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Hawkwind - California Brainstorm CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.28 | 29 ratings

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2 stars You can't go wrong with a Hawkwind Live one. It usually comes with the guarantee of a solid setlist and an inspired performance. This California Brainstorm is from the short period when Bridget Wishhart fronted Hawkwind, meaning that the official live album Palace Spring released in 1991 is an obvious point of reference.

Compared to Palace Springs, this one is for completists. First of all there's the recording quality. All instruments are clearly audible but the frequency range is very limited. There's no power in the lower end and the high end is dull. Actually it sounds as if you would rip Palace Springs to a 96kbps mp3. Meaning thin and flat.

The setlist is quite interesting, featuring some old classic and rare live gems such as Ejection, Brainstorm and Reefer Madness (sung by Bridget). But none of these versions are a compulsory listen. The band plays tightly but the rearrangements are generally disappointing. Ejection lacks its original upbeat drive, Brainstorm is reduced to 3 minutes and extended with a reggae improvisation that also ended up on Palace Springs. Reefer Madness is better then its studio version but that wasn't hard to achieve given the lifeless original.

Void's End is better avoided. It's just an improvisation on the instrumental middle part. Nothing like the superb version on Palace Springs. The more recent material is adequate but doesn't deviate too much from the studio originals. Definitely a fan's item.

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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