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Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a compilation of Hawkwind the singles band. Now that in itself is unlikely to appeal to the average progressive rock fan, but to be fair, unlike most prog bands, Hawkwind did have the ability to adapt their brand of music to the format of a radio friendly single. This skill was best exemplified of course by Silver Machine which sailed close to the top of the pop charts in 1972. Unfortunately, this collection, which is distilled from a 3 CD Box set also confusingly called Epoch-eclipse, suffers from a number of glaring omissions.

For example the first album's Hurry On Sundown would have been a perfect early single. And why are the only tracks off the group's two best albums (Hall Of The Mountain Grill and Warrior On The Edge Of Time) a severely truncated Psychedelic Warlords and Assault & Battery (Part 1)? There's also nothing here from either the third album Doremi Fasol Latido or the sixth one Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. Perhaps worst of all are the late 70s efforts Back On The Streets and Quark Strangeness And Charm (which seem to be attempts to ingratiate the band with the punk audience) whereas I'd much rather have seen the excellent High Rise (off the PXR5 album), or Spirit Of The Age (off Quark Strangeness And Charm) included. The final insult occurs when one realises that (and remember this occured after Hawkwind's mid 80s flirtation with the metal scene!), the last few singles here are all aimed at the late 90s dance audience!

Still despite the gripes there are a number of great moments here, not least of which is the triple opening salvo of Silver Machine, Master Of The Universe (thankfully an unedited version) and Urban Guerilla. The militant Urban Guerilla in particular is deserving of attention, as it is a hypnotic thrusting tune that suffered a ban in the wake of terrorist bombings back in 1973.

Also, another benefit this collection does have to offer is a glimpse of unusual latter day incarnations of Hawkwind, beyond the classic line-up of Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Simon House, Del Dettmar, Lemmy Kilminster and Simon King. Some of the band additions seem like great ideas like that of Gong's Tim Blake while other are rather less obvious like the signing of Cream/Blind Faith legend Ginger Baker! Having said that, Motorway City (which is from Levitation, the album on which both Blake and Baker make their entrance) is among my favourite tracks on here.

Still my abiding memory of the latter half of this collection is of my trying to decide which was worse ... hearing Hawkwind do 80s metal-by-the-numbers on Night Of The Hawks and Needle Gun, the techno beat that underpinned Right To Decide (Radio Edit Mix) or the incongrous dub sounds of Love In Space!

As an introduction to the progressive side of Hawkwind this fails miserably. At least three longer songs would have been necessary to convey a bit of the essence of this space-rock band (as such an expanded version of the first Hawkwind compilation Masters Of The Universe would have been preferable). Hawkwind were also one of those bands that put out a lot of crucial music on singles without sticking them on the nearest LP (Silver Machine and Urban Guerilla, and if you don't have the new CD versions with the bonus tracks, that could be another reason for a casual fan to check this out. I still say, go to Hall Of The Mountain Grill or Warrior On The Edge Of Time. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#44636)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Space Rock came into the forefront of rock with this incredible band - the Space Gods, Hawkwind. Del Mik, Brock and Anderson have an amazing sense of timing as they churn one track after another.

The compilation is really a scaled down version of the 3 CD set 'Epocheclipse: 30 years'.

It works as an introduction to the bnand and i grabbed this after buying my fisrt Hawkwind 'Space Ritual' as I was mesmirised by their sound and style. There are all the great tracks that Hawkwind fans worship such as 'Master Of The Universe', the first classic from Hawkwind and the bonafide classic 'Silver Machine'. This track is how I was introduced to Hawkwind and I have loved it as a child up to the present day.

Other standouts include 'Sonic Attack', 'Motorhead', 'Night Of The Hawks' and 'Needle Gun'. The edit of 'Psychedelic Warlords' has that same familiar chug-a-chug rhythmic pattern that has become a statement of space rock. The chronological approach is very welcome. It is apparent as time wore on these time bandits, that the music became more mainstream and at times punkish. The Hawkwind spaceship virtually crash landed after 'Warrior at the Edge of Time'. I especially liked the new lengthy version of 'Silver Machine'. The tracks on this CD set are found at times in longer verions on the 3 CD package and there are 2 tracks here that are not on that compilation, 'Alien I Am' and '25 Years'. There are some notable tracks left out such as 'Whose Gonna Win the War?' and 'Born To Go' but overall the best of Hawkwind is here in an expurgated version. It captures all that we love about the band therefore, this CD collection is perhaps the best way to be introduced to this eclectic space rock band - an absolute triumph. The 3 Cd set is way better of course. The booklet is very informative and packed with pictures too, different that than the 3 CD package and even Stacia gets a pic.

So grab this if you want a collection of Hawkwind but do not want to locate the CDs themselves. I still recommend the 3 CD package that I bought later along with all their albums up to 'Warrior' as a supplement to this compilation. At least then you have the classics in the retro period and the best of their more recent tracks.

A nice compilation for a quick Hawkwind fix. Some hits, some misses but all spaced out Hawkwind.

Report this review (#221517)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink

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