Van der Graaf Generator – H to He, Who Am the Only One (1970)

Artist Credit
Martin Transportation
John Anthony Producer
Hugh Banton Bass, Composer, Farfisa Organ, Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Organ (Hammond), Oscillator, Piano, Vocals
Robin Geoffrey Cable Engineer
Guy Evans Drums, Percussion, Timpani
Robert Fripp Guest Artist, Guitar
Peter Hammill Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
David Hentschel Assistant Engineer
Hugh Bass
David Jackson Composer, Flute, Keyboards, Sax (Alto), Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor), Vocals, Wind
Peter Piano
Nic Potter Bass
Graham Smith Composer

The foreboding crawl of the Hammond organ is what made Van Der Graaf Generator one of the darkest and most engrossing of all the early progressive bands. On H to He Who Am the Only One, the brooding tones of synthesizer and oscillator along with Peter Hammil’s distinct and overly ominous voice make it one of this British band’s best efforts. Kicking off with the prog classic “Killer,” an eight minute synthesized feast of menacing tones and threatening lyrics, the album slowly becomes shadowed with Van Der Graaf’s sinister instrumental moodiness. With superb percussion work via Guy Evans, who utilizes the tympani drum to its full extent, tracks like “The Emperor in His War-Room” and “Lost” are embraced with a blackened texture that never fades. The effective use of saxophone (both alto and tenor) and baritone from David Jackson gives the somberness some life without taking away any of the instrumental petulance. H to He is carpeted with a science fiction theme, bolstered by the bleak but extremely compelling use of heavy tones and the absence of rhythms and flighty pulsations. This album, which represents Van Der Graaf in their most illustrious stage, is a pristine example of how dark progressive rock should sound.

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