Apr 30, 2009

Celebrate, AZ Soup 3 Hammill

Peter Hammill - Over (77 ^ 113mb)

Born Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill, November 5, 1948, in Ealing, London, to parents of fairly good means, Peter Hammill grew up in the embrace of Jesuit teachings, an element that has continued to affect and influence his songwriting throughout his career as much as his studies of philosophy and art. The drive of his particular muse, fueled additionally by the '60s groundswell of new approaches to science fiction led to collaboration with Chris Judge-Smith at Manchester University, with Van Der Graaf Generator forming around them -- albeit briefly. The band broke up after a number of gigs, with Hammill going solo. The arrival of a Mercury Records contract led Hammill into the studio, accompanied by various friends, for a brief but intense recording session. The first three VDGG albums for Charisma moved through a variety of shattered and darkened landscapes, with some genuinely chilling moments.

Hammill's first solo outing, Fool's Mate (both a chess and Tarot reference), came alongside the Van Der Graaf Generator album H to He Who Am the Only One. It consisted, in the main, of an assortment of songs deemed too small for the band. In contrast, following the dissolution of VDGG following Pawn Hearts, Hammill's sophomore release, The Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night, was a bleak affair indeed. Hammill seemed to need to strip things down to the bare essentials, recording at home (the first appearance of Sofa Sound) for the most part, his lyrics telling more personal tales.

With The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage, Hammill began to find a voice away from VDGG, though his writing had yet to completely mature . In Camera saw him handling most of the instrumental work himself and experimenting with ambient soundscapes. In 1975, he once again dug into the back catalog of his songs, assuming the leather-jacketed persona of Rikki Nadir for Nadir's Big Chance, a noisy, chaotic album of garage band-styled rock & roll. The album seems to have had its effect in the British music community, being cited by more than a few in the following punk uproar as an influence -- even John Lydon went public with a degree of admiration for Hammill's work.

1975 saw the rebirth of Van Der Graaf Generator in a somewhat calmer format, while the songs still extended to epic length, the tendency towards proto-jazz explosions with rock underpinnings had been shorn away, the drumming was more laid back, and the lyrics tended towards examinations of people. The first two releases, Godbluff and Still Life, were fine albums, with one of Hammill's finest songs, "My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)" appearing on the latter, but by the third album, Van Der Graaf Generator - World Record The band fractured yet again early 76. The support tour thru the US and UK made it clear that making music together and touring abroad isn't for everyone.

Meanwhile Hammill got his own troubles back home and in july 76 he recorded Over, one of the best albums ever made about the end of a relationship and the trauma that results, Over is the harrowing document of the failure of a long-term relationship Peter Hammill had been in. With a brief side-step to examine the loss felt by parents when their children move out ("Autumn"), Hammill exposes feelings of guilt, rage, betrayal, attempts at understanding, and attempts at healing. From the self-recrimination of the furious "Crying Wolf," to the angry lashing out of "Time Heals," through the heart-wrenching sadness of "This Side Of The Looking Glass" (with Hammill turning in a beautiful vocal performance against an orchestral setting), to the extremely tentative healing steps of "Lost And Found" (which includes a middle eighth that concludes "La Rossa" from Van Der Graaf Generator's Still Life, but in a cynical way), the songs avoid compromise and simplicity, making this a sometimes difficult listening experience; the lyrics are often bitterly clever and cutting. Beautifully produced, Over is Peter Hammill at his musical and lyrical best.

The album was recorded during a period of line-up change for Hammill's band Van der Graaf Generator. It features VdGG drummer Guy Evans, VdGG's new recruit Graham Smith (formerly of String Driven Thing) on violin, and the return of VdGG's bass player from 1969 to 1970, Nic Potter. It was issued for the first time on CD on Virgin Records in the early 1990s, Hammill had refused earlier cd release such was the intensity of his emotions about the album, he likely didnt want to confront his later marriage with it, bad luck for me as my vinyl had suffered chronic damage. It was reissued again in a remastered version in 2006 with bonus tracks.

1 - Crying Wolf (5:14)
2 - Autumn (4:19)
3 - Time Heals (8:43)
4 - Alice (Letting Go) (5:40)
5 - This Side Of The Looking Glass (7:04)
6 - Betrayed (4:49)
7 - (On Tuesdays She Used To Do) Yoga (3:58)
8 - Lost And Found (7:33)


Anonymous said...

thanks - steve.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your great work!

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Generic Viagra said...

It's a great CD, specially the "This Side Of The Looking Glass" song. I think that song was something special, the music and the lyric are wonderful, and you can add this CD in any British catalog.