"Consequences" is Peter's thirtieth solo studio album of original songs. Â
Ten jittery new pieces which stretch the boundaries of the form.Â Some are wordy, or about words - and miscommunication, mishearing, misapprehension.Â Around another corner, lives and actions are overheard, overseen, characters stalked and surprised.Â
Sometimes these pieces stray into the territory of the short story or screenplay - something is happening just outside the frame, just beyond the range of vision. Distanced from the norms of songs though they are, a strong narrative thread runs through the heart of each recording.Â
The instrumentation centres on electric guitars and a variety of pianos. Percussion is sparse. The occasional interjection of other instrumental colours enhances rather than expands the sonic picture. Central to the realisation of all the songs are authoritative vocal performances in lead, backing and choral roles.Â
Once again the whole thing is written, performed, sung and recorded entirely solo.Â "Consequences" is a weighty addition to Peter's body of work.Â
Songs include: 1. Eat my Words 2. Bite my Tongue 3. That Wasn't What I Said 4. Constantly Overheard 5. New Pen-pal 6. Close to Me 7. All the Tiredness 8. Perfect Pose 9. Scissors 10. Bravest Face 11. A Run of Luck
While continuing to play his part in the ongoing career of Van der Graaf Generator - indeed, perhaps because the louder side of his nature is very much fulfilled in that environment - Peter has found himself increasingly drawn towards genuine solo performance when under his own name.
Over a series of tours he has reconnected with songs old and new in the ultimate stripped-down format of piano and voice, guitar and voice.
This double CD, taken from concerts in Japan and the UK in 2010 is Peter's first solo live recording since 1999's "Typical" and shows him at the peak of his powers, pushing and stretching both himself and the material into and out of shape.
One CD is of piano songs, the other guitar ones, following a matrix first laid down in the Tokyo shows. The songs are taken from the length and breadth of Peter's career and this release, documenting his solo performance style, is an important addition to his body of recorded work.Â
Tracklisting: Disc 1: 1. Easy to Slip Away 2. Time Heals 3. Don't Tell Me 4. Shell 5. Faculty X 6. Nothing Comes 7. Gone Ahead 8. Friday Afternoon 9. Traintime 10. Undone 11. The Mercy 12. Stranger Still 13. Vision...
Disc 2:Â 1. Comfortable 2. I will Find You 3. Driven 4. The Comet the Course the Tail 5. Shingle Song 6. Amnesiac 7. What's it Worth? 8. Ship of Fools 9. Slender Threads 10. Happy Hour 11. Stumbled 12. Central Hotel 13. Modern 14. Ophelia
"Thin Air" is Peter's twenty-ninth solo album of original songs. It's been an eventful few years for Peter: a heart attack in December 2003 was followed by the Van der Graaf Generator reunion - both on stage and on record - in 2004/5. "Singularity," his last solo work, was released in 2006 and since then he has been deeply involved in the ongoing story of VdGG, now reconstituted as a trio and moving on from strength to strength.
These new recordings, then, mark a return to solo territory, but in the knowledge that the band is still an ongoing entity. Peter therefore decided to make this set of recordings a genuinely one-man effort, playing and singing every note on the disc. As might be expected of an artist now more than forty years into his career, these are adult songs, addressing grown-up themes. The songs are of disappearance, of loss, of dislocation. Often we know in advance that what we hold will be lost; sometimes the loss comes as a complete surprise.
The disappearances in our lives can be of culture, of people, of buildings, of relationships; this is the natural order of things rather than the exception. The themes of disappearance thread their way across nine pieces of impressionistic breadth. With piano, acoustic guitar and Peter's inimitable vocals to the front of the soundstage there is space left at the rear for fragmented sonic disturbances to be splashed across the songs.
Familiar elements of Peter's writing and recording styles are here, of course, but the combinations are put together in such a way as to make something new and challenging out of the whole. This is a worthy, fascinating and mature addition to Peter's body of work, which remains uneasy listening. It doesn't look as if he will be disappearing just yet.
Tracklisting: 1. The Mercy 2. Your Face On The Street 3. Stumbled 4. Wrong Way Round 5. Ghosts Of Planes 6. If We Must Part Like This 7. Undone 8. Diminished 9. The Top Of The World Club
Peter's last solo studio recording, 'Incoherence," was released in 2004, having been completed a day before he had a heart attack. Since then he's been occupied with the Van der Graaf Generator reunion, first in recording "Present" and then in the run of live shows undertaken in 2005; he was also responsible for remastering the VdGG catalogue. In 2006 "Veracious," a set of live duo performances with Stuart Gordon, was released and Peter also remastered the solo CDs which he had recorded for Charisma in the 70s.Â
Little wonder, then, that when he came to write and record "Singularity" intimations of mortality and considerations of history both public and personal were uppermost in his mind. The main theme here is the long dive down into not being who we were....
Perhaps inspired by the early Charisma recordings, "Singularity" is absolutely a solo record on which Peter sings and plays all instruments alone. This is not, though, a folksy singer-songwriter effort. Experimentation and change have always been important to Peter and some of the sonic landscapes encountered here are strangely new. Warped electric guitars and vocals crushed into slabs of noise are as likely to appear as grand pianos or acoustic guitars.Â
Many definitions of singularity exist and though several of them have some bearing on and resonance in this work the principle ones with which Peter identifies here are the personal (unusual, strange) and gravitational (Black Hole). Â So...it's serious but it's not devoid of humour, though where this occurs it's often of a black variety...and often directed back at the singer himself.Â
After all, we are all circling just outside the gravitational pull of our personal black holes...that's where we're heading. Meanwhile, though, we can whistle a tune, albeit a strange and singular one.
Tracklisting: 1. Our Eyes Give It Shape 2. Event Horizon 3. Famous Last Words 4. Naked To The Flame 5. Meanwhile My Mother 6. Vainglorious Boy 7. Of Wire, Of Wood 8. Friday Afternoon 9. White Dot