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Bob Peter Hammill — …all that might have been… (21 Nov 2014)

Peter Hammill — …all that might have been… (21 Nov 2014)

Peter Hammill — …all that might have been…

 Peter Hammill — …all that might have been…
This prolific British art rock singer and songwriter is also co–founder of Van der Graaf Generator.
Birth name: Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill
Also known as: K
Born: 5 November 1948, Ealing, London, England
Origin: Manchester, England
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Location: UK
Album release: 21 Nov 2014
Record Label: Fie! Records
Duration:     46:33 + 48:56 + 30:55 => 126:24
1-1 In Overview     2:49 
1-2 The Last Time     1:42 
1-3 Never Wanted     2:17 
1-4 As For Him     1:53 
1-5 Nowhere Special     1:38
1-6 Piper Smile     1:13 
1-7 Wanted To Belong     1:53
1-8 This Might....     1:51
1-9 Inklings, Darling     3:31
1-10 Be Careful     1:39 
1-11 Alien Clock     5:53
1-12 Drifting Through     2:16
1-13 Washed Up     2:08
1-14 Rumpled Sheets     3:02 
1-15 Fool–Proof     1:50 
1-16 Can't Get Home     1:48 
1-17 Washed Away     1:41
1-18 Back Road     2:13
1-19 The Line Goes Dead     2:02 
1-20 He Turns Away     1:59 
1-21 Hooks     2:15 
The Songs
2-1 Upon A Sixpence     4:58 
2-2 Someday (The Piper Smile)     5:02 
2-3 Vai Lentissimo     5:11 
2-4 Disrespect (In Kabuki–Cho)     6:17 
2-5 An Outlier     5:43 
2-6 The Wwhole Thing Through     3:50 
2-7 Best Wishes     4:16 
2-8 Passing Clouds     4:37 
2-9 Not Going Anywhere     4:34 
2-10 Until     4:28 
The Retro
3-1 SixSlowOut     9:11
3-2 KabukiCloudSome     7:19 
3-3 TenorElseAny     6:39 
3-4 57WishesUntil     7:46 
♣   3 disc boxed set.
♣   Disc 1: the CINE
♣   Disc 2: the SONGS (in different order than the vinyl version)
♣   Disc 3: the RETRO
♣   The discs are housed in separate card covers along with 2 lyric booklets, one for each of the two vocal discs.
♣   Each disc represents a different aspect of the music as explained by Hammill on his website
♣   "The main release is a single CD, in the same form of packaging as was used for "Consequences". The music is presented here in continuous form and is cinematic by design. As in a film, scenes move backward and forward in time and space and characters appear and disappear without much by way of explanation. The scenes have been formed by slashing apart the forms of the original songs with which I started the project and reassembling them into this new form. It's *not* music looking for an imaginary film, but more like a combination of screenplay and music at the same time. To the best of my knowledge no-one has attempted such a project before."
♣   "A special edition 3-CD box set is also available. This contains the main, cinematic, CD as well as one in which the individual songs are presented in more conventional fashion. The third CD is a stripped down instrumental collage."
By MARowe on 4 November, 2014 at 6:26 AM
♣   If you know of Van der Graaf Generator, then the name Peter Hammill is not a strange, unknown one to you. Van der Graaf Generator is a UK progressive band best known for their output during the time–frame of the ’70s. Although they did not gain the notoriety  that Genesis, Can, or other progressive bands of the time, they still had compelling material for those that discovered them, and stayed loyal fans.
♣   From that band came Peter Hammill, who had more success as a solo performer than he did with the band. There were multiple iterations of Van der Graaf Generator, but when they decided to split, when they did, he kept up with his prolific solo efforts. Over time, Peter Hammill produced more than thirty solo albums. And so, it’s no surprise that there is a new Peter Hammill album in the wings.
♣   On November 24, …All That Might Have Been…, the latest Peter Hammill album, will be released in several formats that will include a single CD, a special edition 3CD Box, and a vinyl LP set, as well as digital downloads of the tunes. The twenty–track set is actually one continuous stream of music with shifting scenes, hence the song titles. ♣   This will be in its intended state on the single CD edition. The vinyl LP will contain the songs in slightly edited form, and with a different running order. The 3CD Box will contain the standalone CD, and will add in a conventional style, with each song presented as songs found on the second disc. The third CD will include stripped down instrumental presentations of the songs.
♣   Yay! New Peter Hammill. It always puts a smile on my face.
By Dan Coffey, November 17, 2014; Score: *****
♣   Reviewing a new Peter Hammill album is never easy, but it’s always fun. Never more so than now.  Hammill’s had something of a late–career renaissance, producing some of the most intellectually dense (Incoherence) and emotionally moving (Thin Air) albums in the mid to late 2000s, plus the outstanding Otherworld with Gary Lucas, released earlier this year.
♣   But here’s the fun part: none of those albums, or indeed anything in Hammill’s expansive oeuvre, could prepare one for the sprawling …all that might have been… Welcome to a musical film, where, as Hammill says, the music is both film and soundtrack. Welcome to the world of Alien Clocks and Piper Smiles, to vocals as wild as anything since Hammill’s guest stint on Robert Fripp’s Exposure. And while you’re walking around this sonic wonderland, you won’t be able to ignore guitar riffs lifted straight out of Hammill’s pre–punk Nadir’s Big Chance album, and overall the most sonically dense and widest palette of sounds Hammill’s thrown together to date.
…all that might have been… comes in two formats. The main presentation of the work is meant to be a 70–odd minute audio version of a film. To that end, snippets of songs are woven together to form a kind of anti–narrative that nonetheless gives clues as to situations and predicaments. The film that Hammill’s making, of course, isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster. It isn’t even new. Instead, it plays out like an homage to the French New Wave films, film noir, and perhaps a certain Japanese film called Audition. ♣   Hammill’s character comes off as an amalgam of all the tough–guy romantic gangster types with, if not hearts of gold, a sense of existential dread — think Belmondo in Godard’s Breathless or Pierrot le Fou.  The unsettling time jumps in Hammill’s work are also a nod to Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour.
♣   The Japanese theme of the last film mentioned isn’t an accident. A good portion of the action in this album takes place in a metropolitan area of Japan. (Perhaps Hammill was doing research during his extended residencies in Japan over the past several years.) What happens in Japan stays between the 0s and 1s of the disc, but we get enough of a sense to know that our character has brought a heap of trouble on himself.
♣   And then there’s the Piper Smile. In a sense, this story, such as it is, draws heavily from several of the faerie myths of the Piper, who gave a gift to a poor soul with instructions to never disrespect the gift. As these tales go, the gift’s recipient inevitably messes up, and is left bereft once more. The woman Hammill’s character is romantically involved with is the Piper. Her gift was narrative.
♣   An unsettling but wholly satisfying piece of work for sure, but there’s more. Hammill is releasing this cine–album as a single disc, but he’s also releasing It as one of a three–disc set. Disc two of this set comprises the full songs from which the snippets that weave in and out of disc one are taken. A curious move, for sure, to release the album of actual songs as an “extra.” But Hammill’s confidence in the cine–album as having enough strength to be the leading card is well–placed. The songs, probably because in some sense Hammill knew that they were going to be spliced up, are themselves full of changes. Almost all the songs go through several dramatic changes and rarely end up where they started. It’s as if one of the epic and lengthy songs by his band, Van der Graaf Generator, was compressed into a five–minute frame, with all the abrupt changes left intact. Disc two, consists of ten excellent new songs by Hammill, which provide a hell of a musical ride of another kind. The third disc is simply four long tracks with improvisations on the main themes presented in the first two discs. A nice listen, but without the punch of the “cine” disc or the “songs” disc.
♣   Hyperbole is its own worst enemy in the genre of music reviewing, so believe me when I say I’m taking the leap anyway and putting my money on this one being the most ambitious and successful album of Hammill’s career.
:: http://avantmusicnews.com/
Personal life:
♣   He has been married since 1978 to Hilary, who is credited with taking the picture for the cover of In A Foreign Town. They have three children, Holly, Beatrice and Phoebe. Holly and Beatrice Hammill sing soprano vox on one track of Everyone You Hold and on two tracks of None of the Above. Holly Hammill wrote the song "Eyebrows" (on Unsung) and co–wrote "Personality" (on Everyone You Hold).
Solo studio albums:
Ξ↑Ξ  Fool's Mate (July 1971)
Ξ↑Ξ  Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night (May 1973)
Ξ↑Ξ  The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (Feb 1974)
Ξ↑Ξ  In Camera (July 1974)
Ξ↑Ξ  Nadir's Big Chance (Feb 1975)
Ξ↑Ξ  Over (April 1977)
Ξ↑Ξ  The Future Now (Sept 1978)
Ξ↑Ξ  pH7 (Sept 1979)
Ξ↑Ξ  A Black Box (Aug 1980)
Ξ↑Ξ  Sitting Targets (June 1981)
Ξ↑Ξ  Enter K (Oct 1982)
Ξ↑Ξ  Loops and Reels (June 1983)
Ξ↑Ξ  Patience (Aug 1983)
Ξ↑Ξ  Skin (March 1986)
Ξ↑Ξ  And Close As This (Nov 1986)
Ξ↑Ξ  In a Foreign Town (Nov 1988)
Ξ↑Ξ  Out of Water (Feb 1990)
Ξ↑Ξ  The Fall of the House of Usher (Nov 1991, deconstructed and rebuilt released in Nov 1999)
Ξ↑Ξ  Fireships (March 1992)
Ξ↑Ξ  The Noise (March 1993)
Ξ↑Ξ  Roaring Forties (Sept 1994)
Ξ↑Ξ  X My Heart (March 1996)
Ξ↑Ξ  Sonix (Nov 1996)
Ξ↑Ξ  Everyone You Hold (June 1997)
Ξ↑Ξ  This (Oct 1998)
Ξ↑Ξ  None of the Above (April 2000)
Ξ↑Ξ  What, Now? (June 2001)
Ξ↑Ξ  Unsung (Oct 2001)
Ξ↑Ξ  Clutch (Oct 2002)
Ξ↑Ξ  Incoherence (March 2004)
Ξ↑Ξ  Singularity (Dec 2006)
Ξ↑Ξ  Thin Air (June 2009)
Ξ↑Ξ  Consequences (April 2012)
Ξ↑Ξ  All That Might Have Been (November 2014)
Ξ↑Ξ  Spur of the Moment (Feb 1988, with Guy Evans)
Ξ↑Ξ  The Appointed Hour (Nov 1999, with Roger Eno)
Ξ↑Ξ  Other World (Feb 2014, with Gary Lucas)

Bob Peter Hammill — …all that might have been… (21 Nov 2014)