A recipe for Van Der Graaf Generator's "Pawn Hearts": Prog Review #26

A recipe for Van Der Graaf Generator's "Pawn Hearts": Prog Review #26

This cover is a fitting visual representation of the beautiful confusion of the finished product.

This cover is a fitting visual representation of the beautiful confusion of the finished product.

Van Der Graaf Generator's Pawn Hearts is a peculiar dish - at once overly familiar and an acquired taste. Full of familiar and tired prog ingredients thrown together in a stew, Pawn Hearts retains a distinct, if somewhat confused, character. But if you've grown tired of the same old Close to the Edges and Courts of the Crimson King, Pawn Hearts can be a nice way to spice up your menu. Beware, as this is a difficult recipe, and poor execution can result in a bland, overcooked mess.

To make Pawn Hearts, you'll need the following ingredients:

Begin by laying down a thick crust of keyboards, organ, and drums. Next, spread a mostly even layer of 1 KC sax. Fold in the vocals, making sure to leave large gaps for instrumentals and atmospheric effects in the transitions. Sprinkle the second KC sax with a heavy hand in isolated pockets. Flavour with melody and improvisation, making sure to balance unevenly in favour of the latter.

Yes, divide into one side-length portion and two half-sides. Flip once.

Arrange components of the dish so that each portion's sweet and mild elements sit jarringly between the sharper and more baffling ones.

Done right, the "Lemmings" begin bitter, bland, and chaotic, but serve as a fine appetizer for the "Man-Erg", a sweet, robust dish with a much more appealing harmony of flavours and texture. Toward the centre of the second portion, sudden pops of sour taste emerge. These should pass quickly. Deeper flavour will soon emerge. Savour as the three distinct "Man-Erg" flavours merge into a lovely finish. Share leisurely with "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers," a complicated and brooding bunch. Renowned storytellers, it's their cadence most of all that makes them so attractive. The passion, intensity, and conviction in their tone more than compensates for the nonsense they spout. Beware as these melancholic mariners can grow increasingly moody and incoherent. Never quite unmanageable, they always find ways to sober up and conclude their tales with resonant poignancy.

Serve in lilting rhythms with a small side of crunchy guitar.

Bon Appetit!

Bon Appetit!

Rolling Stone Rankings                       

  1. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

  2. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

  3. Rush - Moving Pictures

  4. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

  5. Yes – Close to the Edge

  6. Genesis - Selling England by the Pound

  7. Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick

  8. Can - Future Days

  9. Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

  10. Yes - Fragile

  11. Rush - Hemispheres

  12. ELP - Brain Salad Surgery

  13. Pink Floyd - Animals

  14. Genesis - Foxtrot

  15. King Crimson - Red

  16. Gentle Giant - Octopus

  17. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

  18. Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All

  19. Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per Un Amico

  20. King Crimson - Larks’ Tongue in Aspic

  21. Camel - Mirage

  22. Rush - 2112

  23. Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

  24. Magma - Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh

  25. The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium

  26. Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts

ASK Rankings

  1. Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

  2. Genesis - Foxtrot

  3. Camel - Mirage

  4. Yes – Close to the Edge

  5. King Crimson - Red

  6. Gentle Giant - Octopus

  7. Genesis - Selling England by the Pound

  8. Rush - 2112

  9. Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick

  10. ELP - Brain Salad Surgery

  11. Rush - Moving Pictures

  12. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

  13. The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium

  14. Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per Un Amico

  15. King Crimson - Larks’ Tongue in Aspic

  16. Pink Floyd - Animals

  17. Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All

  18. Yes - Fragile

  19. Rush - Hemispheres

  20. Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

  21. Magma - Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh

  22. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

  23. Can - Future Days

  24. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

  25. Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts

  26. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

Reinvestigating Supertramp's "Crime of the Century": Prog Review #27

Reinvestigating Supertramp's "Crime of the Century": Prog Review #27

Bugging Out to The Mars Volta's "Deloused in the Comatorium": Prog Review #25

Bugging Out to The Mars Volta's "Deloused in the Comatorium": Prog Review #25