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Hawkwind Levitation album cover
3.99 | 278 ratings | 23 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Levitation (5:48)
2. Motorway City (6:48)
3. Psychosis (2:22)
4. World Of Tiers (3:30)
5. Prelude (1:28)
6. Who's Gonna Win The War? (4:45)
7. Space Chase (3:11)
8. The 5th Second Of Forever (3:27)
9. Dust Of Time (6:22)

Total time 37:41

Bonus track on 1994 release:
10. Nuclear Toy (3:00)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals, guitars, synth
- Huw Lloyd-Langton / guitars
- Tim Blake / keyboards, synth
- Harvey Bainbridge / bass, backing vocals
- Ginger Baker / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Linda Curry

LP Bronze ‎- BRON 530 (1980, UK)

CD Castle Communications ‎- CLACD 129 (1987, UK)
CD Griffin Music ‎- GCD-230-2 (1994, Canada) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy HAWKWIND Levitation Music

HAWKWIND Levitation ratings distribution

(278 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

HAWKWIND Levitation reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Metal that floats?

Levitation is much tighter than any of the previously released material, and obviously takes some inspiration from the NWOBHM that was happening back then. Lemmy, who had been the mainstay from "Doremi..." up to "Warrior..." was having a huge success with the now legendary Motorhead, and the seminal "Ace Of Spades", so it was only right that his previous band should want to try and grab a slice. I'm not saying this album is heavy metal, but I do know a lot of fans of heavy metal who own this as their solitary Hawkwind album!

"Levitation" is a fine mix of heavy guitars, spacey synths - courtesy of Tim Blake, who featured on many Gong albums, and beautiful light and shade. The production is not overbearingly eighties, which helps this album remain timeless. "Levitation" is a perfectly balanced Hawkwind album, unlike any of the others - there is not one other that does not contain a rough edge or a "loose" track. If you never buy another Hawkwind album, you should buy this - especially if you like the heavier side of rock.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Uplifting, then a bit of a let down

"Levitation" starts off great, with two pounding Hawkwind classics in a row. "Motorway City" in particular literally drives along in tremendous style. The track is a lengthy, highly melodic number, with some superb instrumental work.

Thereafter, the album becomes more mundane. Some good tracks still, such as the instrumentals "World of Tiers" and "Space chase". "Who's gonna win the war" slows things down rather more than necessary, with its repetitive chant. By the time it's over, you don't really care who's going to win!

"Dust of time" rounds things off nicely with a good piece of mid-paced pop rock, featuring some excellent guitar. "Motorway City" is by far the best of the bunch though.

Another solid album by the band, nothing more (or for that matter, less).

Review by Proghead
4 stars A more polished than usual HAWKWIND, with some interesting folks on this album. Second guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton had rejoined the band (first for the 1979 tour that became the Live '79 album), after being absent for about nine years (he previously appeared on their self-entitled 1970 debut). Tim Blake from GONG is on this one (as well as on the tour that became the Live '79 album too), and he often played his own composition, "Lighthouse" during live HAWKWIND shows around this time (you can find the original "Lighthouse" off his own solo offering, Blake's New Jerusalem from 1978, and him performing that song live with HAWKWIND on the album Live '79), but the big shocker of them all is who's playing drums here: none other than ex-CREAM and BLIND FAITH drummer Ginger Baker! What an odd inclusion to say the least! "Levitation" was actually meant to be recorded with previous drummer Simon King, but he bailed out halfway through the recording, so the drum tracks were replaced by Baker.

On a side note: I heard the reason why Baker left HAWKWIND around March 1981 was he had the idea of bringing in his ex-CREAM buddy Jack Bruce to replace Harvey Bainbridge on bass (apparently Baker and Bainbridge were not on good terms), but Dave Brock didn't like the idea (some person I met once told me that Brock felt there'd be too much of that CREAM sound if Baker brought in Bruce), and Baker left, to be replaced by a returning Martin Griffin (who appeared on the Hawklords album, "25 Years On from" 1978). Tim Blake had left the band by the time "Levitation" was released because he spent too much time talking to his girlfriend on the phone, where he was left behind during one show.

Other surprise to "Levitation": The album was recorded digitally. This was back in 1980, digital recording was still in its infancy, Stevie Wonder (starting with "The Secret Life of Plants"), Ry Cooder, and a little known Canadian prog act named TRUE MYTH were all recording digitally around this time, and HAWKWIND were obvious early newcomers to this technology. That gives "Levitation" a clean sound, but at least it doesn't have that synthetic and sterile sound that you might come across with too many digital recordings a few years later (specifically the mid-1980s and onward), no big '80s drum sounds, no synthetic-sounding synthesizers here. And at least Tim Blake was still using his old Mini Moog and Synth "A" synthesizers, plus a polyphonic synth (which I believe he also used on Blake's New Jerusalem).

So what you have, thankfully, is HAWKWIND still remaining true to themselves, although this one is a bit more song-oriented than they often do, making it one of their more accessible albums. Highlights for me include "Motorway City", "World of Tiers", "Who's Gonna Win the War", "Space Chase" and "Dust of Time". "Prelude" is a cool electronic piece from Tim Blake, giving a brief example of what might have happened if he released a third solo album in 1980 (of course, Blake didn't record another solo album until 1991 with Magick). Meaning if Blake released a third solo album in '80, rather than '91, it could've ended up as a rather mindblowing album, as "Prelude" shows.

Another worthwhile album to have if you're in to HAWKWIND.

Review by slipperman
4 stars A really, really high 4. Really high.

Hawkwind's catalog is the largest of any progressive rock band, and their prolific output over 3 decades is a daunting prospect to all but the most obsessed Hawkfan. I've been able to make 15 studio albums, a couple live albums and the great Acid Daze box a part of my collection, and I certainly find some real gems in albums like 'Doremi Fasol Latido' and 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill', but if I had to choose only one Hawkwind album to live with for the rest of my life, it would be 'Levitation'. Where lots of the band's material spends too much time lazing about on spacey non-riffs, 'Levitation' is the most fully- formed material I've yet heard from this band. Aided by the earthy, grounded drumming of short-lived member Ginger Baker (yes, the Cream alum), leader Dave Brock and valuable members Harvey Bainbridge and Huw Lloyd-Langton whip together an exciting batch of tunes here. From the carefree rhythmic drive of the title track, with headphone-sizzling keyboards diving in and out, to the forlorn moments and more joyful BÍC-ish pulse of closer "Dust Of Time", there's a remarkable degree of substance track-for-track.

This is probably Hawkwind's best (if very short-lived) line-up, which included the crystalline keyboard wizardry of Gong member Tim Blake. You can see by the songwriting credits that this album benefits hugely from the contributions of Bainbridge and Lloyd-Langton. These two are responsible, jointly or separately, for album standouts like the noisy "Psychosis", centerpiece highlight "World Of Tiers" and the riveting tension of "Space Chase" (absolutely lush cosmic sounds abound from the synths and guitars here, you often can't tell which is which at times). And then Brock checks in with the slightly-too-long ride of "Motorway City" (a fine song, but the only less-than-perfect moment on the album), and the almost metallic anthem, "Who's Gonna Win The War". Propped up with a full, audiophile-pleasing production job, 'Levitation' would've only been better if the cyclic, trippy parts of "Motorway City" were expanded upon and the poppier elements would've been extracted completely. But that's a minor complaint, as this is an immensely enjoyable album all the way through, one highly recommended to fans who haven't gotten around to it yet, newcomers bewildered about where the hell to start, and even a few of you who probably won't ever love Hawkwind but want to hear the best this band can offer.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is one of the better albums that any of the good ol' progheads managed to do during the hostile 1980's. The overall feeling of the record is quite positive, levitating relaxed upon the streets of motorway city familiar from the late 1970's sci-fi illustrations. The line-up is dominated by veterans of the psychic wars, Dave Brock and Tim Blake. As a funny anecdote, Cream's Ginger Baker is playing the drums on this album too. The tracks are both clean rockers with spacey sounds and electronic audio landscapes. I guess you can get the ultimate experience by playing with your old Commodore 64 while listening to this ("Space Chase" etc.). Not as good as the dazed 1970's records, but still a good album, and it is also accessible for listeners of non-progressive music.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was more than pleasantly surprised when I heard this work of Hawkwind. I new them only through compilation "Masters of Universe" and heard several classic 70s songs and was not much impressed. "Levitation" is more polished and accessible style, still retaining the "space/heavy" sound as a guidance. It reminds me of the sound often heard on BLUE OYSTER CULT albums, which in this case means positive evaluation of early "proto/prog/metal". Tim Blake ex-GONG gives a flavour of space with his synth. Recommended.
Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Wow! What an amazing album! I knew almost all songs but never listened to them gathered together until some good soul lent me the fresh from factory CD. I heard and heard and after all I heard a little more.

The first thing that I noticed was the line-up with Ginger Baker and Tim Blake joining Dave Brock and friends to add an extra gas to the band; second was that although they still rock a lot, the ambience is less dirty and it may concern the ones who love more aseptic stuff - by the way I like those dirt ambienced rocks like Floyd's 'The Nile Song' or Beatles' 'Helter Skelter' or many Hawkwind previous material. Also the instrumentation is great, the songs are generally average to good and the arrangements plus production are fine. Probably the second best Hawkwind album - losing only to "Warrior On The Edge Of Time", their 1975 jewel.

'Levitation' opens the album splendidly, there's an aroma of good old band stuff; the dialog between bass and guitar is awesome; vocals and drums do their job finely. One of the best songs in Hawkwind's roster.

'Motorway City' is another great song, competing with the previous track for the glory of being album's best. Guitar solo is fantastic and together with keyboards suite shows clearly that they make progressive rock, however more rock than progressive but who cares; the deal is to enjoy.

'Psychosis', a short song with fair keyboard effects, starts the intermediary instrumental block, doing the transition to 'World of tiers', a hard-space rock with pretty playing by band members, which is followed by 'Prelude', another short song where sound effects return in a softer manner, connecting with the next song, 'Space chase', that keeps the overall shaking atmosphere delightfully.

'Who's gonna win the war', starts the catchy section of the album and is the closest that Hawkwind get to a ballad, but the sound is direct and steady; the softness is continued with another instrumental song, 'The 5th second of forever' which begins with fine acoustic guitar just to give room to a more agitated section, 'Dust of time', the original ending track, completes the tender climate pleasantly, good guitars and percussion, vocals accordingly, worthy keyboard effects.

The bonus track, 'Nuclear toy' is a good addition, the song begins calmly with hard drumming and odd vocals, speeding up with hard guitar and bass providing a good farewell to the album.

No eyes blinking, this album is an excellent addition to any prog or rock music collection. Total: 4.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have known Hawkwind for such a long time since I was a child. I remember vividly that one of their albums had a space craft picture as its cover. But I do not know for some reason I was not able to enjoy their music. I think their music was not compelling enough to create the need to listen to the album. I found the CD of "Levitation" album last year at secondary market. Because the price was quite cheap so I purchased the remastered edition of this album with digipak format. At first spin, the first reaction was quite similar with when I heard the first time in 1970: nothing seemed compelling from this classic space rock legend. But the more I tried to spin it, I could then enjoy the music.

The album opens with a title track "Levitation" where the music is somewhat space psychedelic like Eloy but less ambient. The keyboard solo in the middle of the track is really nice. "Motor way city" enters with less upbeat style but still maintaining the space psychedelic style. "Psychosis" starts with a sound like a space craft that is approaching to Planet Earth especially when it is combined with a narrative that sounds like people commanding the space craft. The sounds of keyboard dominate this song in unstructured way which moves seamlessly to the next track "World of tiers". This is an upbeat song with good melody and balanced combination of ambient, guitar work, drums and keyboard - all of them moves in floating way. This is good another instrumental.

"Prelude" only provides a bridge that brings us to the nice song "Who's gona win the war" with beautiful melody. The music is basically simple with floating style as the main body of the music while bass guitar provides its walking basslines combined with guitar, drums and spacey keyboard. As far as composition concerns, this is a good track with good guitar solo and bass guitar as main rhythm section that characterizes the song.

"Space chase" is another good track in faster tempo and good drums work, guitar and keyboard. The keyboard sound effects that remind to space craft journey have enriched the music, in terms of textures. The keyboard solo is really stunning and this is the best song from this album. The guitar solo that follows the keyboard is also nice. "The 5th second of forever" (from the film) starts beautifully with acoustic guitar fills. This is something different compared to other tracks in this album. The keyboard then follows with its spacey sounds followed with the full blown music in medium tempo. Again, guitar provides good melody during the singing part. The guitar solo that follows is stunning but unfortunately short and it's fading out when the acoustic guitar returns back. "Dust of Time" concludes the album with a medium tempo music using space psychedelic as main style and, as usual, keyboard provides spacey and ambient styles.

Overall, it's a good space psychedelic rock music.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Ginger Baker on drums with "Hawkwind". What a good surprise!

The sound of this album is very close to heavy rock (more than psychedelic by all means). The title track "Levitation" sounding even somewhat punkish ("Souxiee & The Banshees") while the chorus of "Motorway City" reminds me of "Suicide City" from the great "Doctors Of Madness. The instrumental and repetitive part is also very effective. Great beat, that's for sure.

The band is doing some incursion in the spacey repertoire they are more known for, but there is hardly anything interesting to catch during the 2'22" of "Psychosis" to be honest. Some noises, that's all. Fortunately, the pleasant "World Of Tiers" comes at the rescue. Superbly melodic to start, the song evolve into a great and upbeat rhythm.

Another short and spacey one : "Prelude" is not as bad as "Psychosis". A short version of some great "Tangerine Dream" tracks. Convincing.

You can hear and (almost) feel all the drum power during "Space Chase". Another dynamic & mighty track featuring some Emerson-like synth sounds. Ginger is just fantastic during this track. He is such a great drummer, no wonder about that. Wild, wild, wild.

In terms of quality, this album is well in line with most of their works so far. Nice to listen to but be aware that this one is on the hard edge of the scope (even if some excellent acoustic guitar can be heard in "The Fifth Second Of Forever"). The solid closing number is particularly brilliant during the second second (guitar solo is really excellent). A fine way to close after all (especially during the instrumental sections).

A good album, that's for sure. Three stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Lift off!

Finally, Hawkwind put priority on music over drugs, melody over beat, sound over noise. This album has everything most of the earlier Hawkwind albums completely lacked - memorable songs, good musicianship, melodic sensibilities, good production, even some decent lyrics are featured! All this puts Levitation far above all other Hawkwind albums (that I have heard so far, anyway).

Huw Lloyd-Langton's lead guitar work is strong throughout and there are even some discrete acoustic guitars parts present! The acoustic intro/outro of The 5th Second Of Forever is particularly worthy of special mention. The drumming on this album is by none other than Ginger Baker and his contribution is miles away from the repetitive and often unimaginative drumming of the early Hawkwind albums. Tim Blake's keyboards are mainly spacy, but sometimes he manages to be somewhat symphonic too. The bass guitar is also well played but the vocals are perhaps not very impressive, but nothing here is sloppy like it was on those early albums. This was a short lived, but musically successful line up of the band.

The title track, Motorway City, Who's Gonna Win The War, The 5th Second Of Forever and Dust Of Time are the proper songs of the album, the rest being instrumental interludes. Space Chase really lives up to its title and is the best of the instrumentals here, but none of them are bad at all.

This is one of the very few Hawkwind albums that I like, but it is a great one!

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Levitation sits right next to Warrior in the circle of excellent Hawkwind albums. The excessive improvisations had been stripped from their studio albums for a few years already and this album is no exception. But the new wave influences from the 77-79 years have gone and Hawkwind returned to their known space rock sound. So what you get is a set of short songs strung together with short interludes and spacey instrumentals.

With only 37 minutes it is of course very short for modern standards but because there aren't any weak tracks, it's just enough to be enjoyable. The title track is the best known, exists in countless live versions and must be covered by many bands (a very good version of Amorphis comes to mind). Motorway City opens with that instantly recognizable trademark Hawkwind riff. A three-chord progression spread over 4 bars with that typical strumming cadence going taa-dada-dada-dada-... Simple but effective. Who's Gonna Win the War is a bit of a drag but the chorus is too catchy to ignore. The high point is kept till the end. The last batch of songs form almost one coherent track with lots of spacey grooves and melodies. Too bad The Fifth Second is so short; it had the potential for at least twice its length.

Not as essential as Space Ritual, Warrior On The Edge of Time or Quark Strangeness and Charm, but close to them in quality. Unfortunately, it turned out to be for the last time that they achieved that on a studio album for the rest of their carreer.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars 4.5 stars. I'm a huge fan of the HAWKWIND period from "In Search Of Space" to "Warrior On The Edge Of Time". "Levitation" is an album i've known about for years, I just haven't been able to find it until it was just recently re-issued.This has to be the most accessible yet heaviest HAWKWIND album out there. What a blast ! My only concern is that I might tire of it too quickly, hence the 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars. We'll see. Of note Robert Calvert is gone, while Tim Blake (GONG) and Ginger Baker (CREAM, BLIND FAITH) have jumped on board.

"Levitation" is just too catchy and I really mean that. It's uptempo and I like the sound of the guitar, especially during the prolonged instrumental section. "Motor Way City" is such a feel good track for me. It opens with pleasing guitar followed by vocals. I like the guitar solo before 3 1/2 minutes as they jam to the end. "Psychosis" features lots of powerful atmosphere as spoken words arrive. It turns spacey late with electronics. "World Of Tiers" has this spacey intro which is replaced quickly by a great sounding soundscape. The drumming and bass are outstanding here as the guitar plays over top. It settles down before kicking back in. "Prelude" is a short intro with spacey winds and electronics.

"Who's Gonna Win The War" has a darker sound to it as vocals join in. Nice guitar before a minute and later 2 1/2 minutes in. A powerful message here. "Space Chase" opens with electronics which are joined quickly by an uptempo instrumental assault. "The 5th Second Of Forever (From The Film)" features acoustic guitar and spacey sounds early. It kicks in after a minute as vocals join in.This is so good ! It ends as it began. "Dust Of Time" opens with guitar that again sounds incredible. Vocals join in. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes then builds.That great sounding guitar from earlier is back 5 minutes in joined by vocals.

This will sit proudly with my other favourite HAWKWIND albums. A must !

Review by Warthur
4 stars With Ginger Baker joining on drums and Tim Blake temporarily bringing his exceptional synthesiser skills back to the Hawkwind mothership, Levitation is something of a comeback album for Hawkwind following the muddled circumstances of the end of their stint with Charisma. Bringing back the heavy guitar and bass-driven songs of the classic Hawkwind sound to an extent not heard since Warrior on the Edge of Time, the album is a reasonable reminder of what made Hawkwind great back in those glory days.

With a much greater focus on instrumentals as opposed to the sparse vocals, the lyrical focus of the Robert Calvert-fronted albums of the past four years give way to a re-establishment of the band's original musical vision in some respects, though this is fused at the hip with a standard of production and new synthesiser toys that early Hawkwind could have only dreamed of. Most Hawkwind fans would be well advised to give it a listen, particularly if they were turned off by the band's direction on albums such as Quark, Strangeness and Charm or PXR5. Be warned, however, that it may take a while to grow on you - it did me - and you shouldn't overlook the instrumentals; Space Chase, for instance, is an exciting piece which gets much of its energy from a rip-roaring drum performance by Ginger Baker.

Of all the various editions that have been put out there, the 3CD Atomhenge remaster would seem to be the best value, since it offers as a bonus the most complete official release so far of the legendary Lewisham Odeon gig from the Levitation tour - which had otherwise been chopped up and distributed among compilations like Zones or Anthology, with a chunk used as the basis of most of This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Levitation" typifies the new direction for Hawkwind who would enter the 80s with spacey rock and a retro sound.

There are still weird effects and catchy hooks and Brock's accomplished vocals but what makes this new era for Hawkwind stand out is that the musicianship goes up a few notches. Gone are the chug a chug repeated rhythms to make way for complex lead guitar soloing and more accessible riffing. The keyboards are played brilliantly by Gong's Tim Blake, and Bainbridge and Lloyd-Langton are excellent throughout. Ginger Baker on drums is definitely a drawcard; the man is an umitigated legend and he lends his expertise on every track.

'Levitation' is a rocker with infectious chorus and crunching riffs that features on many compilations. 'Motorway City' is one of the more popular songs sounding somewhat like Motorhead though I prefer the spacier Hawkwind.

'Psychosis' begins with a spaceship effect and some voice overs typical of a space flight, then after some psychedelia the riff starts. Baker's drums pound relentlessly and there is a delightful sound on acoustics. 'World of Tiers' continues in this vein until we come to the fantastic next track. 'Who's Gonna Win the War' is an outstanding song that I first heard on a rock box set and I loved it enough to get hold of this album. Brock sounds great and it has a catchy melody with spacey overtones. The bassline is terrific and the guitar solo soars along with the wind effects.

'Space Chase' is an amazing composition with space squibbles and very inventive keyboards soloing over blazing guitars. This is Hawkwind at their best and makes this one album that keeps getting better the more it continues. As an instrumental it delivers some of the best musicianship of the extensive Hawkwind catalogue.

'The 5th Second of Forever' begins with acoustic vibrations and lets loose with intensity. 'Dust of Time' has a wonderful melody and driving guitars. It is one of the best for Hawkwind with a memorable tune and some of Brock's best work on vocals. The lead guitar break is a real treat and very atmospheric keyboards augment the soundscape. Overall "Levitation" is one of Hawkwind's best releases and certainly is most consistent in terms of memorable songs and innovative structures and arrangements.

Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars Things can take turn, I'll tell you. Before Leviation came into my world I couldn't fathom the pehenomenon named Hawkwind. Murky, insane and provided me with a quite frankly uneasy listening experience. Apart from the odd track here and there I just couldn't come to grips with nigh on anything they'd recorded. But I do love Hawkwind, don't get me wrong. I do. It's just that I don't understand them. At least that was the case until I discovered Levitation and everything changed. Well, to a degree. I started out with the knowledge of the first half of the 70's and continued with the latter, with little success I can tell you. I kind of liked the latter part of the 70's but I wasn't all that amused. The 80's, however, proved me wrong on all accounts. Hawkwind are more than just murky space rock/psychedelia or new wave inspired trolls, they are extraordinary.

I'm surprised, really. I wasn't at all prepared for the content of "Levitation". Despite their gradual transformation during the 70's my expectations were low. Was I surprised? I sure was. The songs on "Levitation" differ but not too much from the sounds of the Hawk, yet enough to appeal to me. Why is that? Maybe it's because of the chilly nature of the early 80's that breaks through in the music? Or is it because the band seem so focused and inspired? That the songs are excellent pieces of progressive) music? It's all above, I must say, plus the fact that the songs hit really hard. The keyboards are the most prominent thing of admiration for me, being a keys-addict. "Levitiation" is probably Hawkwind's, IMHO, most enjoyable album. Spacey, focused, hard-hitting and fun! It has become a favorite of mine. Just like that. The thing is, which someone wrote in another review, Hawkwind grows on you. It's rare that an album stays with me over a period of several months, constantly being listened to and thought of in awe. All combined makes me unable to rate the album in any other way than 5 stars.

Finally, is Levitation an essential part of every prog-fans collection. Hmm... I couldn't say. I guess that it's an essential part in a collection where space rock, prog and hard rock all reside. Take my word for it, Levitation is an amazing album and in my opinion one of the best that ever was made. Simple as that.

(As a note I'd like to add that I am one of the lucky few who own the 3-disc deluxe edition of the album. Apart from the album itself it contains bonus material from the archives PLUS a wonderful live recording from Lewisham, 18 december 1980. Of special interest on that night, I think, is the live version of Death trap. Now, in it's original form it's merely an okay track but here, unleashed with fury it's uttelry brilliant with thundering bass and storming drums from mr. Baker himself. Beautiful! If you are able to find the deluxe edition, do not hesitate. Buy it. I urge you.)

Review by Modrigue
4 stars New Wave of British Space Metal

4.5 stars

Wow. What a metamorphosis and an unexpected good surprise!

With "Levitation", HAWKWIND really embraces the new spirit of the 80's. Dave Brock used the best of what this controversial decade has to offer to refresh the band's musical style: heavy metal, catchy synthesizers, urgency and energy. No more stoner psychedelic rock or lengthy improvisations, the tracks are now shorter, more direct and more concise. There will be no turning back. However, this 1980 opus really provides varying ambiances, as it alternates aggressive, peaceful, rock and electronic passages. In fact, nearly half of the disc is instrumental! But, most important, the inspiration and novelty are present. The production has also improved and the sound quality is great.

New decade, new line-up. Robert Calvert gone, Dave Brock is the only original member remaining and thus goes back to lead singing. Ginger Baker and especially ex-GONG and solo keyboardist Tim Blake join the band. "Levitation" also marks the surprising return of guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, his last apparition dates from the self- titled 1970 debut! Ex-"HAWKWLORDS" Harvey Bainbridge is recruited at bass.

The title track is simply a space metal hymn. Catchy, bombastic, with various guitar and keyboards, it really rocks! A classic from the Hawks! The aerial "Motorway City" is a softer pleasant rock piece, showing that the band has truly embraced the eighties. "Psychosis" is a strange short experimental passage composed by Harvey Bainbridge. It serves as an introduction for the thundering "World Of Tiers". A surprising instrumental composition, as it alternates powerful space metal and calmer moments.

"Prelude" is another peaceful electronic ambient transition for "Who's Gonna Win The War". Average melody, not many variations, this lazy song is the only weak track of the record. On the contrary, the instrumental "Space Chase" is another mighty ferocious space metal gem. Mindblowing! "The Fifth Second Of Forever" opens with a delicate acoustic guitar introduction, and then unveils a cool space rock ballad, in the style of "Hall Of The Mountain Grill". "Dust Of Time" adopts a rhythm and bass line similar to PINK FLOYD's "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2", but for a futuristic musical purpose. Coupled with a robotic ambiance and a punchy melody, the final result is quite unique, even in the band's discography. Love it!

"Levitation" is full of classics and truly provides a journey to cosmos through various musical galaxies. One more time, Dave Brock proves his band is still on par with its time while maintaining and adapting its identity. After the audacious but unequal late 70's experimentations of the Calvert-era/punk-years, this 1980 opus genuinely represents HAWKWIND's rebirth. The spaceship is fully ready to venture into the eighties, which have been fatal for so many progressive bands. With Captain Brock leading, the passengers are completely reassured.

"Levitation" marks the beginning of the Hawks' second life in the eighties, which can be considered as their silver or heavy metal years. One the best HAWKWIND albums, and the best from the 80's! A space metal classic.

Review by friso
4 stars Hawkwind - Levitation (1980)

If you like more traditional symphonic progressive music - and you want to buy just one Hawkwind record - I think I would recommend this one.

On this record the compositions are way more intricate and advanced then on all other Hawkwind records. A great variety of themes, inspired solo's and a broad sound pallet for both guitars and synths. The record reminded me a bit of the better work of Solaris. Flexible, adventurous and free - almost as if jamming, but more intelligent.

Of course a Hawkwind record will never be perfect. Take for instance the poor vocals of David Brock on most songs, the flawed disco bass on Motorway City and the loss of direction on some of the later songs on the album. Still, I doesn't matters much. This band sounds like it is on fire! Seldom will you hear a more enthusiastic symphonic progressive rock album. Is it because of the drums of ex-Cream Ginger Baker? Perhaps the rivalry between the guitars of Huw Lloyd-Langton and David Brock? I don't know but it feels right. Perhaps forming a new Hawkwind for a new age, without Robert Calvert, gave a lot to think about. I do know a band will never be much better then its drummer and Baker's contribution might be bigger then just listening to the album can reveal.

After this record the band would enter it's troublesome eighties with only Chronicle of the Black Sword as a slight return to form. It would take until Electric Tepee before the band would ever set eyes on making a fine quality record like this one.

Conclusion. Levitation is one of Hawkwinds best and most uplifting & refined records. Furthermore, it is well suited for the symphonic prog audiences that reside here. Thus, a four star rating can't be denied. Perhaps I will make if five one day.

Latest members reviews

2 stars From 1980, this Hawkwind release has never appealed to me. I know many fans enjoy it, but, to me, it seems flat and listless. Lots of chugging rhythms and songs that sound alike. The title song is ok as are moments of a few other song, but overall, I can't remember what I heard minutes afterward ... (read more)

Report this review (#646035) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, March 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If only Hawkwind could have achieved this level of sophistication and songwriting prowess more frequently... This was one of my first introductions to Hawkwind, and given its consistent songwriting and rock-solid musicianship from beginning to end, led me to believe that their earliest period ... (read more)

Report this review (#248475) | Posted by Area70 | Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of Hawkwind finest albums and not at all bad. This LP also features both Tim Blake Ex-gong and Crystal Machine and Ginger Baker. Tim adds his wonderful sound to this recording. Sadly I only caught Tim's final gig with Hawkwind and he certainly was not pulling his weight that night why he l ... (read more)

Report this review (#92052) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although not my favourite prog band this album is a true delight. Tight, dynamic and wonderfully well produced. Ginger Baker is outstanding on drums, almost reminiscent of Neil Peart at his best. Rush fans should listen to this album. Motorway City is a must hear. ... (read more)

Report this review (#25524) | Posted by maciek | Wednesday, October 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This disc is a close 2nd to "Hall" and remains on my essential intro list for converts ! Follow the tree back to The Cream then forward to Mountain, or maybe Gong and the RadioActors leading to Steve Hillage... this album always starts a heated debate amongst my mates. Levitation came out as ... (read more)

Report this review (#25523) | Posted by | Thursday, October 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Back in the days before quantity won over quality (103 albums listed here!) Levitation was the last in a run of 5 star output from Hawkwind throughout the 70's. Levitation saw Gongs keyboard maestro, Tim Blake, Cream's drummer Ginger Baker and original guitarist Huw Loyd Langton join up to collabera ... (read more)

Report this review (#25520) | Posted by | Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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