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Van Der Graaf Generator - First Generation (Scenes from 1969-1971) CD (album) cover

FIRST GENERATION (SCENES FROM 1969-1971)

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.41 | 62 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 152

"First Generation (Scenes From 1969-1971)" is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generation and was released in 1986. This is a compilation that includes tracks from three studio albums of them, their second studio album "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", released in 1970, their third studio album "H To He, Who Am The Only One", released also in 1970, and their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts", released in 1971. However and curiously, it doesn't include any track from their debut studio album "The Aerosol Grey Machine", released in 1969, an album of their first phase too.

So, "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", "H To He, Who Am The Only One" and "Pawn Hearts" belong, with their debut studio album "The Aerosol Grey Machine", to their first musical period. However, these three albums are, without any doubt, the better of their first four studio albums. "H To He, Who Am The Only One" and "Pawn Hearts" are also considered with "Godbluff" and "Still Life", from their second musical period, the four greatest masterpieces from the band. "Pawn Hearts" and "Godbluff" are even considered two of the best progressive rock albums ever made.

"First Generation (Scenes From 1969-1971)" has seven tracks. The first track "Darkness (11/11)" is a song taken from their second studio album "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other". It's a great opener and is also one of its best songs. This is a song dominated by the continued presence of the keyboards of Banton and by a very good and strong bass line. It's the song where we can hear and feel for the first time the incredible and unique sound of the saxophones of Jackson. The second track "Killer" is a song taken from their third studio album "H To He, Who Am The Only One". It's a catchy and beautiful dark song. The saxophones of Jackson and the organ of Banton are present continuously and are very well supported by a brilliant rhythm section by Potter and Evans. It portrays the usual hunting musical atmosphere that this band is able to create with their music. The third track "Man-Erg" is a song taken from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts". It's a song with a beautiful piano introduction and is followed by Hammill's voice. On it we can hear Banton's organ accompanied by Evans' very expressive drumming, great Jackson's saxophones and some very pretty acoustic and electric guitar work made by Hammill and Fripp. Probably, this is the most beautiful song on "Pawn Hearts". The fourth track "Theme One" is a song taken from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts". The track didn't appear on the UK release, but did appear on the release of the album in the USA. It was also released as a single with "W" as the B side. This is a truly amazing instrumental piece dominated by Jackson's saxophones. It has a funy tune and retains the optimistic vibe of the band. It manages to relesse for a while the emotional tension that we can feel on the whole album. I'm sure it was used in many radio stations. The fifth track "Pioneers Over C." is a song taken from their third studio album "H To He, Who Am The Only One". It contains the usual hypnotizing sax and keyboard musical lines. "C" is the scientific name of the speed of light, and this song is a sort of a musical interpretation of faster than light travel and its consequences on the travellers on their voyages. Musically, it's one of the strongest songs on the album, which sounds great, and fits perfectly well on the album. The sixth track "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" is a song divided into ten parts, "Eyewitness", "Pictures/Lighthouse", "Eyewitness", "S.H.M.", "Presence Of The Night", "Kosmos Tour", "(Custard's) Last Stand", "The Clot Thickens", "Land's End" and "We Go On". It's a song taken from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts". This is a great track, one of the most innovative and creative pieces ever made by them. The twenty three minute of this conceptual piece is very epic and is finished by a great guitar solo by Fripp. This is a monumental track. The seventh and last track "Refugees" is a song taken from their second studio album "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other". It's the most sentimental moment on the album. This is a very beautiful song, very melodic and peaceful with nice flute by Jackson. It's a song that reminds me very much "Running Back", the third track of their debut album "The Aerosol Grey Machine". This is one of the most beautiful songs written by Hammill.

Conclusion: This is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator with a great selection of tracks. Some of their best and most legendary tracks are here. The selection of "Darkness (11/11)" and "Refugees" from "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", couldn't be better. They're, for me, the two best songs on the album and they're also two of the best tracks ever made by them. About the selection of "Killer" and "Pioneers Over C." from "H To He, Who Am The Only One", I've nothing against. The album is so good that any of its songs could be part of the compilation. Relatively to the selection of "Man-Erg" and "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" from "Pawn Hearts", both suffer from the same problem of "H To He, Who Am The Only One". The tracks are also so good that if it was "Lemmings" to be selected, it would also have been absolutely perfect. Finally, "The Theme" is a very beautiful and different track, which fits very well on it, too. Still, this compilation doesn't can substitute those albums by any mean. So, it's good but not an essential purchase.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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