Exposé Online banner

Van der Graaf Generator — The Box
(Virgin VDGGBOX1, 1977/2000, 4CD)

Van der Graaf Generator — An Introduction: From the Least to the Quiet Zone
(Virgin CDV2932, 1977/2000, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-07-01

The Box Cover artAn Introduction: From the Least to the Quiet Zone Cover art

I've been wading through this four CD monster for months, marveling at the scope of an English band that has never been readily accessible. Most certainly this group was not a kindred spirit to standard instrumentation, having adopted sax, flute, and a customized organ as melodic forces. Plus the voice of one, Peter Hammill was designated as "literate storyteller divine." Virgin Records (UK) shows real backbone by allowing this box to reclaim some of the label's penchant for unique, timeless, and controversial product. The box text itself is full of gig lists, anecdotal stories from various viewpoints (notably Tony Banks). In fact, there is a compelling history of Hugh Banton's tribulations while developing his rig for the live stage — excellent reading! But the real marvel is how much the older tracks have been cleaned-up (in particular "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers"). All tracks benefit from hours behind a mixing desk to enhance the whispers, shouts, grinding keyboard, and fierce sax. A few bootleg live tracks are presented in warts-and-all fashion including "In the Black Room / The Tower," which the band played live, but wound up on Hammill's solo album Chameleon in the Shadow of Night. Plus a few rare tracks such as "W" and the studio version of "Door" have been thrown into the mix as well. Don't deny yourself the opportunity to jump in neck deep to a dramatic slice of underground rock. For those of you who prefer a "lite" menu, an Introduction disc is also available that is a solid representative nine tracks of force and doom.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 22, 2000 releases, 1977 recordings

Related artist(s): Peter Hammill, Van der Graaf Generator, David Jackson

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Atoll - Musiciens-Magiciens, L’Araignée-Mal, Tertio & Rock Puzzle – I always thought of Atoll as being the number two French symphonic rock band in the 70s, after Ange. Like Ange, they applied the ideals and techniques of progressive rock to French culture and came up...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues