Thursday, March 13, 2008
T to They, Who Am The Awesomest - Van der Graff Generator
At this brief juncture in my dalliance with prog rock, Van der Graff Generator is the mightiest band ever to temporarily alight on this earth and walk its soil before re-ascending, and their third album, cryptically titled H to He, Who Am the Only One is their finest hour. Never mind that it is the only VdGG album I've ever listened to, in fact I'm only as far as the cosmic odyssey "Squid 1/Squid 2/Octopus" into it as I type this, and that this infatuation, like all other likely dalliances, will pass, but right now, it is the Godhead. I can see why Julian Cope went mad, letting all this stuff fester up in his drug-ravaged noggin. (ed: Pawn Hearts, reviewed by Cope in that link, might even be awesomer than H, now that I'm listening to it. )
The other day, my wife and I were sitting around flitting through music and I put on The Crane Wife from The Decemberists, a record I feel does not quite get its due because a lot of people felt a lot of Big Things with the first Decemberists record. Anyway, we got to one of the big proggy sections of "The Island" and my wife remarked that this sounded a lot like Yes, and to check, we put some Yes on, and let its grand tapestries unfurl all over us. "Man, don't hold back, Yes" she said as things started to go over the top. I replied, "Well, they are not called 'Maybe' or 'Perhaps.' They are called 'Yes' for a reason." And it clicked. I think I get prog rock. With all the corny justification/determination of the narrator in Memoirs of a Geisha, at that moment, I knew I was about to embark on an amazing journey.
I looked up Peter Hammill, arch-wizard of VdGG, to see if he has, as I hoped, set up a laboratory on the Moon so that he can build a death ray capable of destroying us all, but instead he has released a trillion solo albums documented on Prog Archives, a site that will take me deeper in this Middle Earth than I probably want to go.
Should I never return, tell everyone I loved them. In three movements. Preferably with a flute solo worked in somewhere.