Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Black Box (Reis)
Genres: Pop, Rock
Digitally remastered reissue of this 1980 solo album from the former Van Der Graaf Generator member. This release treads the middle ground between his Rock oriented '70s work and his Electronic excursions in the '80s. Eigh... more »
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Digitally remastered reissue of this 1980 solo album from the former Van Der Graaf Generator member. This release treads the middle ground between his Rock oriented '70s work and his Electronic excursions in the '80s. Eight tracks including 'Golden Promises', 'In Slow Time' and 'Fogwalking'. Charisma. 2006.
One of the best along Peter Hammill's flight path
Stephen Andrews | London | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The remastered 'A Black Box'. Originally released in 1980, this, one of the first 'indie' albums but now an EMI product, completed the trilogy of 'monochrome' albums that kicked off with 'The Future Now' in 1978 and 'PH7' in 1979. These albums marked a stylistic shift, Hammill largely dispensing with the complex, labyrinthine arrangements that had been the hallmark of his earlier solo albums and his work with Van der Graaf Generator. This new style was stripped-down, concentrated and concise - and fitted well into the punk ethos of the time. One of Hammill's earlier albums 'Nadir's Big Chance' released in 1975 had, in fact, been hailed as a prototype punk-rock album. The subject matter of Hammill's songs became more accessible, his lyrics more straightforward and direct. This new approach served to heighten the intensity and power of Hammill's writing. Every song here hits like a punch both musically and lyrically, as a result of the basic electric guitar, bass drums and keyboards instrumentation and the production quality Hammill achieved by recording with only 8 tracks. The sound is jerky, cut-up, grainy black and white and brilliant. The opener, 'Golden Promises' is a no-nonsense rocker, with harsh distorted guitar and a strident rhythm; 'Losing Faith in Words' shouts about the difficulty of being heard above a juddering piano and staccato lead guitar. 'Jargon King' continues on the theme of communication using phased-out electronic effects, synthesiser and backwards tape; 'Fogwalking' is a slow stroll through a nightmarish nightime London with gothic keyboard landscapes and eerie saxophone provided by David Jaxon; 'The Spirit' is a simple three-chord trick up-tempo rock-song, almost thrown away; 'In Slow Time' features melodic synths and a sinuous melody line; 'The Wipe' a chaotic, out-of-control ambient spasm wraps up what was originally side one of the vinyl album. The remainder is taken up with the twenty minute sequence 'Flight'. Although consisting of seven individual parts, 'Flight' is so precisely constructed that it seems to be no more than a single song. Hammill holds the separate strands of the piece together with strong melody lines and musical themes, overlaid with some of his most imaginative lyrics. The end result is a satisfyingly unified piece that sits at the heart of 'A Black Box'. John Gill, in his Sounds review of July 26, concluded that this was Hammill's strongest material in years: "'A Black Box' carries the achievements of 'The Future Now' and 'PH7' even further. Searching, pushing, outstripping and setting precedents for others.""
I use this CD to punish my pets
Robert J. Salo | Anaheim Hills , Ca United States | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Contarey to the opinion offered below, Peter Hammill was NOT Van Der Graaf Generator - he was only the singer/songwriter.Hugh Banton owns the name and it really is HE, who IS Van Der Graaf Generator. Now, having said that, a Black Box is a disturbing dissent into madness conjured by Hammill at an odd time in his career. I think it was his first LP for the "Sofa" lable - try "Fogwalking" and you'll never turn your back on anyone in a hospital again. What does that mean?"