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Hawkwind - Space Ritual  CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.20 | 284 ratings

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4 stars The flagship album from the Hawkwind early period, Space Ritual. Infact a lot about Hawkwind can be summed up by this album. Prog in the loosest sense, each musician appears to have a basic grasp of their instrument, Simon King knows about 2 drum rythms, but both are pounding and give the songs a sense of urgency not always seen in other bands. Lemmy plays Bassin an original style, infact its like he's actually 2nd guitarist to Brock, playing all over the instrument, strumming etc, and all sorts of non- orthodox ideas. Dave Brock himself is a good rhythm player, but his solos are all predictable basic pentotonic affairs with excessive use of the wah pedal, and sometimes he is patched into a VC3 synthesiser (Orgone Accumulator solo) for extra spaceyness. Nick Turner is badly served by this album. His saxophone is undermixed, over echoed, and makes him come across as a musical retard, which is a shame, as studio cuts prove otherwise. He also plays the Flute, though this isn't apparent with this recording. Dik Mik and Del Detmarprovide electronics. Del opting for an expensive VC3 synth which provides all sorts of fun and games. Dik Mik... well... has a box with a knob on it that whistles, and is thankfully mixed out most of the time. He also provided backing vocals, although this also is mixed out the album. One wonders whose 'mate' he was to actually remain in hawkwind for so long!

The songs themselves are a good mix of heady grunge, driving avante-metal, and space poetry. Many of the songs benifit from obvious vocal overdubs, although with the poems this seems a little pointless (listen to 10 Seconds of Forever with the volume right up, and you can hear the original spoken line "For ever..." repeated after the new take has finished... oh well). These songs indeed have a little charm about them, like the original Doctor Who episodes or similar. YOu had to imagine just a little bit, because the effects and production was a little bit shoddy. IF other space rock bands were the equivelent of R2D2, then perhaps Hawkwind are Doctor Who's K9 robot, bigger, bulkier, cruder, not as well made, a little less state of the art.

As a bonus we are treated to 3 extra cuts. The first is a live medley of You Shouldn't do that/Seeing it as you really are. Ok, both tracks are the same thing! Live its a bit faster and a bit shorter, and this cut is from the Roadhawks LP, which also features a live renditioning of their ever popular Silver Machine, this live take is missed off every damn Hawkwind album since the lp for no actual reason. The last 2 tracks come from the Roundhouse gig which supplied us with the guts of the Silver Machine single. These two tracks are Master of The Universe (a tepid take, with Dik Mik's damn backing vocals!) and a pure stoner-rock take of Born to Go with echoed vocals! Nice touch! This music is very pleasing to the ears, in a sort of way that I presume you have to be British to understand! People flogged The Grateful Dead in the US as psychedelic... I don't get that at all! This is proper stoner music from hawkwind, pure psychedelica, takes you into space! We British occasionally do things better.

hawkbrock | 4/5 |


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