Proggnosis Artist-Release Details

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1 selections as Proggnosis Best of 1976 Release

Still Life

a Studio release
Van der Graaf Generator

Release Year: 1976

Date Label Catalog # Comments
01 Apr 1976 Mercury SRM-1-1096 LP
1990 Blue Plate CAROL-1641-2 CD
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 12/1/2000 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 6/11/2021 7:13:00 AM by: DBSilver
  1. Pilgrims
  2. Still Life
  3. La Rossa
  4. My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)
  5. Childlike Faith Childchood's End
Guy Evans
drums, percussion
Hugh Banton
organs, piano, Mellotron, bass pedal/guitar, synthesizer, vocals
Peter Hammill
lead vocal, guitars, piano
David Jackson
saxophone, flute, vocals

Reviewed by DBSilver on 01 Dec 2000

I bought this CD from a store while living on the Island of Crete in 1976. My first exposure to VDGG and I had heard nothing like it.

The first song Pilgrams is probably closest to a traditional rock-song of any song on the album. The cut Still Life had the most compelling lyrics to my then stunned ears. I used these 2 songs to help me to understand this band and from this CD and for my efforts I was rewarded with a most incredible love affair.

Still Life comes from their last period - and is similar in sound to Godbluff and World Record. It is also better and more complex than either and perhaps - a little less accessible.
The dominant thing with VDGG - well there are two dominant and related things - the vocals of Peter Hammill and the lyrics of Peter Hammill. (I am amazed at how many fans come from people for whom English is not their first language).

I really don't know what Pilgrams is about, but it comes with a strong beat, powerfully sung vocals, and exceptional sax playing throughout and especially in the close of the song.
The song Still Life is a story of a society who has discovered the key to living forever and the song describes and laments the effects of immortality. Lyrics like:
    'but soon we found that bordom and inertia are not negatives but [they are] all the law we know... and dead are words like will and survival'.
I want to say it doesn't get any better than this, but it does. With LaRossa VDGG explores a situation where one of two close friends is considering making steps to move that relationship to something different.
    'If we make love now - would it change all that was ment to be? Of course it would there's no way it could ever be the same.
It is my favorite song on the CD - and the interplay of the music and lyrics are exceptional. Hammill in his best voice!

My Room (Waiting for Wonderland) is probably the weakest song on the CD musically and the CD closes with Childlike Faith in Childhood's End a powerful song running over 12 minutes long. It has multiple sections mixing slow and hard, tender and overpowering together. If not for the strenght of the first 3 songs on this CD, Still Life would have been considered a success on the strength of this song alone.

Reviewed by Marc on 06 Aug 2001

The band was at it’s best. The compositions add no dull moments and Peter Hammill’s voice never was better. VDGG add a few other great albums, but this one comes out of the pack.

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