Back in 1988 the Pawn Hearts Society put together two sets of tapes -
"Fragments Out Of Time" and "In Still Life". Between them there are live
recordings of over 130 songs, at least one version of almost every song that
Hammill or Van der Graaf Generator ever played live between 1970 and 1986. In
total, there were twelve tapes, roughly 18 hours of music. Only one song was
duplicated on the eight Fragments tapes; In Still Life had alternate versions
together with a few songs that were missed off Fragments due to lack of space.
(A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers was deliberatly left off the tapes as the only
version that exists is the well known TV performance.)
The performances are arranged chronologically, as much as possible by grouping
of period of performance. Songs that were rarely performed tend to show up in
the period in which they first appeared on vinyl. As you would expect the sound
quality varies, I would grade most of the tracks as B/B+ with some slightly
better, and some - mainly the early Hammill solo performances - generally not
quite as good: their main deficiency being some slight tape hiss.
I received a cd-r copy of these tapes (#95/100) a few years ago. I have removed
tracks that have been officially released on The Box and Margin+ and slightly
re-ordered the running order to maintain the period chronology once the tracks
were on 80 minute discs instead of 90 minute tapes. Where space permitted I've
added additional tracks from the appropriate period. Some of these are
alternative versions but others are ones that were simply not included on the
original tapes: these were identified in a review in the Pilgrims fanzine -
having read the article I went out of my way to trade for copies of the shows
where the missing songs were performed. I have not replaced any tracks with
newer versions of the same show (e.g., the Basel 72 tracks are the ones I
originally received rather than the calayx1 remaster).
There were some speed problems on the discs when I received them, which I
attempted to correct through a combination of listening and comparing the
running times listed on the tape artwork, although the latter couldn't always
be relied upon. The first 12 volumes were torrented on STG in late 2003/early
2004 by someone who received an audio copy of the discs from me. This flushed
out a few more speed problems which I have - hopefully -fixed. For this version
I have made a few more corrections, using other versions of songs as a
In all there will be sixteen discs to this set - the first ten cover the
Fragments tapes and the remaining six In Still Life
Artwork, including the original tape inserts, is included. The
tape artwork includes comments as well as the original track listing.
**January 2010 re-seed. Tape inserts and CD covers are now included.
All files are untouched as above and as I received them, however, TLH reports
sector boundary error on track 13-04 (Boat Of A Milion Years) despite passing
md5 checksum. For this reason I have left the file as is.**
Thanks go to all the tapers over the years, the pawn hearts society, the original
seeder and anyone else involved in producing or upgrading this set.