Oh, here I am….

Again the months have drifted by without a contribution from me in the journal stakes.

For myself, I’ve been quite comfortable with this. I’ve spent a working lifetime disseminating information about what’s happening on the work, release, performance fronts; frankly, that’s been nothing at all (for public consumption at least) in the last few months. Nor, indeed, have there been any announcements due or needed for future events. So I’ve stayed silent.

I understand that some have been concerned about this silence but there’s really been no need. I’ve been bleating away in public for more years than one can shake a fist at and if, as and when I actually retire I’d like to think that this aspect of “the work” will be the first to disappear. So as, gradually, I begin to slow things down (and that’s inevitable and right at this age) I’m likely to be less and less visible in both conventional and social media. It remains my belief, of course, that whatever worth there is in what I do resides in the music rather than in my ramblings.

Having said that, I (still) don’t wish to paint myself into a corner as to what I will and won’t do in the future. Basically, expect to hear from me here (or, indeed, over at sofasound.com or on twitter) as and when you hear from me. And if there’s anything to report I shall do so, as ever, personally and directly, rather than by intimating things to others.

Belatedly, I’ll say something about Merlin Atmos, firstly about the title, which has bemused/confused some. The WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin engine powered the Spitfire (among other aircraft) and was a prominent tune in the air for those of us born in the UK immediately post-war. It’s the noise which HB simulates (*not* samples, it must be said) at the start and end of our version of flight. Atmos is the feeling out among the crowd. Back in the days when we were able to wander incognito among the audience prior to a show we used to go out and see what the atmos was like…. Hope that goes some way towards an explanation.

As to where the performances come from: two different approaches were at work. HB worked mainly on individual and specific shows, with a majority of tracks being taken from Milan. Since that was the last show we did under normal conditions – Pistoia, being a festival, was somewhat out of the ordinary and control – this seemed and proved appropriate. I no longer remember the exact shows he used though. As for my efforts on the Bonus Atmos disc it may be noted that my credit on the album is “assembled and balanced” rather than “mixed”. That’s to say that I didn’t go for an active mixing approach, instead making a flat – though hopefully correctly balanced – compilation of different performances edited together in multitrack form…so this disc comes from All Over the Place(s).

Finally, yes, I have been and continue to work away. I’m in writing mode, heading toward both the next solo disc and the next VdGG one. It’ll be awhile before either of these get properly under way, mind….

35 Comments on “Oh, here I am….”

  1. Athina Koufaki says:

    Many happy returns Mr Hammill belatedly from Greece. Hope to see you soon because the last
    time was in 2005, I think. You’re sorely missed indeed!

  2. Michel E says:

    Happy birthday Peter!
    Hope to hear from you soon, whether it is a post here, a site update, a CD or gig announcement!
    Thanks for everything.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I remember at the University of Exeter VdGG/Hammill Society when we also has a lengthy lacuna. It was around the time of The Roaring Forties, which by the way didn’t float any of our boats. Rantula enthused over her state-of-the-art Power Point presentation. She saw a link with the writings of Rosa Luxembourg and our friend PH–I thought the link was tenuous to say the least! The Sir Michael Berry (FRS) meeting room was booked and chairs arranged. But it clashed with the newly established Grunge Society who were meeting in the adjacent Fiona Sara Shackleton, (Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia) suite, to celebrate the release of Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Needless to say we couldn’t hear ourselves ponder nor think. Chaos ensued. Unfortunately Afran was present, remember him? He took no prisoners and when Black Hole Sun came on for the third time took matters into and, alas, from his own hands.
    Maybe we learnt from the 12 month ban from University facilities. maybe we didn’t. But we all profoundly missed discussing The Peel Session albums in this period and had to make do with X My Heart. But that’s another story…….


  4. Mike says:

    Enjoy the Rugby Peter

  5. Anji says:

    Heart-glad, and hopeful.

  6. Quantum Cat says:

    Hello Peter – I met you way back in 1980 in Verviers, Belgium. I was backpacking through Europe, saw my favorite singer songwriter on a poster in a youth hostel and hung around for a week or so drinking fine Trappist ale waiting for your show. You were very kind when I spotted you going from the sound check to the WC when I said “Freeze!” we had a nice little chat and you played Man Erg per my request. I was in the front row with my head between my knees for the first couple of numbers due to too much of the aforementioned ale. Thanks for treating a lost American kid with kindness – I will never forget that. I still have your signed poster from that gig framed in my music room. Happy to hear all is well and that you’re in writing mode. I have a song for you if you need one 😉


    Your life long fan and invisible friend,


  7. Baudouin Le Charlier says:

    Moi aussi, je suis très heureux de me rendre compte que “tout va bien”. Mais la page d’accueil de sofa sound indique toujours : last update 7/1/2015 C’est ça qui faisait peur…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Peter for this latest ramble. You always personified a very personal approach to music to me, one where it was difficult for me to separate you from the music because you put so much of yourself into the music. This blog space is where you are separate from the music, and this space further proves how you live at a oblique angle to the regular music business, and it is a place that works for you and all of your musical collaborators, and fellow innovators. I don’t know what will happen to that space and your music if/when you ‘wind down’ your activities in it, but I trust that space and your music will find other supporters who will open it out in different ways..

  9. antónio rodrigues says:

    Excelent news! VDGG or Peter hammil solo, I accept both…

  10. Ilya Sverdlov says:

    Dear Peter! Every time I read any of your posts, or liner notes, I repeat to myself “oh, what a pleasure to be a fan of an articulate person” 🙂 I am sure you know your “ramblings”, as you self-deprecatingly call them, are as important to us as the music and the lyrics (again, VdGG always stood head and shoulders above the rest others thanks to the strength of your poetry; people can say musically there may be rivals – even though I’d disagree – but on the lyrics side, there’s clearly no competition). So please please give us a few now and then, we cherish every such little bit. “So here I am, though I might well be with me”…

  11. Andreas G says:

    we were getting worried 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    Glad you’re not dead!

    • rossjwarren says:

      Charming !

      • willy vlyminck says:

        Hi Peter,

        Speaking in the Name of several thousand People, we are happy that you broke the silence, as you can see on the reactions People were indeed worried.

        We all of course understand that you slow down, and make time for Family and other things.but People including are happy to hear from you even if there is not much to say in order of Releases and or concerts.

        The fact that you are in good health and in a writing mood makes us all happy, even when the harvest of your writing will reach us no earlier than in 2016.

        I think that the Timing is good certainly with a VDGG release considering the bands 50th anniversary in 2017.

        To fill the gap, you could release more solo recordings on iTunes and or bandcamp, if you don´t want to release them as cd´s. Usher and the Enigma recording years would be vey welcome,considering the Prices asked for mint Usher cd´s These days.

        Have a good start in the new week,

        and all the very best wishes,


        Gesendet von Windows Mail

        Von: Sofasound
        Gesendet: ‎Montag‎, ‎20‎. ‎Juli‎ ‎2015 ‎09‎:‎58
        An: Willy Vlyminck

        rossjwarren commented: “Charming !”

  13. Anonymous says:

    My interpretation of ‘Merlin Atmos’ was that it referred to the myth of Merlin the Wizard – so a VDGG gig typically full of musical wizardry and magic, casting a spell over the audience …

  14. Giovanni Arturo says:

    Ah, that: “It remains my belief, that whatever worth there is in what I do resides in the music” !

    I find it simply wonderful.
    Opus says it all.
    nothing to do with that celeb-like show-off you can find elsewhere.

    (having said that, news are always welcome, of course–)

  15. hugh manatee (jjs) says:

    Peter; even as you wind things down, please consider still making an occaissional posting even if just to let us know thaat all is well

  16. marinermike says:

    Surprised there is no mention of PH involvement with latest Tim Bowness album due out on July 17th

  17. hw says:

    ah, shame 🙂 it’s always been a good read and felt very unforced… i’ll miss reading..

  18. Robert Drower says:

    Good to hear all is well – and pleased you are planning for the future!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for those good news !
    With my admiration.


  20. Marc Roberts says:

    Thank you for this wholesome ramble…Merlin Atmos sounds great in the way that it is ‘mixed’…I think it sounds unique, ‘live’ of course and heavy.

  21. Ólafur Auðunsson says:

    Good news!!.Can´t wait for next cd´s VdGG or Solo.I really like last solo and Merlin Atmos is perfect (I was at the Amsterdam concert) Best wishes pH.

  22. peter says:

    so glad to hear from you Peter, and then things are in the pipeline.

  23. Willy vlyminck says:

    Good news all in all, thx😊

  24. (mr) leslie medford says:

    Just last week I was thinking “I haven’t heard from Sofa Sound for quite a while” and went on the site to check that I had not somehow missed a posting. I hadn’t…but I must say I remained just a bit concerned. Thus I am happy about receiving this. So pleased all is well and more alchemy is on the burner. You do mean an extra lot to us, pH.

  25. Simon Wenham says:

    You certainly deserve a rest.

    Good to know that there will be more new music to look forward to.

    Your recent albums have been excellent.

  26. myorama says:

    God bless you ,we are happy hearing from you.We always love you here in Greece hope one day you will be in Athens for a concert again

  27. The Womble says:

    Well said, Mr H. After the masterpiece of ATMHBeen you are due whatever repose you require. I still listen to that cine disc all the way through every few days and find it endlessly wonderful, from the deftly beautiful to the marvellously wayward.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy to get some good news from you on Sofa Sound, Peter !
    At last !

    Renato Schifano

  29. bayernmike says:

    Ooh nicely dropped in about new solo and VdGG stuff, can’t wait already. I’d be interested to know if there is any indication on Merlin Atmos as to which show the songs were recorded at. I haven’t got around to buying a physical edition yet, just the download. I think the vinyl will be going on my birthday list.

  30. that’s a relief!!

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