Exposé Online banner

Peter Hammill — X My Heart
(Fie! 9111, 1996, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-08-01

X My Heart Cover art

Here's another work in the "difficult artiste" series from prolific songwriter Peter Hammill. How many releases does this make for him? Over 20, not including compilations? He has consistently displayed high-quality work since 1968 including several experimental projects. Recorded last year at home, this new set of songs is not another exampe of a snobby, sophisticated attitude. Hammill's vocal delivery has always been a bit like channeling a spirit during a seance, influenced in part by dramatic stage presentation. The songwriting itself has, again, a profound, ponderous weight for your average pop song that challenges you into conscious active listening. Themes addressed reflect on life in specific (as Peter perceives it), love triangles and relationships, deception, and materiality. Personnel on the disc include Van der Graaf alumnus Dave Jackson on flute and saxes; Stuart Gordon on strings; and Manny Elias (ex-Tears for Fears) on drums. Hammill himself handles guitars, keyboards, and bass (Nic Potter MIA). A track of discernible interest is "A Better Time," which is a pretty positive statement on why "I'll never find a better time to be alive than now." The piece has two versions: a multi-tracked, monastery-choir-like arrangement performed a capella and a more standard accompaniment. "Amnesiac" is a song seemingly about forgetting important points of communication in a relationship that features a fragile violin and wood flute accompaniment. There is nothing too sinister this time out from Hammill: has he finally turned the edge on that level of intensity he excels at? I believe he continues to mature as an artist in much the same fashion as Charisma label mate Peter Gabriel. In his middle age, Hammill continues to mature as a wise, reflective artist with key perspectives, wit and depth, but he is still a talent much in need of wider appreciation.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 10, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Hammill, David Jackson

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Hodgkinson - Sang – Henry Cow fans looking for jagged, experimental rock will likely be disappointed by Tim Hodgkinson's new CD. This is very experimental stuff, lacking many of the qualities often regarded as...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues