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The Aerosol Grey Machine Import

3 customer reviews

Price: £12.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£12.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 2 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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The Aerosol Grey Machine + H To He Who Am The Only One + The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 May 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Fie
  • ASIN: B000024DE0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 524,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ross J. Warren on 30 Jun. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Considering that this record was made in a single day, it shows that Peter Hammill was already a very competent composer. It is not like any other record in the VDGG catalogue other than Peter's "fools Mate" which is a real classic. There are moments that hint at the greatness that is to come most especially "Afterwords" and "Necromancer" which are both excellent single tracks. "Aquarian" Is a good example of the optimistic hippy inspiration of the time. "Octopus" would later evolve into an epic live track. A great live in the studio version of this recently surfaced, on the expanded H. to He. "Orthenthian streets, running back and into a game" all hint of the later VDGG with its darker themes but for the time being VDGG are not as gloomy as all that. "Black smoke yen" shows that this was already a band in so much as the relationship between Banton and Hammill is already bearing fruit. There are two different versions of this cd in circulation Rep 4647-wy has the two tracks that make up the impossible rare "People you were going to" and "Firebrand" single released on Polydor. A record that is so rare that you are unlikely to find a copy at all, should you happen on a copy be prepared to pay £500.00. This makes this CD a must own recording for VDGG fans. I like both of these tracks and this is the only realese to feature either in their studio form. However the other version which is released on Peter's own Fie Label contains "Ferret & Featherbird " and "Giant squid" both of which are of course desirable to fans of the band. The Fie CD has a much better sound so if you are just after one go with the Fie release and support Peter.Read more ›
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Nov. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Given the later achievements of the band, this album seems rather quaint and simplistic by comparison.
Still, there is a fair bit of good material on here, most notably the opening track "Afterwards": A ballad about lost love, a theme Peter Hammill would return to many times later in his career, that allows him to use his full range of vocal expression.
There's also the bizarre title track which sounds like it could have come straight from an episode of Monty Python and a short but interesting instrumental in the shape of the strangely titled "Black Smoke Yen" which leads into the proto-epic "Aquarian", possibly the best taster of what was to come with future VDGG albums.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Feb. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Nowhere near as "complete" as Pawn Hearts as a concept album, this nevertheless will reward the patient listener by stirring emotions you never knew you had.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Classic psychedelic-progressive underground debut! 20 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
VDGG had broken up (before they had even released an album!) and Peter Hammill, working in a German studio in 1969 was producing his first solo album for the Fontana record label. Joined by Keith Ellis, Nic Potter, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans for the sessions, the album quickly became a VDGG reunion (the first of many) and was released to minor cult recognition in 1969. The sound is vintage, with a garage-indie production feel, but the material is surprisingly mature. Peter's voice is unmistakable, and the band plays drastically and dynamically, though in a sophmoric manner, a foretelling of the progressive art-rock thespian depth the band would eventually master with their epic release PAWN HEARTS.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Debut album with a lot of promise 12 Aug. 2001
By BENJAMIN MILER - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Actually I own the German LP version of the album on Fontana, so it doesn't have the bonus cuts like "Firebrand" or "People You Were Going To". Anyway, this is less progressive than the VdGG albums that were to come after this. It's a pretty well known fact that The Aerosol Grey Machine was meant to be a Peter Hammill solo effort, but then in the end, it turned out to be Van der Graaf's first release. It oddly never saw a British release when it first came out. It was first released only the USA on Mercury, then sometime in the 1970s on Fontana in Germany (the version I have). And now it's available on CD. At this early phase in their career, their sound hadn't fully developed. A lot of it tends to the acoustic, psychedelic and proto-prog side of things. In other words, don't expect cuts like "After the Flood", "Emporer in his War Room", or "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", expect most to be more on the song-oriented side than their following releases. "Octopus" is the closest to a prog epic you'll get on this album. The rest of the album is pretty nice, and it really shows the potential that of course, would be fully realized on He to He and Pawn Hearts. So if you're new to VdGG, start with He To He or Pawn Hearts first, then if you're convinced, then try The Least We Can Do is Wave to Each Other and The Aerosol Grey Machine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Who spilled the bongwater? 11 Dec. 2000
By TUCO H. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Recorded in 12 hours in 1968, Peter Hammill's dreamy, thickly ambient Psychedelic opus is one of the great undiscovered rock records. Undiscovered by the general public that is; record buffs and psychedelic music cultists have always had a copy on hand to impress the casual Pink Floyd fan, and more famous rockers like David Bowie, Sex Pistol Johnny 'Rotten' Lydon, Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp have long acknowledged its influence. It's Bowie who sounds like Hammill, folks, not the other way around (as those who hear Hammill for the first time tend to assume).
Not many bands have synergized into more with less. "Aerosol Grey Machine" isn't complicated in terms of playing chops but is still quite progressive and original concept-wise, and in songwriting and vocal performance. Hammill's adventurous, dynamic vocals ooze a youthful energy and confidence that give the otherwise simple songs a colorful, odd musical climate compatible with the ambiguous symbolic imagery suggested by his sometimes corny (sci-fi themed allegories of counterculture 'defiance with the power of love and happy faces', etc., ) but generally interesting lyrics. And whenever things threaten to get too thick or melancholy in fantasy land, a certain underlying humor tempers the proceedings and stirs the mood away from tempting black holes of cry-baby brooding.
Hugh Banton's spacy organ textures and the thumping (but not hyperactive) rhythm section provide an uncluttered and groovily hard edged rock ambience which leaves Hammill's visions plenty of space to breath in. The sparseness of the instrumentation is thick in sound, and cushioned in a way that makes the vocals seem like they're bouncing off a slightly fuzzy, warm, foam background; and there's a fair amount of Pink Floydish 'floatation' happening in the aural texture. The sci-fi/fantasy imagery, romanticisms, sublimated anger, folk-rock, hard rock, still embryonic prog-rock, and even certain eastern influences are all somehow tweezed and fused within the all- encomapssing, optimistic psychedelic 'vibe' that made more than a few late '60s rock records bizzarely transcendent of their cheesy origins and experimental hippie mystifications.
"Aerosol Grey Machine" is relaxed and fun to listen to; it creates the kind of dreamy environment that gradually dissolves philistine worries and 'everyday reality' into a fizz and pulls you into a cave you don't want to escape from for hours on end as you play the whole record over and over again like a mental patient. For my own taste, the first 3 or 4 songs are the best, although there's nothing mediocre on the whole record; every tune rocks, and has something brilliant up its sleeve. The opener "Afterwards" is a great song that would've been perfectly at home on Album Oriented Radio stations beside "White Rabbit," "Dear Mr. Fantasy," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Can't Find My Way Home", etc. ; as it is, I don't think it's ever been played on an American radio station, since no one's even heard of it (Tower Records doesn't even have a bin for Van der Graaf Generator and you have to special order their albums).
The two bonus tunes included, the Bowie-esque early British single "People You Were Going To" and its B-side "Firebrand," have cheesier production but, again, the enthusiasm level is so high, they almost become great songs. "Firebrand" features some 4 minutes of wild-sounding mayhem by a second uncredited vocalist growling and screaming his head off in a sort of call-and-response with Hammill, a total lunatic who sounds an awful lot like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, and, in fact, I doubt if it could be anyone else but Ian. Does any Van der Graaf Generator cultist out there in cyber-limbo-land have any inside information about this?
What Van der Graaf records should you get? Well, if you like Hunky-Dory era David Bowie, early Pink Floyd, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but not the more chops oriented and theatrical progressive rock bands like Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis, you should get "Aerosol Grey Machine" and its follow-up "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other." If you also like prog-rock, you should get all four records Van Der GRAff Generator made from 1968 to 1972, or at the very least, their one-of-a kind, bizzare, underrated prog-rock masterpiece "Pawn Hearts." "Aerosol Grey Machine" is 4 stars all the way because it fully accomplishes what it set out to accomplish (one star off for the green-novice factor & one star added for the lesser level of pretentiousness being a novice brought to the project).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Fine First Effort Released Last 6 July 2001
By Snow Leopard - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember wanting to get Aerosol Grey Machine for years, having heard about it, but never being able to find it. Once it finally became re-available, I was quite excited of course. And I suspect that this is how many established Van der Graaf Generator fans came to this first album. But whether you are a die-hard exponent of Van der Graaf Generator's earlier stuff, or the later reworked line-up, or the much larger oeuvre of music that is Peter Hammill's solo work, Aerosol Grey Machine will fit your preconceptions only partially at best.
The fact is, this first album was not made with all of the musical sophistication and hindsight that we fans of Van der Graaf Generator have expected of it. Not even the visionary Hammill had the first idea of where his band was destined to go, and this is perfectly self-evident on their first album, which is itself somewhere between a solo album and a band album.
Ultimately, the test for me with music is whether I listen to it, or whether it very nicely rounds out some collection that I have and beautifully gathers dust. As far as Van der Graaf Generator goes, I am most likely to play Vital or Still Life or Aerosol Grey Machine, the last mostly because of the songs Afterwards (I am continuously amused that the first song of their first album is called "Afterwards") and Aquarian; Octopus also keeps me interested because of its verve and the narrative it presents, and Firebrand (with that freakish chorus that will either convert newcomers or drive them away forever) is an especially quirky thing. These four songs compensate for the weaker spots of the album: the title track (mercifully only 40 seconds long), and especially Necromancer, which I can't quite help from smirking at. (If I thought Hammill was being deliberately overblown in this song, then it would no longer bug me.) Much of the album veers toward the corny or the horribly dated (very late-60s), like the film of Jesus Christ Superstar does--I'm not sure what would happen to the album if it was subjected to close or penetrating scrutiny. Even so....there's something about this album that ultimately rescues it from being a mere period piece, even rescues it from its own corniness most of the time. And that something almost certainly must be Hammill's vocals. After all, Hammill is the intellectual's Dylan.
Ultimately, it is the song "Afterwards" that most does it for me. Someone tagged it as "the saddest it's over song ever"--I might even agree, but it is also one of the most beautiful. I'd pay the price of the disc just for this song.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
in the beginning things were different... that's putting it lightly 10 Mar. 2011
By B. E Jackson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Update March 2, 2012.

I'm not going to change a thing in my review (except for the rating which is now 5 stars) but I wanted to update this one little message at the top. I recently played this album again and realized it's actually really awesome. I didn't give it the appreciation it honestly deserves. A lost masterpiece and a stunning debut, especially in comparison to the acclaim a few other Van Der Graaf Generator albums receive. The Aerosol Grey Machine should NOT be underrated by progressive rock fans. Solid vocal melodies the entire way through, a young Peter Hammill revealing to the world his incredible vocal range, murky sound quality, experimental ideas with psychedelic influences, etc. This is what the Aerosol Grey Machine is all about. GREAT album seriously.

For some reason I never knew Aerosol Grey Machine actually existed until I did some research on Van Der Graaf Generator's discography, and noticed it listed as their very first album. Well it's a pretty good introduction but mainly serves its purpose by simply showing us what's ahead for this most underrated progressive rock band. However I enjoy a good portion of it nevertheless.

I particularly like hearing Peter Hammill sing on this album. His voice is definitely hoarse and quite different, and he doesn't seem to know exactly WHAT to do with his singing voice at this point. It reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne's hoarse voice on Black Sabbath's debut. Two quality singers that would immediately find direction and settle with just the right vocal range by the time their second album came out.

"Aquarian" contains a playful vocal melody, and the piano intro is nice. I wish the melody wasn't so repetitive though, but perhaps that's due to this being the longest song on the album. At over 8 minutes, it's a bit much to say the least, but it's not enough for me to complain. I guess it's understandable though- a band unsure how to make an impact on the music scene will most likely make some errors from time to time.

"Octopus" is another lengthy song, and it's quite different from "Aquarian". It's more like a Pink Floyd-inspired freak out jam, and it's quite effective. It DOES freak me out, haha. Hammill's unpolished vocals are a minor distraction however. The bass guitar in particular reminds me of late 60's Floyd. "Into a Game" features a devastatingly beautiful vocal melody with piano in the background. It's quite... disjointed, believe it or not because the piano doesn't feel developed enough to create anything truly moving. However I'm only referring to the piano playing while the vocal melody is taking place- the piano jam at the end is *awesome*.

Both parts of "Orthenthian" are basically the same. They show a young Peter Hammill doing a very good David Bowie impression. Think Space Oddity- the way Bowie sounds on that album is remarkably similar to the way Hammill sounds here. Anyway this is a fairly trippy (and happy) folk-rock song, and "Running Back" is pretty much the same thing, except with an even more interesting vocal melody. "Necromancer" actually has vocals that remind me of a young Rob Halford from Judas Priest. Interesting.

Overall, I enjoy this album, but I recommend Still Life, Pawn Hearts and Godbluff over this anyday.
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