muy variado y suena fresco, espontáneo, y con mucho vigor. Suena a otro VDGG, pero heredero de su misma tradición.
Pero… ¿es un buen disco? Yo no puedo responder a esa pregunta, ya que no estoy en condiciones de ser muy objetivo con VDGG o Peter Hammill. Lo que sí puedo decir es que, después de dos escuchas detenidas, el disco me gusta y tiene varias canciones que quiero volver a poner imperiosamente. Sin embargo, hay un par de temas que me parecen por debajo del estándar deseable, pero supongo que funcionarán mejor en directo que es estudio. No es la primera vez que me pasa con discos que me gustan, como por ejemplo The Power to Believe de King Crimson. Excelente salvo por dos temas.
Escuchado el álbum en más ocasiones, mis impresiones no sólo se mantienen sino que incluso se afirman. Me gusta bastante, algunas piezas incluso mucho más, pero considero que su primera pieza, que es una de las problemáticas, hace desmerecer el conjunto.
Hay cierta discusión en la red sobre Trisector, en muchos casos negando que sea auténticamente VDGG por las razones que podemos suponer. Pero hay una diferencia entre este disco y los discos más o menos recientes de Hammill con algún tinte progresivo como What, Now? o This. Es la presencia de Hugh Banton y Guy Evans y su interacción con el cantante y letrista. Es la realidad de un grupo organizado en un peculiar power trío. Un grupo que se ha deleitado en lo simple y en lo complejo.
Vamos al disco. Evidentemente no es lo mismo escribir sobre algo que se conoce desde hace tan poco, comparado con otras obras del cantante o del grupo, que me han acompañado durante muchos años. Incluso debo escuchar Present más para seguir conociéndolo. En cursiva, al final de cada canción, aparecen unos mínimos fragmentos escogidos de mis apuntes, recogidos mientras escuchaba el disco por primera vez, pero sabiendo que debía escribir para la Sinfopedia, por lo que ésta no era una primera escucha normal. Además, la revisión está escrita sin posibilidad de conocer las letras.
“The Hurlyburly”. Un sonido maquinal al que se incorpora batería y guitarra precede al riff del tema. Es una buena entrada para un rock instrumental al estilo Hammill. Con Hugh Banton en primera línea, hay un intercambio entre órgano y guitarra, que presenta las melodías. La repetición del esquema hace que pierda encanto e interés hacia el final, que se produce con el odioso procedimiento del fadeout. Salvando las distancias parece más apropiado para el segundo volumen de The Long Hello que para un disco de VDGG. En los foros de Hammill se especula con el uso de esta pieza para iniciar los conciertos. “Aquí estamos”.
“Interference Patterns”. Fácilmente mi tema favorito del álbum, o al menos uno de los que más me gustan. Es extraño, sincopado y repetitivo; y supongo que muy difícil para el directo. El papel de Banton es prodigioso, ya que presenta unas líneas agresivas y minimalistas a los teclados sobre las que se incorpora Evans. Al entrar la voz el efecto es tal que se siente el más puro VDGG en acción. Si este álbum fuera el Discipline de King Crimson, esta canción sería su particular “Frame by Frame”. Una pieza adictiva. “De locos”.
“The Final Reel”. Una de las características de Trisector es que es un juego de contrastes total. Ésta es una pieza tranquila, con predominio del piano. El inicio del tema me recuerda vagamente a la canción de Hammill “Still in the Dark”, pero a la que más podría recordar es a “Curtains”, de su álbum Fireships, con la voz de Hammill doblada. “Lenta”.
“Lifetime”. Ésta es una de las dos canciones que VDGG presentó en directo el año pasado y es la única del álbum firmada por el cantante en soledad. Toda ella parece un ejercicio de contención. Se construye sobre una figura rítmica desde los platillos de Evans sobre la cual se suma Banton, para dejar paso a la voz y unas líneas sencillas de guitarra. Instantáneamente se convirtió en una de mis “clásicos” de su autor. “Belleza hammilliana”.
“Drop Dead”. Se rompe el ambiente con una entrada de guitarra reminiscente de Jethro Tull que conduce a un rock al estilo Hammill. El riff es puro VDGG y en su estilo la pieza me recuerda aspectos del Hammill más rockero de los años 80. Aquí lamento no tener las letras porque el tema, musicalmente, no es más que un rock que termina en fadeout y es quizá la otra canción “inferior” del disco. “K Band”.
“Only in a Whisper”. Otro cambio de registro, casi brutal, nos lleva a esta canción, más tranquila que las que la preceden o siguen. Tras un comienzo que me suena “tentativo”, después de la entrada del piano de Hammill, Hugh Baton toma la guitarra bajo para dibujar una línea que recuerda algo a las que construía Hugh Hopper para Soft Machine. Es una canción lenta, como si tratara de un tema confidencial. “Hammill reflexivo”.
“All That Before”. De nuevo podemos recopilar recuerdos de esta canción al haber sido interpretada en directo en 2007. Sobre un ritmo sincopado se forja uno de los temas con un sonido más “clásicamente” vandergraafero, en su vertiente más agresiva. La voz se apoya en la desmadrada guitarra de Hammill, en lo que se adivina que es una canción con mucha carga de autocrítica e ironía –¿dije todo eso antes?–. Escuchar en directo esto era quedarse exhausto ante el esfuerzo del grupo, ya que a mí me evoca los paroxismos de intensidad de Pawn Hearts. En estudio la interpretación es perfecta. “VDGG agresivo”.
“Over the Hill”. En todos los foros hammillianos se dicen maravillas sobre esta canción, basándose en un argumento bastante pobre. Que es un tema largo. Como si eso fuera un valor añadido.
Empieza con una entrada de Banton que no hubiera desentonado en un álbum clásico de VDGG como World Record. Es un tema largo, amplio, lleno de contrastes. Empieza lento para llegar una fase de agresivos intercambios instrumentales para desembocar en una especie de himno vandergraafero. Excelente. “Contrastes”.
“(We Are) Not Here”. El disco podría haber terminado con el tema anterior, pero no es así. Trisector desemboca en otro rock al estilo Hammill, pero muy diferente de los anteriores en el álbum. Ésta es una pieza fuerte y que me suena tétrica –sin conocer su letra–. Es el Hammill de “Gog”, por establecer una analogía. Es la coda vandergraafera para el álbum, con un final industrial y repetitivo. “Invita a volver a empezar”.
Así pues, y para finalizar, comentar que hay dos partes en el álbum. La primera hasta “Drop Dead” y la segunda después de esta canción. La mayoría de las piezas más evocadoras del VDGG clásico en la segunda mitad, y con las más flojas, comparativamente, en la primera, aunque este segmento alberga la más hermosa para mí, “Lifetime”, y la que más me gusta, “Interference Patterns”.
Y ya está. Desde luego, invito a escuchar este disco sin prejuicios y, a ser posible –sé que es muy difícil– sin comparaciones. También espero que a diferencia de lo sucedido en las giras posteriores a Present, VDGG llene su repertorio en directo con material nuevo y toquen Trisector –o la mayor parte de éste– en directo.
No quiero cerrar el escrito sin insistir en la perfección e inventiva de las partes de Guy Evans y Hugh Banton; y la performance disciplinada de Peter Hammill.
Ha sido especialmente difícil hacer una reseña sin citar, salvo en este preciso instante, al autoexcluido David Jackson.
Y al parecer hay mucha gente que se interesó por este disco y quiso escribir sobre él, no queremos dejar a nadie afuera aunque eso será imposible, citamos algún comentario más, y también en castellano:
¿Un regreso en falso? ¿Un regreso innecesario? ¿Una delicia para los oídos? así de controvertido es este nuevo trabajo de Van der Graaf Generator, que supera en calidad y coherencia al irregular ‘Present’ de 2005.Pablo M. Beleña
Los regresos de las bandas históricas y míticas siempre son complicadas porque la gente compara, critica, cuestiona… la realidad es que su vuelta a los ruedos tras cortarse la coleta antes de los años 80 fue una gran noticia para la música universal. Hammill ha sido el único que siguió adelante con una sorprendente, prolífica y genial carrera en solitario. Quizás por eso fue algo extraño ver cómo en 2005 volvieron para ofrecernos un doble trabajo, ‘Present’. En marzo de este año ofrecieron una segunda dosis de optimismo frente al paso del tiempo: ‘Trisector’. Un disco, en términos generales, que es una joya musical.
No es un disco de reunión de viejas glorias. Pero tampoco es un disco con novedades. Van de Graaf no hace como King Crimson ha hecho durante décadas: reinventarse. Este ‘Trisector’ gustará mucho porque es como si estuvieran -y estuviéramos- en los 70, con temas que suenan como en esa época en producción y en su composición.
Quizás el tema más sorprendente, y no por renovar sonidos, es ‘The Hurlyburly’, la canción de apertura. Una instrumental corta, que no llega a 5 minutos, con ritmos swing y de música de baile sesenteros, incluso con guiños al tango y al pasodoble. Todo, en clave de rock, claro está. Una composición maravillosa y fresca.
Después, guiño total al estilo VDGG total: ‘Interference Patterns’ explica a los neófitos en qué se basa el sonido de la banda: ritmos rápidos, ausencia aparente de armonía, interpretación vocal alocada y esquizoide… una canción normalita pero que gusta a los seguidores más fieles a su estilo. Después, dos temas de relax muy propios de ‘Still Life’. Medios tiempos con mucho teclado de fondo y serenidad. Son ‘The Final Reel’ y la majestuosa pieza ‘Lifetime’. Un tema, en realidad, muy Peter Hammill, intimista y profundo -de hecho, está compuesto sólo por él, siendo la única pieza no compuesta en conjunto-.
La tregua termina con ‘Drop Dead’, un temazo rock’n’rollero con órgano clásico de Banton que va progresando hasta terminar en una pieza de blues-rock de escándalo. Momento después para el viaje a la locura típica de los VDGG setenteros con ‘Only in a Whisper’. Un viaje también a las estructuras típicas del progresivo y experimental de esa época musical, heredera del rock psicodélico.
Hammill vuelve a ‘mandar’ con la inclusión de un tema muy propio, ‘All That Before': guitarras rasgadas y la parte vocal por encima del sonido global. Estructura alocada y esencia esquizoide para un tema típico de su discografía: no apta para enfermos cardiovasculares y con problemas de tensión.
Y dos temas finales que mantienen el nivel. ‘Over the Hill’ es el tema más largo, de más de 12 minutos, y es un homenaje a sus mejores discos y a toda una era musical: los progresivos 70. Pausas, burlas entre instrumentos, parones y melodías sinfónicas… una delicia sonora que, para ser sinceros, suena más a Peter Hammill que a los Van der Graaf Generator. Aunque es una clara referencia a ‘Still Life’, para mí, el mejor tema de todos los tiempos de esta banda. El broche final corre a cargo de la trepidante y angustiosa ‘(We Are) Not Here’, otra pieza con sonoridad setentera que huele a kilómetros a distancia. Y muy bien que huele, por cierto. Desde los teclados a la base rítmica, pasando por la sonoridad técnica.
Mejor final imposible para lo que es un nuevo ejemplo de que los dinosaurios del rock progresivo tienen aún mucho que ofrecer. Con la única tacha de que, insisto, no ofrecen nada nuevo en el fondo: este ‘Trisector’ podría enmarcarse en 1973, por decir un año, y nadie creería que es falso. A pesar de todo, que puede parecer un reproche muy duro, discazo de Hammill, Evans y Banton. Impresionante ejercicio de buena música.
Y vamos con los infaltables comentarios en inglés, y debo decir que la valoración sobre el disco es muy desparejo entre un comentario y otro, así que este es de los discos donde, para ver la calidad del mismo, no te quedará otra que ponerte a escucharlo, porque es muy pero muy personal y subjetivo... tal como VDGG... aunque a decir verdad, no veo ningún comentario que diga que el disco le desagrade, entán entre un bueno y un excelente.
Van Der Graaf Generator reformed for the second time to make Present in 2005, and since then Jackson has jumped ship for the second time. On the previous occasion that this happened VDGG recruited a violinist and welcomed erstwhile bassist Nic Potter back into the fold; the resulting album, The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome was generally considered a disappointment when it was released but has stood the test of time rather well. This time around the core members have decided to continue as a trio, and the resulting album is perhaps less immediate but deeper and more coherent than Present.Chris Gleeson
Trisector sees a number of changes for the band, some more obvious than others. The three piece VDGG has something of a keyboard dominated sound, although Hammill's distinctly non virtuoso guitar gets a more than adequate airing, and comparatively short songs are the order of the day. All but one of the nine tracks is credited to Banton/Evans/Hammill, the first time that group songwriting has dominated a VDGG album, and the overall mood and sound is relatively low key and gloomy, perhaps due to the church organ sound that Banton favours for many of the songs. They toured as a three piece before this was recorded, and they are clearly relaxed and confident in their stripped down format. But is it any good? The answer is a definite, though not unqualified, yes. The writing and arrangements are tight and focused, the musicians demonstrate a spellbinding interplay and the album's high points are well up to their extremely high standards.
There are a few weak spots; the instrumental opener The Hurlyburly would have been twice as effective if it had been two minutes long instead of four and half, and there are passages where Hammill adds some lead guitar and the absence of Jackson's sax is really noticeable . On Drop Dead it sounds as though Hammill's old alter ego Rikki Nadir has briefly taken over the proceedings - it will probably work superbly in concert, but the clodhopping beat rather disrupts the flow of the album.
The best tracks more than make up for the weaker moments, though. Only In a Whisper is a jazz tinged number featuring Hammill on Fender Rhodes and Banton on bass guitar, with splendidly restrained vocals and featherlight dumming. It's a beautifully understated performance from a band that has never shied away from the grand gesture, and all the more effective for it. All That Before is an uptempo rocker that really hits home, and Hammill's rhythm guitar playing beefs things up to great effect. The centrepiece of the album is the epic Over the Hill, which is everything an old school prog fan could wish for; time changes galore, constantly shifting moods and tempi and a bravura vocal performance of some suitably oblique lyrics which could refer the history of VDGG or Hammill's own existential turmoil. Prog rock doesn't get much better than this in any era or sub genre.
Following the triumph of Present and the subsequent live shows it seemed that VDGG had nothing left to prove, but Trisector demonstrates that they've still got everything to play for. Banton and Evans have rarely sounded better, and they provide some of the best settings ever for Hammill's voice and lyrics. Trisector isn't Pawn Hearts or Godbluff, but it isn't trying to be, which is probably its greatest strength. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the magnificent Only In a Whisper and Over the Hill.
After having heard the album several times I can only say: They did it again! VdGG are full of surprises still, at least for me. This starts right with the opening track The Hurlyburly An instrumental, which certainly is unusual for VdGG, if you don't count the 2nd disc of Presence. Not my favorite track on the album though, but I guess the message of that track is Hey, we are still having fun and don't take ourselves too seriously. Interference Patterns is a great track and quite complex, although short. Hammill shows he knows a bit about physics in the lyrics. The Final Reel is a melancholy number about a couple committing suicide. It seems simple on the surface; the complexity is in the details here, like that slow repeated riff at the end of the song. Lifetime is another quiet track with a meandering melody line; Guy Evans almost exclusively plays on the hi-hat for most of the time on this one. Enough of the sentiments, time for a rocker. Drop Dead is just that, a song I really like to dance to. Hammill grunges on his axe with his typical dirty chords, and Banton adds slightly overdriven organ bits in between, while Evans pounds away maniacally. One of my favourite tracks on the album. With Only in a Whisper we are back on quiet territory again, at least at the beginning, but the song rises to a climax in the middle. Hammill on electric piano and Hugh Banton on bass guitar for a change (I always like it when he does that). The 10/8 rhythm drives the song along like a sailboat. Another rocker follows: All That Before is a song about losing short-time memory and displacing things. The joys of getting older; is Hammill being self-ironic here? Great organ licks of Banton here while Hammill is being Nadir on his guitar again. And now for the epic of the album: Over the Hill takes you on a typical VdGG roller-coaster ride. This is definitely a VdGG classic. The rocky instrumental parts remind me a bit of Man-Erg, but VdGG are definitely not plagiarizing themselves here. The majestic chorus of the song reminds me a bit of Childlike Faith in Childhood's End, lyrically as well as musically. But again, this is not plagiarism; I am just trying to give you a an impression of what it is like. The final track (We Are) Not Here has an interesting rhythmical pattern and is in my opinion another great track to dance to. And now the question some of you may ask: What about Jackson? To that I answer: Well, what about him? He does not play on that album! A solid 4 star effort. VdGG remain one of my favourite bands.Friederike
I don't like Van der Graaf Generator. I never have. And yet, since they have released a new album and have been kind enough to promote it through Prog Archives, I felt it incumbent upon me to at least listen to it.Phillip
And I was surprised, so I'm reviewing it to share my surprise with the rest of you.
VDGG has been stripped down to a trio on this release. Organ and drums, with Hammil covering vocals and throwing in guitar and piano as he sees fit. This isn't really a power trio in the ELP or Le Orme mode. These guys realize that the grand symphonic sound is beyond them (for the most part) and don't strive for it (again, for the most part.) And I find that their acceptance of their limitations is a welcome relief from much of what modern prog offers. The inevitable metal influence that pervades modern prog is thankfully muted, yet these guys don't pretend to be living in the '70's. The music is dark, but not bleak and uninteresting for the most part (something I have found VDGG guilty of in the past.) I find this an interesting way of furthering prog in modern times without resorting to the excesses of groups like The Mars Volta or the pandering to modern sensibilities like innumerable prog metal groups (think Queensryche or Tool here.)
Again, I am pleasantly surprised.
Three stars for this album. It's good. I don't expect that I'll listen to it again and again, but I do think I will probably put it on occasionally. There is a quality about it that begs you to listen closer, even if there is nothing compelling about it.
It's good. If you buy it, your money won't be wasted, even though there are better offerings out there.
Almost 40 years after the release of their accidental debut album, the resurrected Van der Graaf Generator is still not too old to rock'n'roll, as the opener to their 2008 offering Trisector shows: 'The Hurlyburly' is pure rocking fun with a slight touch of sophistication filtered through the jamming mood, something like Rolling Stones-meets-Rick Nadir. Van der Graaf Generator is neither too old to face new challenges or provide genuine strength to their music: in fact, they were driven to do the latter in order to achieve the former, because that's what a band like this has to do when saxophonist David Jackson, the real instrumental protagonist in the ensemble, is missing - face a new challenge. And so they did, and successfully. As it happened with the comeback gem Present, the band's nuclear sound is well set on the paths followed during the 75-76 era, although the remanent trio is forced to bring out a tighter sound: the ethereal aspect of the VdGG sound has to be underscored since banton has to stop creating layers and ambiences as background for Jackson's archetypical sax flourishes and textures. These are gone, so it leaves Banton as the leading instrumentalist, which in turn forces Evans to reinforce his rhythm foundations in a peculiarly rocking fashion: in order to make the whole ensamble work integrally in this new scheme, Hammill has to focus (either in the fast or slow songs) on his recognizeable energy, related to the most powerful passages of his later solo albums. Much guitar input by Hammill here, when compared to volume 1 of Present. Even though his singing is a bit waned, you can still notice the passion, conviction and muscle whe ndepicting his tales of solitude, coming of age, lovers' suicide, etc. So, Trisector ends up being more robust and less atmospheric than Present: both albums are equally excellent for different reasons, always making sense in the VdGG idiosincracy. After the catchy fun of the instrumental opener, things starts getting serious immediately with 'Interference Patterns', a rack solidly based on the dynamic interaction between the organ harmonic flows and the tight drum cadences. This course of action will also prove relevant in on tracks such as 'All That Before' and the tremendus closer '(We Are) Not Here'. The former bears a reasonably constrained anger recycled through elegant energy, while the latter brings a moderately bombastic mood not too far from the staple 'La Rossa' (albeit, not as epic: this song was designed to especifically close down the album). The real epic stuff is comrpised in 'Over the Hill', whose almost 12 ½ minute span is full of a well organized set of various sections, diverse moods and alternations between climaxes and relaxed passages: the whole amalgam is really hypnotic, yet another VdGG gem, yet another gigantic step for prog music. 'The Final Reel' is a jazzy ballad that finds the piano and organ creating a sonic community of grey moods. While keeping a similarly ethereal instrumentation, 'Lifetime' patently delivers more tension, with the soft organ putting thoughts of mysterious menace in the listener's mind. 'Drop Dead' brings back the rockiest side of Hammill and co., again in a Nadir sort of way, something halfway between 'Nobody's Business' and 'Two or Three Spectres'. 'Only in a Whisper' is a 5/4 nidtemp owhose jazzy cadences make it related to 'The Final Reel' - arguably, here 's Evan's mos taccomplished performance in the album. Well, well,... it is OK to miss Jackson when it comes to facing the opportunity to listen to Trisector for the first time, but once you get to listen to it, then comes a new idea in mind, an idea that can be easily confirmed after one or two more listens: the new material works well for this trio format, and so do the arrangements. This is an indication of how talented this band is with any format.César Inca
After Jaxon's eviction from the Generator (for obscure disagreement about his participation in one of those exploitation career overviews), how was the trio to go on without one of their most noticeable members absent and the sonic void bound to happen? Would you believe that Jaxon is hardly missed? I mean this album is sooooo good (in the songwriting and overall execution) that Jaxon's absence goes barely noticed. Actually I'd hate to think how perfect Trisector would've been, had Jaxon been part of it.. Yes!!! That good!!! All fears of another average Present album cast aside, Trisector is actually excellent enough to rival with Godbluff or Still Life.Sean Trane
With the ever solid Guy Evans still as inventive and right on the dot as he's ever been, Peter clearly kept some of his best songs for the group (not sure it was the case for Present) and he's particularly fine form vocally (the best album vocal performance along with Incoherence), he's obviously taking more space left empty with his electric guitar (never his strongest instrument >> the instrumental surf music Zep-esque Hurly Burly and the punkish Drop Dead), but the album is clearly Hugh Banton's. Not only is he playing bass guitar brilliantly, but his organ parts are absolutely brilliant and shinning like a thousand suns. Indeed he fills even more of the void left by Jaxon's exit. To make a point, most likely the group avoided the usual logo and chose to pass it trough as the triangle present on the front artwork and throughout most of the booklet's pages.
After the unusual but fun Hurly Burly, Banton hammers away a very complex riff pattern that fits the song title perfectly. Interference Pattern is so off-beat, that it indeed can be mistakebn as an interference, Hammill's verses reassuring us we're not in some crazy KB-dominated progmetal band, while Peter's chorus brings complete madness, the middle section veering obtusely complex. What a pure nightmare and what a contrast with the calmness of Final Reel, which is maybe the low point of the album, better suited for a solo album, IMHO. Lifetime is the first masterpiece of this album, Banton's organ resonating with Hammill's quiet electric guitar, the song gradually picking up solemnity through Peter's superb lyrics (ceremonial quicksand is a FIND!!) and great melody.
The punkish powers of Drop Dead (just the title is punk enough) would've been better suited after Final reel, rather than lifetime, but nevertheless it gives the proper boot in the butt for the rest of the album to glide ever so smoothly, even though it's not an easy ride home. As much a stark contrast DD was, wait till you get to Only In A Whisper, which starts on Hammill's electric piano, while Evans provides much background Banton coming in like a sonar (keeping for the length), preceding Peter's superb solemn voice. Another stunner. All That Before returns to the beefy rock of the hard&fast/slow&quiet alternation of tracks, with Hammill's fat's guitar riffs echoes away Banton's heavy organ lines, while Peter is quite talkative and an absolutely whacky ending in chaos. But you haven't heard anything yet as the 12-mins+ Over The Hill is the peak of the album, starting slowly a bit like in Jaws-like move from Hugh, than Peter taking the song on the Killer trail (the riff around the 8th minute), but ultimately, the track grows quickly to monster-like Lighthouse (with Hammill showing progress in his electric guitar playing), before dying away slowly. Not Here is starting solemnly on a descending riff then veering a tad dissonant ala Lemmings. Absolutely fabulous a track, Hammill's voice overdubbing to create a chorus over the descending riff is haunting, until a gradual fade-out over train noise, it creates a stunning end to the album.
While the previous album had given the same kind of thrills as Trisector on the first two listens, they went quickly away: but for Trisector, these thrills are clinging on and often ceding to admiring shrugs of how close to perfection it is. Sorry Jax, but you're long over with, but hopefully not completely forgotten. Many of these tracks, I can't wait to see in concert again.
Having reunited in 2005 and released an album called "Present" which received rave reviews from prog music critics, the legendary band has now come back with another brilliant album "Trisector" (which I presume the name represents the fact that they are three-piece band after David Jackson left the band). The main reason why their previous album received rave reviews revolves around the band's consistency in their music format which has been very "specific" Van der Graaf Generator sound. What is that? It's typically the replacement of guitar (mainly) with pulsating organ sounds augmented with saxophone with dark nuance resulting from the compositions. This is brilliant considering the band had practically in vacuum stage for 30 years since their album "The Quite Zone / The Pleasure Dome" released in 1977. It does not mean that the members of the band had been nothing to do during that span of time as Peter Hammil had been releasing numerous solo albums and David Jackson (sax) joined a powerful prog Canterbury band The Tangent in 2000.Gatot Widayanto
The reunion continued as it was proven by the release of "Trisector" on March 17, 2008 even though only three original members - that's why the album is called "Trisector" - with Peter Hammil (vox, guitar, piano), Hugh Banton (keyboards, organ) and Guy Evans (drums). David Jackson, the critical member who used to play saxophone, left the band. With the departure of Jackson, VdGG still proves solid in their music endeavor. In fact, this album is better than their previous "Present".
VdGG is consistent with its musical characteristics which basically dark, complex and sometimes there are parts with avant-garde elements. With nine tracks, there is an unusual thing that it also includes one instrumental track as opener. If you have observed the band since its glory days in 70s, you would feel the need to enjoy this album in its entirety even though this is neither a concept album nor the songs seem to interrelate one to another. I can sense how elegant the compositions the band offers right from the beginning track "The Hurlyburly" until the concluding track " (We Are) Not Here" which overall sounds like a cohesive whole.
Hey, this is definitely not ELP where the keyboard takes all music maneuvers wildly by Keith Emerson. However, this latest album relies heavily on unique organ sounds brilliantly produced by Hugh Banton in a format that is not as complex as the band's legendary albums. The chief characteristic, in addition to eerie organ sounds, is the baritone quality of Peter Hammil's voice. He has been one of great prog vocalists who can maintain his quality really well, and in fact, I think his singing style is really improving in this album. And I think, he is pivotal in this reunion because without him it's definitely not VdGG anymore. Until now I have not found any vocalist who can sing as great as Hammil.
"The Hurlyburly" kicks off nicely with dark nuance using some touch of avant-garde without vocal line. It sounds VdGG in the seventies with modern world as the rhythm section sometimes reminds me to Dire Strait's "Money for Nothing". It depicts a paradox: dark nuance with happy rhythm section - how can it be? That's the genius of the band creating such synergy! With no saxophone, the band is quite inventive by putting Hugh Banton provides great maneuvers with his organ work. The next track "Interference Patterns" provides a dynamic interaction between organ and dynamic drumwork by Guy Evans. This pattern is repeated excellently as you may find as in " All That Before" and the concluding track "(We Are) Not Here".
"The Final Reel" is a ballad with jazz nuance which gives a chance to piano and organ on dark setting. With similar instruments, the band moves forward with "Lifetime"which flows naturally with Peter Hammil's technical ability in his singing style (dynamic, powerful). "Drop Dead" brings the music in rock fashion with VdGG style.
It's not something strange that VdGG creates a composition with relatively long duration like in an epic "Over The Hill" which spans into a 12 minute long. This track might be something that you have dreamed about from the band if you yhave been with the band since the 70s, because other tracks are basically shorter. Again, if you were there in the 70s, you might find some passages (during breaks) in this track sound similar with what Jethro Tull made in "Thick As A Brick" album. Overall, this epic is really excellent!!
One thing that's worth mentioning: even though this time the band remains only three original members (without David Jackson, whose contribution was pivotal in the band's legendary albums), "Trisector" has firmly positioned VdGG consistent music direction and format. For newbie, typically the music of VdGG is quite difficult to digest but it'll grow over time and repeats of spins. For those of you who have been with the band in decades, this album makes you happy, really!
Rhyming Without Meter - VDGG's new album is a return to form, but does not quite reach the heights of their 70s masterpieces.Scott Tuffnell
At first glance the cover art reminds one of the pyramid structure of PF's 'Dark Side of the Moon'. The 3 members are shown with laser lights forming the pyramidical icon - the trisector - there are now three; Banton, Evans and and Hammill. The trisector signalling the train VDGG - 3 virtuoso musicians. But does this live up to their classic works Pawn Hearts, Godbluff, Still Life, The Least We can Do and H to He... ??? No, but it is certainly great music, played very differently, in some ways more mainstream but distinctly prog.
'The Hurly Burly' is an instrumental that is pleasant enough though takes a few listens to completely enjoy but it really grows on you. The Shadows style twanging guitar is particularly good. It now rates as one of my favourite prog instrumentals.
'Interference Patterns' has that familiar esoteric existentialist lyric -
All that we see illusory every assumption based on blind faith alone.... On with the motley, bring it home! Everything's formed from particles, all that you see is a construction of waves. Hold onto both thoughts, under general relativity the cradle connected to the grave.
Banton's organ is played with an asymmetrical time signature to Hammill's blank verse in emittable style, a recitative style that is distinctly VDGG. The scientific psycho babble though is overshadowed with the frenetic shifting metricla shapes of music. There are pauses, pulsating rhythms and changes in texture throughout. A great addition to VDGG catalogue.
'The Final Reel' begins with the contemplative piano of Hammill and speaks of Jack and Gillian (a bit kitsch) who are facing their decline into a broken relationship. There are thoughts of suicide as they contemplate taking the final dive. A very downbeat song but beautifully performed.
'Lifetime' begins with the jazz improv style drums of Evans underneath a layer of brooding organ. The lyrics are familiar to the VDGG catalogue.
I could foresee what was to come, I had a sense of what might happen. The river runs and very rapidly becomes a torrent, sweeping us towards our ricochet. It takes a lifetime to unravel all the threads that have tied us in our webs of tourniquet. I stake no claim on memory. I stand on ceremonial quicksand. I look for something with solidity to hold: something lasting, something pristine, with no sense of decay.
Let the current sweep you away, memories are like quicksand, so we must unlearn all that we know in order to return to the things we borrowed for a day - the things that last are all that we hold dear. A sad ballad of remorse and reflection of what could have been, similar to Hammill's solo material.
'Drop Dead' turns up the pace and rocks hard with a driving guitar riff, one of Hammill's best guitar performances. The hammering organ is a delight on this track. It' about how a woman deflates the bloated ego of male testosterone charged masculinity with 2 words - Drop dead! A parody of broken relationships, the star of this track is the hard driving rhythm. There are references to fairy tales within and some of the most endearing lyrics are prevalent:
In a sense some men are always caught in adolescence, trying to crack the mystery girl cocoon. It doesn't take a wicked witch to point out obsolescence is a state they might wake up to pretty soon. Is it any wonder when they hone that perfect put-down to deflate the macho tough guy male buffoon?
A more pensive track follows, 'Only in a Whisper'; the lyrics suggest the cyber society of faceless people who say they are one thing but are really another.
Welcome to the Power of Self-deception, head high in the grip of Holy Deadlock. Don't count on the way your days are numbered, listen to the wind which whips your every word away. Word-drunk, has the Inquisition found you? Weight falls on your shoulders, under pressure. Black dog in the desert heat will hound you - hang on, only Faith is holding us together.
Take it as you will, the lyrics are as in depth as Hammill can get. The track is quiet musically at first and builds up only to be taken down to the minimalism of the opening section.
'All That Before' is an outstanding return to form after some mediocrity in the last couple of tracks. Hammill's vocals create the off kilter rhythm accentuated by sizzling keyboards. I sorely miss the sax at times like this, however the track is filled out my multi-layered organs and fuzzed out guitars. There is an excellent section 3 minutes in with a strange metrical signature that overturns the structure.
The longest track is 'Over The Hill' clocking in at 12:26 and it is one of the best. It begins slowly, patiently with emotive lyrics and soulful organ, cabaret style. The piano chimes in the key motif and sends the song into a new direction with time sigs that are hard to define in their complex arrangement. The organ and piano answer each other and explode in to a new rhythm that bursts out as Hammill declares "If we're living as though Gods at our shoulders, if we're giving of our best, by an effort of will, then we'll be up for the test, we'll never know when we're over the hill." VDGG's members are getting older so this is a type of autobiographical examination of their existence today. Their music is as vibrant as ever in the midst of mainstream mediocrity. The album is a welcome addition to the third wave of prog - there is definitely room for the progenitors of prog to continue with innovation and a daring sense of abandon.
The album ends on a bleak note - 'We Are Not Here'. There is an excellent out of sync rhyming pentameter, a non- syllabic phrasing that works well. Hammill sings "vibration without meter" as if to inform his listeners of the type of music they are hearing.
'Trisector' is a great album, and though not to the standard of their classics, there is still a lot on offer here. Hopefully there are greater things to come from VDGG.
Nice follow-up to _Present_. Many of the tracks sound as though they have a Van Der Graaf Generator twist on early '70s Deep Purple and Gentle Giant. A very bottom heavy sound. Actually, the lengthier tracks remind me of later Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis...an organic post-rock with a jazzy feel. Amazing what VDGG 3 can pull off with such a small collective. _Drop Dead_ should be on the radio as a single. Great stuff and highly recommended. _Interference Patterns_ should be listened to at high volume, preferably at 11. Probably the most technical I've heard Van Der Graaf Generator. Excellent counterpoint. Of note, David Jackson is absent on this recording but he is hardly missed. Every serious prog.rock fan should not disicriminate and embrace the _...And Then There Were Three_ version of VDGG.Julian Belanger
In October 73, I purchased my first VDGG album (Pawn Hearts) which was almost instantly followed by The Least and H to He. All these before the end of that year. I was fourteen years old.
The Hammill gang has ever since been a companion of mine (even if there was a ten year's break in my music addiction from 86 to 96). Unlike most prog reviewers, I am worried that Jackson is not here. I am missing his huge sax play as well as his delicate fluting exercise. IMHHO they do belong to the genuine VDGG sound and no album without him would ever sound as full Graaf one. This is my personal feeling.
After their long awaited reunion album Present which held an awful experimental CD (and another good one to be complete), I was curious to hear what the band was still capable to propose.
Trisector is made of ten (relatively) short songs of which the opener is fully instrumental. It must been ages since the band didn't release an instrumental piece (Theme One maybe). It is on the upbeat side and to be honest it is quite a good introduction to this album.
One of the best song featured IMO is the wonderful Lifetime. Peter is so moving and convincing during this exercise (as always I should say). It is true that the absence of Jackson is almost unnoticed here. The passion delivered here is phenomenal and this track ranges to the best ones of the band IMO.
Some other pieces are on the upbeat side like Drop Dead and can be considered as out of the normal status. Heavy-pop? Not my cup of tea. Fortunately, an almost classic song takes place in the form of Only In A Whisper: lots of jazz feeling, fine organ play, almost psychedelic atmosphere. This song seems to come out from their early repertoire. It is not easily accessible but I guess that each old and devoted fan must salivate while listening to it.
The heavy mania also stroke the Graaf in these days. All That Before holds very heavy keyboards and a dark mood. If it weren't for this exaggerated hard tone, it could have been considered as another Graaf classic. As such, and even if the band released some heavy tracks in their glory days (Killer) I can only consider this as a good song, no more.
We are brought back again into more intimate, personal Hammill sound (even if this album is signed quite democratically) with the brilliant Over The Hill (which is no Machiavel cover.). Over twelve minutes into the dark VDGG world.
All the darkness, the subtlety, the emotion, the passion of Peter is sweating each second of this great song. For the ones of you who are waiting their more experimental and chaotic style: don't worry there are such passages as well in here. And when the whole band gets back together after such a break, I can only tell that I miss dear old Dave. Still, this song is one of the best of this album and it holds the comparison with some good old ones as well. The vibrant finale is quite a musical experience.
The disjointed Not Here is a good closing track which features again a dramatic Hammill. This is a very good album indeed. Not a masterpiece IMHHO (I hold this status for Godbluff and Still Life), but a much better effort than Present.
The first time I heard the opening track on this album I was really disappointed. I remember thinking "This is VDGG ?" I still don't like it even after many listens. Heck I don't even like the title of this song. Haha. It's called "The Hurlyburly" and it's the only instrumental on here.The beat kicks in after a minute, and it's really commercial sounding. More of that to come. "Interference Patterns" sounds more like the VDGG I know. Lots of organ in this one with vocals coming in before a minute. "The Final Reel" is a top three song for me on this record. Piano leads the way in this mellow tune with vocals and organ after a minute. "Lifetime" has this steady beat throughout with organ and bass supporting. A good reflective track. Great lyrics on this one. "Drop Dead" is the other commercial sounding song on here. I cannot stand this one. It's the kind of song that plays in your head and drives you crazy. Even the lyrics are brutal. Organ leads the way.John Davie
"Only In A Whisper" opens with some atmosphere as vocals come in almost whispering. It does build to a fuller sound. It's ok. "All That Before" is another of the top three song for me. Uptempo with organ and some humerous lyrics about getting old. There's even some heaviness a minute in. "Over The Hill" is the song for me that recalls the VDGG of old. Some heavy lyrics here too. Organ opens the proceedings as reserved vocals come in. The tempo picks up after 4 minutes before settling again. The organ rips it up after 8 minutes as the sound builds. It calms back down 11 minutes in to end it. "(We Are) Not Here" has a fairly heavy soundscape with piano and organ leading the way. I like this one a lot. The song ends as the album began.
Take away the two songs I dislike and this is a solid 4 star album. Lots to like here anyway. Good record.
Second Van Der Graaf Generator reunion release, minus one jammed CD, minus David Jaxon, minus abstractly directed anger, minus ferocious grandeur, plus a lot of things. The improvements here are pretty much across the board on the already very strong Present: the lyrics have regained their murkiness and existential bite, organist Hugh Banton's every note is basically a highlight and the album as a whole is both more experimental and balanced than its predecessor. Hammill makes no visible effort to show off yet shines throughout. Guy Evans is, as ever, a rock solid atmospheric drummer with some bursts of particular creativity. Couple of criticisms: a couple of fade endings, particularly on the rock pieces, would seem worth expansion, a couple of the tracks feel a bit out of place for various reasons. Nonetheless, overall a marked success.Rob
The instrumental Hurlyburly is a rather odd choice of opener ? presumably some sort of rather unnecessary demonstration that the band can still cut it instrumentally without Jackson or a magnanimous hint from Hammill to ensure this isn't taken for one of his solo albums (all tracks except one receive a whole group credit). Psychedelic opening running around a basic guitar riff followed by a fairly memorable but rather unnecessary bit of instrumental rock... one gets the sense the fade derives from a lack of direction more than anything else.
Characteristic existential angst in a few of the numbers here: Interference Patterns is a dizzyingly compact progressive philosophy-of-science piece and a modern VDGG classic with a decidedly gripping organ part among a number of superb features. Only In A Whisper has even bleaker basic content and a lot of cymbals (Evans is consummately creative when more or less free of the type-cast of rock drummer). Perhaps a victim of its own success: I can't help feeling the length, lack of overall direction and haunting lyrics are an intentional challenge of the type that probably shouldn't lie between two comparatively undemanding rock songs. More on We Are Not Here below.
A couple of quieter, though not necessarily more relaxed, songs: The Final Reel is deceptively pretty in appearance, with an agonisingly detailed and dark lyric. Banton's flute imitation is as striking as his later melancholic organ, and Hammill's vocals (including a fascinating self-duet) and guitar are superbly applied... the grandeur at the end is used with a decided irony, and the closing feedback appears to be some sort of back-reference to help connect the album together with its opener. Lifetime is the sole composition credited solely to Hammill, and I guess that's visible from the amount of guitar and the prominence of the vocal... Banton's wonderful development of the organ part (including some very nice pedal work) is one highlight, Hammill's lyrics are another. I suppose the transition to guitar solo is a little facile.
Drop Dead has Hammill's tongue so firmly in his cheek that it's basically stuck: I get the fundamental irony so quickly I don't feel the need to hear it out (shame, as the ending, stripped of sarcy wordiness, is the best bit). Particularly when compared to the rather more interesting examples of both irony and rock music in All That Before, it's not a particular asset to the album.
Over The Hill is a second stab at the ideas behind Childlike Faith... the knife goes in almost too easily. Here, even more so than on the rest of the album, Banton re-establishes himself as the most convincing organist in the territory of rock, with a range of gripping organ parts varied effortlessly with intelligent dissonance and a clear relationship with the other instruments. Hammill's vocal melodies are unique and well-considered and his voice holds a bone-chilling power here and his lyrics are typically well-constructed. Evans' fills are great and his drumming is solid, taking over a slow part with a sense of direction. A thoroughly thought-through Van Der Graaf Generator 'epic' with the meaning and emotional grip to empower its already excellent music.
Nomination for We Are Not Here as the sonic expression of destruction. Evans' rattle-snake rolls and Hammill's deliciously crisp low piano notes (accompanied by a bass pedal) merge into Banton's scything organ. Hammill's voice offers some never-before-heard textures for very striking lyrics. An album that deserves to be judged on its own merits: a very high quality, subtle and experimental album by three great musicians, replete with some of the best vocals and lyrics out there. There are a couple of flaws but it's still comfortably the best post-reunion album I've heard by any prog outfit and worthy, perhaps even deserving, of a place in any prog collection.
The first thing that strikes me when I listen to this, the second release from the recently revived Van Der Graaf Generator, is how strong Hugh Banton's organ playing is on this album. Well, I suppose it has to be strong, as David Jackson has once again departed, and this time not replaced, leaving the group without it's front soloist.Scott
VDGG's music has somewhat matured, as you would expect, but there are still some thrills. Peter Hammill sounds as good as ever. His lyrics are deep, and his voice is still youthful sounding.
The album starts with an instrumental. It sounds almost like surfer rock. And it gives an impression that this album may not be as adventurous as past VDGG albums. But then Interference patterns starts. It has Banton playing layered organ lines in an almost Gentle Giant style. It's beautiful and amazing.
The other high points come toward the end of the album, with Over the Hill and (We Are) Not Here harkening back to the classic era of the band.
It may take a bit to get used to, but VDGG has produced yet another nice prog album.
Maybe it's the lack of David Jackson, or maybe the guys needed to spend just a little longer refining material - either way, Trisector is lacking something. It's not that the songs on here are bad - far from it - but all too often, they feel just a little sparse, and sparse in a "this isn't really finished" way as opposed to a "this is deliberately minimalistic" way. Segments of songs chug along in a similar vein without variance for just a little too long here and there, and in general the overall impression is of a first draft of what might be a really good album given a little more work and polish. Still, Hammill's lyrics and the band's songwriting are a little sharper on here than on Present.W. Arthur
The present trio format seems to suit the band well. While Present sounded like a laid back recording made by old band mates getting together after so many years, it proved the magic was still there. Now, without Jackson, the approach is different, this is a different animal. Listening to Trisector it becomes apparent this is not a reunion, this is an active band. Gigging has done good and these old men play tight. Evans is beating the drums like ever and Hugh Banton is in a big role and does an excellent job. Peter Hammill and a guitar is a dangerous combination, but it works here. I'm sure it will get out of hand at times during the live shows, but isn't that what Hammill's work has always been about? Sometimes going over the edge is the only way to find out where exactly that edge was in the first place.Kaibe
I wouldn't call any of the songs on the album weak, but for the sake of the whole a couple might have been better left out. Time might change my view on this one though. Especially the latter part of the album is killer material and fits perfectly together. At first listen I thought I had a rather mediocre effort in my hands, but the more I listen to it the more I like it. In my opinion, an excellent album and a must have for fans of the band. For the rest, this might be a bit too much and for newcomers one of the classic albums would be a better place to start. But Trisector is not a bad place to be.
'Trisector' is, for me, distinctive in the VdGG canon - it is their most purely keyboards-dominated album from any era. Jaxon's railway cap and double saxophones may dominate our classical image of VdGG, but in his regrettable absence 'Trisector' brings into focus the true backbone of their unique musical sound. Because, quite honestly, many tracks on this album have an unexpectedly classic-era VdGG feel to them, albeit without a core ingredient. The rigorous and emphatic organ of Hugh Banton, counterpointed with the piano (sometimes guitar) of Peter Hammill, creates a coherent and familiar musical framework, for all the experiments with rhythm that permeate 'Trisector'. I find this album to be the most artistically successful of their comeback albums. Its predecessor has a variety of styles cobbled together, while the production mix of its successor brings PH's vocals far more to the fore (with negative results IMO).Einwahn
'Trisector' also has one of the clearest concepts among VdGG albums. It starts with an uncharacteristically jolly instrumental called 'The Hurlyburly', which I take to represent life prior to old age. Then the remaining tracks deal with old age in one way or another, from poignant ('Final Reel') to hilarious ('All That Before', a spoof on a 1960's Kinks number that surely influenced the young Peter Hammill). And the music is great, this album is worthy of this great band.
Is it wrong that I like VdGG better as a trio? I played Godbluff and Pawn Hearts well beyond their reasonable shelf life in college - my mind was more in tune with walls of organ and groaning saxophone back then, I guess. I find now, though, that the band - Hammill in particular - are more interested in writing songs that require focus to understand rather than waltzing, yelping, and gallivanting all over the room to catch your attention at every moment in case your interest starts to fade. Hearing this album really makes me understand what a mess After the Flood and A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers really are...for all the eccentric fun of the old Van der Graaf, it's a song like "Lifetime" that separates the sheep from the goats; the airy tension in modern VdGG and Hammill's solo writing really gets me when I am not in the mood for a show, but just music.1791 Overture
It wouldn't be the Van der Graaf without convolutions of course, but even here the band's taste has matured - Interference Patterns is just a real mathy treat for prog fans who enjoy their twists and turns in good measure, but even the raunchy chorus I just find gorgeous rather than gross. Most of this album's appeal comes from its more subtle tensions, however - the rhythm section in Only in a Whisper makes beads of sweat form on my brow, and even in the more straightforward rocker Drop Dead the drums have to act as a mediator to the constantly bickering guitar and organ. Hammill's unique brand of vocal histrionics has kept its unorthodox phrasing, funneled into memorable if difficult melodies (no DEATH IN THE SEA, SOMEONE COME AND HELP ME here).
The instrumentation is always full, but never busy, and the music is elaborate, but never frivolous. Prog grown up - this record is full of an adventuresome maturity that draws me back again and again. That the band remains this musically relevant (and this downright good) after 40+ years amazes me. Trisector doesn't just do their legacy justice, but actually improves on it, and I am excited for the band's future prospects.
After finally completing my 1970s VDGG collection and enjoying Present, I decided to pick up Trisector. While not classic VDGG (I doubt we will ever get another Godbluff or Still Life), Trisector has enough strong material on it to make it an excellent listen. While Interference Patterns comes closest to classic VDGG, other cuts have a more commercial sound though I don't mean this negatively. There is even some humour on this album. Its unfortunate that Jackson decided not to participate but his abscence is not lethal in anyway.Jon-Paul Mitton
I'll give it 4 stars because I've played this too many times to count over the past few months, my wife and kids don't like it (so its not that commercial sounding) and I'm hoping for another release in the next couple of years even if they remain a three piece.
Another good one!Tomas Zargus
Its a new great album from the new power trio generator, this album is a bit easier then the previus Present it got a diffrent sound more keyboard oriented, it sounds modern and old school prog at the same time, its very fresh feeling and culd probobly be liked by none prog nuts if they stumbled upon it becaus most of the music is pretty simpel and easy to like and some songs are very soft and nice, i dont realy mind Jackson's not here anymore this is a new fresh generator for the 21st century, and i think they still have many good albums ahead of em. VDGG semes to be one of few of the old 70s ands that have come back and still are abel to make realy good music, there isent much to say realy, this is a highly recomended album for VDGG nutts and noobs alike.
Van der Graaf are back and just as wonderful as ever! The overall texture and feel of Trisector couldn't have been much better...it really stands alongside their 70's output quite well, despite the obvious absence of woodwind wizard Jackson. VDGG remain one of my favourite bands, and they have proven yet again that they aren't too old to make relevant, energetic, and dare I say youthful music! Having said that, Hammill's lyrics certainly show that he is a man of many years and great life experience, but at no time does he sound like an aged man - quite the contrary - he is in great voice here!Matt Baxley
The only two bands I know of that seem to be able to still capture the magic of their original heyday are Magma and, now, Van der Graaf Generator. Take a lesson, Yes and Genesis! Re-inventing the wheel is not always the right answer!
VDGG have stuck to a formula which has endeared them to fans for nearly 40 years...thank God! I quite honestly didn't know what to expect when I first pressed 'play'...knowing that David Jackson was no longer with the group concerned me a bit...I think I almost expected this to sound like a PH solo record. However, those concerns melted away quickly - especially once Interference Patterns began - the complexity of those ostinato patterns remind me of a keyboard version of Discipline-era Fripp!
There is something for everyone on this record...as far as I'm concerned, it's an instant classic!
Well this is the 2nd release from the reformed VDGG but its the first without Jaxon on sax's. Of course this begs the question is this a real VDGG record or simply an exercise in making cash on the strength of the name with an eye to retirement ? I suspect the latter but this is a real VDGG record in its own way. Firstly the quility of the music is not as high as during the Bands Early glory days. In fact P.H.'s Albums have suffered from being produced at breakneck speed for many years now. However this record has a similar feel in places to world record, whilst many of the ideas are rehashed from P.H's many many solo lp's. I am not going to go through each track pointing out its forerunner in the catalogue I'll leave that to those who have considerable more time to spend on the project but the precursor tracks are often obvious. There is not one classic track here but there is also no howlers or utterly substandard ones either. The tracks in general are entertaining and the recorded sound is excellent. I like this record more than Present and its been played a great deal more than any PH record since Fire-ships so far. The extra space reveals just how important Hugh is to the sound and its his inclusion that finally convinces me that this record really belongs in the VDGG catalogue and not in the PH one. I'll not do a track by track run through as I believe records should be enjoyed as a whole or not at all. Trisector is certainly an album by an Lp band and it has a consistency and feel all of its own. In the end Jaxons departure has only dented VDGG not sunk it. I hope that this will not be the last shoat of this great band and that the next album will feature some stronger song writing, over wise this is a pretty good late period record and one that all VDGG fans will want and many none fans would enjoy.burgersoft777
Trisector is an honest work, good, fresh and mature. David Jaxon is not there, but the energy of the trisector(Hammill-Evans-Banton) announces a new horizon of the group. Banton is now the outsider solist but Evans puts the rythm:pure and solid and Mr. Hammill expends all the force in reache an outstanding work. Jazzy, bluesy, easily,epic,warm,progressive, anti-progressive.... all in a new sound. VDGG gives another tour de force and this is the reason for give 5 stars to his work. We have an other great epic song: Over the Hill... but VDGG are over the years and like always gives us the passion of live and the honestity of his brave and direct existence. We are in the fourth step of the band??? I saw them in San Sebastian.. and was spectacular his perfect performance. Still Life!!! Long life for the band. Please, don´t try to change!!!palinurus
Viva VDGG. And the spirit survives.
After listening to this album about 20times I think I have now vary clear opinion. For me it is the best Van der Gaaf Generator album since Still Life. It contains one of the greatest song I`ve ever heard- Over the Hill. I think this composition is on the same range as Childlike Faith in Childhood`s End or A louse is not A home. Other great number for me is very short Interference Patterns which sounds like something out of King Crimson. What is funny about this composition for me is that at the first time I didn`t like it at all and I thought “what the hell is that”. Now it is one of my favorite Van der Graaf Generator songs. All that Before and Lifetime we had opportunity to listen to them before they were out. They are just great songs. The Hurlyburly was very surprising for me because I would never think that VdGG could sound like that. All In all it is very nice instrumental song which sounds like wild west. Drop Dead is another nice song which resembles All that Before. The Final Reel and Only in a Whisper are very peaceful songs which would fit perfectly to some of the Peter Hammill solo albums. The last composition (we are) not here is something like continuation of Over the Hill and substitutes the great end of the album.Maciej Perzan
I think this album deserve five stars without hesitation. If you didn`t like this for the first ten times give it another ten because I consider this album as an essential: a masterpiece of progressive music and that is the one that can`t be omitted in any prog rock collection.
I don't know my exact motives for 5 stars, I have only had this album for a little longer than a week but that has given me sufficient listening time for it. I have enjoyed this to no end. I don't know if its just the fact that this may be one of the only rock bands who in their older age can release records rivaling their finest ones of years past, or just the fact that it is a simply great record.endlessepic
I hear a depth...a passage of time that so occupies Hammill's songwriting, being fulfilled and expounded upon here. I hear three musicians who manage to make up for the loss of their amazing sax player with well put together instrumentals combining Hugh's powerful organ (and even great bass guitar playing on a few tracks) Guys intensely talented drumming, and Peters uniquely beautiful guitar and keyboard work. It seems the Van Der Graaf of old has matured and decided to produce something they can be completely proud of and can perform with intensity.
Peter can still sing. No doubt about it. Not only can he still sing, even after the years of smoking his voice retains its former beauty and, at times, harshness. I have NEVER heard a rocker of his age sing so well. Amazing. Don't ask me how he has kept it up, but I love the fact that he has.
The songs : What I have found interesting about them
1. The Hurlyburly - I hear a collision of Van Der Graaf intensity (Something like the middle instrumental in The Sleepwalkers) with surf rock. Surf Rock? Yes, kind of odd but Hammill's tremelo bar usage and Guy's 60's style drumming really reminds me of it. This one rocks and opens the album with a bang.
2. Interference Patterns - After I listened to this for the first time, a knowing smile crept across my face...I thought Van Der Graaf can create a very deep musical landscape in under 4 minutes...wow It really is a disconcerting listen that totally enjoys its place as a bearer of heavy and difficult Van Der Graaf Generator riffs.
3. The Final Reel - Beautiful usage of piano and chording. I don't know how they write em like these but this one really blows me away...also Guy uses brushes which is a bit of an oddity for VDGG. There is a chord in this song that will make the hair on your neck stand on end. And you will love it.
4. Lifetime - The inverted chords of which Hammill and Hugh have been known to use come to phenomenal usage on this amazingly dark but beautiful song. Lyrically astounding. Almost minimalist in its instrumentalism...Guy is reduced to great effect to a simple hi-hat rhythm at the start (not simple to play, just simple sounding) that brings to mind Miles Davis' In A Silent Way This one is a treasure and a sure classic.
5. Drop Dead - And here we are with the first riff-rocking song on the record. I don't mean riff-rocking as in repetitive or anything, this one does rock and is a bit angry, showing why Hammill had an essential part in the formation of punk. Put your fist in the air.
6. Only In A Whisper - Again I hear a similarity to Miles Davis - the electric piano combined with Guy's subtle fusion drumming and Hughs pristine bass tone. Of course we have Peter Hammill singing to great effect with his wonderful voice. Truly a good song and a good fusion of talents.
7. All The Before - Wonderfully catchy and moving. It sounds trite on paper and is a classic example of people talking about being old but for some reason this time it works. He loses his glasses but this song is done in a way that makes you want to go find them for him rather than point and laugh. It is kind of a welcome break from the more heavy subject matter before delving into even more deep matter. Wonderful song with a great riff.
8. Over The Hill - I suppose this would be the centerpiece of the album. An epic definitely. People have likened it to Childlike Faith and that would be a fair comparison, sometimes majestic and huge, other times dark and dissonant. A true masterpiece of 12 minutes but with some odd little Gentle Giant'isms that might throw you off. Think of what Gentle Giant would write in the dark. The lyrics detail standing fast in a way that is quite original and inimitable. They can still write the epics.
9. (We Are) Not Here - I would have asked for something slow and quiet to close the album but was pleasantly corrected with this prog rocking closer that both rocks and is dark. With such a taste for what is necessary for the album, the crew creates yet another song that works in harmony with the others and closes the album perfectly.
And there it is. I do believe this a wonderful album and one of the best records I've ever heard from a band that is Over The Hill
To achieve such as they do after such a long time of being in the music business and growing older is quite a feat, but I do believe even if I didn't know the situation I would still be engrossed by the music. Thats what it is all about isn't it? The music? Yes, and Van Der Graaf Generator have done it. They have made wonderful music.
Please. Buy this album.
Well the wait is over and i can finally sit down and enjoy the newest CD from one of my favorite bands. As soon as this album starts going you feel the difference without David Jackson on the sax, but it's nice because it sets itself aside from the rest of their discography.Sean
The first track on the album is The Hurlyburly a wonderful instrumental to kick things off, nothing more nothing less.
Hammill comes in on Interference Patterns and shows that his voice is still wonderfully chaotic, and that a catchy song can be a great song.
The Final Reel along with Lifetime both sound like songs would be more fitting for a Hammill solo album, but that doesn't mean they're not great tracks.
Lifetime is a very typical of Peter Hammill sounding song that sounds very hopeless dark and cold.
Drop Dead one of the most staple rock sounding songs I've ever heard VDGG do, and while I can't say it works great, it doesn't hurt either.
Only in a Whisper is a very quite song that may sound a bit dull at first but has considerable room for growth.
All That Before defiantly one of my favorite tracks, i love the keyboards.
Over the Hill took a good album and just made it great, defiantly one of the better epics I've heard in a while. An instant classic in my book.
(We Are) Not Here Last song on the album, it's a bit haunting and maybe not my idea of a great closer but it still works with whole going out on the same note you came in type idea.
Well, woo VDGG made another exceptionally good album, and hopefully not the last either.
It is so very good to see VdGG making music again albeit that David Jackson is missing from this line-up. That said the remaining trio have provided an album that is light, dark, operatic, theatrical and visceral, delivering the impact that only VdGG can.Alex Scarista
It is hard to compare this album with earlier releases by either VdGG or pH other than to say that they have all retained the mastery of their instruments that was evident throughout the 70s. This means that this album, whilst varied, is musically very tight and features a natural interplay between musicians who are obviously on the same wavelength creatively. As always they are progressive but unconfined by the expectations of the genre, something that for me has always been a VdGG trademark.
If you're a fan of these guys then this will, of course, be an essential album. If you're new to their output then there may be better places to start such as Real Time, the recent live album, which covers a good range of their past work including their previous studio album Present. Then again, we're talking VdGG so in reality anywhere would be a good place to start.
Anyway, this one rates a very solid stars so give it a spin!
Having reformed after 28 years in 2005, their previous album 'Present' was thought to be the final statement from vdgg. Comprised of 2cd's , with a few new tracks and the rest comprised of intense improvised jam sessions, 'present' was about celebrating the band's return and the joy in playing together rather than a collection of new songs. Nobody thought this would happen, but even with just 3 members, vdgg are a working living band again.Famously never having employed a guitarist, vdgg made a kind of dark intense soul music with a classical progressive feel from a prominent organ sound. Making some of the most edgy quasi satanic music in rock history, the equally dark lyrics and theatrical delivery of peter hammill made them stand out as uncompromising challenging music. With their trademark saxophone sound now gone following the sad departure of david jackson, and with no guitarist, what would an album featuring a drummer , singer and keyboard player sound like? I have to be honest, i didn't expect a lot. But, every Van Der Graaf Generator album is different, and so is this, different but - in it's own way, very good and occasionally brilliant.Gabriel Aaron
It doesn't start very well, however. Instrumental opening track ' The Hurly Burly' is straight rock , like Dire Straits playing surf guitar. It's something i never thought i'd hear vdgg do, famously an edgy band, this is very standard. It rocks fairly well and has a toe tapping upbeat style, but we don't love vdgg for their conforming music.Similarly, 'Drop Dead' sounds like 'Money For Nothing ' ;another Dire Straits reference, all fine and dandy but lacking edge. That leaves us with 7 tracks that hit the spot, and a variety of styles included. Perhaps it's necessity being the mother of invention, but the band have reached further to create one of their most eclectic albums ever. So, we have an organ/keys heavy sound with tight drumming and guitar thrown in for depth, the musical space they have now creating a looser more chaotic - edge of insanity-feel. The themes here are quite philosophical, our place in the universe, the brevity of life and dealing with it's end, but still done with humour - 'All That Before' for example, dealing with middle aged forgetfulness in a charming way amongst a backdrop of edgy organ led soul/rock, adding some mean guitar riffs and a tight heavy rock drum pattern into the mix. It's vdgg in every way, just reconfigured. Elsewhere, tracks like ' Lifetime' and 'Only In A Whisper' are slow powerful building compositions- Hammill's own yearning delivery as powerful a tool when stripped bare as any instruments could be. And it's in these reflective tracks that we see the essence of vdgg distilled, making an awkward, atmospheric, compelling power from very few ingredients.
So far, so good but not so epic. . Where's a taste of the full vdgg experience. . Can they deliver the same kind of raw unsettling assault now they're a 3 piece?. Yes. 'Over The Hill' isn't just a great vdgg track, that would hold it's own with anything they've done, it's a genre classic. When Van Der Graaf Generator are firing on all cylinders, nothing can touch them for delightfully demented power. 12 minutes of epic, operatic madness, as beautiful as it's eerie. As well composed as it is shambolic. Nobody in rock sounds this alien, they're back in the same form as fans would hope but not really expect Final track 'we are not here' seals the deal with a powerful satanic bluster of organ and vocal, and caps an album that isn't their best, in the high standards of previous releases, but will definately supercede expectations from 3 guys in their later middle age, minus a key member, nealy 40 years after their debut. So many veteran bands fall into medeocrity, lose their hunger; but this stilll has that same vital van Der Graaf spirit, against all odds.
As I am listening to this album for the first time, it is to me like unearthing a VdGG 70s classic that I missed first time round.Frippertron
It reminds me of a cross between World Record and Still Life. Whoever said there was no guitar on this album obviously doesnt have an ear for detail.
I will not go into great detail about each track, as that has already been done.
The Hurlyburly wonderful instrumental to get you into the mood for whats to come.
Interference Patterns my fave track on the album, an epic in less than 4 minutes cant be bad eh.
The Final Reel could become a VdGG classic.
Lifetime a relaxing tune, has a good ambience to it.
Drop Dead just to get back on your feet after the chill out on Lifetime.. very heavy, thumping good beat
Only in a Whisper back to relaxation with a nice laid back track. The classic prog is there to hear.
All That Before.. Hey, psychedelia for the 00s.. I heard this (as well as Lifetime) at the gig back in 2007. Loved it then, and now I finally have it, I know I will play this track to death.
Over The Hill.. Ahh, the VdGG epic. A mixture of everything going on here in 12 1/2 minutes.
(We Are) Not Here If I had my way, this would be a single..
To sum it all up,
Hay más comentarios pero me cansé de copiar...
Un disco épico, honesto, trasgresor y al mismo tiempo respetuoso de su propia historia musical, tres monstruos que demuestran que "Trisector" no es un infructuoso intento de vigencia y avaricia sino una demostración de fuerza y contenido, confirmando que este clásico dinosaurio del progresivo más radical continúa vivo y en pie como una entidad que se levanta por sobre las modas, la banalidad musical y los más imberbes intentos de reuniones sólo por dinero o reconocimiento. Sobretodo, la honestidad musical de los tipos está más que clara, siguen fiel a su historia y a su estilo.
Estamos ante la presencia de maestros que son capaces de ratificar algo: su excepcional arte. Un tremendo disco de un nuevo (pero ya viejo) VDGG, una de las mejores bandas inglesas (¿sólo inglesas?) de rock de todos los tiempos, por algo hacemos un especial sobre ellos en el blog cabezón, no cualquiera tiene ese honor.
Como dice uno de los comentarios que pegué: "Viva VDGG. And the spirit survives."