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1 selections as Proggnosis Best of 1977 Release

The Quiet Zone The Pleasure Dome

a Studio release
Van der Graaf Generator

Release Year: 1977

Date Label Catalog # Comments
02 Sep 1977 Charisma/Mercury LP
1990 Blue Plate CAROL-1640-2 CD
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 12/1/2000 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 6/11/2021 7:18:00 AM by: DBSilver
  1. Lizard Play
  2. The Habit Of The Broken Heart
  3. The Siren Song
  4. Last Frame
  5. The Wave
  6. Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever(Running)
  7. The Sphinx In The Face
  8. Chemical World
  9. The Sphinx Returns

Nic Potter

Peter Hammill
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

Guy Evans
Drums, Percussion, Tympani, Talking Drum

Graham Smith
violin, viola


David Jackson: saxes inserts

Reviewed by DBSilver on 03 May 2002

These are personal songs about people - nothing new for Peter Hammill. What is new is the band - except for Guy Evans (drummer par excellence). The additions make for some unique twists on the sound - most noticably in the bass playing of Nic Poter which contains a punch which is more rock-like than anything on previous VDGG releases. The songs too tend to be more structured and 'normal'. Poter is not the only major change, the addition of ex-String Driving Thing's Graham Smith fills many places where you would normally have expected Dave Jackson's sax. Jackson is still here, but in a significantly reduced guest roll leaving Smith free to add a delightful new touch to the sound.
. The Quite Zone/The Pleasure Dome is easilly the most accessible VDGG release. It closes what is known as the 2nd Generation although it is different enough to have been considered VDGG 3rd Generation. I imagine if this had not been the band's last album it would have been considered as such.
The lyrics of Hammill have never been stronger. Siren Song, Last Frame, Lizard Play, all are well written poetry delivered magnificantly in Hammill's one-of-a kind voice and style. Long time fans may like this less than previous works but I think those who transistion easilly between Hammill's solo works (such as Future Now) and 2nd Generation VDGG albums will be big fans of this recording after affording it repeated plays.
Hightlights abound, but a few keys are the violin and vocals on The Siren Song, and the awesome drums on The Sphinx In The Face. When following the drums in the later song - try not to be distracted by the other parts of the song - - Evans is in a technical and compositional world of his own here. Chemical World is an anti-drug/booze song that sounds very different from anything I have heard on either VDGG or Hammill solo recordings and is another highlight with recording effects - both on the vocals and in the instruments that demonstrate that this band could rock with the studio/mixing boards as well.

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