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Other World by Peter Hammill and Gary Lucas

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Peter Hammill's reputation as a solo artist of several decades and as a founder of the legendaty band Van der Graaf Generator makes him a renowned figure in the progressive music field.

While Gary Lucas has worked with such noted musicians as Don van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and Jeff Buckley.

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PETER HAMMILL & GARY LUCAS Other Worlds (CD on Esoteric Antenna)

This release from 2014 features 60 minutes of ethereal progressive rock music.

Diverse instrumentation is employed here to produce a selection of tuneage that is equally variegated—from folk ballads to progrock to moody instrumental pieces.

The guitars appear in a wide range of styles, from lazily strummed acoustic to twinkling nimble-fingered electric to spooky effects to wobbly treated guitar vibrations to wicked sustains. Often the combination of delicately conventional and growling otherworldly styles produces remarkably riveting sonic experiences, hypnotic and strongly attractive. Frequently, complex chords coexist with cosmic tonalities, creating a venue that merges nature and magic into a realm that seethes with vitality.

A host of electronics lurk in the mix, seasoning the songs with spectral demeanors just as much as contributing overt threads of weirdness. In many instances what one identifies as electronics are in fact inventive treatments of the guitar, warping the strings into sounds that delightfully defy codification.

The utter absence of any drums or percussives is hardly noticeable as the music's presence is so lush, gripping and demonstrative.

Hammill's vocals are as rich and puissant as ever. His voice ranks as one of the most significant in modern music, and it is at its prime here, delivering haunting vocals with a masterful resonance. The lyrics examine aspects of being human in the modern world where life often seems quite alienating.

These compositions run the gamut from relaxed ballads to fevered rock eruptions. There are numerous passages characterized by instrumental diversions, each tailored to evoke an eerie emotional response in the audience. Meanwhile, the tunes themselves feature memorable melodies executed in stylish and vibrant performances. A distinct sense of tenderness is present in these songs; even when things are diving into the deep waters of extreme weirdness, the general temperament remains one of atmospheric gentility.

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