Since bailing out of his Liberal Studies in Science course at Manchester University in 1968, Peter Hammill has pursued an idiosyncratic career as songwriter, singer and musician. Until the late 70's he worked in the group Van der Graaf Generator. Their complex music, as often brutal as it was lyrical, fitted somewhat uneasily into the once and then niche of Progressive Rock. In the ethos of the group - one to which Peter has continued to subscribe since its demise - there was a marked aversion to the categorization of any sort; barely controlled chaos and a sense of adventure, rather than pomp, were the primary characteristics of their chequered nine album career.
By the time the group finally folded Peter had already recorded seven solo albums, covering many lyrical and musical bases in the process. If one did not know otherwise, the proto-punk of Nadir's Big Chance, the full blown emotion of Over and the scatter-gun arrangements of The Silent Corner could well have been the work of three entirely different artists: it is Hammill's voice, both artistic and physical, which unifies them. It is this diversity that the major labels absolutely dread and want nothing to do with. Small wonder that Peter chose the independent route.
Isildurs Bane & Peter Hammill/In Amazonia ....import CD $25.99
In Amazonia features Isildurs Bane in collaboration with Peter Hammill. A bold and brilliant statement that marries Isildurs Bane's reputation for imaginative risk-taking music with the incisive voice and lyrics of an uncompromising legend. CD in digipak with 8-page booklet. Mats Johansson, Isildurs Bane's main composer, is thrilled by the way the album has developed and grown with Peter's involvement. "Apart from fantastic lyrics and vocal melodies, he has influenced part of my composing process in a very positive way. I noticed that I could skip about with rhythms, beats, keys and almost atonal parts. Nothing seemed to worry Peter. Not only that, but he delivered his parts quickly and in places I hadn't expected. That, in a sense, made him the captain of the ship every now and then. Needless to say, he surprised me on several occasions and always in a really good way!" For his part, Hammill burrowed his way in the material Mats had sent to him. "I dived into finding what top lines I could with enthusiasm, for there's lots of lovely angularity in this stuff. I was, though, working somewhat in the dark and when I sent off my first efforts didn't know what kind kind of reaction I'd get. Happily it was positive...so I then got on with honing the lyrics and, gradually, finding out what the piece was about. Along the way there have been various revisions, additions, subtractions and shufflings around and it's ended up being, I think, a fascinating collision of all sorts of musical styles. Good clean fun!"
Peter Hammill/Not Yet Not Now ....import 8 CD Box Set $84.99
Following on from X/Ten - the live "remake" of From the Trees - Not Yet Not Now is the most comprehensive collection of solo Peter Hammill performances ever. Almost a hundred songs from all phases of Peter's remarkable career are spread over an eight CD boxset containing more than eight hours of music (recorded between November 2017 and May 2018 during tours in Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and Germany). Each CD comes in an individual wallet and the set additionally includes a 24 page booklet. This is a limited edition release which will be eagerly anticipated and highly prized. Almost certainly, this will be the last time that such a full overview of Peter's live renditions of songs will be put together.
Van Der Graaf Generator/The Aerosol Grey Machine [50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition] ....import 2CD + Gatefold 180 Gram LP + 7-Inch Single Boxset $84.99
Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new re-mastered limited
edition boxed set of the classic debut album by Van der Graaf Generator, The Aerosol Grey
Machine. Van Der Graaf Generator were true pioneers of so-called progressive rock,
and their impressive career spanning five decades features many ground-breaking works.
Always progressing stylistically in the true sense of the word, Van Der Graaf Generator's
music remains inspirational. Formed in Manchester University in 1967, VDGG initially
featured Peter Hammill (vocals, guitar), Chris Judge Smith (drums, vocals) and Nick Pearne
(organ). The band signed to Mercury Records in May 1968 after the submission of a
two-track demo tape. Nick Pearne departed the fold and Hammill and Smith relocated to
London recruiting keyboard player Hugh Banton. By the Autumn of 1968 the band had signed a
management contract with Tony Stratton-Smith and had recruited drummer Guy Evans and
bassist Keith Ellis into the group. This line-up recorded the single 'People You Were
Going To' & 'Firebrand' in 1968 and a session for BBC Radio One, before Chris Judge
Smith departed. The 'People You Were Going To' single, issued in January 1969, was
withdrawn just days after release due a contractual dispute with Mercury Records.
After several months of touring, including a support spot for the Jimi Hendrix Experience
at the Royal Albert Hall, the band broke up after the theft of their equipment and
on-going contractual difficulties. The Aerosol Grey Machine sessions began life as an
intended solo album for Peter Hammill, featuring Banton, Evans and Ellis as session
players. However, the album appeared in September 1969 in USA only credited to Van der
Graaf Generator as part of a contractual settlement which enabled the band to sign to Tony
Stratton-Smith's newly formed Charisma label later that year (for whom they would record a
series of classic albums). A planned UK release by Mercury of The Aerosol Grey Machine
(which featured a different and lavish gatefold sleeve design) was shelved after a handful
of test pressings were made.
This deluxe set celebrates the 50th anniversary of the very first Van der Graaf Generator release and features the re-mastered album, an additional CD of rare & previously unreleased tracks including two previously unreleased demos from 1967, the complete BBC Radio Top Gear session from 1968 (including the "lost" previously unreleased version of 'Octopus') & the single tracks 'People You Were Going To' and 'Firebrand,' a facsimile 180 gram vinyl LP of "The Aerosol Grey Machine" (cut at Abbey Road Studios) housed in the impossibly rare unreleased British gatefold sleeve design, a 7-inch single of the very rare withdrawn release 'People You Were Going To' b/w 'Firebrand,' a lavish book with many previously unseen photos and cuttings and an essay by Sid Smith featuring an exclusive interview with Peter Hammill and a replica 1968 poster designed by Peter Hammill.
Peter Hammill with the K Group/The K Box ....import 4 CD Box Set $69.99
The K Box is a beautifully presented 4CD box set collecting the output of Peter Hammill and the K Group, including the studio albums Enter K and Patience and the live recordings The Margin and +. This limited edition deluxe set also features extra tracks and a 48 page hard back book with sleeve notes by Tim Bowness, reflections from PH and the band, plus previously unseen photographs. Formed in 1981 to tour material from A Black Box and Sitting Targets, the K Group was Peter Hammill's idea of a traditional Beat Group and like everything else in Hammill's world it was far from typical and a universe away from the likes of Herman's Hermits or The Clash. Utilizing the considerable talents of ex-Vibrators and Peter Gabriel guitarist John Ellis and former Van Der Graaf members Guy Evans and Nic Potter, the stripped-down nature of the K Group's sound - echoed by Enter K's stark and uncompromising artwork - aligned Hammill's vision even more closely to the burgeoning Post-Punk scene that his music had undoubtedly influenced, while also remaining true to his Progressive-era experiments with song structure, time signatures and textures. Between 1981 and 1984, over the course of dozens of concerts, two studio albums, two singles and a live release (issued in 1985), the K Group delivered a muscular take on Hammill's unique artistry that resulted in a body of work distinct from other phases in his prolific career. At its most prosaic, the K Group offered relatively straightforward rock songs (Paradox Drive, Film Noir), dramatic ballads (Just Good Friends), sonic experiments (Accidents) and knotty epics, but in reality the K quartet transformed these generic starting points into something far more individual, and - flying in the face of early 1980s pop artifice - wholeheartedly human. Ultimately, the K Group may only represent a tiny fraction of Peter Hammill's vast output, but like Van Der Graaf Generator the band provided a memorable means of hearing Hammill's visionary music in a powerful collective context: A context that arguably remained dormant until the 21st Century resurrection of Van Der Graaf Generator itself. The K Box is a superb celebration of an all too brief experiment in (and with) time.
Peter Hammill/X-Ten ....import CD $17.99
X/Ten is a live album drawn from Peter Hammill's 2018 tour versions of material from his 2017 studio release, From the Trees. A fascinating insight into the evolution of one of PH's most acclaimed recent albums. "Something of an oddity, this release. For the first time ever, I believe, I performed all of the songs from my latest album, From the Trees in the course of my tours at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018. One of the guiding principles behind the recording of 'Trees' was that I'd be able to do versions of all the songs in a stripped down - one voice, one piano or guitar - form before starting the recording proper. This collection, then, squares the circle, consisting of live solo performances of the entire album, fully informed by the arrangements which the originals featured on disc, yet also true to the original spirit in which they were written." - PH, October 2018
Van der Graaf Generator/Live at Rockpalast: Leverkusen 2005 ....import double CD + DVD $24.99
Almost two years earlier, Van der Graaf Generator had already played with the idea of getting back together again. When Peter Hammill had a heart attack in 2003, he was not the only one feeling the urge to get that planned project to finally happen. There had been a strong feeling of unfinished business, David Jackson remembers. "The gig at the Jazzfestival in Leverkusen - the only one in Germany - was meant to be the climax of the reunion tour in 2005. We knew that it was going to be filmed and recorded professionally: something that was extremely rare in the history of Van der Graaf Generator. Up to this point in our career, a film of a whole live concert just didn't exist!" according to Jackson. There had indeed not been a video recording of an entire Van der Graaf Generator concert by then. "The Leverkusen concert came near the end of our 2005 reunion touring, by which time we were feeling comfortable on stage again," Hugh Banton recalls. Guy Evans raves about, "...the intimate connection that was built with the audience during the concert and helped making it a very special night; not least because it was Peter Hammill's 57th birthday." The first gentle flute notes of the opener The Undercover Man opened a door into the past. Now, Van der Graaf Generator played as energetically, dark and seductive as in their zenith in the mid '70s. Peter Hammill's voice was as powerful as ever which is very much outstanding regarding his eccentric, headstrong but most importantly emotional vocal style. But above all, the gig on hand is a document of honest devotion not only between the band and their fans but between the band members themselves reflecting their deep friendship. All the sadder is the falling-out with David Jackson shortly after the tour. Both parties maintain silence on the reasons. Therefore, Jackson sounds a little bitter when praising the current CD's amenities: You will not get another chance to see a better show by that line up!
Peter Hammill/From the Trees ....import CD $17.99
Peter Hammill's first solo album since 2014's hugely ambitious ...all that might have been.... represents a return to a more intimate style of music. The songs on From the Trees are mostly based on single piano, guitar and vocal parts designed for live performance. Consequently the overdubbing is textural (supportive guitars, a central spine of bass, synth and string washes, multiple voices - backing, harmony, choral - behind the main one). The characters who pave their fretful way through these songs are in general facing up to or edging in towards twilight. What's coming to them are moments of realization rather than resignation. In the third act of life it's time to look with a clear eye at where one's been, at where one's going. Another unique entry in Peter Hammill's unique catalogue.
Peter Hammill/Patience ....import vinyl LP $34.99
The follow up release to Peter Hammill's '80s solo work 'Enter K,' Madfish re-issue 'Patience,' recorded with the K Group following his split from the Van der Graaf Generator art rock band. Originally released in 1983, the record reached #15 in the UK Indie album charts. Hammill was known for covering dark motifs with his lyrics, which, along with his 34 solo studio albums and progressive work with the popular Van der Graaf Generator band, this led to him receiving the first ever Visionary Award in the Prog Awards 2012, and to collecting the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 alongside Van Der Graaf Generator bandmates. A founding member and primary song-writer for Van der Graaf Generator, Hammill's vocals have been a distinctive part of the Prog genre from 1967 to the Post-Prog output of the 2000s. Peter Hammill performed with the K group in the early 80s, following Van der Graaf's second split, writing more songbased, punchy new-wave rock. Originally set up as a touring band for Peter Hammill's solo work, Hammill brought material to the studio, where the band gave fresh and energetic backing to Hammill's philosophical lyrics.
Peter Hammill/Enter K (180g Heavyweight Black Vinyl) ....import vinyl LP $34.99
Madfish re-issue the 1982 album Enter K by prolific UK based progressive visionary Peter Hammill on vinyl To set the ball rolling on a run of Peter Hammill's recordings, Madfish re-issue 'Enter K,' originally recorded following his split from the Van der Graaf Generator art rock group. Hammill was known for covering dark motifs with his lyrics, which, along with his 34 solo studio albums and progressive work with the popular Van der Graaf Generator band, this led to him receiving the first ever Visionary Award in the Prog Awards 2012. A founding member and primary song-writer for Van der Graaf Generator, Hammill's vocals have been a distinctive part of the progressive genre from 1967 to the Post-Prog output of the 2000s. Peter Hammill performed with the K group in the early 80s, following Van der Graaf's second split, writing more song-based, punchy new-wave rock. Originally set up as a touring band for Peter Hammill's solo work, Hammill brought material to the studio, where the band gave fresh and energetic backing to Hammill's philosophical lyrics. Hammill writes - "Enter K is very much a hybrid set of recordings which makes up a pair with Patience. By the time of recording the K Group was in full effect, having been formed to tour with songs from Sitting Targets and A Black Box. As I've said elsewhere, not exactly a Beat Group but probably the closest ensemble I've ever been in which would come under that category... And the K Group really was something else." Madfish are releasing 'Enter K' on 180g heavyweight black vinyl.
Van der Graaf Generator/Do Not Disturb ....import CD
Van der Graaf Generator/Do Not Disturb ....import vinyl LP $35.99
Esoteric Antenna are delighted to announce the release of the excellent new album by the legendary Van der Graaf Generator. "Do Not Disturb" is the band's 13th studio album and was recorded in the closing months of 2015 and the Spring of 2016. A true group effort, Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans continue to follow in the tradition of Van Der Graaf Generator by delivering an album that is both powerful and possesses and emotive beauty. "Do Not Disturb" is another highlight of the band's career, during which their music has been influential on successive generations of musicians. It is surely one of the key album releases of 2016. Mastered and cut at Abbey Road studios, the 180 gram vinyl release of "Do Not Disturb" is limited. The vinyl features a different running order than the CD while the CD features two tracks not found on the vinyl. This will be an early October release.
Peter Hammill & The K Band/Live at Rockpalast ....double CD + DVD $22.99
The legendary Peter Hammill / K Group Rockpalast concert from 1981 available as a 2cd/1dvd (region 0, ntsc) in digipak. Includes a booklet with photos and liner notes. "We took the whole as a normal show. We were in the middle of the tour. Upfront, we had quite re-arranged the songs so they were playable by a rock quartet. When I'm asked about my thoughts on this specific event there lays a veil over my memory somehow. There are only two things that I remember exactly: First, I recollect the unbelievable professionality of the Rockpalast team; second, in a bar next to our hotel I wrote the song Happy Hour which was on the first K Group studio release." - Peter Hammill 2016. Songs include: The Future Now, Losing Faith in Words, Stranger Still, Sign, My Experience, Modern, The Second Hand, Sitting Targets, The Sphinx in the Face, Flight, Central Hotel, The Spirit, Door, My Room.
Peter Hammill/...All that Might Have Been... ....import CD $18.99
2014 release from the veteran Art/Prog Rock singer, songwriter and musician best known for his work with Van Der Graaf Generator. This is not a disc of conventional songs, though the fragments from which it's formed originally came from discrete examples of the standard form. These pieces, though, have been cut up and rearranged to form a continuous whole. As in a film, scenes blur into one another, moving backwards and forwards in time and space. Characters appear and disappear, wait in the shadows or are suddenly front of stage and under the spotlight. It's a chiaroscuro, quicksand world in which the music is both its own soundtrack and screenplay. Written and recorded over an eighteen month period - the longest ever for a PH solo work - the album has gone through many twists, turns and transformations before arriving in this final form. It's not a concept album as such but its use of jagged soundscapes, fletting and shadowed characters and elusive plotlines place it closer to a cinematic world than a narrative song one. The sound palate consists of guitars, synths, crushed beats and, of course, insistent vocals. This is unlike anything Peter has attempted before, even after 45 years at the game.
Peter Hammill/Clutch ....import CD $17.99
"This is the forty-seventh album that I've recorded. As you'll know, there's always some difference in attitude, approach and style as I've gone from one to the next. This time I've restricted myself to writing and playing exclusively on acoustic guitar. It was on this instrument that I began writing songs nearly forty years ago, so this meant something of a return to first principles. It was also a project of interesting and challenging discipline. I have not, though, made a simple acoustic record. The guitars are layered and several and there are also outstanding sonic contribtuions from Stuart Gordon on violin and viola and David Jackson on sax and flute. I have bedded in backing vocals in places but in general the lead voice is centre stage. The songs are at the serious end of the spectrum. No, this is not a folk album. " - Peter Hammill
Peter Hammill/Consequences ....import CD $19.99
"Consequences" is Peter's thirtieth solo studio album of original songs. Ten jittery new pieces which stretch the boundaries of the form. Some are wordy, or about words - and miscommunication, mishearing, misapprehension. Around another corner, lives and actions are overheard, overseen, characters stalked and surprised. Sometimes these pieces stray into the territory of the short story or screenplay - something is happening just outside the frame, just beyond the range of vision. Distanced from the norms of songs though they are, a strong narrative thread runs through the heart of each recording. The instrumentation centres on electric guitars and a variety of pianos. Percussion is sparse. The occasional interjection of other instrumental colours enhances rather than expands the sonic picture. Central to the realisation of all the songs are authoritative vocal performances in lead, backing and choral roles. Once again the whole thing is written, performed, sung and recorded entirely solo. "Consequences" is a weighty addition to Peter's body of work. Songs include: Eat my Words, Bite my Tongue; That Wasn't What I Said; Constantly Overheard; New Pen-pal; Close to Me; All the Tiredness; Perfect Pose; Scissors; Bravest Face; A Run of Luck.
Peter Hammill/Enter K (remastered) ....import CD $17.99
Now newly remastered by Peter Hammill and including the bonus track, 'Seven Wonders.' "Enter K is very much a hybrid set of recordings which makes up a pair with Patience. By the time of recording the k group was in full effect, having been formed to tour with songs from 'Sitting Targets' and 'A Black Box.' As I've said elsewhere, not exactly a Beat Group but probably the closest ensemble I've ever been in which would come under that category. The personnel on 'k' are, of course, the k group - Guy Evans, John Ellis and Nic Potter - with additional contributions from David Jackson. The masters were evidently originally intended for vinyl, still the only game in town at that time. In the new remastering I've attempted to apply the same sonic processing as washed over the VdGG Box set and, indeed, The Margin +; I hope that the end result gives back some analogue oomph to the digital experience." - PH
Peter Hammill/Everyone You Hold ....import CD $21.99
This is a brilliant new album by Peter Hammill. It is an extremely engaging and very personal statement, almost as if he were whispering a message to you.
Peter Hammill/Incoherence ....import CD $17.99
'Incoherence' is Peter Hammill's twenty-sixth solo album of completely new sung material, the forty-ninth in which he has had principal involvement as writer, singer and musician, including those with Van der Graaf Generator, instrumental 'Sonix' and live projects. Peter has been noted for his words (and his care with and for them) since the beginning of his thirty-six year long career; in this continuous 42 minute song cycle his lyrics examine instances of language failing to work or to communicate...the impossibilities of words, where meaning, logic and intention fall apart into incoherence. The musical backdrop to the lyrics is kaleidoscopic, based on Peter's keyboards and guitars with significant contributions from his long-term cohorts Stuart Gordon (violin) and David Jackson (saxes and flutes). Percussion is completely absent. The arrangements move jaggedly from floating improvisations to full orchestrations to full-on riffs, reflecting the paradoxes, the dead ends, the cliff-hanging inconclusions of the lyrical content. All this is a long way from the Pop Song. It is just as far away from the Classical Conservatoire or the Jazz Club. Something else, again. Like it or loathe it, what else do you expect from PH by now? Surprise? A Conclusion? Peter finished the final mix on this project at 5pm on December 5th 2003; forty-two hours later he had a heart attack, from which he is currently recovering. The moving finger writes, wags, points...and moves on. All our stories are incoherent.
Peter Hammill/The Noise ....import CD $21.99
Featuring PH (vox, guitars, keyboards), Manny Elias (drums), Nic Potter (bass), John Ellis (guitar) and David Jackson (sax, flute), The Noise was recorded at Terra Incognita, Peter's studio in Bath, in 1992. It followed on from the 'calm' CD, Fireships and was flagged at the time as being number one in the A Loud series. If the idea of grouping releases together in this way was one which quickly foundered, at least in this case it gave an indication of the general tenor of these songs. They're not quite Nadir-like in their attack but a fair amount of 'bash-that-electric-guitar' does take place here. If anything, the original release erred on the side of sonic correctness at the expense of level; the remastering of this version puts this right and the amps are definitely turned up this time. A couple of songs here subsequently became firm live favourites: 'Planet Coventry' and 'Primo on the Parapet.' Another song, 'The Noise' itself, clearly celebrates the joy of making a racket on stage. With the forthcoming prospect of the Van der Graaf Generator reunion it remains to be seen exactly how much of a noise PH is still prepared to make. The remaster/reissue of this CD certainly puts down a pointer....
Peter Hammill/None of the Above ....import CD $17.99
This is Peter Hammill's latest album, a collection of songs recorded between January 1999 and February 2000. Most of the vocals and instruments are performed entirely by Peter with some contributions from percussionist Manny Elias, violinist Stuart Gordon with Peter's daughters, Holly and Beatrice, providing some soprano vocals.
Peter Hammill/Patience (remastered) ....import CD $22.99
"This CD has been unavailable for some time and I have now taken the opportunity to remaster it. The artwork has also been spruced up. This was the second album that I recorded with the members of my then touring band, the K group, in 1982/3. The previous recording (Enter K) was remastered last year and it's high time that this one, too, had some sonic afterburner applied to its tracks. Electric guitar predominates here in a direct and uncompromising fashion. At the core of things, though, is a very strong collection of songs. Several of these have become staple subjects for live performance in almost every line-up with which I've played since. Their first appearances here, though, were hardly half-baked. The recordings were made in the manner already set down with 'Enter k': half the tracks were initiated in my home studio, to be completed at Crescent Studios. The rest were started from the ground up there in a very tradtitional backing track/overdub manner." ~ Peter Hammill
Peter Hammill/Pno Gtr Vox ....import double CD $19.99
While continuing to play his part in the ongoing career of Van der Graaf Generator - indeed, perhaps because the louder side of his nature is very much fulfilled in that environment - Peter has found himself increasingly drawn towards genuine solo performance when under his own name. Over a series of tours he has reconnected with songs old and new in the ultimate stripped-down format of piano and voice, guitar and voice. This double CD, taken from concerts in Japan and the UK in 2010 is Peter's first solo live recording since 1999's "Typical" and shows him at the peak of his powers, pushing and stretching both himself and the material into and out of shape. One CD is of piano songs, the other guitar ones, following a matrix first laid down in the Tokyo shows. The songs are taken from the length and breadth of Peter's career and this release, documenting his solo performance style, is an important addition to his body of recorded work. Disc 1: Easy to Slip Away, Time Heals, Don't Tell Me, Shell, Faculty X, Nothing Comes, Gone Ahead, Friday Afternoon, Traintime, Undone, The Mercy, Stranger Still, Vision...; Disc 2: Comfortable, I will Find You, Driven, The Comet the Course the Tail, Shingle Song, Amnesiac, What's it Worth?, Ship of Fools, Slender Threads, Happy Hour, Stumbled, Central Hotel, Modern, Ophelia
Peter Hammill/The Roaring Fortie (remastered) ....import CD
Peter Hammill/X My Heart (remastered) ....import CD $17.99
Peter Hammill/This (remastered) ....import CD $17.99
"Remastered versions of 'Roaring Forties,' 'X My Heart' and 'This' are released on CD. Stock of these discs had (semi-deliberately) dwindled to nothing and it seemed a good opportunity to give a brush-up to the sonics involved - which to my mind seemed in retrospect a little dull. It's not a massive re-tread but I do believe there's a significant increase in aural quality and general punch." - Peter Hammill
Peter Hammill/Singularity ....import CD $21.99
Peter's last solo studio recording, 'Incoherence," was released in
2004, having been completed a day before he had a heart attack. Since then he's been
occupied with the Van der Graaf Generator reunion, first in recording "Present"
and then in the run of live shows undertaken in 2005; he was also responsible for
remastering the VdGG catalogue. In 2006 "Veracious," a set of live duo
performances with Stuart Gordon, was released and Peter also remastered the solo CDs which
he had recorded for Charisma in the 70s. Little wonder, then, that when he came to
write and record "Singularity" intimations of mortality and considerations of
history both public and personal were uppermost in his mind. The main theme here is the
long dive down into not being who we were....
Perhaps inspired by the early Charisma recordings, "Singularity" is absolutely a solo record on which Peter sings and plays all instruments alone. This is not, though, a folksy singer-songwriter effort. Experimentation and change have always been important to Peter and some of the sonic landscapes encountered here are strangely new. Warped electric guitars and vocals crushed into slabs of noise are as likely to appear as grand pianos or acoustic guitars. Many definitions of singularity exist and though several of them have some bearing on and resonance in this work the principle ones with which Peter identifies here are the personal (unusual, strange) and gravitational (Black Hole). So...it's serious but it's not devoid of humour, though where this occurs it's often of a black variety...and often directed back at the singer himself. After all, we are all circling just outside the gravitational pull of our personal black holes...that's where we're heading. Meanwhile, though, we can whistle a tune, albeit a strange and singular one.
Peter Hammill/Thin Air ....import CD $17.99
"Thin Air" is Peter's twenty-ninth solo album of original songs. It's been an eventful few years for Peter: a heart attack in December 2003 was followed by the Van der Graaf Generator reunion - both on stage and on record - in 2004/5. "Singularity," his last solo work, was released in 2006 and since then he has been deeply involved in the ongoing story of VdGG, now reconstituted as a trio and moving on from strength to strength. These new recordings, then, mark a return to solo territory, but in the knowledge that the band is still an ongoing entity. Peter therefore decided to make this set of recordings a genuinely one-man effort, playing and singing every note on the disc. As might be expected of an artist now more than forty years into his career, these are adult songs, addressing grown-up themes. The songs are of disappearance, of loss, of dislocation. Often we know in advance that what we hold will be lost; sometimes the loss comes as a complete surprise. The disappearances in our lives can be of culture, of people, of buildings, of relationships; this is the natural order of things rather than the exception. The themes of disappearance thread their way across nine pieces of impressionistic breadth. With piano, acoustic guitar and Peter's inimitable vocals to the front of the soundstage there is space left at the rear for fragmented sonic disturbances to be splashed across the songs. Familiar elements of Peter's writing and recording styles are here, of course, but the combinations are put together in such a way as to make something new and challenging out of the whole. This is a worthy, fascinating and mature addition to Peter's body of work, which remains uneasy listening. It doesn't look as if he will be disappearing just yet.
Peter Hammill/What Now? ....import CD $21.99
Peter Hammill had spent a considerable amount of time, energy and emotion revisiting and remastering a good portion of the Van der Graaf Generator catalog for The Box (a four disc VdGG retrospective you'll find below), and it had a definite impact on his latest release, "What, Now?" "Exhilarating though this was it carried with it an element of emotional debt and a demand for self-examination. I determined that my own next release should be conventional (as in songs) rather than experimental and I therefore put to one side a collection of material I had been previously been working on and began assembling the "What?" of "Now." There are eight songs of varying length and style. On three or four of them one finds, in various combinations, the members of the (erstwhile and maybe some day to be again) pHQ: Manny Elias, Stuart Gordon and David Jackson. This line-up remains one of which I'm very fond and which I believe has an extremely wide sonic palette. This is not, though, a revisitation of "X my heart," for the remainder of the tracks are fundamentally me playing alone. This time my stabs at instruments are divided fairly evenly between guitars electric and acoustic, pianos/keyboards and bass. Of course, there's a lot of singing, both lead and backing vox/choral. Naturally, although there are elements of familiarity, it is not the same as what has gone before." - PH
Peter Hammill with Stuart Gordon/Veracious ....import CD $17.99
After the alarums and excursions of his appearances in the Van der Graaf Generator reunion of 2005 Peter Hammill's first release of 2006 on Fie! Records restates his interest in things stripped down, solo...and live. Over the last decade or so the most common line-up for Peter's shows has been a duo, with Stuart Gordon's electric violin augmenting Peter's own vox, piano and guitar. Not before time, "Veracious" provides an audio document of the way in which these two have set about their business onstage. A feature of Peter's shows has been a constant turnover of material and most of the songs represented here come from Peter's most recent studio albums; only "A Way Out" and "Primo on the Parapet" have appeared on live recordings before. As always, the tunes and lyrics are stretched and warped away from their original shapes: that's the nature of real live performance. "Veracious" is an essential addition to the Peter's catalogue of live recordings.
Peter Hammill & The K Group/The Margin + ....import double CD $22.99
Peter Hammill has been a writer, singer and performer for the last thirty
years. For most of that time he has been firmly planted in the 'Art/Weird' box. For
a brief period in the early eighties, though, he had a Beat Group, albeit a somewhat
unlikely one...The K Group. The rhythm section of Guy Evans (drums) and Nic Potter
(bass) had, of course, played with Peter in Van der Graaf Generator. It should not be
forgotten, however, that they were also members of Glenn Fernando Campbell's
Misunderstood. Enough credentials? Lead guitarist was John Ellis, ex-Vibrators &
Peter Gabriel. Peter had met him while both were performing with the Stranglers while Hugh
Cornwell was in jail. Peter himself contributed his own brand of brutal rhythm
guitar, piano & vox.
Taking material from Peter's solo career, from VdGG and from the two records which, under Peter's solo name, the combination recorded together (Enter k and Patience), the group toured consistently between '82 and '83. Clubs, mostly; Germany, mostly; high voltage, definitely. This release presents, on CD 1, the original 'The Margin,' as recorded live in the UK in '83, in a remastered form. A second CD contains live-wire performances from '82 in brutal stereo intensity. The K Group could and did play in funny time signatures and at times with great sensitivity. The dominant aesthetics of the group, though, were blasting guitars, bass string blisters, shredded drum heads, oxygen debt, sweat. Here it is. Ladies & Gentlemen, the bar is open.
Peter Hammill & Gary Lucas/Other World ....import CD $21.99
Esoteric Recordings are delighted to announce the release of the first album collaboration featuring Peter Hammill, (Van Der Graaf Generator) and Gary Lucas, (The Magic Band, Jeff Buckley) . The fourteen tracks of "Other World" are the result of an invitation from Peter to Gary suggesting they might convene at the former's studio to see if some musical sparks might fly. Having first met in Aylesbury after a Hammill solo show in 1973, it was not until January 2012 that Gary arrived at the studio armed with instruments and some pieces which might be worth working on. As Peter explains in the notes below, sparks flew and against the odds, "Other World" unfolded with seamless speed. The majority of the recordings are produced by Peter and Gary's guitars and Peter's vocal though they are aided by a couple of pieces of found sound and loops. The duo are so pleased with the results of the recording that they intend to play live and dates are being booked for early 2014 and will be announced shortly.
Van der Graaf Generator/After the Flood - Van der Graaf Generator at the BBC 1968-1977 ....import double CD $34.99
A collection of VDGG's BBC sessions recorded between 1968 and 1977, After The Flood includes a host of VDGG classics, plus five previously unavailable recordings. Peter Hammill: "I think our music has stood the test of time because we always made the music we were driven to make without paying any attention to what anyone else was doing. We certainly didn't write music with an eye on what might or might not be successful, even though this was a recipe for absolute commercial disaster. We were very lucky to have maintained such a loyal audience. Everything we have ever done has been true and loyal to some bizarre Van Der Graaf ethos. That's the key to our longevity in my opinion." Experimental, savage and beautiful, these wonderful BBC sessions make for an excellent addition to VDGG's enduring legacy. Mastered by Paschal Byrne in 2015.
Van der Graaf Generator/A Grounding in Numbers ....import CD $21.99
In late 2008 and early 2009 preparations began for Van der Graaf Generator's next set of recordings. Song fragments were gathered, ideas exchanged, theories, policies and directions discussed. In April 2010 the band met up for intensive tracking sessions in Cornwall, arranging, rehearsing and recording the album in a week. Some of the pieces were already fully-formed songs; others, even at this stage, remained more sketches than fully realised works. Over the next months the tracks were overdubbed, edited and adapted by the band in their own studios. A constant exchange of files over the internet or on CDR kept the project in full alignment. By September the project was ready to be mixed. Hugh Padgham had agreed to take on this part of the process - the first time anyone outside the band had been entrusted such responsibility. After three weeks in Hugh's London studio, Sofasound (which shares its name with Peter's original home set-up), "A Grounding in Numbers" was completed. With a fantastic clarity and depth of sound and a helter-skelter stretch of tunes, "A Grounding... " sees VdGG pushing ever further forward into the twenty first century. Clearly, they know they're a group with a certain history - but they are also an emphatically modern one. "A Grounding in Numbers," the stunning new album is the 12th studio record by the band and is their first since 2008.
Van der Graaf Generator/Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios London ....2CD + DVD-NTSC $24.99
The VDGG terror trio's intimate performance at Studio A, Metropolis Studios, London in December 2010. Captured beautifully on audio and video in a deluxe digipack cd/dvd set, Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans produced an intense set featuring material spanning the band's 40 year plus career. Contains an illustrated 12 page booklet with sleeve notes. The DVD contains an interview with all the band members. Region 0 DVD in 16.9 NTSC format with DTS 5.1 Surround Sound.
Van der Graaf Generator/Merlin Atmos - Live Performances 2013
....import CD $20.99
Van der Graaf Generator Merlin Atmos - Live Performances 2013 [Limited Edition] ....import double CD $26.99
Previously listed at $26.99 and $34.99, the prices on the single and double CD editions have been dropped to $20.99 and $26.99 respectively. If you already pre-ordered these, your price has automatically dropped. Esoteric Antenna, are pleased to announce the release of the marvellous new live album by Van der Graaf Generator, "Merlin Atmos." In June 2013, Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans took to the road in Europe to present a series of live concerts that featured a set list that excited devotees of Van Der Graaf Generator like no other for many years. The band had decided the time was right to present their epic classic piece "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" in its entirety on stage for the first time, along with Peter Hammill's equally epic "Flight." As the centrepieces of the band's live set, a series of wonderful concerts took place, drawing on the classic material from the band's past, as well as their more recent albums such as "A Grounding in Numbers." Fortunately, some of these shows were recorded for posterity and have now been gathered together to form "Merlin Atmos." Arguably the finest live album in the history of the band, "Merlin Atmos" confirms Van der Graaf Generator as a continuing musical force and explains the loyalty and respect they continue to receive from devotees the world over. "Merlin Atmos" is a stunning musical statement from a stunningly innovative band. The limited edition 2 CD digipack edition features a 70 minute CD of "Extras" recorded on the 2013 European tour including such classic tracks as 'Scorched Earth,' 'Man-Erg,' 'Meurglys III, the Songwriter's Guild' and 'Your Time Starts Now.'
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