“I probably use the word harrowing too much. But if Pioneers over C isn’t harrowing, and epically so, then what the hell is? It’s about space travel apparently, the horrors inherent in messing with the space time continuum, astronauts who go too far, too fast, achieve absolute relativity, become creatures of limitless imagination but total non-physicality, ghosts in a word. This being the darker, harder, fiercer live take from 1978’s Vital, Van der Graaf Generator having truncated their name to merely Van der Graaf to mark the departure of founding member Hugh Banton. But the big voice remains, Peter Hammill (aka The Jesus of Angst) rending the very fabric of reality as he’s oft been known to do.” (Philip Random)
“Peter Hammill (aka the Jesus of Angst) is probably not a good choice for listening to while high on LSD. But we did it anyway any number of times. I remember Losing Faith in Words popping up once at exactly the right moment once, because words were indeed failing and I was trying to force the issue, which only ever makes things worse in the psychedelic realm, the reality barrier being revealed to be onion-like – peeling away in fractal layers. Stop it, counseled the song! You can’t win at this. And then some ambient Brian Eno got put on and I focused on my breathing.” (Philip Random)
Peter Hammill (aka The Jesus of angst) actually has fun here in a track from his first solo album Pawn Hearts. Dating back to 1971 (the same year that Hammill’s band Van der Graaf Generator called it quits for a while, though they would return to further trouble our dreams), Philip Random wouldn’t actually hear Imperial Zeppelin until at least 1979 at which point it quickly became a key part of the soundtrack to his short, albeit rich “tea drinking period”.