|Hawkwind CD Singles
What's so special about CD singles as opposed to the vinyl variety? Well, in Hawkwind's case they're an
often overlooked part of one's collection - and where most of the older singles have been incorporated as
bonus tracks into CD reissues of older albums, this isn't necessarily the case with the CD singles they've
released (sparingly) over the last 10 years or so. Indeed, a number of these singles contain tracks that are
Contributed reviews are always welcome - email me here if you can help! Thanks to Harry Thomson
for answering the call - the first review here, of the Spirit Of The Age Solstice Remixes, is a much
appreciated contribution from him...
Quark Strangeness & Charm CD single - 1994
I believe this was Hawkwind's first release on the
Emergency Broadcast System label. In a sign of
the times, it contains one new techno track by the
Brock / Davey / Chadwick trio, one remake of an
old number, and two remixes by trance merchants
Astralasia. The CD kicks off with their first
treatment of Uncle Sam's On Mars, which is
subtitled "Red Planet Radio Mix". It's OK as these
things go, thudding drum machine and bubbling
synth sequences all but disguising the actual song.
Only Bob Calvert's distant vocal, shrouded in
reverb and mixed low, confirms the material on
the verses. The choruses push the ensemble
vocals higher in the mix, but this treatment really
loses what Uncle Sam's On Mars is all about:
Decide Your Future - 1994
This "limited edition" seems still to be available and
clocks in at 24:19. It pretty much follows the
format of the Quark CD single in having two proper
Hawkwind tracks and two more which have been
remixed, that is, have had dance stuff added to
them and possibly thereby been ruined, depending
on your viewpoint.
The two unaffected tracks are Right To Decide,
from 1992's Electric Tepee album, and The
Camera That Could Lie from IITBOTFTBD
(1993). The latter was already a recycling of
'Living On A Knife Edge' rearranged to a faux
reggae vibe. As I indicated above, this isn't the
version of Hawkwind that I like, but my opinions
are worth no more than anyone else's, so who
Love In Space - 1997
What a difference from the early 90's Hawkwind, in thrall to
rave as they then were. Although the title cut is from the
otherwise 'orrible Distant Horizons album, it ties in better
with its 1995 predecessor 'Alien 4', for showing that
Hawkwind in the 1990's could still carve out nuggets of top
quality space rock. Though this is not what you would call a
rocky number, being instead a beautiful celestial ballad.
Although there are 9 different versions of this song out there,
and this wasn't the first, it is the definitive one to my way of
Lord of Light I ought to like nearly as much, as it's my
favourite Hawkwind song, but this I regret to say is but a
Pink Floyd Encyclopaedia CD - 1998
The sum total of Hawkwind's recorded
output for 1998 was this 2-track CD given
away free with 'The Pink Floyd
Encyclopaedia' by Vernon Fitch. Which
was an execrable book, by the way, unless
you happen to be as obsessed with the
Floyd as I am with Hawkwind - and even
then the storyline leaves something to be
desired... But never mind the book, the CD
starts off with Hawkwind's cover of
Interstellar Overdrive and actually it's
bloody good. Much heavier and more
bludgeoning than the original, the sound in
use is a classic Hawkwind blend of distorted
guitar, pulsing bass, drums and twittering
synths. I suspect that my copy has a
mastering fault since it's very dark and
muffled sounding. And guess what, a 3rd
edition of the book is coming out, again with
shorn of the lyrical impact and faded out after less than three minutes, it's really only of minor interest.
The remake of Quark Strangeness and Charm will be familiar to everyone who's heard the Business
Trip live album, as it was on that, slightly remixed from this rendition and with added audience noise: but
for all practical purposes, this is the same version. The same riff runs throughout the song of course,
and here it's slowed down to a dirgelike pace on the verses and pumped up on the choruses. Soundwise
it would fit on the Electric Tepee album as being fairly lushly instrumentated (is that a word I just made
up?) - but I'll stick with the original Bob Calvert version, thank you very much.
Now, Black Sun is the Brock / Davey / Chadwick track that's unavailable elsewhere and it's a pounding
slice of techno with relentless, pitiless drums and not that much else to hold them up. Unversed as I am
in this style of music I can't even tell you if it's *good* techno or not (I suspect not) - but it probably
functions better as dancefloor fodder than as listening material. The synths twitter and swoop somewhat
menacingly but there's no structure to this, by nature of what it is - it just doesn't go anywhere, over the
space of nine and a half minutes. I must be too old.
Uncle Sam's On Mars (Martian Conquest Mix) is Astralasia's second and last contribution to this EP and
has slightly more cosmic sounding synth parts than the opening cut, but vastly more pumped up drum
machine parts - the overall effect is to move this from trance to techno. This version does the same
quiet verse / loud chorus thing as the Red Planet Radio mix, and Calvert's lyrics are still inaudible.
However where this is an improvement is that it's drawn out to its full length of nearly seven minutes,
and thus revives some of the epic quality of Hawkwind's original. Brock's guitar is even audible on the
"He's looking for life" section, and so I guess this just about qualifies as a "remix" despite being totally
dominated by the bits Astralasia have added on, i.e. 90's digital synth and hammering drum machine.
Coming from the angle of being someone who most likes the 70's albums, this CD single strikes me as
being not much cop - but there are as many Hawkwinds as there are fans, and those who appreciate the
dance angle wll be fond of this.
There follows a remix of Right To Decide (Radio Edit Mix) by Alien Prophets, whoever they are or
were. It's a more faithful portrayal of the original in that the vocals and some of the original synth
backing remain in situ. What's been added is a minimalistic bass part and fairly sparse drum track. I
appreciate the lack of brain-haemorrhage-inducing pounding, but this comes up very short in comparison
to the original: which was itself hailed as drum'n'bass at the time IIRC, despite the predominance of
guitar. This remix is robbed of the apparent pace and excitement of the original, with having so much of
the arrangement stripped away and replaced by the limp dance noodlings. In fact it's had almost all the
life sucked out of it.
Assassin, another remix by Astralasia, is basically "Space Is Their Palestine" and loses some of the
drone-like quality of the original, replacing it with pumping synth and drum machine of course. This I
am inclined to prefer to Hawkwind's own take on this song - again it would work better on the dance
floor than in an armchair.
What 'Decide Your Future' decides for me is that Hawkwind are incomparably superior to their
technohead imitators. Which is where I started out from, so no surprises there, then.
shadow of the versions to be found on Doremi Fasol Latido and the Space Ritual album. I believe the
version on this EP is from a soundcheck on the 1995 'Spirit Of The Age' tour, but I could be wrong. In
terms of intent it harks back to the classic renditions -Alan Davey does a brilliant job of recreating
Lemmy's convoluted basslines- but the thrashy edge gives it a bit of a throwaway quality, and I suppose
it was the trio that recorded this - the slimline roster of musicians doesn't reproduce the fullness of
Hawkwind circa 1972, particularly in an improvised live setting like this.
Sonic Attack is an interesting rendition, possibly the most distinctive ever. Calvert's original vocal from
the definitive Space Ritual version is meshed with a more modern and accomplished-sounding pulsing
soundtrack. This succeeds where the 1981 remake failed - IMHO Calvert's psychotic vocalisations are
absolutely essential to the success of this track. This is threatening where the 1981 effort was merely
A jolly good thing to own, then, this EP :-)
22/9/2005 - here's some extra detail courtesy of Mark Coggins:
"The promo version of the Love in Space single - although the CD content was identical to retail version
already covered it had different artwork (CD and slipcase) and confirmed that the Lord of Light was
recorded on the Alien 4 tour. As with the retail version it mentions that this version of Love in Space
was remixed by Zeus B. Held and Matt Dietrich."
the free CD and this time a new 3rd track is going to be added - so I'll probably get to replace my muffled
copy. The second track here is Hyperdrive Reprise and the title suggests it's Hawkwind's own
composition, as inspired by Interstellar Overdrive. It's nowhere near as pacey and driven, falling instead
into the general category of 90's Hawkwind electronica. There's one of those warped kon-tiki beats
overlaid with synths suffering a nervous breakdown, and a kind of generic Hawkwind riff of the
one-step-up-two-steps-down variety. It does at least have some guitar in it, which is enough to make this
a superior example of the genre: but best of all, the song fades out at 4 minutes, and then comes roaring
back in gloriously with the Interstellar Overdrive riff, just like Floyd's original did after all that loopy stuff
in the middle. A pity the Captain did not see fit to emulate Syd Barrett's brilliant bit of panning in the
outro; that would have really been the icing on the cake.
This CD shows what a missed opportunity it was that Hawkwind didn't do more in 1998. Terrific.
Post Script: the 3rd edition's extra track is another Hawkwind cover of an early Pink Floyd song, A
Saucerful of Secrets. It's instrumental, powered by a pumping synth-bass / drum machine styling.
Drum'n'bass, in fact, with a litany of space noises, synths and vocal samples, to make it a typical 90's
Hawkwind. Which doesn't resemble early Pink Floyd in the slightest. This isn't as good as Hyperdrive
Reprise, which wasn't as good as Interstellar Overdrive. Please, no 4th edition.
Hawkfest 2002 Sampler CD - released 2003
Another one that was more of a promotional item
than a true CD single, but I'll count it because it is
limited to 4 tracks, only one of which is by
Hawkwind. That's the opener, Night Of The
Hawks, and it starts out with a bit of Earth Calling
and some characteristically celestial keyboard
contributions from Tim Blake. Then the drums
ease in, and the song moves into Night Of The
Hawks: however, it's a much lighter, airier
arrangement than the original version to be found
on the 1984 Earth Ritual EP. This incarnation of
Hawkwind included Simon House in addition to
Tim Blake, and they tended to play a bit lighter to
leave space for his sublime musicianship, I think.
However, Hawkwind are also masters of dynamics
and this steadily ramps up, with Brock playing some superb driving rhythm guitar which really emerges at
around the six minute mark, powering this track along and hauling the rest of the band with him. Tim
Blake also shines with some twinkling keyboard parts, and here and there both he and Simon (violin) are
going for it simultaneously - ahhh: this is what we came for! Tim also predominates on the drawn-out
'quiet bit' which is a cosmic two-chord affair that could have mutated into 'Spirit Of The Age' but instead
gives us a bit of Tim's virtual lead guitar, followed by a bit of *actual* lead guitar from the Captain. After
a minute or so more of this, we come back for a final verse / chorus / refrain, which rounds this track off
to a satisfyingly lengthy 13:49. They don't make 'em like that any more. (Well, Hawkwind do...)
Intro by Connecting Routes is next - this is pleasant old school British reggae, with a nice mellow vibe and
some period-sounding horns and organ. Reminds me of early Steel Pulse.
Astralasia pop up again with, er, Uncle Sam's On Mars - a poorer version than their first two attempts to
traduce it, probably because there's absolutely no Hawkwind here this time, just the techno. Interestingly
they treat their own vocals the same way they did Bob Calvert's, burying them in the mix on the verses
and bringing them more out front on the choruses. The arrangement is in fact pretty much the same as
their two remixes on the Quark EP but the pounding percussion is more marked here.
Jez Huggett's Band Of Gold turn in Kansas City Blues and it's, well, I don't want to say cliche'd, but how
about "made up of very familiar moves"? They're a jazz band with a heavy preponderance of brass, and
this is a sprightly 12-bar blues with a nice walking bassline. It's fine but a bit lacking in the flying saucer /
aliens / spaceships department.
Overall then, the Hawkwind is excellent and the rest isn't...which again, is no surprise!
Christmas 2004 Single (Review by Derek)
I don't think anyone's commented on the content of the
Xmas CD... It's great IMHO, the Christmas treat seems to
be Richard singing a spacey glam rock version of "We Wish
You A Merry Christmas", very funny.
A good live version of Angela Android, though I think it was
better live tonight [tonight being 17/12/2004 gig at Cambridge
"The Secret Knowledge of Water" is a very well done mellow
instrumental with (presumably) Dave doing some subtle
slide/knife guitar work.
Ritual Breathing is quite a psychedelic slightly dancey/trancey
instrumental number with lots of bubbling spaciness and an eastern sounding violin. Lots of vicious stereo
I guess if you were violently opposed to the electronic departures of the early nineties, you won't like
much of this. If you are like me, you will find this very encouraging. I thought they are quite high quality
spacey electronic pieces.
(January 2006 - review by Steve)
They were still selling this at the 2005 Christmas gig, at the London Astoria. I never did get a copy first
time around, so I parted with the requisite fiver and here we are. Derek got it spot on when describing the
opening track "Christmas Treat" as glam rock: with a simple pounding bass drum and churning rhythm
guitar it sounds like a B-side by the Glitter Band (sans Gary, too). Richard's vocals don't even rise to the
level of being risible, seeing as he starts off with a fit of the giggles and never gets much farther, casting
the lyrics "We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" over the club-footed rhythmic
backing in utterly pedestrian fashion. But hey, it's only a bit of fun, so no-one really cares.
Angela Android follows, and this being the same as the version on the Spirit Of The Age (Radio Edit) CD
single, which is reviewed below, and so I'll say nothing further about it, except that it's good and I like it!
And so onto the 'meat' of this CD single, the two tracks 'The Secret Knowledge Of Water' and 'Ritual
Breathing'. The former seems to me like a Brock solo track where he's really pulled it all together, without
the half-finished tone of a lot of that material. There's a decent percussion track (surely not drum
machine) underpinning crystalline synth arpeggios and some tastefully restrained slide guitar moves - not
Duane Allman type stuff, but simpler semi-chordal slides up a couple of semi-tones and back down again,
intercut with single-string plaintive lead guitar figures. Being slow-to-mid-paced, this is very laidback, as
relaxing as anything ever recorded under the Hawkwind name.
Ritual Breathing heads into somewhat darker territory, with plenty of typical latter-day Hawkwind touches,
such as a vaguely techno-oriented drum pattern, brooding synths and unsettling skirls of violin (or a
similar-sounding keyboard voice). This is one of those suspense-laden instrumentals that you keep
expecting to break out into something else, but it just pumps along, slowly ratcheting up the tension along
the way. While I'm not very keen on the dance stuff, they do this sort of thing very well.
Worth five quid? Absolutely.
beat kicks in, and over a repeated chant of "Android", lifted from the track, it carries on for the next
seven or eight minutes in the same vein, bass and drums and the normal Hawkwind spacey synth noises
and keyboards, and echoplex guitar grooving along quite nicely.
For me, though, the standout on the ep is the Flesh to Phantasy Ambient remix - again a real butchering
of the original (and so much better than the re-treads in the first two tracks), as the title indicates less
robotic than the Cyber Trance mix, based on an echoing guitar / synth riff reminiscent of Steve Hillage,
and featuring the "flesh" phrase from the original, kicking in with a lovely bass line brought high up into
the mix. Good for ten minutes, and quite frankly I could listen to it all night. Better than almost anything
else they did in the 90s (bar Alien4), and probably superseded only by the Assassin remix which I thought
I bought an Astralasia single on the strength of this, and was highly disappointed!
Could I take the opportunity to also plug the Wickerman festival, South West Scotland, late July, which is
playing host to Space Ritual (after we burn the 35ft Wicker Man), as well as Acousticat, who have their
HLL connections from Dr Brown Days. And the mighty Zachariah Toadstool, 25 this year, and still
shambolic as ever. See http://www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk for details.
This CD single is one of the little treasures which
cropped up in the 90s, and which helped to
convince me there was still some relevance to the
band. Consisting of four (4!!) versions of the
same song, all remixed by Astralasia, the first
two - Spirit Of The Age (Radio Edit) and Spirit
Of The Age (Full vocal mix) are essentially
disposable, Brocky versions of the sublime
Calvert original, with Dave's vocal having none of
the nuance of the 70s version, and the backing
track doing no justice to the song at all, a
dance-floor original which would quickly clear
any self-respecting dance-floor.
Then you suddenly get two further remixes
which take Hawkwind to another level
completely. The Cyber Trance remix, starts off
with a dubby take on it, nice and spacey, then the
Xmas 2002 CD
Given away free at the 2002 Christmas Party gig,
this CD single (well, an EP really) is a bit of an
oddity...it's not really a Hawkwind single at all as
more or less all the cuts on it are credited as solo
compositions. The only possible exception is the
opener, Bedouin's "Vision Quest." This exemplifies
what they were all about - a droning lower-register
synth intro giving way to a high-powered pacey
workout pushed along by Alan Davey's
Rickenbacker bass tones and adorned with his raspy
vocals and some good-to-middling psych lead guitar
from Glenn Povey.
Next up is "Sonic Space Attack", credited to Dave
Brock. This is horrible, consisting of Dave's semi-
detached vocal delivery (not a patch on Bob's original) over thumping fairground music. There's also a
touch of the lead guitar figure from "Money Tree" on the Spacebrock album, which doesn't help really.
IIRC there was a sample of this available on Mission Control up until a couple of years ago, and it was of
course featured (more successfully than this) on the "Out Of The Shadows" DVD.
Tim Blake follows with "Untitled", and once again it typifies the artist in question - this is a dense, melodic
piece with electronic drums, rafts of synth and the "virtual lead guitar" which Tim has practically
trademarked. There is a somewhat unfinished feeling to this, which makes the title seem aptly chosen :-)
"For Kirsty" is a Huw Lloyd-Langton number which he was playing live quite a bit at about the time that
this CD was released. This is in fact a live recording with Huw's (clean-sounding electric) guitar heavily
delayed, which suits his neo-classical picking and arpeggios pretty well. Thus far it's the best thing on
this CD, after the bombast of Bedouin and Sonic Space Attack, plus Tim's wall-of-synths approach.
Huw's vocals, heard on his introductory remarks only (this is a pastoral instrumental) seem to be
over-mic'd which gives it a slightly druggy feeling.
Lastly, the unpromising-sounding "Technoland" (Brock) closes out proceedings. This track was at one
time billed for inclusion on the new album, though it was so long ago that the LP's working title may have
been 'Destruction Of The Death Generator' rather than 'Take Me To Your Leader' when this was the
case. Anyway, this actually has a better Hawkwind pedigree than the title suggests. It's another Brock
Synth Dystopia, with echo'd half-vocal lines over one of those ominous self-replicating synth figures and a
tension-inducing stop-start drum pattern. In fact, it knocks most of his solo material into a cocked hat,
with a really menacing, disturbing feel to it.
Area S4 EP - 1995
This is something of an exception to the rule with
regard to CD singles. It offers nothing that's
unavailable elsewhere unless you count the
"Roswell Edit" of Alien (I Am) - which is another
way of saying it's the same as the version on the
Alien 4 album, but with the first two and a half
minutes of twinkly bits and samples cut out.
And then the remaining three tracks are identical to
the last three tracks of the Alien 4 album, and
they're even in the same order as on the album -
so there's no philosophical musing to be had on
the subject of how well these tracks "hang
together" on the shorter EP format. This is just a
sampler of the Alien 4 album and isn't worth
Spirit Of The Age (Radio Edit) - 2005
The title track is a new studio recording of the
Calvert-era classic, which immediately poses a
problem: how can you improve on the original,
which got the Quark Strangeness and Charm album
off to such a ripping start? The answer is that the
accent is on updating rather than on trying to top
the original. And it's amazingly successful, with
Dave's guitar surging powerfully in and out of the
mix, in a way that obviously pays homage to the
tremolo effect on the 1977 cut, but has 2005
stamped all over it. Similarly, his vocals owe a
certain amount to Calvert's sprechtesgang
but add melodicism,particularly on the chorus. Alan Davey observes some of the bass runs that Adrian
Shaw played on the Quark rendition, but stays truer to the spirit of the age than he does to the letter of the
law. Instead of a slavish note-for-note aping of the original bass parts, he performs his own take on
Shaw's warm, bubbling bass work, sounding only like himself as a result.
So, the A-side exceeds expectations. The other two tracks on this single are a live recording of Angela
Android from 25/5/2003 at the London Astoria, the same version that already appeared on the Christmas
2004 single, and a live recording of Assassins Of Allah. Angela Android I think stands or falls by whether
the listener appreciates its qualities on a songwriting level. It doesn't do much for me personally, but I
have to admit the opening is good, with a pummelling, steaming drumbeat ushering in Richard's yell of
"Come on!" After that, the song is monochordal, but features tons of lead guitar and a syncopated
bassline. Richard's singing sounds good (stronger than I've heard it live) and overall, I don't know if this
has had some studio retouches, but it's a more muscular number than I would have believed likely.
Assassins Of Allah is, well, I'd be happy if it were to be retired from the live set, so let's say
"overexposed" for my money. This is a live recording that does all the normal things we've come to
expect, with Alan's hoarse vocals actually doing the business pretty well in the opening verse / chorus
pairings. Then we get the Space Is Their Palestine interlude -OK- but the song really starts pumping
*after* this, when the band launch into the coda at about 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Alan's bass and
Dave's guitar slam out the chord progression in total unison, and their voices interact brilliantly, with
Dave's melodic calls of "It is written..." being answered by Alan's gruff responses along the lines of "...in
the sands of the hourglass". So they pull this one out of the hat, too!
So...on all 3 counts, Hawkwind turn in a better performance than expected, and this is really a very strong
title. Should have been a hit!!
Spirit Of The Age (Live Version) - 2005
You'll have to ignore the "Radio Edit" text on the
illustration to the left - just before release, the covers
got switched; the Live version has the same basic
graphic seen here. And it also has Matthew Wright
doing the vocals, in a live recording from London
Astoria gig on 25/5/2003.
I am sorry to say that I think this is a markedly
inferior version to the studio recording. It's much
shorter, lasting less than 4 minutes, and has no lead-in
to speak of, going straight into Matthew's somewhat
flat-sounding intonation of the lyrics. Musically the
band are going for more of the Live 79 arrangement
(which some like, and I don't, not that my opinion
matters one bit). So it's quite minimalistic, the vocals
coming over the top of almost a 2/2 march beat with a 2-note synth pattern. Although Brock broadens
matters out with quite a decent guitar solo for the last minute or so (again picking up the theme of the Live
79 arrangement), and the rest of the band make it all a bit more expansive behind him - but just as these
vistas seem to be opening, it ends, if not abruptly, then certainly prematurely.
Paradox 2005 is the only other track on this single, and it is another studio re-recording of an old classic.
I understand this happened because of the positive reaction that Hawkwind got when they resurrected this
song into the live set - but this version misses the mark in my view. It tries too hard, with the vocals
sounding too mannered, and especially on the refrain, following the chord progression too closely. There
is again a lot of lead guitar to be had, which is to be commended, and some nice piano and violin work
along the way, doubtless courtesy of Simon House. But the "muggy magnificence" of the original, with
Lemmy's thrumming bass and that pulsing mellotron, leaves this in the shade. It's great to hear old
numbers like this being hammered out in a live setting, but, in contrast to the studio revision of Spirit Of
The Age, I'd say this was not a successful remake.
In other words, I didn't like this CD single all that much, finding the Radio Edit version a much stronger
Silver Machine Infected By The Scourge Of The
Earth (Promo) - 1999 (Review by Mark Coggins)
Label: EMI Catalogue Number: DECLIPSE 1999
This dance/techno remix single was issued in 1999
as a promo only and circulated to various clubs and
DJ's. It was issued both on 12 " and this CD but
with differences in the tracks. Both the 12" and CD
contained two remixes but the CD also contained the
original single version to remind the listener how it
should really sound!
Track 1 Silver Machine (Radio Edit) 3:27
Track 2 Silver Machine (12" Mix) 5:23
Track 3 Silver Machine (Original Single Version) 4:38
It appears that the 12" Mix is probably the main remix with the Radio Edit (and the New Mix on the 12")
being derived from this. The Scourge of the Earth is Jimmy Cauty of the KLF and the remix contains
additional backing vocals by a pair of female singers and additional guitar and bass by Guy Pratt.
The female backing vocals do nothing for the remix, in fact they rather cheapen the overall effect, but the
guitar overdubbing is reasonable. The remix has not totally deconstructed the original track, unlike other
Hawkwind remixes, with the Radio Edit being closer to the original than the longer 12" mix. The 12" mix
sounds at times like your CD player has temporarily got stuck - but I suppose if you are into techno then
this will probably sound fine! The Radio Edit was subsequently released on "Epoch Eclipse:The Ultimate
best of" but the 12" mix has not yet turned up elsewhere on CD, so if you are a completest then this CD
promo is one for your collection - otherwise don't bother.
Canterbury Fayre 2001 Promo - 2002
(Review by Mark Coggins)
Label: Voiceprint Hawk Records
Catalogue Number: HAWKVP22PROMO
This one track promo was issued at the end of 2002
to promote the forthcoming Canterbury Fayre 2001
album. The track selected from the album was Silver
Machine featuring Arthur Brown on vocals. This is
exactly the same as the album version in both length
Although from a record company point of view it is
understandable why this track was selected, it is
probably the weakest musical track on what is a
very good live album. Being the fifteenth version of
Silver Machine to be issued (the twelfth live version)
there are plenty of superior versions in existence. Arthur Brown who was compere for the 2001
Canterbury Fayre event only joined Hawkwind on stage for this song. It is obvious that he couldn't have
had much time to prepare as the words he sung were somewhat different to the original version with a fair
amount of ad libbing!
The best thing about this promo is the packaging with the CD (CDR in fact) enclosed in a flying saucer
shaped plastic box accompanied by a small 4 page promo booklet (that like the full album fails to credit
subsequently in more polished form on the "Earth Ritual" 1984 Hawkwind EP
The band has said on the official Hawkwindforum that this version was recorded largely by Dave Brock
and Richard Chadwick. It's a keyboard-dominated take on the song, but retains some of the original sound
fx/synth. The opening ASDIC (Sonar) pulse and wave effects are from the original, and then a keening
synth voice comes in, riding over layers of synth -breathy female voice, and a rising/falling chordal wash-
with the vocals kicking off maybe eight bars into it. These are multitracked Brock. The pace is perhaps
a touch slower than the (IMHO) definitive version, from Earth Ritual. The drums are better recorded,
arranged and perfectly placed in the mix; plus we have lashings of lead guitar which also seem to be
Brock's, sometimes underpinning the vocals and between them, soloing languidly and soulfully.
The bass sounds like what used to be described as "bass pedals", i.e. keyboard-originated (though there is
nothing Genesis-ish going on here, you may be glad to know.) There doesn't seem to be any rhythm
guitar present in the mix, and the sonar blip with accompanying original effects are mixed lower than
before. The overall effect is a more mellow rendition, maybe losing something of the plaintive, yearning
quality of the Earth Ritual version.
The ending is discordant but not completely chaotic...what would be more in keeping with the mellow
character of the track is that it should fade out on a wash of synths with the guitar doing seagull
impressions. Instead the denouement is slightly ragged, a random spearing of dissonant synth voices:
Hawkwind always like to chuck in a bit of the dark side, and here it is. Is that anyone's idea of a happy
ending? No! But how typical of this band that they leave you feeling...just slightly unsettled...
Green Finned Demon (download on offical site) - 2011
A CD single it ain't, but the world moves on and so do the
ways in which music is released. This track was put together
and made available for paid download at the official
Hawkwind Mission Control website in September 2011. It
was done in aid of the Sea Shepherd charity (anti-whaling
activists) and the entire thing took 48 hours from notion to
fruition... On 13/09/2011 the band then played aboard HMS
Belfast (moored at London Bridge) as part of an event to
benefit Sea Shepherd.
The song is an old one, having first appeared on Dave Brock's
solo album "Earthed to the Ground" in 1983 (?) and then
acquiring in its' own right, despite the reasonably handsome cardboard digipack sleeve!.