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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Van der Graaf’s Latest CD

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At times dreamy, at other moments urgent, the organ leads the way on Trisector, the 11th album by British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. One is tempted to say legendary prog rock band, and for once, the word legend is more than mere hyperbole. Van der Graaf Generator has kept the integrity of its challenging music intact for over 40 years while cultivating a small but fanatical following.

Now a trio, founder Peter Hammill leads veteran members Hugh Banton and Guy Evans through a largely concise set of songs. Except for the 12-minute plus "Over the Hill," nothing clocks in at over 6.50. Throughout, Hammill's dire, doomsaying voice intones put-downs of self-deception and egotism, painting bleak vistas of an uncertain reality. Longtime Hammill fans will not be surprised to bump into the Inquisition and the Visigoths in his lyrics.

Van der Graaf Generator performs for the first time in Milwaukee, June 27, at Shank Hall. Opening for them is another British band originating in the late '60s, the Strawbs.