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Hawkwind - Space Ritual  CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.20 | 284 ratings

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5 stars If there is one progressive titan that really encompasses the concept of being judgeable by its live concerts, there can only be one Hawkwind. While their studio albums can be often entertaining, I daresay even classic (the magnificent "Warrior on the Edge of Time", par exemple), even they take on a different attitude by those audiophiles who have seen them even only once in concert. I was fortunate to witness Lemmy's very last show, having been involved in drug problems with the narcs that night in Montreal. But what a show that was! A sonic assault, loud, hypnotic, visceral and visually absolutely cosmic (they were the very first laser show artist/pioneer (Liquid Len was the maestro of light and fire!) . I remember being unable to listen to anything at all for 3 days after the event, still dizzy from the galactic curve. The drums unrelenting pounding (2 drummers , everyone!), the synths swirling , the sax wailing crazily and leaden riffs courtesy of Hawkf├╝hrer Dave Brock, like a spacier Tommy Iommi, the bass hard and fast (Rickenbakers all the way through their career , regardless who the bassboy was at the time, the instrument remained the same) .Certainly one of the most memorable prog shows this veteran of 40 years has seen, it formulated my ears to listen to this loud and let myself close my eyes and tele-transport back to that vivid concert back in 1974 or so?I get sucked back to the magical space rock monolith I venerated way back when. This monumental recording is still considered by many, even within the less prog-more rock community to be up there with (EEK!) Frampton Comes Alive, Traffic's On the Road or Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East. The Hawkwind is an experience in galacto-schmaltz of the universal order, psychedelic poetry and simply effective and often devastating mind music.

This is a masterful example of freezing a moment in time, a group of weird musicians in a large room and playing for a crowd (you had to be a weird fan to like this non-mainstream stuff back in the early 70s but such were the times, deep exploration not just in space but in society's non-conformistic attitude then, looking at the future gaga (we got the Internet, the cell phone , the pods and the pads as well as a progressive genre still alive today?) . So what the scoop, you ask? It's the combination of all the following elements that make this such a cherished prize, beyond being iconic for yours truly in reviving the past . Lemmy's rumbling bass is the absolute highlight here, a defining player who certainly pushed the frontiers of the 4 string wonder, more nimble than Waters and meaner than Squire , yet still unjustly underappreciated in my opinion. The other superb artist is the irascible and outright genial Robert Calvert, a so-so singer but masterful lyricist and poet , as well as the oddball WW1 Sopwith Camel flying helmet on his troubled scalp , oily goggles agog and frumpy quasi-military garments. He has become one of my heroes, a lost soul like so many others (Syd Barrett, Peter Green, Kurt Cobain , Ian Curtis and Brian Wilson to name just a few) but creatively adamant at being rebellious and unforgiving. Also of note is that other orbiting wacko on sax and flute, Mr Nik Turner! He is no slouch in the oddity department! Fill that in with 2 synth players (Dik Mik and Del Dettmar) and have it all conducted by Captain Brock's wah-wah assault , well its at the very least a whole lot of pleasurable escapism! Hawkwind is the ultimate sci-fi progenerator and over 40 years of existence certainly makes the case for immortality.

There are some doozies here such as the menacing Born to Go, the apocalyptic Down Through the Night, the reptilian Lord of Light, the bizarre Orgone Accumulator, the loopy and swervy Upside Down. There are also some beastly howitzers like Brainstorm Time We Left and Masters of the Universe but truth is, this is a one piece of interstellar overdrive that will take you faraway into the deepest recesses of space. A live monument of the highest (oops!) order, you do not need drugs but cranking up the volume will benefit the celestial trip.

If you notice their discography, their live albums are mostly highly rated. I rest my case!

5 Astral navigations

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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