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Van Der Graaf Generator
World Record

Van Der Graaf Generator — World Record (October 1976 / 2005)

     Van Der Graaf Generator — World Record (October 1976 / 2005)
♦   Art rock unit led by Peter Hammill, distinguished for a dynamic range rivaled only by King Crimson and for their surprising influence on British punk.
♦♦♦♦   It was the last album recorded by the classic line–up of the band until their 2005 reunion: Hugh Banton and David Jackson departed in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Banton's departure owed to financial troubles and his then–recent marriage, but he stayed to finish touring commitments. Jackson continued with Peter Hammill and Guy Evans to rehearse with the new line–up in January 1977, which featured returning bassist Nic Potter and newcomer Graham Smith (of Scottish folk–rock act String Driven Thing), but left before the next tour.
Formed: 1967 in Manchester, England
Location: Manchester, England, UK
Album release: October 1976 / 2005
System: PT–SHM
Recorded: 10–30 May 1976 at Rockfield Studios
Record Label: UK Charisma Records, Virgin Records / USA Mercury Records
Duration:     52:45 + 15:39 => 68:23  
01. When She Comes      8:04
02. A Place To Survive      10:05
03. Masks      7:02
04. Meurglys III (The Songwriter's Guild)      20:50
05. Wondering      6:43
Bonus Tracks:
06. When She Comes (BBC Sessions) *      8:14
07. Masks (BBC Sessions) *      7:25
*   Both recorded for the BBC Radio One "The John Peel Show", 11 November 1976
Written by:
♦♦♦♦   Peter Hammill     1, 2, 3, 4
♦♦♦♦   Hugh Banton / Peter Hammill     5
♦♦♦♦   Hugh Banton Bass, Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Pedal Steel
♦♦♦♦   Guy Evans Drums, Finger Snaps, Percussion
♦♦♦♦   Peter Hammill Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
♦♦♦♦   David Jackson Flute, Keyboards, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Wind
♦♦♦♦   Pat Moran  Engineer
Similar albums: Soft Machine — Third / King Crimson — In the Wake of Poseidon / Genesis — Foxtrot

Review by Steven McDonald;  Score: ***
♦♦♦♦   Released in the latter half of 1976 as a half–hearted attempt at some sort of commercial focus in the U.K. and U.S., World Record suffers from several ailments: there was much tension in the band at this point, particularly between leader Peter Hammill and keyboardist Hugh Banton. In the end, the band would split apart, with Banton and wind player David Jackson leaving, while Hammill and drummer Guy Evans recruited replacements. World Record is very much a divided record, sounding beautifully clean, but lacking in both performance and focus. Evans plays as well as ever, but without the creative spark of earlier records; Hammill, meanwhile, was responsible for the rambling, scattered "Meurglys III (The Songwriter's Guild)," a lumbering piece named after one of his guitars. Of the cuts present, the best are the operatic "Masks," which mines one of Hammill's favorite themes, that of identity, and "Wondering," written in collaboration with Banton. "Wondering" is beautifully hymn–like until the very end, when it suddenly becomes querulous and uncertain, ending the album both with a note of hope and a desperate question.
♦♦♦♦   The Aerosol Grey Machine (1969)
♦♦♦♦   The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other (1970)
♦♦♦♦   H to He, Who Am the Only One (1970)
♦♦♦♦   Pawn Hearts (1971)
♦♦♦♦   Godbluff (1975)
♦♦♦♦   Still Life (1976)
♦♦♦♦   World Record (1976)
♦♦♦♦   The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome (1977)
♦♦♦♦   Present (2005)
♦♦♦♦   Trisector (2008)
♦♦♦♦   A Grounding in Numbers (2011)
♦♦♦♦   ALT (2012)
Website: http://www.vandergraafgenerator.co.uk/
INNERVIEWS: http://www.innerviews.org/inner/hammill.html
PETER HAMMILL: http://sofasound.com/
From interview:
♦♦♦♦   "You’re currently working on a new solo album and a project with Gary Lucas. What can you tell me about them?
♦♦♦♦   “There's little I can say about the direction of the latest set of solo recordings, except that they don't seem to be heading into whatever one might construe as familiar territory. It's still early days, to be honest, and the winds may blow this project off into lots of different vectors yet. What I can say is that at the moment I'm working away at the material entirely solo and not starting from conventional song building blocks. That, too, of course, might change. As for the work with Gary, that's pretty interesting and also pretty wide–ranging. We were on the same page as each other from the very outset of the project, without actually laying down preconditions, expectations or specific targets. Again, there's a lot of material and it remains to be seen what exactly will come through from it. Basically, though, it’s a couple of guys with a degree of experience at guitar and vocal music. Now, that covers a multitude of sins, doesn't it? And meanwhile, we're thinking about and moving in principle towards the next Van der Graaf efforts. Whether they'll be live or recorded also remains to be seen. In other words, as I approach my 65th birthday, I’m as shy and retiring as ever.”
Photo Credits:
  Live photos by Lee Millward
  Portraits courtesy of Peter Hammill

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