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Hawkwind - The Text of Festival - Hawkwind Live 1970-1972 CD (album) cover



Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Unlike many, I like this release a great deal. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is a good value for your purchase. You essentially get 2 lps (or cds) in one package. Record one is the same as the material featured on the Demi-Monde release "In The Beginning", in basically the same fidelity, which is admittedly toward the bootleg end of the spectrum. But these are early studio outtakes and demos, a fascinating, primal and powerful snapshot of early Hawkwind, and as there doesn't seem to be a ton of unreleased material available from this time period, this serves as an excellent and essential archival set. Oh yeah, the perfomances are excellent also, fidelity issues aside. Of course if you are the kind if listener who prizes the quality of his audio equipment over the aesthetic quality of the music that you listen to, then that is your problem. For me though, the second record is the real gem here, a monstrous live take on "You Shouldn't Do That" that spans the entire 2nd lp. Again, the audio quality is less than pristine (though nowhere near as shaky as the "Bring Me The Head Of Yuri Gargarin" lp/cd) but the sheer drive, intensity and otherworldly quality of the performance is a marvel. Think "Phallus Dei"- era Amon Duul II put through an industrial grinder, or "Alien Soundtracks" era Chrome timewarped back 5 or 6 years. For early, early, and intense Hawkwind sounds, this is a real treasure for the discerning fan of vintage Hawkwind.
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Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are always two offenders. This album and Bring me the head of Uri Gagarin. Sometime in the 1980s, Dave Anderson was given a whole lot of random tapes from Nik Turner, and sold albums without the proper Hawkwind's concent. Now gagarin was sourced from a stereo audience recording (stereo mic, not stereo twin mics) and is pretty appalling. Usually audience recordings suffer from bad equipment picking up a good live mix, but this album suffers from the other extreme. There is no flutter or anything, just a poor mix.

But text of a festival is some other crazy shizzle. Sourced from BBC recordings (very careful how to word this, as some other guy recorded them off the radio) they capture hawkwind at an unprecedentedly early age, and because hawkwind never played the same twice, we get a low-fi treat. Now I can tollerate dodgy sound (although I do pat myself on the back for making a better recording of my band in rehearsal) so this album lies (for me) on the music. Luckily the music is really nice. Its not in anyway tight, but it is rewarding. The electrified version of Hurry on Sundown strips the album version down, with the intro wandering off the path, and Dik Mik's electronics (captured here at their most refreshingly homemade) sound more like good old AM radio 'atmospherics' than anything coming out a synthesiser. Luckily I have a Theremin, so I can join in on this one! A searing guitar solo cuts into this track (attributable to Huw Lloyd Langdon, who would quit, grow a mullet, and return in time for Levitation). Other gems are Paranoia, We Do/Do It, and The Reason Is recorded live infront of an appreciative audience, who cheer extatically after each of Hawkwind's 10 minute long, 2 chord jam alongs. I Wish I was there at that gig, as even by Space Ritual, with Stacia and the light show, Hawkwind seems to have lost a certain vitality, which existed in 1969/1970 where they would play outside major venuses etc trying to pull crowds away from 'sellout' acts.

So basically the vibe of the album, and the time-and-place ethos makes it something special, and something to tresure. It is also dirt cheap, so you won't loose too much sleep if you wanted something in perfect 24 bit sound.

Disk 2 contains some of a gig recorded at Colchester Technical college (and not Cambridge Corn exchange. people who say it was recorded at the corn exchange are cashing in something evil, as that was a gig known to have been recorded, wherebye Syd Barret played, along with the Pink Faries and Hawkwind).

Recorded in stereo, some sort of strange soundboard/suspended microphone mix. guitar and bass heavy, drums cut it, sax doesn't. Really an indurance test, so get into the music, don't think about it too much! Also worth noting the live outing of "Be Yourself" given the once over complete with pause (crowd starts clapping nervously) before Terry Ollis brings the shebang back together.

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Posted Thursday, December 7, 2006 | Review Permalink

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