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Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 349 ratings

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5 stars It's 1972, and Hawkwind has only a mere 3 albums. I wonder if they knew how long their legacy would go on. Most of their albums charted in the UK, while only two did in the US. Their UK success is what kept them going, for better or worse. But, lets not get ahead of ourselves. The time we're interested in, in our fancy little aluminum foil space-time capsule is 1972, and the band at the time were mere fledglings, well, pretty much.

Their third album, "Doremi Fasol Latido" would basically be the one to really kick off their string of great albums. Even though their previous album saw them hit number 18 on the UK charts, this album would raise that number a few notches, and a lot of the reason for the increasing popularity was bringing in two new members of the band; Lemmy on bass (who of course would go on to become the lead singer for Motorhead), and Simon King on drums. Most people know that Lemmy's time with the band was short (only until 1975), but King would end up being a regular member for quite a while (until 1980), however, this line-up would be mostly responsible for the band's best albums. Another newbie to the band was Robert Calvert, who contributed with occasional vocals and such through the history of the band. He would not be on every album, but was sort of a guest star who would appear from time to time hereafter. Beyond this, we have as returning members, Dave Brock, the one main staple of the band through the years, on guitars and most lead vocals; Nik Turner (who stayed until 1984 with a temporary break between '76 and '82) on sax flute and vocals; Dik Mik (or Michael Davies who stayed until 1973) on synth and Del Dettmar (who left the band in 1974) on synth. The band was only in for 3 albums thus far, and already they were in a state of constant flux. But for the time being, they were relatively stable.

Lemmy thought he was to replace the previous 2nd guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton when he came into the band, but Brock decided he would be the only guitarist, so Lenny took the bassist position when the old bass player failed to show up. Lemmy got thrown into the band hardly even knowing what a bass guitar was, and said he just treated it like a "deep guitar". King, on the other hand, had a different drumming style than the previous drummer, as King had a more rock style where Ollis, the previous drummer, was more of a jazz style.

The album was recorded in a barn and the band used mattresses on the walls to make it all more "studio-like". Tapes from long jam sessions were made and then were cut up and spliced together to make a track out of it while other overdubs were made to put it all together or joined together by synthesizer riffs. The original version of the album had 7 tracks, 3 on side one and 4 on side two. When the remastered CD came out, 4 bonus tracks were added to this.

The album starts out with the epic space rock classic "Brainstorm" written by Nik Turner. Nik was known as the member that provided the best jam tunes and sessions. The track was originally made for a live appearance on the Johnnie Walker show and has since been changed often for live shows and re-recorded in various forms, but has remained a staple for concerts at almost every show. Starting with the usual echoing vocals, this original studio version is a bit rough, but that is the sound that the band would become famous for, the long, one-chord space jams with a guitar riff supporting improvised guitar and synth riffs. The track ends up taking up more than half of the first side of the album. If you want to hear the beginnings of space rock from the band that made it popular, this is the track to hear. "Space is Deep" is written by Brock with lyrics based on a poem called "Black Corridor", which is written by the band's go-to author Michael Moorcock. For the vocal sections of the track, both Brock and Lemmy provide acoustic guitars and vocals while spacey effects swirl around. As the song goes into the long instrumental section, the entire band comes in for another electronic space jam. In the track, the electric guitars slowly take over the acoustics, and we enter into a two-chord rock-out psychedelic jam, this time much shorter than the previous track, and then the acoustics fade back in retaining some odd guitar effects before tying the track together. This side ends with a short instrumental keyboard track by Del Dettmar.

For the 2nd side of the album, the next 3 tracks are all written by Brock. It starts with the eerie sounds of the 7 minute "Lord of Light" which soon finds its footing with a heavy guitar and bass riff that eventually bring in the vocals, complete with the usual echo effects. This track would become a single which was released in Germany. In the single edit, the time is cut almost in half, retaining mostly the vocal sections, which were more radio friendly than the long jam which includes the heavy guitars and some nice flute riffage by Turner. As is the case with most of Hawkwind's tracks, none of the instruments stick out as the soloing instruments are usually mixed evenly with the background creating that space rock wall of sound. At the time, this style was rather unheard of in the US and went against everything that was popular there. Now, however, it is the style that the many space rock bands rely on.

"Down Through the Night" continues the previous track, but breaks down the sound wall a bit with another acoustic performance surrounded by spacey effects and flute swashes. Regular vocals with reversed vocal effects layered in come in later. Another space jam follows with the almost 9 minute "Time We Left This World Today". A heavy guitar riff is established and repeated while almost chanted vocals repeat over and over with a sort of call and answer between Brock and the band. This track pushes forward in a relentless heavy walking tempo, and various sax and flute sounds are thrown in. The whole thing comes together in a funky, guitar scratching miasma of sound that is more psychedelic and experimental while the vocalists continue to shout out indiscernible words. The shouts finally quit and the band continues with its jam. This is the heaviest track on the album and at times it becomes quite intense with the guitars and the bass fighting for top spot here. The last track on the original album is "The Watcher", the first track written by Lemmy for Hawkwind. This one is quite psychedelic sounding, though it is much quieter as it consists of Lemmy singing and playing acoustic. He would later re- record the track with Motorhead.

The CD reissue then adds 4 bonus tracks to the album starting with the UK single "Urban Guerrilla", which was written and sung by Calvert. Since the lyrics at the time were quite controversial, the single was pulled after 3 weeks. The song ended up creating an urban legend that Nik Turner's flat was raided searching for bombs, but the raid ended up having to do with some motorcycle club members wanted for murder. The song is a great rocker and definitely add to the album. So does the B-side to this non-album single, "Brainbox Pollution" and both of these tracks fit on the album nicely. This B-side has a longer instrumental section and features layers of sax along with the guitars. The "Lord of Light" single mix is next and this version trims off about half of the original version. Last, but not least is a previously unreleased version of "Ejection".

This is one case when the added tracks on the reissue makes a great Hawkwind album even better, where the added material is all as good or better than the material on the original album. Overall, however, this is Hawkwind at its best as the band works together and will continue to do so for several years after. This album marks the beginning of their best output, the years when they were at their best and when their music would have the most influence. This is a definite must have for space rock lovers and for Hawkwind lovers, plus it is a valuable album as far as being an influential record even today.

TCat | 5/5 |


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