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Peter Hammill: PNO GTR VOX Live Performances

Van Der Graaf Generator mainman live and alone.

Peter Hammill is one of the few prog rock legends whose credibility copybook is still unmarked. His solo work has always been constructed around intense contrasts: between spine-tingling hush and tooth-rattling clangour; between breathtaking fragility and howling horror.

On this lengthy double album – divided equally and precisely between those songs played on piano and those on guitar – that contrast is rendered with bright vivacity, as that sonorous but often startling voice inveigles its way into your head, spraying pathos and poignancy in every direction.

The great diversity of Hammill’s catalogue is illuminated here too, despite the sparse troubadour context, and everything from early curios such as The Comet, The Course, The Tail through to recent gems like The Mercy and Stumbled revels in the shimmering sonic space generated by the quiet power and charisma of this resolutely humble master of the shared inner dialogue.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.