With an enviable prog pedigree that saw bassist Nic Potter play with the genre's heaviest hitters -- Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill -- it was only a matter of time before his skills would be displayed in a somewhat different context. And rightly so; 1974's The Long Hello, was, in some circles, a prog rock masterpiece, and with a band also featuring fellow Van der Graafers Hugh Banton, David Jackson, and Guy Evans, it was essentially a de facto Generator release. Losing Banton and adding Giles Perring, Potter and Evans returned in 1981 with The Long Hello's offspring -- The Long Hello, Vol. 2. This second wholly instrumental album follows the same path as its predecessor, and while it's not always an easy listen, there are moments that really do shine -- "Dolphin," the hand drum-heavy "Hidden Drive," and the oddly timed "Agua Blanca." Neatly divided between experimental and more straightforward pieces ("Agua Blanca" falls firmly in the first camp), it's a never less than intriguing listen and, as a document of pure instrumental prog, The Long Hello, Vol. 2 succeeds admirably. Where it falls down, however, is that it lacks the vocals that were such an intrinsic part of the best of the era's prog, and often becomes little more than one long jazz-tinged noodle. But it remains an important record of the genre's growth. If you listened to what the papers said, 1981 had little room in which such dinosaurs could rest, and the album passed with little attention or fanfare. It deserved a lot more, however, and this welcome reissue provides it.
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