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Isildurs Bane / Peter Hammill: In Disequilibrium (Ataraxia)

The second collaboration between the Swedish chamber rock band Isildurs Bane led by keyboardist and composer Mats Johansson and lyricist, vocalist and guitarist Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator) presents two new multi-part suites with lyrics by Hammill--"In Disequilibrium" and "Gently (Step by Step)"--detailed, astute and powerful works of sophisticated progressive rock.

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product information:

Includes 12 page color booklet with lyrics and credits

UPC: 7320470228142

Label: Ataraxia
Catalog ID: CD-ATX-7
Squidco Product Code: 31096

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: E.U.
Packaging: Digipack w/ booklet


Peter Hammill-vocals, guitar

Isildurs Bane-Ensemble

Katrine Amsler-keyboards, sound design

Klas Assarsson-Marimba, Tam tam, percussion

Luca Calabrese-trumpet

Axel Crone-bass, woodwinds

Samuel Hallkvist-electric guitar

Mats Johansson-keyboards

Liesbeth Lambrecht-viola, violin

Jan Severinsson-live sound

Kjell Severinsson-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill (born 5 November 1948) is an English singer-songwriter. He is a founding member of the progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. Best known as a singer, he also plays guitar and piano. He also acts as a record producer for his own recordings and occasionally for other artists. In 2012, he was recognised with the Visionary award at the first Progressive Music Awards.

Early life

Peter Hammill was born in Ealing, west London, and moved with his family to Derby when he was 12. He attended Beaumont College, Old Windsor, and Manchester University, where he studied Liberal Studies in Science.

Early career

Hammill's solo career has coexisted with Van der Graaf Generator's activities. The band was offered a contract by Mercury Records in 1968, that only Hammill signed. When Van der Graaf Generator broke up in 1969 he wanted to record his first solo album. In the summer of 1969 Hammill had a residency at The Lyceum and played weekly solo concerts there. Eventually the intended solo album was released under the Van der Graaf Generator banner as their first album (The Aerosol Grey Machine). Hammill's first real solo album was Fool's Mate (1971), containing songs from the early (1967/68) Van der Graaf Generator days.

Van der Graaf Generator and after

When Van der Graaf Generator broke up again in August 1972, Hammill resumed his solo career. Songs that were intended for Van der Graaf Generator now ended up on his solo albums, notably "Black Room" (on Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night) and "A Louse Is Not a Home" (on The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage). For the majority of both his solo songs and the band's songs he is credited as the sole songwriter, and some of his solo albums feature all the members of Van der Graaf Generator. In general, Hammill's solo work is thematically concerned with more personal matters, while the band's songs deal with broader themes.

Nadir's Big Chance (1975) was a major change from the preceding In Camera. Whilst In Camera is characterised by extremely intense and complex songs and even has some musique concrète on it, Nadir's Big Chance contains anticipations of punk rock. In a 1977 radio interview, John Lydon of the Sex Pistols played two tracks from the album and expressed his admiration for Hammill in glowing terms: "Peter Hammill's great. A true original. I've just liked him for years. If you listen to him, his solo albums, I'm damn sure Bowie copied a lot out of that geezer. The credit he deserves, just has not been given to him. I love all his stuff".

Over (1977) contains very personal songs about the break-up of a long-term relationship.

Hammill's first solo-album after the 1978 break-up of Van der Graaf was The Future Now. With the next albums, pH7 and A Black Box, the sound became more compact, more new wave. On those albums, Hammill played the drums himself. What followed was the "K group". In later years Hammill would sometimes refer to the band as a "beat group". The K group consisted of Hammill himself on guitars and piano, with John Ellis on lead guitar, Nic Potter on bass, and Guy Evans on drums and percussion. This group recorded the albums Enter K and Patience.Live performances

Live concerts by Peter Hammill are characterised by a degree of unpredictability, in terms of the songs played, the arrangements and the players involved. Hammill generally does not undertake live-tours to promote albums. Whenever he plays with a certain predominant line-up, almost always there will also be concerts interspersed with different permutations of musicians, so the word "tour" is not always very applicable.

From September 1981 until September 1985 Hammill played with the K group, playing raw, energetic, new-wave rock. A live recording of a number of these concerts was released as The Margin. In March and April 1983, Hammill with John Ellis was the support act for Marillion on their UK tour in support of their debut album Script for a Jester's Tear.

From February until October 1990 he played with Nic Potter on bass and Stuart Gordon on violin. A live recording of these shows was released as Room Temperature. From April 1993 until August 1996 he played with Nic Potter on bass, Stuart Gordon on violin and Manny Elias on drums. A live recording of these shows was released as There Goes The Daylight. From October 1994 until August 1996 Hammill played with David Jackson on flutes and saxophones, Stuart Gordon on violin and Manny Elias on drums (this line-up is sometimes informally referred to as the Peter Hammill Quartet).

From January 1998 until November 2006 Hammill played with just Stuart Gordon on violin. Of these shows the live recording Veracious was released.

From 1969 on, Hammill has also performed solo concerts, with just guitar and keyboards.Fie! RecordsHammill's early records, like the Van der Graaf Generator albums, were released on Charisma Records. He parted company with them after pH7 (1979), and then released albums on a number of small labels. A Black Box came out on S-Type, a label run by Hammill and his manager Gail Colson. Enter K and Patience appeared on Naive, Skin and The Margin on Foundry and In A Foreign Town, Out of Water and Room Temperature on Enigma Records. In 1992 he formed his own label, Fie! Records, on which all his albums since Fireships have been released. The label's logo is the Greek letter phi (Φ), a pun on PH-I. Ever since the 1970s he has also had his own home recording studio, called Sofa Sound. His website was later named after the studio.

Later years

In 1991, Hammill released the long-awaited opera The Fall of the House of Usher. He had written the music and Van der Graaf Generator co-founder Judge Smith the libretto, and the two of them had been working on it since 1973. In 1999 he released a reworked version, The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Deconstructed & Rebuilt).

Hammill survived a heart attack in December 2003, less than 48 hours after having finished the recording of Incoherence. He was awarded the Italian 'Tenco Prize' for songwriting at the end of 2004.

In 2005, Hammill announced the reformation of Van der Graaf Generator. In 2004 they had recorded a new album, Present, which was released in April 2005, and from May until November 2005 played a series of well received concerts.

Between 2005 and 2007 Hammill oversaw the remastering of almost all of his pre-Fie releases, and also carried out similar work on his more recent catalogue. The last of the Charisma remasters was released in September 2007.

Hammill's solo career did not end because of the Van der Graaf Generator reunion. He released an album Singularity in December 2006. It was the first solo album he completed after his heart attack, and for a large part it deals with matters of life and (sudden) death.

In 2007 several gigs by Van der Graaf Generator as a trio (minus David Jackson) took place in Britain and Europe; their new album Trisector was released in March 2008.

In the summer and autumn of 2008, Hammill did a tour of solo dates in the U.S. and Canada which included a performance at the legendary progressive rock festival NEARfest. He also played his only ever professional "parlour gig" at a private residence in Holland, MI.

In the summer of 2009 Van der Graaf Generator toured the U.S. and Canada, which occasioned Hammill's triumphant return to NEARfest. Thin Air was released on 8 June 2009. This was followed in October 2011 by a live double CD Pno, Gtr, Vox, recorded at performances in Japan and the UK in 2010. An extended 7-CD box set, Pno, Gtr, Vox Box was released in a limited edition of 2000 in February 2012.

Consequences, a solo studio album was released in May 2012. Again Hammill played all the instruments. The lyrics deal with conflicted characters in various scenarios.

Other World, a collaborative album with guitarist Gary Lucas, was released in February 2014. The album features Hammill's vocals, Hammill and Lucas on guitars, and Hammill's sound treatments, and is a mixture of conventional songs with extended avant-garde instrumentals.

Hammill's latest album From the Trees was released 3 November 2017.Music

Musically, Hammill's work ranges from short simple riff-based songs to highly complex lengthy pieces. Mainly because of the diversity of his compositions, his refusal to make anything resembling middle-of-the-road music, and the general absence of any smooth or glamorous sounds in his music, there is much debate amongst his admirers whether Hammill is to be considered a part of the so-called progressive rock scene. In many interviews, however, Hammill has stated that he does not want to be put in the progressive rock music label, or any music label at all. Despite this, he has received official recognition as a visionary artist from the progressive music world.

Hammill's output is prolific. Many different styles of music appear in his work, among them artful complexity (for instance Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night), avant garde electronic experiments (Loops and Reels, Unsung), opera (The Fall of the House of Usher), solo keyboard accompaniment (And Close As This), solo guitar accompaniment (Clutch), improvisation (Spur of the Moment), film music (Sonix), band recordings (Enter K), and slow, melancholic balladry (None of the Above).Voice

Hammill's voice is a very distinctive element of his music. He sings in an emotional, often even dramatic way. As a former Jesuit chorister, his delivery is usually Received Pronunciation British English - notable exceptions are his Afrikaner accent on "A Motor-bike in Afrika" and his Cockney accent on "Polaroid" - and ranges in tone from peacefully celestial to screaming rants (which are nevertheless highly controlled). Singing in registers from baritone to high falsetto, he growls, croons, shrieks and shouts in ways that have drawn comparison with the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix.Lyrics

Hammill's lyrics are another distinctive feature of his work. He has visited a number of recurring themes including love and human relationships, ageing and death, human folly, self-awareness and introspection, politics, and religion. His lyrics often include scientific, literary or historical references. For example, the Norse names mentioned in the song "Viking" on Fool's Mate (co-written with Judge Smith) are characters in the Icelandic Saga of Eric the Red.

The science fiction themes of Van der Graaf Generator's lyrics are mostly absent in his later work, but there still are many science references, especially to physics (for instance in the song "Patient"). In 1974 Hammill published a book, Killers, Angels, Refugees (Charisma Books, London), a collection of lyrics, poems and short stories. This was later reissued by Hammill himself (Sofa Sound, Bath) and was followed by a sequel Mirrors, Dreams, Miracles (1982).

Hammill is fluent in Italian. He has been married since 1978 to Hilary, who is credited with taking the picture for the cover of In a Foreign Town. They have three children, Holly, Beatrice and Phoebe. Holly and Beatrice Hammill sing soprano vox on one track of Everyone You Hold and on two tracks of None of the Above. Holly Hammill wrote the song "Eyebrows" (on Unsung) and co-wrote "Personality" (on Everyone You Hold)."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"The band's early works were initially set in the vein of Camel-like progressive and symphonic rock, accompanied by a smooth transition to jazz rock and electric and acoustic elements combined with Swedish vocals. Four founding members, from the formation of 1976, aged between 15 and 19, come from the Amsaga group. The name of the group, Isildurs Bane, is one of the names of the "precious" in Swedish and English in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

The first major change in formation took place with the publication of Cheval-Volonté de Rocher in 1989. Keyboardist Mats Johansson returned to the group, which now composed largely instrumental pieces, recorded in collaboration with an orchestra, drawing inspiration from classic and contemporary. On the following albums, this style is refined.

In 1997, the MIND project takes shape, and includes five albums of the group (five parts). This is an abbreviation for Music Investigating New Dimensions, and albums under this title vary widely: MIND Vol. 1 is a chamber music studio album, while the second album in the series, MIND Vol. 2, is characterized by live tracks recorded with a large symphony orchestra, for a total duration of 155 minutes. The third component focuses on free improvisation. MIND Vol. 4: Pass features art pop songs in the tradition of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush alternating with soundpainting interludes.

In 2005, MIND Vol. 5 - The Observatory is released in DVD format containing a complete performance of the fourth installment, merging with seamlessly integrated earlier tracks. Guest vocalist and guitarist Mariette Hansson wrote four intro and bonus tracks, orchestrated by Mats Johansson and later released on the Songs from the Observatory EP.

In 2017, they released a new album titled Off the Radar on the Ataraxia1 label. A second album called Colours Not Found In Nature was released with Steve Hogarth on vocals.

In January 2018, they were announced for the Night of the Prog Festival with Big Big Train and Steve Hogarth2. They play there in May3.

In 2019, Isildurs Bane joined forces with Peter Hammill on vocals and released the album In Amazonia, which was very well received by critics."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Luca Calabrese is a musician, researcher, composer, experimenter. In recent years, he has worked diligently on the sound of ambience.

Over the years his vision of music has gradually moved away from traditional and academic classical stereotypes, embracing a minimalist and strongly intimate vision.

The productions created letting themselves be inspired by the places, tell stories, blend with the spaces, taking on cold colors or warm shades in relation to the surrounding environment.

For over 30 years on international stages from Chicago to Mexico, from Canada to Japan, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Sweden. The musical research has become more and more personal, the influences of the places have contributed to create a contemporary language, the acoustic instrument, the trumpet and the electronic and electroacoustic sounds become real multimedia and multisensory sound installations."

-Luca Calabrese Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. In Disequilibrium, part 1 6:49

2. In Disequilibrium, part 2 9:32

3. In Disequilibrium, part 3 8:36

4. Gently (Step by Step), part 1 2:20

5. Gently (Step by Step), part 2 6:28

6. Gently (Step by Step), part 3 2:13

7. Gently (Step by Step), part 4 8:23
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary music. Sweden's leading chamber rock ensemble, Isildurs Bane, and the legendary Van Der Graaf Generator vocalist and composer, Peter Hammill, has joined forces once again and have risen to that challenge.

In Disequilibrium consists of two contrasting suites that flow with surging melodic themes, sinuous guitar, intricate arrangements for mallet instruments, graceful woodwind, sumptuous orchestral detailing, organic textures, and bracing rhythmic counterpoints. In fact, everything you would expect from one of the leading Scandinavian progressive rock chamber ensembles that effortlessly mixes tightly composed pieces with supple, free-ranging virtuosity."-Isildurs Bane

"Peter Hammill does not slow down. The Van der Graaf Generator leader, prog savant, and sorely underrated songwriter has never truly taken a moment to rest on his well-deserved laurels. It's almost as if he views the thought of stopping as death: whether through Van der Graaf, his own work, or, in more recent years, collaborations with adjacent prog bands, decidedly few years since 1969 have seen the man inactive.

His latest, alongside Swedish prog stalwarts Isildurs Bane, is one of the grander statements he's expressed in years. Who better, after all, to delve into the collective fear and misery of the COVID era than a man who's been exploring paranoia and emotional isolation for more than half a century?

For those that haven't followed either act, this is not the first time the two parties have linked up: 2019 saw them gather for In Amazonia, yet, that project feels almost playful in comparison to their second offering. Any sense of laid back collaboration has been abandoned for consciously grand stakes on In Disequilibrium.

Spread across two massive, disparate, and ultimately stately suites, the recording for this mammoth creation took over a year, with the artists clocking in for 14 months. Where In Amazonia, at times, could give the sense of Hammill simply waxing poetic over what Bane laid down as they assembled the album piece by piece, here every step of the way feels carefully melded, an intensive, true collaboration in every sense of the word, even in spite of the necessitated separation of the players. [...]"-Chase McMullen, Beats Per Minute

Includes 12 page color booklet with lyrics and credits

Get additional information at Beats Per Minute
Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
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