The Aerosol Grey Machine

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The Aerosol Grey Machine
Studio album by Van der Graaf Generator
Released September 1969
Recorded January 1969, 31 July – 1 August 1969 at Marquee and Trident Studios, London, England
Genre Progressive rock, psychedelic rock
Length 46:58
Label Mercury (USA), Fontana (Germany)
Producer John Anthony
Van der Graaf Generator chronology
The Aerosol Grey Machine
The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other

The Aerosol Grey Machine is the debut studio album by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was released in 1969 by record label Mercury.


The album was originally intended as a solo album by the band's lead singer and main songwriter, Peter Hammill. When the band signed with Charisma Records, a deal was worked out whereby The Aerosol Grey Machine would be released under the Van der Graaf Generator name, in return for Mercury Records releasing Hammill from his earlier contract with it.[1]


The Aerosol Grey Machine was released in September 1969 by record label Mercury. The initial edition contained the song "Giant Squid", later pressings removed this track and replaced it with the single b-side "Necromancer."

The album was reissued on CD in 1997 by the German company Repertoire Records, using the second ediiton running order of the album and featuring the first single as bonus tracks. Another 1997 release, by Peter Hammill's own UK record label FIE! Records, utilizes the original running order (taken from the original master tape) and adds the "Necromancer" b-side as a bonus track, along with a previously unreleased early version of "Ferret And Featherbird".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]

In his retrospective review, Steven McDonald of AllMusic called it "A raw, energetic effort that sometimes did little to show off the young Hammill's talents" that "nevertheless has some fine moments that hint at the possibilities for future releases."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Peter Hammill, except as indicated. 

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Afterwards"     4:55
2. "Orthenthian St., Pts. 1 & 2"     6:18
3. "Running Back"     6:35
4. "Into a Game"   Hammill, Hugh Banton, Keith Ellis, Guy Evans 6:57
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Aerosol Grey Machine"     0:47
2. "Black Smoke Yen"   Banton, Ellis, Evans 1:26
3. "Aquarian"     8:22
4. "Giant Squid (replaced with "Necromancer" on later pressings)"   Hammill, Banton, Ellis, Evans 3:20
5. "Octopus"     8:00


Additional personnel
  • Jeff Peach – flute


  1. ^ Christopulos, J.; Smart, P. (2005). Van der Graaf Generator – The Book. Phil and Jim. p. 59. ISBN 0-9551337-0-X. 
  2. ^ a b McDonald, Steven. "The Aerosol Grey Machine – Van der Graaf Generator | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 March 2015.