Van der Graaf Generator — Trisector
(Virgin CDV 3046, 2008, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01Van der Graaf Generator has been getting attention from the mainstream press during their recent UK tour, much of it positive and respectful. I have a feeling Trisector will help in that regard. While some songs exude the sort of prog rock intricacies exemplified in “Interference Patterns” with its Gentle Giant-like polyphony, others — like the opening instrumental “The Hurlyburly” — seem born out of a garage band ethos, loaded with a sweaty grit that’s sure to maintain VdGG’s status as progressive rock’s best non-prog group. For fans, hearing Hugh Banton’s organ, Guy Evan’s deft kit work, and Peter Hammill’s trademark vocal is like enjoying a fine, vintage wine. The absence of David Jackson’s sax and flute is definitely felt in places, like the emotive “Lifetime” or the extroverted rocker “All That Before.” One can almost fill in the empty spaces with Jackson’s playing and the album would have been better for it. But Trisector succeeds anyways because the songs — quirky, angular, and eccentric as they can be — have focus. When Hammill sings “Oh, but the clock was always counting / the envelope was sealed / and as the pressure’s mounting / still precious little is revealed” on “Over the Hill” you share his contemplation of a life spent searching for answers but consoled that he’s done his best to make sense of it all. This is progressive rock at its best — a provocative consortium of sound and word that says much more than surface impressions may imply.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more