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Van der Graaf Generator – Do Not Disturb

Esoteric

Van der Graaf Generator - Do Not DisturbIt’s always a daunting prospect to spin a new Van der Graaf Generator album for the first time: will it live up to expectations? Can the group still be vital and challenging thirteen albums and forty-eight years into their “career”? The answers are inevitably a disappointing “no”; and a second and third spin do very little to change that perception.

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Van der Graaf Generator – Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London

Convexe (N America)/Salvo (Europe)

Van Der Graaf Generator ‎Live In Concert At MetropolisAt the end of 2010, the Metropolis television company organized a series of intimate concerts at their London studios, each showcasing a ‘heritage’ act to 140 people, each of who paid £175 for the privilege. Apparently a glass of champagne and a meeting with the artist was also included in this price. The series included Caravan, Barclay James Harvest, The Zombies, Roy Harper, Bill Nelson and Van der Graaf Generator. The idea was to professionally film the performances in a studio environment and broadcast them on national TV. Each audience member would get a DVD of the show, which would then made available to the public at some later date.

In the event, the TV showings never materialized, with DVD

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Van der Graaf Generator – Alt

Esoteric

Hmmm… a Van der Graaf Generator instrumental album eh? For a supposed ‘prog’ band, Van der Graaf Generator have never really gone in for lengthy instrumental passages, preferring to fill their convoluted songs with Peter Hammill’s densely-packed words. Then again, The Graaf, as they’ve seldom affectionately referred to, have never really gone in for the usual ‘prog’ behaviour.

Of course their biggest ‘hit’ “Theme One” was an instrumental, but that was a cover of a George Martin piece, so hardly counts, and the less said about the lacklustre Long Hello series the better, except to be grateful they weren’t released under the group name to tarnish the reputation. 2005’s triumphant reunion album Present came with a second disc of improvised instrumentals, a disc that

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Van der Graaf Generator – A Grounding in Numbers

Esoteric

Van der Graaf Generator – A Grounding in NumbersSix years after their surprise reunion, it still seems unreal to be listening to a new Van der Graaf Generator record. Stranger still, lowering the stylus onto A Grounding in Numbers instills the same rush of anticipation as when I ran round to David Hilton’s house back in April 1976 with the newly released Still Life because he had the nearest available record player to County Records.

This time though, the anticipation is tempered with slight trepidation. Before hearing a note, there’s the dubious presence of thirteen songs with an average length of three minutes forty seconds – great for a Franz Ferdinand record, but Van der Graaf Generator? A further ominous portent is that the album was mixed by Hugh Padgham, a man

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