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

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rebekka - Phoenix – Phoenix was the first release by the German band Rebekka, whose brand of progressive music featured tablas and tamboura besides the standard guitar, flute, sax, keyboards, bass, and percussion. This...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues