"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.
1. The Mercy
2. Your Face On The Street
4. Wrong Way Round
5. Ghosts Of Planes
6. If We Must Part Like This
9. The Top Of The World Club