Peter Hammill

Skin

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All but a reunion of Van Der Graaf Generator in terms of personnel, and hearkening to the latter-day spirit in terms of some of the tone, Skin is nonetheless Peter Hammill continuing to declare his own direction minute by minute, rather than plotting overarching career goals. There is more of a dependence on MIDI on this album, and a lot of obvious keyboard support, but the core human players come through loud and clear, especially Guy Evans on drums and David Jackson on saxes. It is odd to hear Hammill belting his way through a song with the support of sampled and synthesized horns and a rocking beat, especially when the song is about the death of art ("Painting By Numbers"), but it's also a welcome relief -- that ability to flex is exactly the thing that has helped to keep the man's creative existence alive since 1967. The album is also highlighted by "Four Pails," a beautiful song by longtime Hammill confederate Chris Judge Smith. The album has had several CD releases, with the Fie! release having improved sound.

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