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HAWKWIND

Hawkwind

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Hawkwind Hawkwind album cover
3.39 | 295 ratings | 30 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hurry On Sundown (4:50)
2. The Reason Is? (3:30)
3. Be Yourself (8:09)
4. Paranoia Part 1 (1:04)
5. Paranoia Part 2 (4:11)
6. Seeing It As You Really Are (10:43)
7. Mirror Of Illusion (6:58)

Total Time: 39:25

Bonus tracks on 1996 remaster:
8. Bring It On Home (by Dave Brock) (3:16)
9. Hurry On Sundown (by Hawkwind Zoo) (5:02)
10. Kiss Of The Velvet Whip (by Hawkwind Zoo) (5:25)
11. Cymbaline (by Hawkwind Zoo) (4:04)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / 6- & 12-string guitars, harmonica, percussion, vocals
- Huw Lloyd-Langton / lead guitar
- Nik Turner / alto sax, percussion, vocals
- Michael "DikMik" Davies / electronics
- John A. Harrison / bass
- Terry Ollis / drums

With:
- Mick Slattery / guitar (bonus tracks, unconfirmed)

Releases information

Artwork Arthur Rhodes

LP Liberty - LBS 83348 (1970, UK)
LP United Artists - UAS 5519 (1971, US)

CD One Way Records ‎- S21-57658 (1992, US)
CD EMI ‎- 7243 8 37552 (1996, UK) Remastered by Paul Cobbold & Peter Mew w/ 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HAWKWIND Hawkwind ratings distribution


3.39
(295 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (41%)
41%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

HAWKWIND Hawkwind reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Carl floyd fan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the start to an amazing string of 5 or 6 of the most amazing psychedelic cds of all time. It is obvious that these guys aren't in full form just yet and this is just an intro to what they'll soon be doing. Still, you can't go wrong with this one.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars You've got to start somewhere

A competent if uninspired first album, "Hawkwind" does not really give much indication of all which was to come.

"Hurry on Sundown" sets the scene very well, being a commercial piece of mid-paced pop rock, covered (rather nicely) a few years back by Kuala Shaker. The two long tracks, "Be yourself" and "Seeing you as you really are" meander a bit, descending into freeform jazz at various points. "Paranoia" also falls into this trap.

The lighter pop based tracks such as "Mirror of illusion" and the soft ballad "Cymbaline" are tighter.

Of the bonus tracks on the remastered CD, only "Bring it on home", a harmonica driven blues, is worthy of note.

A decent first stab, but by no means essential.

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Grossly underrated debut by one of the big name space rock acts. This is the album with the original recording lineup (Lemmy wasn't here yet, for one thing, and Dik Mik was still messing with sound generators rather than synthesizers). Huw Lloyd-Langton (pretty Welsh-sounding name) play additional guitar. What's strange about him is he left after this album only to return in the 1980s and play on many of their albums of that decade ("Levitation", "Sonic Attack", "The Church of Hawkwind", "The Chronicle of the Black Sword", "The Xenon Codex").

The album starts off with the blues-y "Hurry On Sundown", complete with harmonica. This song comes to prove that Dave Brock had previous experience playing in blues bands. After that you get lots of and lots of simply mindblowingly intense guitar jams and psychedelic effects. I can't see why this album gets slammed on, because the one thing I really like are the jams. The album then closes with "Mirror of Illusion", the only other vocal cut on this album, which closes off this often maligned album. To me, I enjoy this album a lot because it has that underground psych sound I like so much (even TANGERINE DREAM was doing something similar on their Electronic Meditation, it too often not too respected by their fans). I don't know how to recommend this album, but I think it's incredible regardless what has been said!

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The pentatonic (read Indian/Arabic flavoured) acoustic guitar lines that kick off the intoxicating opener Hurry On Sundown are probably an anomaly compared to most of Hawkwind's music. With a dominating persistent bass (now that's going to be a lot more common!), powerful harmonica, and music that fades in and out between the channels, this memorable tune quickly announces Hawkwind as a psychedelic rock experience. Unfortunately it doesn't get much better than this particular song, not on this album anyway.

It must be emphasised to newcomers that Hawkwind are indeed a space rock and are rarely impressive from a "symphonic" progressive point of view. The first album sees this disorderly group take some embryonic steps and unfortunately while there's the odd colourful tune, a fair amount of this album is downright boring. The trippy jams that would eventually characterise Hawkwind's music are done much better on subsequent albums like In Search Of Space, Hall Of The Mountain Grill, Warrior On The Edge Of Time and at various points on the epic live album, Space Ritual.

Take The Reason Is ... it's really just a wash of sound, with some light touches underneath, first from the guitar and then with an ominous repetitive bass line. On songs like this, Hawkwind's similarity to Amon Duul II is particularly pronounced. Be Yourself is probably best of the lengthy pieces, with an insistent melody line that gives way to a speedy, sound-washed, electronically-charged jam (starring Nik Turner's sax and Huw Lloyd-Langton's acidic guitar). It is a real blueprint for future Hawkwind ouvres. And believe me, when I say blueprint, I mean that Hawkwind will go on to produce many similar sounding songs in the future.

Seeing It As You Really Are is another lengthy jam, although I consider it inferior to Be Yourself. It takes a while to build up, with bass and sonic sweeps, and with the exception of a manic solo from Turner towards the very end, the instruments don't always make their presence felt. Paranoia (Part 1) is a brief, continual statement of a single riff, which builds up the tension, before the mellow bass-led Paranoia (Part 2) establishes itself. But frankly it's a tedious tune. Thankfully the psychedelic, infinitely more melodic Mirror Of Illusion picks things up, and along with Hurry On Sundown and Be Yourself, it's one of only three tracks on the original studio album that I consider worth revisiting.

Fortunately, the CD bonus tracks do add value particularly with the Hawkwind rarity the Kiss Of the Velvet Whip, a blues-rock original given its flavour by the bold lines of Turner and Lloyd-Langton who turns in another acid-drenched solo. They also include covers of Pink Floyd's ethereal Cymbaline (on which Dave Brock sounds surprisingly like The Strawbs' Dave Cousins) and a harmonica and acoustic guitar powered version of Willie Dixon's Bring It On Home (admittedly not a patch on Led Zeppelin's explosive treatment of the same song) which are probably an accurate representation of two major influences that shaped early Hawkwind. It's probably quite telling that I believe Roger Waters' Cymbaline to be the finest composition on this record!

Nonetheless, this is an interesting document for Hawkwind fans, from a line-up that never recorded again ... as lead guitarist Lloyd-Langton (even if he did make a surprise return a decade after this album was recorded!), bassist John Harrison and drummer Terry Ollis were all supplanted in Hawkwind legend. ... 46% on the MPV scale

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Look into your mind's eye - see what you can see...

On the surface, a rather average rock group who turned out the odd nifty riff tarted up with synths, spacey lyrics and a cast of thousands.

BUT the music transcends the actual notes, and you'll either scratch your head wondering what the fuss is about, or get absorbed immediately in the surprising subtleties that unfold in the deep space soundscapes.

And so it is, even with the opener, the catchy little acoustic guitar and harmonica driven number called "Hurry On Sundown" - one of Hawkwind's most enduring tracks to date. The fact that the entire song is driven by one riff belies the power in the simplicity.

The Intro to "The Reason Is" shows the "real" Hawkwind materialising, however, with a sonic soundscape par excellence replete with whooshing cymbals, tone generators and vocal "Oohs". The spiky-edged guitar sends daggers through the dark velvety cosmos of electronica, before the bass sends thick pulses of dark matter streaming past our ears. The vocalising takes on a Far-Eastern aspect, then "Be Yourself" punches through.

Columns of riff set up a dramatic air of expectation, before distorted vocals chant their urgent message. A drum pattern apparently inspired by "Saucerful of Secrets" kicks off a frenetic passage of bass and drum driven saxophone craziness courtesy of Nik Turner. Lloyd Langton then turns in a fairly average blues-based solo, as Ollis layers up the fills and Dik Dik winds up the tone generators for some great, tribal space psychedelia. Harrison winds the bass down a notch, and we slip a few gears into hyperdrive as the music rips its way into another dimension entirely, only to come to a sudden halt and recapitulation of the vocal section. You can bet your life that Hawkwind would have jammed the bejasus out of this one in a live situation.

The bass begins the paranoia, with echo-drenched guitar taking up the riff and saxophone building the layers over the ever-intensifying drums and sweeps of noise but then...

Part II begins with a new bass riff, in a style very reminiscent of Pink Floyd that rapidly takes shape as Hawkwind stamp their more aggressive and darker personalities on the music, taking it higher and higher - if I may put it like that! A brilliant excercise in minimalism, it's not clear if this is instinctive or by design - but it hardly matters, as the urgency is as intense as a rollercoaster ride, and the climb-down is demented.

Now we come up to the high-point of the album - which is a real trip. "Seeing it as You Really Are" is too good to analyse, so I shan't. Safe to say that this redefines Acid Rock in every dimension and is very nearly perfect. Flabberghasting. A revelation in two chords. Minimalism mastered. At least 10 minutes too short.

Our trip ends with "Mirror of Illusion", which contains a little too much unecessary studio trickery for my ears - under the headphones it feels like my ears enter a vacuum one at a time in places. Brock displays once again his ear for a good melody, Lloyd Langton tunrs out some neat blues licks, and all the other essential Hawkwind accoutrements make themselves felt with keen presence - some nice chordal passages on the bass, some tasty little "upside-down" patterns on the drums and, of course, Dik Dik's acute sense of timing and ambience with the electronics.

Rating this is tough - as the wide variety of existing marks shows - it probably is a masterpiece of Progressive Rock - but completely on its own terms, and not within any conventional definition of Prog Rock. It's certainly a masterpiece, and utterly unique... apart from the later Hawkwind albums ;o)

If you enjoyed this, then I cannot recommmend Twink's seminal album "Think Pink" highly enough.

A re-listen to "Seeing it as You Really Are" has helped me with that tough marking decision:

Don't believe what your ears and brain tell you. It IS a masterpiece of Prog Rock.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars HAWKWIND's debut studio album, a cornerstone indeed but here they sound many times as if they were another band, well, at least not with the HAWKWIND we're used to. It's obvious they were still searching their space.

Consequently the most noticeable feature in this album is its unbalancing characteristic; we find nice folk tunes in 'Hurry on sundown', a radio friendly song, and 'Mirror of illusion', agreeable but weaker than the previously cited; hard-rock segments in 'Be yourself', not a great track anyway; experimentalism and psychedelia in either parts of 'Paranoia'; space-rock with symphonic intro in 'The reason is?'. The lengthy 'Seeing it as you really are' sums it all, a sometimes confusing blend of many possible rock sub-genres.

The bonus tracks on the 1996 CD release add few, but cover of FLOYD's 'Cymbaline' and a different, less folkish and still pleasant version of 'Hurry on sundown' are very enjoyable. 'Bring it on home' is a hearable blues-rock and 'Kiss on the velvet whip' brings some late 60s tunes to the table.

Strange output; as said previously the doubt remains even after repeated hearings if they are really the band we used to like, very understandable if we check that it's only the beginning of their adventure through galaxies and different worlds. Being HAWKWIND, I'll increase the rating from collectors/fans only to fairly good - the essentiality I'll leave to the hearer's mind.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This debut is not really representative of their later work. Some childish and uninteresting song as the opener "Hurry On The Sundown" is not exactly what you could expect from the band. But they will evolve, don't worry.

The Floydian flavor of "The Reason Is" has a deep psychedelic origin and is much more appealing. "ASOS" is of course very close, but I have to say that this loose track has something fascinating although difficult to apprehend if you are not really in the early psychedelia (which would be normal if you aren't around fifty years old by now).

The drumming during "Be Yourself" is almost a carbon copy of "Set The Control.". This fully psyche track is one of the highlight of this debut album. Hypnotic and completely disjointed as I like. One can consider this piece of music as plagiarism but Floyd was so influent on this genre that it is almost normal that bands from that era were keen to play such music.

Same applies to "Seeing It As You Really Are" which is so close to the weird intro of "ASOS ". But this is one of my fave from the great Floyd. So.no wonder that I like this one a lot. Great rocking beat combined with a true spacey mood. Some of the ingredients of their next production. Another highlight.

The mood of the whole album is pretty much in the same vein. Considering this album as a masterpiece is something beyond my understanding.

"Kiss Of The Velvet Whip" is one of the best bonus tracks available. The band will produce far much better music later on, so you shouldn't bother too much about this one although it is more than a curiosity. I have to admit that the version of "Cymbaline" is a good cover from this Floyd piece as well.

Three stars for the remastered version.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The self titled debut album from Hawkwind was a nice surprise for me. I´m a newbie to the band and the only thing I know about Hawkwind is that Lemmy from Mötorhead once played in the band. Hawkwind is of course nothing like Mötorhead though and Lemmy doesn´t appear on this debut album from Hawkwind.

The music is psychadelic rock with a pretty repetitive beat and some spacelike sounds to make it even more stoned. By stoned I don´t mean slow in this context as Hawkwind´s music is generally midpaced. The original album only consisted of seven songs while the CD release has four extra tracks. While the seven original songs are very good I´m very happy about the four extra tracks too as they are good for the diversity of the album.

The album starts with the blues based uptempo song Hurry On Sundown which has lots of harmonica and Dave Brock´s repetitive yet strong vocal lines. A great beginning to the album even though Hurry On Sundown is a very simple song. The Reason Is? brings us into space mode. It´s basically just a lot of weird sounds. Be Yourself is one of the highlights of the album. The simple vocal line is effective but it´s the almost tribal percussion part in the middle of the song and the great guitar solo that steals the picture. With Paranoia Part 1 and 2 we ´re back in space with weird sounds and jamlike structure. Seeing It As You Really Are is one long jamming song which has some great sections but gets a bit too long for my taste. Mirror Of Illusion is another great song here I enjoy a lot.

The four extra tracks are simple rock songs but they are very good. My favorite is Kiss Of The Velvet Whip. Hurry On Sundown is here in a different more spaced out version. Both Bring It On Home and Cymbaline are great songs too.

The musicianship is good and I especially enjoy the blues based guitar solos from Huw Lloyd Langton. He plays with great intensity. Dave Brock is a good vocalist and he suits the music fine.

The production is good. You can hear everything that´s going on.

As you can probably sense I like this album a lot even though I don´t particularly like the most spaced out moments which seems a bit too loose in structure for me. If I had to review the original LP I would give it 3 stars, but with the addition of the four bonus tracks I will give the album 4 small stars. It was either 3 big ones or 4 small so I rounded up the rating this time. I´ll be looking forward to listening to the next album from Hawkwind.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
1 stars The Reason Is? is a very good title for the second track because I can't see any reason whatsoever for including it on the album. To be honest, I have a pretty hard time seeing the reason for putting this album out at all. Not even Hurry On Sundown which is a nice little bluesy tune, with lots of harmonica, can stop me from giving this the lowest possible rating. Some passages on this album are really awful and lack, not only focus but both melody and interesting rhythm. The material on this album has a very improvisational and sketchy character. This is probably the worst album on the whole of prog archives.

Sorry Hawkwind fans.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Hawkwind's debut sees them trying to find a sound of their own but very much failing at it. They don't seem to find a way to get beyond rehashing earlier Pink Floyd albums. Ok, I'll try to write this review without referring to Pink Floyd more then 10 times...

Hurry on Sundown is a pleasant psychedelic pop song that would have been quite a hit had it been released in 66 or 67. Three years later it sounds a bit out of date already. Pleasant tune though.

The Reason Is is a lot more remarkable, largely reminiscent to the opening section of PF's Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Umma Gumma version). But Hawkwind took it a step further, adding dissonant flute- and voice-effect sounds. The result is very close to what Tangerine Dream would be doing in the following years. With its modest 3 and a half minutes, this ambient experiment is very effective.

Be Yourself is less impressive, a monotonous improvisation, using the exact drum track from PF's Saucerful of Secrets. Not entirely bad but too much of a rip-off really. And Paranoia? Shake and mix Umma Gumma (disk 2) for 4 minutes. This could be close to the resulting tune.

So far, the album lacked in originality but was still pleasant enough for anybody on the psychedelic and kraut side of rock. However, with Seeing It as You Really Are, the album collapses. A dry and uninspired improvisation it is. The same goes for Mirror of Illusion.

Bring it on Home must be a mastering mistake. This is so obviously a track from Jethro Tull's debut.

This is a weak album. Luckily, the Hawk would fly into totally different directions on the second album. For the fans this debut may be an interesting release, also kraut rock fans might want to give this a try. Other ladies and gents, there's plenty of more enchanting universes to explore.

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hawkwind - st (1970)

It's funny to see the difference in opinions about Hawkwind's debut album. Some claim it is a masterpiece whilst others discard it as being an immature, naive failure. I myself feel related to those who claim this is a very good album, and I even dare to say it's sound is way more mature than Hall of the Mountain Grill of 1974 (my only other Hawkwind vinyl).

The space-rock genre has been listed a bit strange on PA. Whilst there is a psychedelic/space-rock genre you'll find most of it's masterpieces in the Krautrock (Guru Guru, many others), Canterbury (Gong, Kahn) and even Symphonic prog (Grobschnitt's Solar Music) genre. Hawkwind is often seen the main space-rock band, but it's sound- driven approach hasn't always worked that well for me. On the debut the band benefits hugely from one aspect: authenticity.

The sound of the band is really original and the approach is naive in a good sense. There is a lot of experimentation with sounds, but the music doesn't seem to suffer from it. So what do we have here? A very out of place, but pleasant, psychedelic pop/country styled opening track, some spacey sound-scapes, a trippy Be Yourself with extended atmospheric soloing and a lot of spacey tracks on side two. In fact, I think this record could well be seen as a psycho-beat record. The repetitive rhythms work very well for Hawkwind and it makes me wonder why they dropped this discipline later on in their long career. The Can from Germany developed the genre very well, but perhaps Hawkwind saw no future in it.

Be Yourself stands out as my favorite track on the album. The introduction, The Reason is?, introduces it's psychedelic/spacey atmospheres really good. The main theme with the distorted 'Be Yourself!... See yourself!.. etc.' lyrics is very strong. The power of it all comes from it's simplistic approach and the difference between it's use of blank notes from the rest of the song. The use of saxophones now and then is tasteful.

Conclusion. An authentic, original space-rock record with a psycho-beat (perhaps even Krautrock) feel. I still hope find a copy of Warrior on the Edge of Time and Space Ritual, but it won't surprise me if this debut album of the band remains my favorite. An excellent addition to space-rock, krautrock and psychedelic rock collections. Four stars.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hawkwind's debut contains some finely-honed jamming from the space rock titans but, alas, a few areas where the compositions could be tightened up a lot. (Not surprisingly, since most of the material was developed from group improvisations). The vocals are sparse on this debut, and that's kind of what saves it, because such vocals as there are usually consist of Dave Brock chanting short, repetitive phrases into the mic in a monotonous and irritating manner. But between those parts, the band jam marvellously, showing a surprising range of influences (I would not be surprised if Zappa's Return of the Son of Monster Magnet hadn't been on heavy rotation at Hawkwind Headquarters...) A decent start, but not more than a decent start.

This is an album I have warmed to a little more now that we have a charming new remaster available via the "This Is Your Captain Speaking... Your Captain Is Dead" boxed set.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars.This was quite different from what I imagined. Their second album "In Search Of Space" is a trippy laid back affair that I love and I thought this might be similar but with more of that folky feel.The big surprise for me is all of that dark and spacey atmosphere. I wasn't expecting that at all. So yeah a much better album than I was expecting given the ratings this one gets.

"Hurry On Sundown" was the single and it really is different from the rest of the songs except for the closer. It's a commercial sounding tune I tired of quickly. The harmonica is front and center each time the vocals stop. Love the line "There's hundereds of people like you and me". An upbeat song to start.

"The Reason Is ?" Has this spacey atmosphere that is actually quite haunting and dark. This is really the opposite of the opening track.

"Be Yourself" opens with guitar and cymbals then the bass and guitar joins in followed by vocals. Drums before 1 1/2 minutes after the vocals have stopped. Sax from Nik Turner before 2 minutes. Great sound here. The guitar starts to light it up after 4 minutes. Nice. Haunting synths are in the backgound as well. The intro is reprised after 6 1/2 minutes as it changes abruptly. Bass and an eerie vibe are featured on "Paranoia (Part 1)" while "Paranoia (Part 2) has cymbals and vocal expressions early on that build. A rhythm takes over as the vocals stop. Haunting synths before 3 minutes.The rhythm slows down to the end.

"Seeing It As You Really Are" has a dark and spacey atmosphere to start. Guitar and a beat join in at 2 1/2 minutes. It's pretty intense 5 minutes in. It then settles before 6 1/2 minutes then kicks back in after 8 minutes. Killer sound here. It's insane 10 1/2 minutes to end it.

"Mirror Of Illusion" opens with shakers as the sound starts to build and the vocals join in.The guitar before 2 minutes is raw and again after 4 1/2 minutes. This song is more like the opening track than the rest.

In the liner notes Dave brock relates that HAWKWIND originally tried to freak out the trippers and much of this debut is about trying to accomplish this. He says after that they then tried to levitate their minds through their music. "In Search Of Space" certainly pulled that off and they've been doing it ever since. So yeah this is their scary and eerie album apart from the opening and closing tracks.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Hawkwind's debut is a great way for a band to launch a career. Indeed Hawkwind launch their starship into the stratosphere with some of the trippiest spaciest material of the early 70s. It is nice to hear Hawkwind indulging in their inimitable space rock style at the birth pangs of prog. A majority of the album is focused on psychedelia and hyper strangeness beginning with the weird instrumentals that would permeate their albums for years, 'The Reason Is', runs into 'Be Yourself, a space jam session, and then into the creepy 'Paranoia' tracks, and finally culminating in 'Seeing it as you really are' which is a lengthy psychedelic work of experimentation. The only real songs as it were are the opening and closing tracks on the original vinyl, namely the excellent rocking 'Hurry on Sundown', and the best track on the album, brilliant spacey 'Mirror of Illusion' with great Brock vocals and guitar riffing.

The bonus tracks are all good, not as trippy but infectious melodies mixed with chugging guitars. The blues driven 'Bring it on Home' is a surprise in its concentrated blues guitar riffs, but I am particularly taken with the wonderful rockout of 'Kiss of the Velvet Whip', one of the best bonus tracks I have heard. It ends with the balladic melancholia of 'Cymbaline' with a nice wah-wah guitar and Brock terrific on vocals. The CD packaging booklet is nice with original liner notes and lots of photos of the band in those days. Overall the debut is a great start of things to come; Hawkwind have arrived on planet earth!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars While the big names of the swinging London were attending events like the Isle of Wight and were signed by their labels, Hawkwind were a true underground band used to play on a truck, under a bridge or wherever they wanted to, usually for free.

This debut album is still highly influenced by the blues revival as it's evident from the west- coast acid blues of "Hurry On Sundown" which opens it. Dave Brock's harmonica is not too dissimilar from John Mayall's and the instrumental coda is a standard blues, but just from the second track it's clear that this is not a blues-revival band. The intro of "The Reason Is?" is one of the most floydian things of that period. Floyd were already evolved, it's the same year of Atom Heart Mother, and Hawkwind release this track which sounds like the middle section of Interstellar Overdrive, or the beginning of Set The Controls for The Heart of the Sun. Let's say that Floyd were not alone actually in making this kind of psych. This kind of sounds was familiar with several other bands/artists including Arzachel and Twink.

"Be Yourself" is the first track with a non radio-friendly duration. It's probably the only time in the History that a drummer is mimic of Nick Mason. While Nik Turner's sax adds a jazzy touch to the track and later bass and guitar move to a more familiar zone, the drums seem to come directly from A Saucerful of Secrets. The last minutes are a reprise of the intro based on three chords repeated seamlessly.

The two "Paranoias" have a very appropriate title and give clearly the idea. This is the kind of psychedelia which has inspired the birth of Krautrock, but the six guitar notes which close the track may have been reused by Lloyd Webber for Jesus Christ Superstar (the ouverture). I don't know which has been written first and it may be a coincidence, but try and see.

Another relatively long track comes: "Seeing It As You Really Are" is made of noises and gimmicks on a slow bluesy base of bass and drums on which a rock guitar enters in a second time. This track reminds me to Grateful Dead but also to early Krauts like Amon Duul. The tempo is in crescendo while the two chords separated by one tone are the musical base. The "percussive" voices in the microphone are a Barrett's invention (Pow.R.Toc.H). I guess that Antonioni hadn't listened to this album when he asked Pink Floy to do the soundtrack of Zabriskie Point. Tracks like this were what he was looking for for the movie.

"Mirror Of Illusions" starts weird and dissonant but turns quickly into an acid blues-rock song with an eye to California. A very hippy track.

This is how the album ends. I know that the CD reissue contains some more tracks, including the cover of one of my favorite Pink Floyd's songs, Cymbaline, but that's the only bonus track that I've heard so let me stick on the vinyl version of a debut which in my opinion already deserves 4 stars even with all its defects in the production and a little lack of originality.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The album starts out innocently enough with "Hurry On Sundown" which is a pleasant blues rock track with harmonicas wailing and a nice groovy upbeat bassline belying the fact that this is really a space rock album which begins as soon as the opener ends. The second track begins with a trippy Floydian spacy synth that eventually gives way to a background guitar line that builds and builds and then takes control while some serious cymbal action is giving a percussive icing to this just dessert. The eponymous debut album from HAWKWIND is generally not considered one of their best and almost universally rated lower than the later more sophisticated releases but I really love this album. Right here on their debut they pretty much have their own sound down pat from the getgo. The fact that they are a key link between the hippie dippy flower children and FTW punk cultures is clear right on this little piece of sonic bliss from 1970.

This album is really brilliant as a debut. It incorporates the bluesy hard rock of the 70s and adds high energy tribal drumming to infuse a nice punky energy. There is also a smokin' sax, fluttering flute and beefy bass drive that keeps this music humming and intense even though a lot of it is actually a bit repetitive. That could be the problem for some but this is space rock after all and it is just done so well as to incorporate some of the spaciest elements of psychedelic 60s with an energetic feel that would become the 70s and beyond. I think this album is way underrated and deserves as much attention as all the greats that come after. HAWKWIND was and still is a unique psychedelic force in the universe and they wasted no time proving that on this first psychedelic spaced out frenzy. I also really love the album cover. One of my all time freaked out faves.

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The juggernaut Sonic Attack of forthcoming Hawkwind Space Rituals had yet to be heard when the young band recorded their debut LP in 1970. But the album remains a fascinating document, precisely because of its embryonic lack of any stable musical identity. Listening to it 45-years later is like studying the fossilized afterbirth of a timid infant creature soon to become a giant, unstoppable monster.

Until then the ramshackle outfit was having trouble finding its musical feet. Thus the bluesy, atypical back-street skiffle of "Hurry On Sundown" and "Mirror of Illusion", sitting uncomfortably next to ponderous improvisations like the two-part "Paranoia" (split over opposite sides of the original vinyl), or the plodding "Be Yourself". A tantalizing hint of the future Hawkwind classic "Space Is Deep" can be heard in "The Reason Is?" buried underneath another primitive drone and too many hissing cymbals. But the otherwise anonymous jams that dominate the album function mostly as camouflage, hiding a lack of ready material so early in the band's career.

At this stage the Psychedelic Warlords were little more than blue-collar doppelgängers of PINK FLOYD, with street smarts instead of university degrees. The Floydian influence is obvious in the copycat Syncopated Pandemonium kick-starting the middle section of "Be Yourself", with the rolling drums of Terry Ollis openly aping the title track from "A Saucerful of Secrets". And the debt becomes explicit in the band's deferential, non-album cover of The Floyd's "Cymbaline", a welcome bonus to later CD re-issues.

The impression left by this inaugural effort is of an inexperienced gang of unpolished roughnecks, somewhat out of place in their first visit to a professional recording studio, trying to capture the energy of their live shows, with mixed results. The newly-manufactured Silver Machine still needed a little fine-tuning before it could reach cruising speed.

Review by Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The music on HAWKWIND's self-titled debut album is very different from their typical usual pre-stoner rock or energic space metal. At the beginning of a new decade, still influenced by the recent blues, folk and psychedelic soundscapes of the 60's, the band incorportes futuristic strange sound effects and free-jazz in their compositions. Unique in HAWKWIND's discography, this first effort is quite heterogeneous and covers a wide range of styles.

The opener "Hurry On Sundown" is a folk / blues psychedelic song featuring an harmonica. Although a bit long, this nice tune will become a favorite of Dave Brock. The mysterious experimental "The Reason Is?" shows clear influences from the PINK FLOYD's "A Saucerful of Secrets" track with its drumming and middle-eastern sonorities. "Be Yourself" is a long space free-jazz-rock jam, including muted guitars rythmic, saxophone and sung parts at the beginning and the end of the track. An oppressive ambiance, and one of the best passage of the record.

The strange "Paranoia" suite is mainly composed of a threatening short theme with bass and saxophone. A bit repetitive, as it does not contains much variations. The 10 minutes "Seeing It As You Really Are" is the longest track of the record. Starting with an intriguing ambient introduction, the rest consists in a spacey long nervous hard rock / free jazz improvisation. The poppy folk song "Mirror Of Illusion" concludes the disc, in the style of "Hurry On Sundown".

The 1996 CD edition features four bonus tracks. Again, "Bring It On Home" is a cool harmonica blues-rock track resembling the opener. The 1996 version of "Hurry On Sundown" is pleasant and brings a few modern sonorities. "Kiss Of The Velvet Whip" is clearly the most interesting bonus song. More energic, it also sounds more typical of the band, and can be seen as a transitional track between this first opus and "In Search of Space". The melody sounds like FLOYD's "Astronomy Domine". The cover of "Cymbaline" is pleasant.

If you're looking for powerful space metal or stoner hymns, this debut album is definitely not the right choice. Not the album to start with either, singular and not representative, "Hawkwind" is an experimental patchwork of psychedelic free jazz/rock/folk/blues. The overall quality is unequal, however it results in an interesting formula, that Dave Brock and co. themselves won't reproduce again.

Fun fact: After this record, guitarist Huw Lloyd-langton will leave and return to HAWKWIND only ten years later, on "Levitation".

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Hawkwind's strength, even from the beginning, was their live performances. Did the band know this in the beginning? Probably not, but it didn't take long for them to learn. It all started when Dave Brock and Mick Slattery decided to leave the band they were both in at the time, have a meeting with John Harrison, and then decide to embark in a new direction because of their love of electronic music. Before they knew what was happening, Terry Ollis, who was 17 years old at the time, replied to an ad they had put out for a drummer, and Nik Turner and Michael Davies ("Dik Mik"), acquaintances of Brock who were in it at first to be "roadies" of a sort, were instead recruited into the band also. They performed at a local talent night going on stage without a name or material, and decided to call themselves "Group X" and play a cover of "Eight Miles High" which ended up in a 20 minute long jam. They were discovered that night because John Peel was in the audience.

So, they were given time, because of that incident, to go into a studio and record demos, which they did under the name of "Hawkwind Zoo". Right after that, Slattery left the band and Brock brought in another acquaintance Huw Lloyd-Langton. Work began on the debut album, and, as usual, the goal was to make it a studio album with all the kinks worked out. The album didn't sell very well, but it did get the band noticed in the UK underground. Little did they know that they, in the process, had become one of the first space rock bands and that this album would become a guidepost as to how it would be done. Yes, the band had taken some cues from Pink Floyd, and it is probably more apparent in this album than most of their others, but their style was different in that PF used more of a structure which was built off of improvisation, where Hawkwind would use improvisation around a structure. Plus Hawkwind also utilized a more conventional (well, in most cases anyway) style instead of the one based more around contemporary classical styles like PF did.

The one thing that makes this album stand out from the other Hawkwind albums, is that it is about the music, not necessarily the themes built around science fiction stories or spoken word passages, which would be part to of the refinement the band would go through on their 2nd album. Right off the bat, though, Brock pretty much took the reigns as the guy in charge, writing, or at least taking top credit, of the songs. Dick Taylor was brought in to produce and what not, but ended up also contributing some guitar on this album, so, in all, there were 8 members in the band performing on the album. The aim of the album was to send the listeners on a trip without the use of drugs. Listening to the album, you can understand what a risk it was for it's time, but it worked to the band's benefit, even if it isn't the band's best album, one cannot deny that it was important.

Most of the album is improvisational free-form freakout. Yet, interestingly enough, it starts off with a track that is one of the least like anything else they did. "Hurry on Sundown" is a great introductory track for the band, even if it is closer to a blues-oriented track than a psychedelic one. The harmonica riffs stick out immediately to one who is somewhat familiar with other albums by the band. But, the beat has a steadiness that would be indicative of a lot of their space rock jam songs. The sound is nice, poppy and sunshiny and ends with an extended instrumental coda. However, after this one, things start to sound closer to the typical Hawkwind sound. "The Reason Is?" slips right into psychedelia being quite atmospheric and mysterious, moving along for a few minutes before a meandering guitar joins in. The track works well as a intermezzo of sorts, taking us into the 8-minute long "Be Yourself", more of a jam piece formed off of the foundation of a short three chord sequence that the vocal melody also follows. This gets to be a bit redundant until the extended jam section kicks in which features a fast moving rhythm section and begins with improvisation from Brocks sax, morphs into a guitar improvisation, and then switches into a focus on the rhythm section with guitar screeches and scratches and spooky drones rising and falling (in tone), only to eventually return to the redundant three chord sequence at the end. The last track on side one is "Paranoia, Pt. 1", a short piece that builds quickly in intensity and then suddenly ends when it sounds like someone pulled the plug on the phonograph. This is to signal that the side is over.

The 2nd side starts with "Paranoia, Pt. 2", where, on the vinyl edition, sounds like the player was plugged back in, and the track continues. Or does it? What might have seemed like an introduction to this part, is anything but. It is light in lyrics, but heavy in tension, the effects carry the alternating chords which the guitar builds off of and slowly picking up speed and steam while a descending drone screeches underneath it all. It slows down again and crawls along to the end. This slides into "Seeing It As You Really Are", the longest track at 10 minutes. This one takes it's sweet time, as it is more improvisation from the band, set against gradually changing tempos and crazy effects; squealing, groaning, tortured instruments and even vocalization effects. It's not until 8 minutes in that the guitar and sax take turns trying to make sense out of everything, but end up fighting each other until everything ends in a noisy and chaotic conclusion. The last track "Mirror of Illusion" proves that it is a part of the bookend set (along with the first track) with a more traditional sounding rock track, but not as straightforward as the first track. There is a nice extended guitar solo that bridges the 2nd and 3rd verses, but, just in case, there are still a lot of spacey effects going on nonetheless.

This ended the album proper in 1970. The band felt pretty good about it, and, overtime, have come to recognize it for it's riskiness and it's importance in establishing the space rock genre. In 1996, the remastered CD contained 4 bonus tracks. The first of these is "Bring It On Home" which is not really a Hawkwind track at all, but it is a cover done by Dave Brock before Hawkwind existed. It's a fun track, quite well done, with more harmonica which ends up tying in "Hurry on Sundown" to the entire experience. The singing is well pronounced also, which is not something you hear much in future Hawkwind albums. The next two tracks are from the Hawkwind Zoo EP that I mentioned in the beginning. First is a demo version of "Hurry On Sundown", which is still quite a decent version, actually sounding more like the Hawkwind most of us are familiar with than the version on the original album. This is followed by another demo of the rare track recorded in the same sessions "Kiss of the Velvet Whip" (otherwise known as ''Sweet Mistress of Pain"). This one is also quite enjoyable, not sounding much at all like a demo, and also a bit more commercial than what we are used to hearing from them. The last track is "Cymbaline", and yes it is a cover of the Pink Floyd song from their soundtrack album to "More". The vocals are actually more straightforward and clearer than the PF version, but as it continues, it starts to sound more amateurish and messy, so the PF version wins out here. It's still interesting to hear it anyway.

The 4 bonus tracks really help round out the album, even though they do take away from the psychedelic nature of the album, but they are great to hear anyway because it is a peek into their earliest days. Unfortunately, a lot of this line- up would not survive into the next album, and the studio wanted to push towards a more commercial sound (which they wouldn't really get anyway). Harrison would leave the band because of the increased use of drugs among the other members which he didn't use. Lloyd-Langton would also leave at this time because of a bad LSD trip which caused a nervous breakdown (he would return later though). Dik Mik also left, but came back for the next album after he was replaced by Del Dettmar, so they ended up with two electronics players. All of this was an early sign of the constant changing line-ups that the band would experience. It's amazing, though, that the band was able to stay together as long as they have through the years, and even though the quality of their albums would always be up and down through the years, they usually stayed true to their sound. This album was the beginning of it all, though, and even if it was their first effort, it was still quite strong and influential enough to be used as a blueprint to the genre.

Latest members reviews

4 stars As the advertisements declared, "Hawkwind is space rock". This is certainly not an inaccurate statement, as Hawkwind's self titled debut was one of the very first space rock albums ever created. And perhaps it is Hawkwind's greatest attempt at capturing the spacey and communal atmosphere of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#967759) | Posted by The Mystical | Friday, May 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Hawkwind's self-titled debut record still sounds a bit naive, especially the second side. The opening track "Hurry up Sundown" is an up-tempo folkrock song. After this song I didn't expect this record to be a spacerock classic, although I like the positive sound. The atmosphere does change dra ... (read more)

Report this review (#754507) | Posted by the philosopher | Thursday, May 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Houston, we have liftoff". This was the start of a wild, wacky, tripped-out journey that continues through to this day. Unfortunatley, this start doesn' t really move me much. I have always thougt that this effort is REALLY dated, even by Hawkwind standards, and is quite boring in many places ... (read more)

Report this review (#603604) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, January 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A charming album this one, Hawkwind's debut. I always liked it purely for the cheerful acoustic tapper "Hurry On Sundown,"and the other book-end piece "Mirror Of Illusion" which were both more of a nod to guitarist Dave Brock's busking. The rest of the music here is a different kettle of fish ... (read more)

Report this review (#572703) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ROUNDED UP FROM 2.5 (because they are original - sought of) This is their self titled album. Hawkwind is not that very well known a prog band. Their not only prog I suspect they could also come under the classification of psychedelic as well I guess. Usually the lesser known prog is not as g ... (read more)

Report this review (#278682) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You have to get a start... This was the start of the space ship Hawkwind. Very jazz like album IMO. Long instrumental, few vocal parts, and lots of drug atmosphere. 8-10 minute tracks like Be Yourself are the essential for that album. Also Seeing It As You Really Are. Basicly Hawkwind after the d ... (read more)

Report this review (#104854) | Posted by Deepslumber | Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A fascinating showing of the early Hawkwind sound. Here the emphasis is on 3 note riffs, ideal for any guitarist. (hey, count the chords in hurry on sundown). Paranoia (parts one and two) should be indexed as one track, but it isn't so bad. Look out for their early BBC output if you like this ... (read more)

Report this review (#68309) | Posted by hawkbrock | Saturday, February 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me this is their second best album because it is Hawkwind doing what they set out to do. A kind of free form psychadelic space-rock with communal spirit. A style that I feel was to come to full fruition on their second album" X in search of space" and then tailed of bit by bit as the years ... (read more)

Report this review (#36078) | Posted by | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This was my very first Hawkwind LP, bought in the summer of '77, just after reading "Time of the Hawklords" by Butterworth & Moorcock. As noted in other reviews, this album not truly representative of any of the Hawks major musical incarnations, but being their very first is of more than casu ... (read more)

Report this review (#25210) | Posted by | Monday, May 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first time I heard this CD, I had never heard anything like it. At first I wern't too sure about this album, but then I got into the album. "Hurry on Sundown" is one of my favourites but I prefer the bonus track version. "Paranoia" is very freaky. Psychedelia as I never heard it before it ... (read more)

Report this review (#25209) | Posted by PROGMAN | Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Recorded in a big hurry, so I remember reading once. United Artists didn't particularly want Hawkwind -- they wanted another London outfit called Cochise. Cochise and Hawkwind and their management company stuck together, and UA signed both. This first album is actually their standard live set ... (read more)

Report this review (#25208) | Posted by | Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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