Exposé Online banner

Peter Hammill — Thin Air
(Fie! 9132, 2009, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2010-07-01

Thin Air Cover artPeter Hammill’s recent albums of home studio recordings always present a consistent delivery and song craft. This collection of nine pieces moves forward with a few unique tweaks and variations however. By now fans are hopelessly deadlocked into the clever word play and passionate thematic delivery that the Van der Graaf main man has made a successful cult European career. Piano-based tracks such as the opener, “The Mercy” (with its unique orchestral swells and venomous stabbing guitar leads) fit into the raw-nerve ballad category again, along with “Undone” and “The Top of the World Club,” which both explore emotional turmoil. Acoustic guitar driven pieces include “Stumbled” and “We Must Part Like This,” that sport the most unique guitar arrangement with tremolo guitar backing and a slippery slide that works well as an accompaniment. It’s great that the composer has decided to bring back his trusty axe, add a few effects, and then get a whole new backdrop to croon a melancholy tune. The real surprises on the disc are the brutal soundscape tracks such as “Wrong Way Round,” which will appeal to any Crimson fan, and the creepy “Ghosts of Planes” with its creepy refrain from which the album gets its titled. Overall it’s another fine addition to the huge body of work the singer has amassed since 1971’s Fools Mate; and what a poignant course he has traveled to arrive here.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Hammill

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Muffins - Double Negative – I suppose any time a band that has been around as long as the Muffins puts out a new album, there’s going to be some disagreement among fans about its merits. Whether they changed too much or...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues