CASCD 1131 The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome
Produced by Peter Hammill
Released on September 1977
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
CASCD 1131 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

V an Der Graaf dropped the Generator, picked up a violinist (Graham Smith) and released the sere and sinewy concept album The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome. In all embarrassing honesty, I picked this up because I thought it was one of the those 2-LPs-on-1-CD deals. Nope. Just a double concept album divided into two halves. Two halves with not a whole lot of meat in the middle either. Initially, I listened to this disc in my car and thought I had blown one of the channels. Then I listened to it on my laptop and concluded that I wouldn’t be listening to any music on my laptop again. Finally, at home, I played this on the faithful ADS speakers (older than some of you readers) and realized that it was just a remarkably dry affair: scratchy acoustic guitar, violin, clipped percussion on a closed hi-hat and Nic Potter’s predominantly flat bass lines. An arid desert of an album, with an oasis in “The Sphinx in the Face.” Hammill’s conversational tone reminds me of David Bowie on “Sweet Thing” (I’ll make you a deal, like any other kind of deal...). A concept is apparently at work, though I can only give you the first two pieces of the puzzle. The first song, “Lizard Play,” is an interesting narrative of a vulnerable man meeting an exotic woman and asking her to dance. The second song, “The Habit of a Broken Heart,” is about a man telling a wounded woman she's beautiful. Then I get bored and stop paying attention. Happens every time. I have to believe this is one of the last Graafs you should go after, not because it isn’t intelligent (it is) but because intellect is all it has to offer. The earlier “Man-Erg” roared like a lion; ZoneDome gnaws at you like a persistent mouse. If you’re intent on caging it anyway, a remastered 2005 edition (with extra tracks) may add some much-needed color to this sepia song cycle.

CASCD 1131 back cover
CASCD 1131 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. LIZARD PLAY
  2. THE HABIT OF THE BROKEN HEART
  3. THE SIREN SONG
  4. LAST FRAME
  5. THE WAVE
  6. CAT'S EYE/YELLOW FEVER (RUNNING)    (Graham Smith/Peter Hammill)
  7. THE SPHINX IN THE FACE
  8. CHEMICAL WORLD
  9. THE SPHINX RETURNS

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. DOOR
  11. SHIP OF FOOLS
  12. THE WAVE (EARLY INSTRUMENTAL DEMO VERSION)

    All songs written by Peter Hammill unless noted

CREDITS

GUY EVANS -- drums
PETER HAMMILL -- vocals, guitar, piano
NIC POTTER -- bass
GRAHAM SMITH -- violin

return to VAN DER GRAAF discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK September 1977 Charisma LP CAS 1131 lyric insert
CAN 1977 Charisma LP 9211 1131  
FRA 1977 Charisma LP 9103 120 gatefold cover
GER/NET 1977 Charisma LP 9214 014 gatefold cover
UK   Charisma CD CASCD 1131  
UK 2005 EMI CDX CASCDR 1131 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2005 Charisma CDX VJCP-68764 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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