Peter Hammill

The Union Chapel Concert

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A one-time event stemming from an offer to percussionist Guy Evans to do anything he wanted at the Union Chapel in London. An idea to collaborate with Peter Hammill on a variety of semi- improvisational material partly built on samples of Hammill's music soon expanded to incorporate more traditional performance ideas as well as connections to Evans' own colleagues in the Echo City troupe. By the time the planning stage was over, Hammill and Evans had decided to bring in members of Echo City, regular Hammill collaborator Stuart Gordon, drummer Manny Elias, and, to cap things off, longtime Van Der Graaf members Hugh Banton (who had retired to a life of organ-building) and David Jackson, who not only turned up with sax and flute in hand, but with his Soundbeam rig as well.

The resulting live album, spread over two discs, is an impressive document. It is certainly Evans' show all the way, with some of the best drumming Evans has ever captured on record, though Hammill gives a good account of himself -- as Evans says in his sleeve notes, Hammill instantly took up the gauntlet that Evans threw down. As a result, the album includes some of Hammill's best live playing, including a ferocious reading of "Accidents." For some, though, the highlight will most likely be the rousing, 15-minute performance of "Lemmings," which amounts to a Van Der Graaf Generator reunion. There is, however, far more to recommend this two-CD set. By far one of the most powerful Hammill showings to date.

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