Peter Hammill

And Close as This

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Peter Hammill seems to alternate between releasing unpredictable work (the rock opera The Fall of the House of Usher, the electronic, experimental Loops & Reels, etc.), and his trademark style (straight-ahead arrangements for voice and one other instrument, usually guitar). And Close as This would fall into the former category, since it's comprised exclusively of pure arrangements (in this case, voice and keyboard). It's hard not to be impressed by the emotion in Hammill's voice on the songs "Other Old Clichés" and "Beside the One You Love." And like all of his past work, Hammill will often unite gentle music with sometimes overtly intense vocals ("Too Many Yesterdays"). The keyboards on the album have been filtered through a computer, updating the classic Hammill sound laid-down on his earlier (and best) work, Chameleon In the Shadow of the Night. But Hammill would unfortunately not pursue this style for a while -- his next album, In a Foreign Town, would be the complete opposite of And Close as This, containing overblown production, and an extremely dated '80s sound. And Close as This, however, is one of Hammill's finest.

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