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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

vidnaObmana - The River of Appearance – In 1996 vidnaObmana recorded The River of Appearance, which was a high point of his early compositional style. Employing samples, loops, electronics, and sparse piano phrases, vidnaObmana crafted...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues