«And some people say that it's just rock 'n' roll. Oh but it gets you right down to your soul» NICK CAVE

terça-feira, fevereiro 11, 2014

Other World: colaboração entre Peter Hammill e Gary Lucas

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Acabado de lançar no início de Fevereiro do ano corrente, Other World, é um resultado da colaboração de Peter Hammill, (Van Der Graaf Generator) e Gary Lucas, (The Magic Band, Jeff Buckley). Como informa a editora, «the fourteen track recording is a result of an invitation from Peter to Gary suggesting they might convene at the formers studio to see if some musical sparks might fly.»

Sobre o álbum, além das notas mais adiante pelos próprios músicos, que planeiam apresentá-lo ao vivo, refere-se ainda: «The majority of the recordings are produced by Peter and Gary's guitars and Peter's vocal though they are aided by a couple of pieces of found sound and loops.»

Peter Hammill está a trabalhar no próximo disco a solo, com edição planeada para final de 2014. Cá o esperamos. Notícias no SofaSound: Peter Hammill's Journal.


When Gary arrived at my studio in January we didn’t exactly have a grand plan about what we’d attempt. We were simply going to dive into some work and see what emerged. Gary had promised to create some dark guitar soundscapes out of improvisation and also had, in his words, some instrumental frameworks which might become actual songs.

For my part I’d prepped – in the most open way I could – for the project by  recording some semi-ambient pieces using loops and long delays and I, too, had come up with a couple of loose song ideas. (These latter were, of necessity, some way away from the “current” solo album in style.) I also had a couple of basic beats which I thought might act as a springboard for other ideas.

Obviously we were coming at things from slightly different angles, since Gary’s a guitar virtuoso and I – though I can hold my corner in  my own peculiar way – am decidedly not!

After the usual technical set-up stuff, we were immediately away into the first of several soaring improvisations by Gary, ranging from the ethereal to the fully unhinged. Wonderful stuff. Then he began on the “instrumental frameworks” – which turned out to be pretty fully realised backing tracks, impeccably performed over a couple of takes each.

Advancing to “my” pieces, Gary then overdubbed in a fully sensitive improvised manner.

We charged through the work in a couple of days and ended up with a whole load of material of wildly varied character. It was clear that not only were we on the same wavelength  regarding the project but that we emphatically had the makings of an album in the bag.

For my part, I still had a great deal of work to do. The main task was to find the top lines and, of course, lyrics for the “actual song” pieces. There was also considerable editing to be done on the more spacey material and of course I also got to do my own overdubs on top of Gary’s parts.

Eventually the shape of the whole thing was there and Gary returned for a final couple of days of dubbing, this time somewhat more considered.

We’ve ended up, I think, with something quite strange but also strangely powerful. The music veers from some kind of roots territory to wild sound collages. All of it – bar a couple of pieces of found sound – is produced by our guitars and my voice (those beats, having served their purpose, were removed from the mix!).

It has, I suppose, some of the characteristics of a warped folk music…from another world.

Next, as a further challenge, we’ll be performing the stuff live, in a one-off show at the Union Chapel in London on February 21st. Very exciting and somewhat daunting!


I was a Teenage Anglophile, particularly partial to psychedelic and progressive sounds from the UK, Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, Family, Third Ear Band, The Nice, the Move, the Incredible String Band, Kevin Coyne, Dr. Strangely Strange. All were music to my ears then, coming of age as I did in the mid- 60's in the rather staid and moribund musical climate of Syracuse New York.

I was such a passionate fan that I subscribed airmail to Disc and Music Echo, ZigZag, and Melody Maker in order to keep abreast of a UK scene still awash in full flower power (or so I imagined)...

I sent away for the latest singles from a UK record shop, rare English vinyl that was destined never to show up on US shores.

As the music director of Yale's WYBC in the early 70's I dj'ed a show entitled "The Sounds from England (and other delicacies)” where I wore the grooves out of my rare English record collection.

(The non-English "other delicacies" I spun on my program incidentally were Can, Amon Duul and ironically enough, Captain Beefheart and Tim Buckley).

One of my favorite albums in this period I bought solely on the cover art alone in 1969 was Van Der Graaf Generator's"The Aerosol Grey Machine ,“ a highly atmospheric and mysterious album which I fell in love and played to death for my listeners and friends. In 1973, I took my first trip overseas performing lead electric guitar in the European premiere of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" in Vienna with the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

On the way back home I stopped in London for the very first time, partially because I had to finally experience it live for myself--and also to hopefully get some interviews with leading musicians for "Zoo World" magazine, a hip music newspaper out of Florida attempting to take on "Rolling Stone".

Wandering into an HMV store on Oxford Street one day after arriving, about to penetrate the wilds of darkest Soho, I met a fellow enthusiast and rabid Peter Hammill fan, so much so that he had cut out a chameleon from styrofoam and installed it in the shop window to promote Peter's new solo album "Chameleon in the Shadow of Night". He was a huge fan.

He told me excitedly that Peter was performing a rare solo concert up at the Friar's in Aylesbury later that week. Ringing my pal ZigZag editor Pete Frame, whom I'd bonded with in NYC a few months before at a Genesis show, I arranged to come up to Aylesbury to stay with him for a few days in order to catch this concert.

On the night, Peter came on solo after a one-off instrumental set by Zox and the Radar Boys, featuring Phil Collins and Peter Banks and proceeded to blow everyone's mind with a hypnotic, stark, doom-laden suite of songs featuring his piano, acoustic guitar and that incredible other-worldly voice.

After his set I went backstage to interview him, and found him exceedingly nice and friendly.

Flash forward to London May 2005. I am seated at Royal Festival Hall with my friends, UK journalist Mike Barnes and former Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brucken, awaiting Van Der Graaf Generator's historic UK reunion concert.

In a season of standout reunion shows I either attended or performed at, including Cream at Royal Albert Hall, Brian Wilson's "Smile" at Carnegie Hall, and the reunited Magic Band (of which I was a member) at Hammersmith Odeon, this particular concert was my absolute favorite.

Peter was as compelling as ever, his powers undiminished.

Flash forward another couple years, and through the miracle of the internet we re-connect and Peter was as keen as I was to collaborate, inviting me up to Bath, where we spent a couple days recording in his home studio/laboratory.
It was a total dream for me.

Having worked closely with many great artists and vocalists, including Don Van Vliet and Jeff Buckley. Peter is right up there as a great creative partner and collaborator.
I brought several instrumental pieces to the session, as did he.

We'd never exchanged any tapes of our new music previously.

The result to my ears is just...well, listen for yourself!

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