15/11/13 – Van Der Graaf Generator – The Aerosol Grey Machine – 1969

Album Of The Day

Van Der Graaf Generator - The Aerosol Grey Machine Cover Art

This was the first album by Van Der Graaf Generator released in 1969. It’s the debut of a band that would become one of the most progressive (in the truest sense) of all the bands from this genre. Although this record doesn’t have the classic line up that included sax player David Jackson and bass player Nic Potter who joined for the second album (The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other), Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans, the core of the band are present. One difference with this band was the lack of electric guitar, unusual for this period.

Originally recorded as a Peter Hammill solo album  and released under the VDGG name (for contractual reasons), the album has one foot in the sixties and one foot in the seventies – the band they were and the band they would become, and that’s what makes it interesting. Hammill’s powerful expressive voice delivers pages of  philosophical lyrics that must fill 10 volumes of encyclopedias of angst. Passionate and captivating he is allegedly one of John Lydon’s greatest influences. Not including VDGG he has gone on to make over 50 solo albums.

This record may not be the typical VDGG album but just taking it on its own merits makes it a worthy collection of late sixties exploration that would develop into a truly inventive progressive music in the next decade.



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