Church of Hawkwind Atomhenge reissue
Chats & Interviews <|> Gig/Tour/Festival Reviews <|> CD/DVD/Book Reviews <|> Photo Galleries
Free Hawkwind Downloads <|> Resources <|> Other Features
News <|> Links <|> Search <|> Site Map <|> Home
A single CD this time, with 5 bonus tracks, and the original running order of the album restored.  It was
very rare that you could level a criticism at Griffin Records, but their odd resequencing of the tracks, and
interdiction of three non-contemporaneous bonus numbers on their 1994 CD (re)issue of the 1982 (vinyl)
album, was in retrospect, misconceived.  (And completely overrode the designation of the two sides of the
vinyl album as "Space" and "Fate".) Thank you, Atomhenge, for correcting this.  And for improving on the
overall tone of the original recording, which always had a slightly muted, distant, withdrawn feel to it.  The
new issue has more presence, if not quite the layer of upper frequency sparkle that would have made it
perfect.

So far, then, Atomhenge live up to their own previously set high standards.  Though they missed correcti
ng
the graphics credit from John Coultart and "Tim" to "¦Nick Randles".  (See
The Nick Randles Gallery for
colour versions of some of these illustrations, and some interesting background
...)

The track I've always enjoyed most on this album is Looking in the Future and I'm reminded again just how
compelling it is.  Nuclear Drive is also a classic, but this album was Hawkwind's first step in a direction that
I merely like OK rather than love - electronica, if you like.   One of the problems with Hawkwind comes
from them having more than one string to their bow, and some subsequent albums never hung together all
that well due to the disparity of the electronic synth numbers alongside forceful slabs of blanga.  But this
isn't an issue with Church of Hawkwind, which formed a coherent whole when first released, and has stood
the test of time well.

The first bonus track, with an effected backing vocal in the mid-distance, is an extended version of Angel
Voices.  It works better at this length but is still a bit thud-and-blunder (cf. the blood and thunder of
Looking in the Future.
..)   But it segues smoothly into Harvey's Sequence, long plaintive washes of synth
underpinning a Stonehenge-Decoded-style arpeggiatior.  This fades out with a gentle choral pulse, before
The Fall Of Earth City fades in :“ it's billed as an alternate version with Harvey Bainbridge vocal.  It too
sounds like an extended take.  Harvey's vocal reading is excellent, as he doesn't overplay the image-saturated
lyrics.  (Sometimes his hectoring can make you feel as though he
's the headmaster addressing assembly at a
special school!)  After the span of years, and greater familiarity with what Harvey's done away from
Hawkwind, the realisation slowly dawns that he makes a very considerable contribution to the sonic flavour
of this album.  Huw Lloyd-Langton, however is also present and weaves in and out of Harvey
's texturings
and Dave Brock
's psychedelic rhythm guitar grooves on "Water Music (Light Specific Data) (demo)" as it
says in the booklet.  It does have an underwater quality to it, actually.  It
's the one that concludes with the
splashing of oars, alone on a chill, darkening ocean.

The final bonus track is entitled "Looking in the Future / Virgin Of The World".  Thus far is it is a less
exalted version of the definitive version of L.i.t.F that concluded the original album, and continues in exactly
the same format before almost fading out into monotonal synth, into which fades.
..Virgin Of the World.  
The booklet doesn't *say* it is crossfaded, but that
's how the ear perceives this juxtaposition after being so
used to hearing these two tracks as separate.  In fact, Mark Powell's excellent sleeve notes point out that
this is the way it was originally intended.  Anyway, it concludes proceedings here, and notable by their
absence, perhaps, are the three tracks that Griffin included in their first CD release of this album.  Mists of
Meriden, Identimate and Damage of Life have been identified as Dave Brock solo tracks dating from the
early 90's, and they will apparently appear on future Atomhenge titles in more appropriate company.  I think
it was the right call to have done that.

This reissue, like others that Atomhenge have released, manages to retain the thematic flow, sound and feel
of the original album by perfecting the selection of bonus tracks, from recordings laid down in the same
sessions as produced the final album.  (Being mostly electronic, these bonus tracks sounds almost as rich as
the main fare on offer).  It is this quality that makes Atomhenge's Church of Hawkwind the definitive issue
of a solid, quality album.  8/10.
The photo above shows the packaging; the inside of the booklet reproduces the Hawkwind Lyric Book
that was sold on official merchandise stands on early 80's tours.