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Space Ritual - 2001 A Space Rock Odyssey CD (album) cover


Space Ritual


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.00 | 1 ratings

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2 stars A bootleg quality audience recording of interest to fans because it documents the first two performances by the band that would later come to be known as Space Ritual. Aside from track 8 ('Children Of The Sun') which is a bonus of undisclosed origin, the first 10 tracks are taken from the band's second gig, while the remainder are from the very first show in Birkenhead. The band for these shows was a loose collection of Hawkheads, including Huw Lloyd-Langton who would later cross back to the Brock side of the fence.

Extended jams form the musical backbone, sometimes exhibiting a lack of rehearsal or clarity of purpose. Sound quality of the Ystalyfera tracks is very poor - muddy, with indistinct elements [especially Turner's vocals] and an intensely intrusive audience. At first you wonder if Huwie's guitar is actually plugged in, but he joins the party later on! If you like your music to be hi-fidelity then stay well clear, but there is much to admire in what we can hear of the actual performances. Most tracks start loose and chaotic ['Brainstorm'], and somewhat hit [Langton's 'Waiting For Tomorrow' works well] and miss ['Master Of The Universe' is a mess], but the chaps generally seem to be on good form once they get into their stride - majesty and mayhem in equal proportions!

The remaining four songs represents the band's debut [introduced as 'The Original Hawkwind Reunion Band'!]. Recording quality is much better, at least to start with - good balance, clarity and separation though stereo spread is non-existent! 'Sonic Attack' is a lengthy jam-based rockist version with a loping bass riff, quite different from their usual approach. 'Odyssey Improvisation' is less successful, a sprawling mess with Turner squawking and Langton repeating some underwhelming 'lyrics'. The mix has all gone awry for 'Brainstorm' with Huw's backing vocal being far too loud and the rest descending into mush. Ten Seconds Of Forever' [all thirteen minutes of it!] closes things down in fine style with the band chugging away behind Nik's flute and vocal.

Overall, something of a choppy ride, but often an interesting one and never dull! There is enough here to interest the committed fan, if only to hear completely different interpretations of the songs, and to appreciate how much tighter they have become. For the merely curious, the Venusian Ballroom album is the one to go for.

Joolz | 2/5 |


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