None of the Above (album)

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None of the Above is an album by Peter Hammill, released on his Fie! label in 2000. The genre of None of the Above is not located in progressive rock music like Peter Hammill's band Van der Graaf Generator and some of his earlier solo albums, but can be described best with singer/songwriter. Along with This (1998) and What, now? (2001) None of the Above belongs to a set of three albums Peter Hammill recorded around the millennium and of which it is the most accessible albeit the most conventional in terms of composition and instrumentation.

Production and instrumentation

Peter Hammill recorded None of the Above in his home studio ("Sofa Sound") between January 1999 and February 2000, playing, producing and arranging nearly all instruments and singing nearly all voices. Some minor contributions were made by Stuart Gordon (violin, viola) on three tracks and Manny Elias (drums, percussion) on one track. Peter Hammill's daughters Holly and Beatrice Hammill sing backing soprano voices on two tracks. The carefully arranged instrumentation is dominated by guitars (more as a "colour-wash", as Peter Hammill wrote in his newsletter), keyboards and some strings.

The long recording time is due to Peter Hammill's parallel work on a remastered 4-CD compilation of Van der Graaf Generator called The Box.


The title of the album refers, as a typical Peter Hammill play on words, to the English phrase None of the above meaning none of the choices on a form are appropriate. The expression can be seen here as a metaphor for "people in earthy and/or earthly circumstances", [1] i.e. as the opposite to heavenly conditions.

Mood and style

The mood of the album is calm and melancholic. A typical song is "Naming the rose", a chamber music-like arrangement for lead vocals, keyboards (in hammond organ sound), violas and background choirs. It is about a gardener who names his last creation - a damask rose - after his wife who died on the very day the best blossom opened. The rose-grower fertilizes the seeds of the variety with the ashes of his wife. Thus the couple that had no children both live on in the new rose.

Like "Naming the Rose" the first seven tracks all have the same topic. People coming to an end of a phase in their life - in very different circumstances. But the eighth song ("Astart") says: every end can be a new start. In his newsletter from April, 2000[1], Peter Hammill comments:

This song doesn't hold out the possibility of changing one's past or even one's present; but it does propose that one should embrace both and go forward in expectation....


The cover shows a serious looking Peter Hammill photographed by Dinu and the back cover - again referencing the title of the album - a section of the star sprangled sky.

Paul Rideout again designed the booklet. Each double page shows a washed-out photo presenting a stair or ladder ending into nowhere or against a bricked entrance or upon a empty floor with black garbage bags laying around. Only the last double page for the song "Astart" shows busy people on an elevator rolling into some kind of shop scene. -


Music press didn't take much notice of None of the Above. In Simon Cantlon gave 3 out of 5 stars for "poignant musical snapshots" and "atmosphere" but found "points on this release when things become a bit too monotonous"[2]. With 3 out of 5 stars the same rating is given on the fan site Progarchives.

Track listing

All songs written by Peter Hammill.

  1. "Touch and Go" – 4:05
  2. "Naming the Rose" – 5:16
  3. "How Far I Fell" – 5:55
  4. "Somebody Bad Enough" – 4:03
  5. "Tango for One" – 6:43
  6. "Like Veronica" – 5:54
  7. "In a Bottle" – 8:01
  8. "Astart" – 4:17


All tracks are played and sung by Peter Hammill with the following contributions:

  • Stuart Gordon – violin, viola (2, 5, 8)
  • Manny Elias – drums, percussion (6)
  • Holly Hammill – vocals (2, 8)
  • Beatrice Hammill – vocals (2,8)


  1. ^ a b "Sofa Sound Newsletter 18/April 2000". Retrieved July 10. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Cantlon, Simon. "None of the Above - Review". All Music Guide. Retrieved July 10. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help)

External links