Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dave Gilmour's Cat, Sep 20, 2016.
Pawn Hearts of course
Still Life was my first VDGG album and is still my favorite.
Lyrically and musically I think it's astounding.
I went back to The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome recently and I have to say that this album has really held up well over time, sounding very fresh and relevant to this day. They did a great job of streamlining their sound without losing their edge. For that matter, I also think that World Record is excellent and underappreciated, successfully diversifying their tonal palette. These two albums both feature crisp, vivid production as well.
Along with Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator had one of the most consistently satisfying runs for a prog band throughout the 70s (and unlike GG, they never released a dud).
Listen asap to La Rossa and My room (Waiting for Wonderland) off the Still life album, two of the best ever tracks by VDGG. A must.
Well I've never heard of VDGG before this thread. So of course I had to have a listen. I just spent 2 hours listening to Pawn Hearts and H to He, Who Am the Only One.
Wow!! Really great stuff, Very Impressed.
Looking forward to listening to their other albums.
Definitely need to hear 'Godbluff', my favourite along with 'Pawn Hearts'! It's brilliant that this thread introduced the band to someone who was unaware of them!
Cheers on that!
Godbluff was the first VdGG album I ever heard. It was a curiosity at first, but it really grew on me to the point where it's now one of my favorite albums by any artist (and certainly my favorite Van der Graaf Generator LP).
1986 was a far more "innocent" time for us music aficionados... there was no worldwide instantaneous means of information exchange available (as there is today), so my search for anything by these Van der Graaf Generator guys meant endless hours digging through used record shops (it wasn't easy & it took a helluva lot of time). VdGG was touted to me as a band that I might like by one of my fellow proggy-minded pals, so when I finally came across a used (but very clean) copy of Godbluff, I damn near flipped out! I excitedly rushed it home and rigged up the cassette recorder in order to dub it.
VdGG had been described to me as this wild, dynamic progressive rock powerhouse fronted by an equally frenetic vocalist... so what's my immediate reaction to Godbluff? I plop the disc on and get two solid minutes of a single, repeated flute note intertwined with restrained, whispered vocals.
Hmmm... this was not what I was expecting.
Fortunately, this initial track (Undercover Man) builds dramatically & ultimately has all of the VdGG trademarks (Hammill's dynamic, occasionally over-to-top vocals, Jaxon's variety of woodwinds, Evans' inventive drumming & of course, Banton's BIG Hammond organ sound).
I love it! To this day, every time I hear that stark flute arrangement at the beginning of the song, it takes me back to '86 and that initial moment of discovery at the above mentioned record store (who's name escapes me at the moment).
It was right around this time that CD's were taking hold of the market & soon I was able to access the rest of their catalog with relative ease (thanks to copious CD re-issues as well as a record shop in Temecula, CA that had a veritable gold-mine of VdGG vinyl on their shelves that I discovered a short time later) but in a way, I'm glad that things transpired the way they did since I had to put in some genuine effort at the beginning in order to discover the the band. It made said discovery that much more satisfying.
So there you go... my answer is Godbluff! I was pleased to see it do so well in the poll, and I'm not at all surprised that Pawn Hearts is the runaway leader. I've always seen Pawn Hearts as Van der Graaf Generator's equivalent of Dark Side of the Moon. By that I mean that it's probably their most renowned album, but I have always enjoyed what came immediately after just a little bit better (in Floyd's case; Wish you were Here & Animals and in VdGG's case; Godbluff and Still Life.
Congratulations on your discovery!
Both La Rossa and Still Life are astounding, exceptional pieces of music. I genuinely don't think I would be the same person without them. And yet I don't think I have ever met another single person who has even heard of these songs. My life seems so isolated sometimes... Where would we be without global connectivity...?
H to He, Who Am the Only One or World Record. Pawn Hearts is overrated.
I may need to correct this. While perusing my collection I found Still Life, World Record and Quiet Zone side by side by side. It looks like I don't have Godbluff ...
Godbluff was probably the last Hammill related record (except for The Polaroid single) that was released in Australia. I doubt it sold double figures.
I heard Godbluff for my first VDGG record in the afternoon, four hours later went to see them at Massey Hall in Toronto. 'Sleepwalkers' was MASSIVE!!!
Is there a consensus as to where I should start? I own no VDGG and I’ve never actually heard any of their music, but they keep popping up in my radar along side other artists I like.
Suggestions are welcome! Thanks.
If you enjoy mostly progressive rock, I would recommend Still life or Pawn hearts.
If, like me, you enjoy late 60s/early 70s rock, try The least we can do is wave to each other.
Yeah Aerosol should be included. I like that and The Least We Can Do a lot but I voted (in the minority) for Quiet Zone.
Lizards Play and Sphinx are probably my favourite 2 VDG songs with When She Comes my favourite by VDGG. All their albums have some great stuff on them though. Man Erg is another personal favourite.
Both of those songs are so intelligent and moving (as is "Child Like Faith In Childhoods End").
I too have never met anyone who could even appreciate those songs.
Hydrogen to Helium
I started with H to He, Who Am the Only One and never looked back. It’s great.
Yeah, I think that this is the best starting point for a novice. If you like that, proceed to Pawn Hearts and Godbluff.
H to He, Whom Am the Only One and Pawn Hearts are about equally as good, but I give H to He the nod for those electric bass breaks on "Pioneers over C".
Thanks All! I’m on it
Still Life is my favorite. To me it's constructed like a Mahler symphony in five movements. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And those parts are pretty darn awesome.
Hydrogen To Helium
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