A new release

A bit more of a press release than a journal entry to mark the start of the year, but I’d better get the information out there as quickly as possible….

Over the last decades it’s been my feeling that there should always be a CD release availabe which gives a picture of what’s been the main drive in live performance in the preceding period. Successively, we’ve had “Room Temperature”, “Typical” and “Veracious”. Currently occupying the slot – and likely to do so for the foreseeable future – is, of course,”Pno, Gtr, Vox”, released last September.

As you’ll know, this represents a version of the guitar only, piano only shows with which I began my residence in Tokyo in 2010, with performances taken from the Japanese shows and also from the UK shows in the same year.

A double CD is, I think, a decent artefact to leave out there as a (semi-) permanent exemplar of Performance. But while compiling the discs from all the available material it came to me that a specific, bigger, thing could also come out of the various shows.

Hence, as the first Fie! release of 2012, we have “Pno, Gtr, Vox Box”: a seven cd box set of live songs from the same sources.

This project began with the assembly of the remaining two shows from the Tokyo stint: the “VdGG” show and the “What if I knew this was the last ever?”.
As it turned out, the first of these was taken entirely from the evening at the Pit Inn…I simply didn’t play enough VdGG songs elsewhere for it to make sense to mix and match.

Originally my intention had been to create a limited edition simulacrum of just the four shows. After listening through the various performances, though, I realised that the remit had to be wider. For a start there were a number of songs crucial to the current repertoire that I hadn’t performed at all in Japan. Cue Disc 5. And in order to get the timings down to approximately 70 minutes I’d had to drop certain songs from the original listings. Ecco, disc 6. Finally, there were various alternate performances which for one reason or another had simply not fitted into the flow of the first choice CDs. A final disc of alternate takes, then.

There are over eight hours of performances in this box. Far too much to take in at one session. And, as before, it’s not definitive; it is, though, highly indicative of where I’ve been in my latest spate of live performance.

There’s also, clearly, some kind of Retrospective Collection aspect here as well: the songs are stripped down to the bare essentials and cumulatively tell the tale of a career’s worth of writing, recording and performing.

The package as a whole, designed, as ever, by Paul Ridout, really is a classy piece of work. Each CD is held an individual wallet, featuring shots from my ongoing series of backstage photographs. A booklet with liner notes and full setlists and indications of which song from which show features on which CD completes the deal.

OK, even though it’s a box set (all the rage, it seems, these days) there are no signed artist’s plectra or sunglasses, no fourteenth mix of the fifteenth outtake, no surround sound revisitation.

What there is is The Stuff. And this one’s going to be strictly limited in edition. Although the Boxes are not individually numbered, I’ve taken the decision that the run will be restricted to the 2,000 which have been manufactured.

Of course, something like this sells at a premium. But it’s been kept lower than some might expect and this particularly reflects the fact that, of course, the two CDs of the Pno, Gtr, Vox set – which many will already have purchased – are  included in the set.

Release date is set for February 13th. But of course we’re now taking advance orders here: http://bit.ly/zaoHBN.

I hope that those of you who go for this will agree with me that this really is a quality addition to the catalogue….

Roll up, roll up!

45 Comments on “A new release”

  1. Silvio Goole says:

    Disc 9:
    “What if I only did children’s TV themes ?”
    Includes The Flower Pot Men, Bob the Builder and The Poddington Peas…

  2. Aquila says:

    Got my box today – looks marvellous.

    But why is the title Eighty Four Live Performances if there are 85 on the disc??

    Looking forward to listen to disc 3, the last show – an ultimate setlist (if there could be any)

  3. Erez says:

    Just got mine right now, the first disc is a killer! (well, thats what I heard so far)
    Make me wish I was a japanese 😛
    By the way, thumbs up to the guy below who suggested a 5.1 surround version for plague of lighthouse keepers- that would be a wet dream come true!

  4. Marissa says:

    I have discovered that you are playing in Montreal.
    I may drive 5 and a half hours with my boyfriend to Montreal to see you, I wish you had a flute and sax player. I love those instruments. Are you getting anyone to play with you anymore? I mean sax and flute Peter? I would come anyway. I also heard that you are playing Bethleham Pa. That is three hours from where i live in the Woodstock Ny area.
    I would rather see you in Montreal. I have been educating people that I know about your music. I have a very good friend in San Francisco who is a disc jockey. He is learning about you. They need to hear you out there. He loves your band. Not that many Americans know of your band.
    Americans are not stupid as you think, just kind of bland in general. They are not into excitement as much i am. Your band is exciting. If you have time, listen to my song Macabre.
    I am progressive composer. I kind of gave up on finding people who on my musical level and wave length in this country. Anyone who is a little complex in this country and not boring is shoved asided in the US. These festivals are really not happening even though you will be playing at them. They don’t include the finest American talents, because Americans don’t support talents in their own country. O.k…I am giving you much promotion on youtube. I plan on getting Van Der Graaf a big following that they deserved.

  5. Disc 8:
    “What if I didn’t turn up ?”
    70 minutes of lively audience chatter with increasing asperity.

  6. Steve says:

    Three discs in. Keep meaning to turn it off but this really is an incredibly good set! Am becoming strangely nostalgic about the first PH shows I saw (with John Ellis) in Stoke and Manchester in 1983. Astonishing raw energy that this set certainly matches 🙂 Can’t wait for the next live shows.

  7. Anonymous says:

    just got my copy of the the Box – just about to sit back and enjoy!!superb packaging and booklet

  8. Simon Wenham says:

    Mine arrived in the post this morning! It is a lovely box set with a booklet and the CDs individually sleeved. I will need my glasses to read the booklet though 😦

    Just about to lock myself away to play the first CD.

    I can’t find my glasses, I don’t know where I left them
    so I can’t expect to get much on the visionary score,
    or did I say all that before?


  9. Elienne says:

    I am happy for your new release but I just discovered your old releases. Hi Peter I am not sure if you read these, but no one played you in my dumbed down country before so I could hear you. Maybe I missed it or something. I am addicted to your band now and listening to you as a soloist and a band on youtube. I am attempting to become a progressive artist with NO help in a dumbed down country. (they never promoted anyone in your genre from the US) I arrange for 15 instruments on my albums and play all of them alone acoustically too. It is depressing. Our orchestras are going backrupt and no one will support artists who are not grunged out and derivative. It is a nice conspiracy. I envy you that you are in Europe. However, I will still end up buying your records.
    I am spreading your names all over youtube because I think that there is something wrong that people have never heard of your band hardly at all, especially the younger generation.
    There isn’t alot out there that I would buy, but I also support world artists and obscure musicians in different genres. As one commenter put it, “there is nothing else out there except VDGG and Peter Hammill.” That is sad, because I am a real artistic person with talent too. People are too genetically messed up to see it.

  10. Colin Robertson says:

    Just read the track list and glad to see Too Many of My Yesterdays. I saw three of the shows and was praying it would be on the setlist but alas no. Order is in and can’t wait for it to come out.

  11. Ólafur Auðunsson says:

    Can´t wait and I think this box will be enough for me this year.Can´t find any music anymore to buy exept Hammill or VdGG.

  12. Chris Blackford says:

    Blimey, a 7-CD box set in the Age of Austerity does seem a tad decadent, don’t you think, Peter? Have to say I was more than a little surprised/disappointed to find that a set list for each of the CDs was not provided in your teasing promo. But I guess that’s all part of the delicious mystery that I’ve just bought into…

    PS: Next essential product should be a ‘VdGG on Ice’ spectacular pageant featuring members past and present including those currently fallen out with in a strictly limited Blu-ray only release…Nothing less will do.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great gift,peter.
    I hope you will have this ide about VDGG shows,big fan manfred

  14. David Scott says:

    In addition to Willy’s comments above about vdgg shows, I’d like to request any recent band shows that have been recorded. I think the sets are always varied which would mean multiple shows would be worth getting, and as I attended at the junction last year that would be a favourite to purchase. The Grateful Dead have released many of their 2 track recorded shows, usually with decent packaging. Their offshoot band Furthur are doing a more basic release schedule by just sending out cds of music in paper packets after the shows have been recorded.

    Technology moves on apace!

    David Scott

  15. Kevin Sheridan says:

    I’ve ordered it with alacrity!

    By the way, your listing of the predecessors to PNO GTR VOX sent me back to my PH collection, thinking that I misremembered There Goes The Daylight as a solo effort. But no, my memory (for all things PH at least) remains intact.

    Because I’ve always enjoyed There Goes The Daylight, I’m wondering if its omission in the potted history of Live You was oversight or a reassessment on your part?

  16. @Sofa_Sound has announced this BIG GIFT for us the fans in the world. But only 2000 copies will be available….

    • Mikayel says:

      Probably, this amount of 2000 is reasonable. This is most probably a result of some thorough estimation, and is based on different criteria: returning customers, interest from the newcomers, sales of the latest releases etc. After all, the main representative, in my opinion, is (and will remain so) the Pno, Gtr, Vox 2CD set, while the BOX version is a special “gift” release which is NOT intended to replace the former one.

  17. Vadim Zaytsev says:

    Well, this’ll make a nice birthday present for myself! It *is* somewhat inconveniently released, including “Pno, Gtr, Vox”, but released shortly after without any warning, and I’d think twice if I had bought the album.

  18. Jay Tausig says:

    A most excellent idea, and of course a very welcome addition to the catalog! Will be ordering this later today…Cheers!

  19. David says:

    Watershed moment.

    As much as I always welcome new PH/VDGG releases (I got ’em all), this feels like an end to a chapter.

    In the way that ‘Fireships’ (as a simple example) demonstrated, a richer, deeper, lusher, audio experience signalled a change, it feels to me that a change in 2012 would be a good thing. That (probably tongue-in-cheek) suggestion of a crooner album (‘My Way’, etc) wouldn’t be such a bad idea. For me, a different instrumental palette is what’s called for.

  20. charles says:

    “on the shelf”

  21. robartz says:

    Being already in possession of the 2cds version, I must say that I would have appreciated an earlier warning about the project as I would (like others, I suppose) have pre-ordered the full box in the first place.
    Having said that, luckily in my case, the double cd was given me as a birthday present before I could order it myself, so I think the giver will have it back as a lucky boomerang…
    As I have just ordered it, now I am looking forward to seeing the box and enjoying the concerts.

  22. Anonymous says:

    a slow mo porcupine tree…

  23. I guess I will buy this like everything else. From an archivist point of view I would like to see all the Japanese shows complete in their original running order, warts and all…

  24. rossjwarren says:

    I hate to be a spoilsport, but 7 CD’s is a large investment. Perhaps I am atypical of the fan base having two children still at home, but truth is it beyond my meager pocket. Saying that good luck with selling 2,000, if you still have stock come October 2015 (when both my boys will be at university) I’ll buy one then!

  25. […] News of a 7CD box set of Peter Hammill live performances – pre-ordered! More info here […]

  26. My day is now complete… Thanks!

  27. BobOnSCR says:

    Jolly good news say I. Have ordered my copy – will have to fit in some radio play….

  28. Jim Keyerleber says:

    Please check link to pre-sale Thanks

  29. Simon Wenham says:

    Just ordered this as my Valentine’s day present 🙂

    “no surround sound revisitation.”

    Why not let Steven Wilson loose on the VdGG back catalog? “Lighthouse Keepers” in 5.1 – scary!

  30. Miguel Muzquiz says:

    How about an album of covers? “Red Roses For A Blue Lady”, “My Way”, like that.

  31. VdGGfan says:

    Best news so far this year, especially immediately following two+ days without power here on the Isle of Bute!
    Have placed my order pronto.

    Many thanks in anticipation, Peter.

  32. MLavallee says:

    A late Christmas present! I must admit when I heard the original idea of Pno, Gtr, Vox all I could think was it would have been that much better if it had been expanded to add the VdGG set in there. Here it is the first week of the new year and I already know what’ll top my best of list come December.

  33. Anji Spangle says:

    Blimeyheck, this is good news – Happy New Year!

  34. martinwhall says:

    Ordered – but if you could see your way to slipping a signed plectrum into my set, I’d be grateful 🙂

  35. Mikayel Abazyan says:

    Yes!!!! This IS what should have been done! Many thanks for the New Box!

    Also, special thanks for this:

    “….no signed artist’s plectra or sunglasses, no fourteenth mix of the fifteenth outtake, no surround sound revisitation.”

  36. willy vlyminck says:

    I always hoped on this, maybe it is just a wet dream Peter, but may we expect such box from the band as well?There is enough material taped over the last 6 years…
    But thx already for this one, just ordered it, thx Peter and let the goods coming our way:-)

  37. Barry J says:

    Reblogged this on Barry's blog and commented:
    A very exciting development from my favourite musical artist…

  38. Wow – a 7 disc set.

    Consider me rolling!

  39. Barry J says:

    Good grief – this is exciting news! Well done, Peter!

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