Thursday, March 30, 2017

Peter Hammill - 1986 - Skin

Peter Hammill 

01. Skin (4:18)
02. After the Show (4:20)
03. Painting by Numbers (4:01)
04. Shell (4:18)
05. All Said and Done (3:40)
06. A Perfect Date (4:11)
07. Four Pails (4:26)
08. Now Lover (9:47)

Total Time : 43:17

Bonus Tracks on 1986 Date Rec. CD:
09. You Hit Me Where I Live (Single) (4:27) *
10. Painting By Numbers (Extended version) (4:43)

* Also as bonus track on 1986 Enigma LP & 2007 remastered CD

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards (Yamaha DX7 synth), Emu drum machine, producer

- Stuart Gordon / violin, viola
- Hugh Banton / cello
- David Jackson / saxes
- Guy Evans / drums, percussion
- David Coulter / didgeridoo
- David Luckhurst / voice
- Paul Ridout / electronics

An essential addition to any PH collection. One of my favourites. Seven nice songs in the 3-4 min. range. "After the Show" (about the life loneliness of actors) and "Shell" (the mood of walking alone on the beach) are the best here. Very relaxed, very good lyrics, perfectly instrumented.
The highlight of this album and one of the highlights of PH overall is the epic "Now Lover". Now Lover has three parts. Part 1 gives a first sight into the topic which Peter is on to here. In the calm part 2 Peter sings with an undescribable soft, still strong, yearning and longing voice. David Jackson plays and mourns around Peter's voice with his saxes. Part 3 has the way of a hymn with thrilling rock rythms. Synthesizers and for the first time computermanipulations are extensively used. In the third part Peter's voice sounds powerful, passionate and in a deliberate way exhausted. One of the most impressing vocal parts of all his albums. The sound collage at the end of this song reminds to musical experiments of the German artist Kurt Schwitters.

"Now Lover"is still breathtaking, fresh, exciting and touching after 20 years. It is perfectly instrumented. Hugh Banton does one of his best jobs on the cello.

The topic of this song are certain modern theories of biology and neuro-psychology (Peter Hammill recurs oftenly to these sciences) stating that the human conciousness is always a split second behind the event. So that the conjecture is that all action takes place without or before the mind can control it. We only think we control.

"In the here and now.... Between sensation at the nerve-ends and arrival of information at the cortex time elapses. So, you see, each time we touch we did so in the past."

And the other topic is - sex! No other song I know by any artist comes close to these lines and these expression. A hymn to sex and emotion.

"Cracked, forgotten statues, we are strangled in the undergrowth; lying on the mattress of the magic and the wonderful, nothing really matters as we're sucked in by the undertow.... We are Motion, we are Feeling, we are Now!

Now come on, come on, lover, slicing through time in a perfect curve, due for a moment of energy... somehow we'll get what we most deserve in the here and now. Melt in the crucible, flesh and blood bodies consumed by the catalyst, surrender to nothing, welcome the flood of the here and now."

Just listen, play it loud, get sucked in, and - do it!

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