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Still Life (1976)
Re-mastered album released on June 27th 2005
with bonus track:
Gog (Live from Bangor 10th May 1975)

Still Life cover Still Life cover
Back Cover Front Cover
What is it?
Geoff Barton of Sounds interviewed the band at Headley Grange where they were rehearsing in May 1976, shortly after the release of Still Life. I quote from the interview:
"....SOUNDS should run a 'what does the picture on the cover of 'Still Life' represent?' contest... but it's too late now, so I'll let the cat out of the bag. It's not a highly-enlarged photograph of a brain cell; it's not a fern; it's not a river delta seen from miles above the Earth.
It's actually a frozen-in-action shot of an electrical discharge from a real Van der Graaf generator machine, set in acrylic. So now you know."
Track List
1. Pilgrims(The music as transcribed by Phil Smith)
2. Still Life
3. La Rossa
4. My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)
5. Childlike Faith in Childhood's End
(Follow links for lyrics - use your BACK button to return here)

Record Collector valuation: £12

      

      

This piece appeared in Best Magazine (in French). English translation by Damian McVeigh:

The quiet life of Van der Graaf

"The other night in London, by the happiest of coincidences, I ran into my friend Peter Hammill. Over a (good?) English meal, Peter talked to me about the plans for Van der Graaf. For now, the group's main focus of attention is the new album, Still Life, due out in France on the 16th of April. A fantastic album which I got the chance to hear that same night at Peter's house. In comparison to its predecessor, what is instantly noticeable is that Hammill's voice is more prominent. Moreover, Banton's organ playing is given greater space and it lends this record some almost Procol Harum-like atmospheres (remember Matthew Fisher). Peter Hammill finds this second album by the reuinted VDGG "strange": "We'd never done anything like it, we're almost stunned by the result, as if it wasn't us that had made it." Strange. But Van der Graaf's albums have always had something of the strange about them. Still Life does not break with that tradition, even if in fact a new inspiration seems to be present, like on the title track. Unlike any other reformed group, VDGG almost appear to be a new group finding itself something new to say. Elsewhere you will be familiar with "La Rossa" and "Pilgrim", the artwork is very nice, and I still haven't recovered from the last song. VDGG may be coming to France in April, possibly to Orange this summer (but Hammill doesn't much care for the festival's staggered schedule), and for certain in autumn. The day after my meeting with Peter, the group was to meet in order to work out a new and more theatrical show. I would be very keen to know what came of this. In any case, they have a fighting spirit, Peter is in full creative flow, things are going well. And when you've listened to Still Life, you might say to yourself that VDGG could well be your favourite band."

You can read reviews of the album in the New Musical Express of May 1976
- "..smart ass existentialist one liners..."
and Record Mirror of 17th April 1976
- "If there's one British band who deserves wider acclaim, then this is it".
OK, here's the whole interview.
Click on the image to read.
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