The Future Now

Artist: Peter Hammill
Label: Charisma
Catalog#: CA-1-2202
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1978
A1 Pushing Thirty 4:18
A2 The Second Hand 3:27
A3 Trappings 3:29
A4 The Mousetrap (Caught In) 4:04
A5 Energy Vampires 2:54
A6 If I Could 4:35
B1 The Future Now 4:11
B2 Still In The Dark 3:37
B3 Mediaevil 3:05
B4 A Motor-Bike In Afrika 3:09
B5 The Cut 4:20
B6 Palinurus (Castaway) 3:44

Engineer [Mixdown] - Pat Moran
Saxophone - David Jackson
Violin - Graham Smith


All songs by and produced by Peter Hammill

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Recorded just before the last days of VdG, The Future Now marks another beginning for their ex-lead singer. It's an idiosyncratic record, partly due to the lo-fi nature of the recording, and also in part to it being a Peter Hammill record: The Man Ray-influenced pose on the cover should signal that this wasn't going to be easy listening. And except for a few overdubs by some ex-VdGG musicians, the album is 100 percent Hammill. The opening track, "Pushing Thirty," is a throwback to Hammill's Rikki Nadir alter-ego; it's slightly acerbic, highly literate and full of attitude. Yet Hammill is much more than a wordsmith. The unconventional performance of both "Energy Vampires" and the title track tread similar lyrical ground, yet occupy different music spaces. Whether it's through his thick-toned guitar, ambling harmonium, multi-tracked vocals or some other fx'd instrument, there is a glorious indulgence of "sculpted noise" (and a tribute to the tape-recorder and razor blade as well). Undoubtedly, the technology wrought each track: "The Cut" and "A Motor Bike in Afrika" are from a similar dye, while "The Second Hand" blithely ticks away over its drum-machine pattern. But Hammill is in his element with as little accompaniment as possible. Whether forged on the guitar ("Trappings" and "If I Could"), the piano ("The Mousetrap (Caught In)" and "Still in the Dark") or just through his voice ("Mediaeval"), few artists can convey so much with so little. Stripping away the studio trickery, Hammill's delivery is both emotive and superlative, and also represents a good approximation of the power of his live performance. Hammill's next album, pH7, would tread similar ground; in fact, it's almost like a sister-set of recordings. But with little commercial success to show for his efforts, these would be his last records for Charisma Records.
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