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Peter Hammill: ...All That Might Have Been...

The Van der Graaf man turns dystopian Doctor Who.

Celebrating what he’s calling his “golden years”, Van der Graaf’s wiry 66-year-old principal is still resolutely swerving the straight path. On …All That Might Have Been…, his 32nd (!) solo album, the smudged city-at-night sleeve art implicates what’s inside before the 21 track names nudge your imagination too.

This is a time-travelling space-noir drama, a 48-minute continuous cinematic score suited to the chrome lounge of a 23rd century jazz club, with sex and violence at its scraping, shadowy core.

The classic rock references are few, as Hammill’s worldview is that of the artier expressionism of Bowie’s Berlin years and Scott Walker’s Climate Of Hunter. The textures used are isolated and disturbing. Tracks such as In Overview’s brooding desert rock setting up the stark, Space Oddity loneliness of Can’t Get Home.

After a perilous romantic wrangle, the ambient menace of Washed Up penetrates Drifting Through’s staticky pop lurch into the final pitfall of He Turns Away. It’s all hair-raisingly steered by Hammill’s multitracked warble – the sound of a sonic time lord in his latest regeneration./o:p

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.