Archive for the ‘Van Der Graaf Generator’ Category


Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Listen: Northern Lights (Edit) / Renaissance

I went through a prog rock stage like every kid, but secretly never had the patience for all those long songs in private. I was playing The Kinks and The Marmalade to be honest. Even the bands exclusively part of that genre won me with their attempts at more traditional songs or singles, as they are ultimately best described.

Camel, Caravan, Curved Air, they all had great 7′s, and that’s just a few of the C’s. The likes of Yes, The Nice, Genesis, King Crimson or even Van Der Graaf Generator, when their full album sided epics got edited down for a single, probably discovered they’d essentially written a pop song. I’m guessing a few, like possibly Robert Fripp, are still shivering from the prospect.

I stumbled on a most fascinating Facebook post yesterday from a friend Bruce Garfield. He’s now managing Renaissance, a band who I would classify as prog, and remember from college. In fact, I booked them at my school and a few members came back to our apartment after the show, to buy drugs from my then girlfriend. His post centered around their new album, and how they’re raising money to record it via Kickstarter. Really impressive plan and I truly wish them well.

During the presentation, when snippets of their various songs were used, I caught a passage from ‘Northern Lights’. Blimey, I hadn’t heard it for the longest time, and so headed downstairs for a listen. A bit overlooked here at home when current in ’78, lost time is being made up for presently. If this got played once, it easily got twenty spins. Really good song, and am now planning on seeing their show in June as a result.

The band deserve a lot of respect, and they deserve a break. Turns out their label partners from those lucrative years all shut their doors and draw the blinds when they come knocking, tossing a mere dribble of royalties their way. Having worked for the majors a solid two plus decades, I know how true their claims must be.

Van Der Graaf Generator

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Listen: Afterwards / Van Der Graaf Generator
Afterwards / Van Der Graaf Generator

I can only guess the reason to press 7″ promo records in the 60′s and early 70′s for underground artists, as they were known, had a singular purpose. Focus the very close to the mic disc jockey and his music director on edited versions of the album’s more/most playable songs.

Sometimes though, like with ‘Afterwards’, the label opted instead for the full length track, providing it wasn’t over four or five minutes long. Mercury generally preferred un-edits to edits, if memory serves me well, as I have several from the era, all full album versions.

Our local stations, WAER and WOUR, played early Van Der Graaf Generator quite generously for a few good years. I particularly loved ‘Killer’ from their third album, H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE, and always hoped it’s eight minutes and change would get chopped into a single, but that never happened.

Took me ages to find a copy of ‘Afterwards’ from their debut, THE AEROSOL GREY MACHINE, figuring a shorter version would be a fun listen, if only to see how someone, preferably producer John Anthony, thought to edit it up.

No, Mercury pressed the full length album track. Regardless, a nice item to score.