Friday, January 24, 2014

Time Heals

Peter Hammill, ostensible leader and chief singer-songwriter of prog-rock legends Van der Graaf Generator, has quietly cultivated a parallel solo career for more than forty years, one that might not have reaped any significant commercial rewards, but has considerably bolstered his reputation as one of the bona fide elder statesmen of art-rock. Hammill's approach to his solo work is markedly different from his day-job material with Van der Graaf Generator: while the latter's aesthetic is to take in dark-hued instrumental moodiness and extended, complex song arrangements, referencing impending global apocalypse and humanity's litany of failures, Hammill's artistic range is decidedly more personal in nature, wrapping poetic, measured vignettes in simple, mostly acoustic-based layouts, making for a cerebral brand of rock that resonates with a quiet elegance. Check out the nine-minute 'Time Heals' from 1977, with its multi-segmented compositional structure and keenly observed lyrics that describe the aftermath of a failed romance.


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