Album Rating: 3. Great review as usual. Never listened to a Hammill album, but if he influenced Bowie, I'm on it.
Excellent review, mena. Apparently, Hammill plays the drums on here they are not too sophisticated to say the least. Great review, mena. Even saxophonist Dave Jackson assists with the riff generation. I'm collecting Hammill albums very late in the day -- I own just three so far. For me there's only one dud track: 'In the Spirit'.
Although the acoustic guitar is crisply recorded, the tune is too conventional just too unHammillesque, I suppose to retain my interest beyond a few plays. It's a great shame that the poetry establishment gets so snooty about the lyrics of popular and rock music songs.
It may just be resentment at the tiny amount of money a poet can make compared to a pop singer. And although immensely talented, Peter hasn't made a fortune. So it may well be time for his application to the Poets' Hall of Fame to be reconsidered. The remastered 'A Black Box'. Originally released in , this, one of the first 'indie' albums but now an EMI product, completed the trilogy of 'monochrome' albums that kicked off with 'The Future Now' in and 'PH7' in These albums marked a stylistic shift, Hammill largely dispensing with the complex, labyrinthine arrangements that had been the hallmark of his earlier solo albums and his work with Van der Graaf Generator.
This new style was stripped-down, concentrated and concise - and fitted well into the punk ethos of the time.
One of Hammill's earlier albums 'Nadir's Big Chance' released in had, in fact, been hailed as a prototype punk-rock album. The subject matter of Hammill's songs became more accessible, his lyrics more straightforward and direct.
This new approach served to heighten the intensity and power of Hammill's writing. Every song here hits like a punch both musically and lyrically, as a result of the basic electric guitar, bass drums and keyboards instrumentation and the production quality Hammill achieved by recording with only 8 tracks. The sound is jerky, cut-up, grainy black and white and brilliant.
The opener, 'Golden Promises' is a no-nonsense rocker, with harsh distorted guitar and a strident rhythm; 'Losing Faith in Words' shouts about the difficulty of being heard above a juddering piano and staccato lead guitar.
The remainder is taken up with the twenty minute sequence 'Flight'. Although consisting of seven individual parts, 'Flight' is so precisely constructed that it seems to be no more than a single song. Hammill holds the separate strands of the piece together with strong melody lines and musical themes, overlaid with some of his most imaginative lyrics.
The end result is a satisfyingly unified piece that sits at the heart of 'A Black Box'. Hidden categories: Use dmy dates from December Use British English from December Articles with short description Short description is different from Wikidata Articles with hAudio microformats Album articles lacking alt text for covers.
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Sign in to check out Check out as a guest. The item you've selected wasn't added to your cart. Add to Watchlist Unwatch. Watch list is full. Too disjointed and those ugly drums again. Hammill had better stuff ahead in the next couple of years. It's catchy but with attitude and aggression. Piano comes in around a minute. This is good. Spoken words with dark, low end sounds early.
Sax comes in too. This is great! The guitar and drums are joined by vocals in this straightforward tune. It opens with piano as reserved vocals join in. It then kicks in at 3 minutes with drums and more passionate vocals. This is intense around 6 minutes. A calm before 8 minutes with reserved vocals and piano.
It's fuller after 10 minutes with sax. The tempo picks up a minute later. Another solid release from Hammill but then again that's what i've come to expect. Anyway, I decided to pick it up and I have to say I am not disappointed. It's true, this album could not pass for a Van der Graaf Generator album like some of his earlier solo work could, but I see this album as moving beyond that sound, pushing the boundaries farther and experimenting just a little more than I've ever heard from Peter Hammill before and that's saying something!
The album kicks off with "Golden Promises," a pretty straightforward rocker that really shows that Peter Hammill can write anything and do it well. There's really nothing terribly special about it, but considering what's coming on this album it's a great way to start off the album.
The composition is stellar here, and it's tracks like this that I think really highlight what a spectacular songwriter Peter Hammill is. The ambience and variance that he's able to put into a 3-minute-and-change track is really impressive.
This track sees Hammill experimenting with sound effects, a drastic departure from anything VdGG ever did but with the same expert arrangement and spirit of exploration you'd expect. It's glitchy sounding and very strange, but it's not overlong and I think it's a really excellent addition to the album.
A dark and menacing track, it's arranged in an almost minimalist way but it works perfectly and the music complements Hammill's dramatic vocals perfectly. In my opinion it sounds very upbeat for a Peter Hammill track a bit funny to say but the man does write a lot of very dark songs.For this record Peter parted company with Charisma Records and released "A Black Box" on his own label S-type Records. 'In terms of the way the record biz would go, we were ahead of the game; but of course, we didn't have anything like a commercial product.' "Flight", the continuous second side of the (vinyl) album is clearly the most important.