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The Last Freak Band prepare for intergalactic re-entry (Mojo, July 2008):

Title: In Search Of Space - The Return
Due: 2009
Production: Hawkwind
Songs: TBC

The Buzz: "It's our plan for the 40th anniversary, after all the things that have happened, it's the return to Earth to find what state it's in."
Dave Brock
It's a mind-boggling prospect, but 2009 will mark 40 years of space rock god-fathers Hawkwind. And their next album, the sequel to their debut LP [sic] In Search Of Space and the latest in a back catalogue of more than 50 studio, live and archival collections, will mark this momentous occasion - sort of.

"It doesn't really make any difference to me," says chief Hawk Dave Brock, guitarist and the captain of the ship since the band began in Ladbroke Grove in 1969. "I don't really feel anything, it's just part of life, innit?!"

Last month the band began work at the studio in Brock's Devon farmhouse. "It's a cross between Frankenstein's laboratory and a museum," he says. "We've got loads of old audio generators and keyboards, bits and pieces of lightshow, old posters, 8-tracks. It's weird but nice to work in."

Joining long-time drummer Richard Chadwick, bassist Mr Dibs and keyboardist Jason Stuart, it is expected that former members including synthesizer player Tim Blake, guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton and electric violinist Simon House will contribute. Brock's also going to contact noted author and long-time Hawk pal Michael Moorcock, who has recently been ill.

"We're coming back and we're calling off at planets on the way picking up the odd old boys that have been left there as punishment, just to see what they've been up to," says Brock. "I'll probably get Lemmy to do a couple of numbers with us as well."

Using a mixture of digital and vintage analogue gear, he admits their methods of composition and recording are unorthodox; "We have loose structures. You play something on guitar, put it onto the computer and different people add their bits to it, then we play it, go off on tangents, see how it goes from there and then edit it afterwards." Thematically, the album will be a dystopian forecast of how humankind will fare when exploring the stars. "It's man's greed to conquer and utilise instead of trying to beautify," says Brock. "I always see that like a cancerous growth. You ever seen one of those pictures of the Earth from outer space? With all the lights on in certain areas at night time, it looks like cancerous growth..."

It's not all gloom though; the studio has a mini-locomotive system set
up to deliver special herbal relaxants to the players. "When the band gets bored, we go and play on an electric train set and send grass joints around," says Brock. "If you can get that grass joint from right in the middle of the shunting, right to the outskirts, which takes about half an hour, your reward is to smoke the grass."

-Ian Harrison

An essential taster of space rock (from MetroLife, 7th July 2008):

Hawkwind: Space Ritual (1973)

Born out of the late-1960s psychedelic movement just as humans set foot on the Moon for the first time, space rock was invented by and for people who wanted to fly high but weren't interested in using a spacecraft to do their astral gazing. Blending sci-fi-inspired lyrics and experimental instrumental passages, the music was dedicated to exploring the limits of inner and outer space.

Among the genre's pioneers were Pink Floyd, whose trippy debut The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967) featured the notable space-themed numbers Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive. But the movement's defining work is Hawkwind's mind-expanding double album Space Ritual, which was notable for its hallucinatory light show and the gyrations of a frequently nude, paint-spattered dancer named Stacia.

Proudly described on its release as '88 minutes of brain damage', the album intersperses otherworldly stratospheric freak-outs with spoken-word recitals by poet and singer Bob Calvert. The words were partly provided by sword-and-sorcery novelist Michael Moorcock, while the bass grooves came courtesy of one Ian Kilmister, aka Lemmy, the warty, whiskery future founder of Motörhead.

-Robert Shore
Above: from a review of the family-friendly 'Camp Bestival' event (Daily Telegraph, 24/07/2008)
From a review of 15 of the most notable concept albums (Sunday Times, 21/07/2008) (illustrated above):

Robert Calvert: Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (1974)

The erstwhile Hawkwind frontman pulled in a starry cast of collaborators for this deranged masterpiece about our hero and his famously accident-prone combat planes.  Guests include Brian Eno, Arthur Brown and Viv Stanshall.
Right: from the Culture section of the Sunday Times, 28/07/2008.  Unfortunately the download mentioned at the foot of the article doesn't seem to be available anywhere on their website... Thanks to the Cold War Kid for this clipping
Sending Up Space (from the Daily Mail, August 7th 2008):

Question: what exactly is the Silver Machine referred to in the Hawkwind song?
Hawkwind's only hit song was penned by Robert Newton Calvert (1945-1988), intermittently the band's lead singer, poet and frontman from 1972 to 1979.  It was originally released as a single on June 9, 1972, reaching No. 3 in the UK charts.

Calvert sang the lead vocals on the original live recording, but the band decided they were too weak for the single release.  Unfortunately Calvert, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act, so was unavailable to re-record his lyric, and the lead vocals were recorded by the group's bassist Lemmy, later of Motorhead fame.

In an interview for a U.S. music magazine called Cheesecake in 1981, Calvert explained the song was inspired by a piece by the French author Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), called How To Construct A Time Machine.  Jarry was the originator of a logic of the absurd called pataphysique, essentially a parody of modern science expressed in nonsensical language.  He wrote the essay after reading H.G. Wells's The Time Machine.

Given the absurd logic, Calvert spotted that the piece was little more than a description of how to build a bicycle buried under this smokescreen of pseudo physics.

'At that time there were a lot of songs about space travel, and it was the time when Nasa was actually, really doing it.  They'd put a man on the Moon and were planning to put parking lots and hamburger stalls up there.  I thought that it was about time to come up with a song that sent all this up, which was Silver Machine.  It was just to say "I've got a silver bicycle," and nobody got it.  I did actually have a silver racing bike when I was a boy.'

-Don Greenhalgh
White Panther Party News Abbey Wood Chapter Report (IT No. 99 – 11th March 1971):
On Friday February 12th our Chapter successfully held its first benefit concert. The Harrow Inn, Abbey Wood, was packed to its 700 capacity for the sounds of the Pink Fairies, Hawkwind etc. Due to its success we are already working on holding future benefits. I’d like to say now thanks to the Fairies, Hawkwind, IT and everybody who worked like shit to get it together. On the financial side we made approximately Ł100 to help us continue local activities. Right on! The money was badly needed due to our increased local activity, as we already have Street Theatre / Drama.

Review of “Spirit Of The Age: an Anthology (1976-1984)” from Uncut magazine, February 2009:
*** Mighty space-rockers’ long strange trip
Following a long association with United Artists, where they established a template for tribal, spacey riff-laden rock, Hawkwind moved to the Charisma label but only to see first Lemmy then founder Nik Turner depart.  It left guitarist Dave Brock at the centre of a frequently changing conglomeration where he remains to this day.  This set charts the comings and goings of singer Robert Calvert, novelist collaborator Michael Moorcock, the arrival of High Tide’s Simon House, and even the return of debut album guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton.  The story here, weirdly, is of an unlikely sophistication, chiefly the clarity of 1977’s
Quark Strangeness and Charm and 1980’s pristine, mellow Levitation, featuring Ginger Baker.  A companion box set, The Dream Goes On, takes things all the way to 1997, where the band embrace technology alongside heavy rock as if to reaffirm their reputation as spiritual forebears of the rave generation.

-Mick Houghton

It’s only Hawk’n’roll…but we like it.  Even if they do sound like a ‘warped out Roxy Music.’  (Reviews of  “Spirit Of The Age: an Anthology (1976-1984)” and “The Dream Goes On (1985-1997)” from Classic Rock magazine, February 2009:
Hawkwind once made the acute observation on their
Doremi Fasol Latido album: Space Is Deep.  But we betcha didn’t realize exactly how deep.  Here we have two box-sets full of three CDs apiece.  Each also comes with a 48-page booklet.  The one titled Spirit Of The Age spans the period ’76-’84 while The Dream Goes On collects recordings from ’86-’97.  Less of a Sonic Attack, then, more of an unmitigated aural onslaught.

Spirit Of The Age is where the chief interest lies.  Much of it is taken up with tracks from the era of the Hawks when they were fronted by the late, great Robert Calvert.  With this mega-eccentric figure at the helm the Notting Hill astro-nuts discarded their cosmis chugalong style and became altogether more quirky (not to mention Quark-y) and whimsical.  Indeed, at the end of Calvert’s tenure they could almost be mistaken for a warped-out Roxy Music.  There’s a very curious moment on a live version of Over The Top (performed by The Sonic Assassins, a Hawkwind pseudonym) where Calvert complains “This is a very heavy microphone stand…no queen could manage this, I tell you…it’s a real man’s microphone stand here.”  No wonder Lemmy used to call him “Raving Rupert”.

The best stuff on
The Dream Goes On centres around recordings made in the early 90’s, when the ‘Wind made a conscious decision to return to their bonged-out space-rock roots.  The nine-minute Images (taken from the Space Bandits album) is a full-on swirl-a-thon, while Treadmill is reminiscent of pugnacious Pink Floyd (even if it does begin with a pulsing beat that recalls Kiss’s I Was Made For Lovin’ You).

Our only gripe is that when the band make a stab at commerciality, their songs always end up sounding like Silver Machine.

Spirit Of  The Age
: 7/10
The Dream Goes On: 6/10

-Geoff Barton
Edinburgh 12/04/09 gig review ***** (from The Scotsman, 14/04/09):
With only guitarist and synth player Dave Brock remaining from their original line-up, Hawkwind are another of those vintage bands whose name is more a legal commodity than a brand of quality.
Yet despite this – and despite the absence of their most perennially recognised hit, Silver Machine – a crowd of all vintages still appeared largely satisfied.

In truth, the 2009 model Hawkwind can divide opinion within the breadth of a song. They look like a gang of semi-retired Hell's Angels and clearly still appreciate the power of a monumental guitar riff amidst the proggy synth sounds which proliferate. What's truly mind-bending about them is that this most seemingly time-locked of bands can conjure hints of both the Stooges and Mogwai in parts of their better songs, such as The Sentinel, Who's Gonna Win the War and Right to Decide.

Yet the array of overt science fictional allusions which they borrow – from the likes of Arthur C Clarke, Roger Zelazny and sometime collaborator Michael Moorcock – seem dated, even with a video screen showing exploding supernovae in the background and two young dancers who were dressed variously as stilt-walking insect creatures and marching soldiers.

The sound quality was also decidedly non-futuristic in places, although the closing Assassins of Allah (an excuse to dwell on the original, hashish-related derivation of the word "assassin" rather than any kind of religious or political commentary) descended into an attention-grabbing burst of early-1990s vintage free rave techno with surprising urgency.

-David Pollock

Pioneers of Heavy Metal still rocking **** (12/04/09 gig review from the Edinburgh Evening news):
Mocking Hawkwind must be an incredibly easy thing to do. With their ten-minute tunes, portentous lyrics and theatricality, there's more than a hint of Spinal Tap about them.  There's also something about the sheer exuberance and joy of their performance, however, not to mention the brilliant musicianship that helps convert even the most cynical audience member to their psychedelic cause.

Last night's crowd at the packed Picture House got a lesson in excess and old school rock from the band celebrating their 40th year in the business. Seamlessly mixing old favourites and brand new material, they took the audience on a happy trippy journey into their world.  Ethereal soundscapes built with layers of guitars and keyboard effects on tunes like The Sentinel and Prometheus created relentless waves of music that poured out of the speakers and washed over the audience, lifting them to the rafters. And just when they were floating, they were brought crashing down to the ground by tub-thumping anthems like Deathtrap, which helped remind everyone that they were pioneers back in the day of what would become heavy metal.

An unprepossessing group – they could easily be mistaken for geography teachers – the band relied on back projection to provide the visual stimulation. For the most part this went well with the music, adding another dimension, although on occasion it did feel as if someone was merely flicking through their screensaver options.  The other visual element, and the most Tap-like of the evening, was provided by two female dancers who came on in a variety of costumes, everything from ghostly wraiths to nuclear safety inspectors. Their role appeared to be to underline the message of any song the crowd might not be clear about.

They were never going to please everyone with their choice of playing so much new material but the tunes were all of a high standard and unlike so many bands of their era, they were not simply relying on nostalgia to feed the pension fund. Given the nature of their music a show of this length was only ever able to provide a taster of the Hawkwind experience. But for those who had spent the years sitting in their bedrooms in a fug of smoke losing themselves in their unique world, then this was an chance not to be missed to feel the live experience.  Local punk legends The Gin Goblins, an odd choice of support at first sight but one that worked brilliantly, got the crowd hyped up for the main event.

There's no doubt that Hawkwind are not to everyone's taste. Some of the tunes are overblown, and there are aspects of their shows which are a mini Stonehenge away from being comedy, but in an era of Coldplays and Keanes, it's great to see a band that take unalloyed pleasure in making things bigger and adding more to the musical mix not less. 

Last night's audience were more that happy to celebrate their 40 years.

-Neil McEwan
Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Quark, Strangeness and Charm” (Charisma).  Great hook and witty words.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND AS THE SONIC ASSASSINS: “Over The Top” (Flicknife).  A tiresome heavy metal rap with SF overtones, very painful on the ear.  Recorded live at Barnstaple on Christmas Eve 1977, a more depressing way of celebrating the Messiah’s birth I can scarcely imagine.  Towards the end Robert Calvert is heard begging for white powder, no doubt the source of his genius.

“To Boldly Go Where No Band…” (from Melody Maker, 18/10/78):
The last time we heard from Robert Calvert was three years ago when he was chief space-cadet with Hawkwind and manically machine-gunning the audience at Cardiff Castle.  Well, friends, Robert is now back in warp factor five with a revitalized crew, this time assuming the name Hawklords (imaginative, eh?)
The new Hawklords, insists Calvert, are not so much a reformation of the old Hawkwind as a renaissance of old ideals. “It’s less concerned with the trappings and the ins and outs of being pop stars than providing a people’s unit that is accessible, flexible and representative of a community spirit rather than a business operation.”  Nice.

The Hawklords’ philosophy will still be sci-fi based, because “it’s the only valid form of modern fiction,” according to Calvert.  “Our songs are never concerned with age-old rock and roll situations which are projected perfectly by Jilted John.  He has written the definitive rock melodrama.”

The band’s live show, however, will have nothing to do with space travel and ray guns.  Over to Bob for a brief and simple explanation: “It has to do with the Pan-Transcendental Industry, which is dedicated to the bringing together of technical and religious ideals under one roof.  This organization ostensibly manufactures car doors as a cover.  Angles have wings removed and the car doors fitted instead and then they take off into the heavans.  It’s sci-fi of the absurd.”

You can say that again, Bob.

“Wind of Change” (from Sounds,  May 1979):
Hawkwind have an album of hitherto unreleased material  issued by Charisma on June 15. Called ‘PXR5’ it features a variety of line-ups on live and studio material from Hawkwind prior to them reforming as The Hawklords.

The eight tracks include ‘Uncle Sam’s On Mars’, recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, ‘High Rise’ and ‘Robot’ recorded at Leicester De Montford Hall in November 1977, plus studio recordings made at Rockfield and West Park Farm in Devon.

Meanwhile the Hawklords have revamped their line-up.  Bob Calvert is now no longer a member of the band, although whether he resigned or was pushed is not clear.  He will be pursuing a solo career.  That ;eaves Dave Brock as the band’s mainman and he’s joined by Harvey Bainbridge, bass, Steve Swindells, keyboards, and Simon King on drums, who has just rejoined the band.
The group are rehearsing material for an album and will tour Europe during the summer.  British dates are not expected before the winter.

Plug it up – Hawkwind shocker unearthed (source unknown, 11/08/79):
Safety experts have condemned the cover of Hawkwind’s ‘PXR5’ which shows a plug wired wrongly above a caption of ‘HM Govt Health Department warning: this wiring can seriously damage your health’.  This is true, for as the Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents pointed out a plug wired in the album sleeve’s manner would at least seriously injure and more probably kill anyone touching it anything connected to it.

Following RoSPA’s complaint and true to form WH Smith’s have decided to withdraw the album.  Hitting back ex-Soundster and Charisma PR Dave Brown did what he’s paid for and claimed “I can’t believe anyone would wire up a plug the same way as the diagram – Hawkwind fans are too intelligent for that”.  A somewhat dubious boast which Charisma obviously disagreed with as they’ve now put stickers showing the correct wiring on the cover of 5,000 copies still in the factory.

However, that still leaves 20,000 in the grubby possession of Hawkwind fans all over the country, so whatever you do, kids don’t plu…HEY LISTEN, you with the long hair and dandruff don’t put that plug in there, no please for chrissakes, it’ll… Woops.  Oh well.  One down, 19,999 to go.  (A punk.)

(Another plug for PXR5…source and publication date unknown):
Phew! Nearly had me fooled for a minute there! Weren’t you shocked to hear that the cover of the Hawkwind album –‘PXR5’- had a cover picture of a plug that was incorrectly wired.  DANGER! screamed the Sunday Mirror. MADNESS! screamed the Gramophone Record Retailers Committee.  But Dave Brown (an ex-Record Mirror scribe), speaking in his role as a spokesman for the record company that had perpetrated this “sick joke” could only giggle: “Hawkwind fans are TOO INTELLIGENT to wire up a plug the way it’s shown on the cover!”  Who’s he trying to kid?  Mr. Brown last week failed his driving test – apparently for failing to wire up his car correctly for a right-hand turn.  And the “offending” cover has now been amended.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Who’s Gonna Win The War?” (Bronze).  Errol Flynn, mate.  He won the last one.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Who’s Gonna Win The War?”  Landlords of the cosmos, or whatever they call themselves, in unusually brooding mood, slow and doomy, martial drums predominate.  And that’s it.  The sound of men awaiting redundancy notices?

“Hawks Carry On” (Jan / Feb 1983, source unknown):
Hawkwind’s British tour this week is going ahead despite the tragic death of Dave Brock’s wife last month.  Her loss will be felt as keenly by the band, on whom she was a major influence, as well as Dave himself.
Hawkwind also have the first track they ever recorded released this weekend by Flicknife Records.  It’s called ‘Hurry On Sundown’ and it’s one of three tracks on an EP called ‘Your Last Chance EP’.
Support band on the Hawkwind tour is a four-piece rock outfit from St.Albans called Clientelle.  They have an album called ‘Destination Unknown’ out on Banana Records.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Night Of The Hawks” (Flicknife).  A very pleasant surprise considering how disappointing the Hawks have been of late.  “Night Of The Hawks” is a crushing warsong featuring the mighty Lemmy on bass, and should be bought by everyone who has slagged off the ‘Lords, including me.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Needle Gun” (Flicknife).  This may seem strange, but this is an *anti-drug* song from the Cosmic Tripsters.  Bit trendy to moan about smack these days but anything the Hawklords do is fine by me.  But I don’t know if I can take the shock.  Where have all the flowers gone??

Hawkwind gig review (source unknown, October 1989):
Hordes of Space Mutants, flung to the outermost sectors of other galaxies since the early 70’s, reunited at One Step Beyond to witness their heroes, England’s Hawkwind, beamed back from some hidden cryogenics lab and microwave-defrosted into a laser-sharp rock band… Lab-coated Dave Brock –guitars, vocals and keyboards- has been doing Hawkwind for more than twenty years, with Harvey Bainbridge, fellow keyboardist along for at least half the ride.  They’ve cranked out at least twenty-five albums along the way, and most of them were pretty good. “Quark Strangeness and Charm” from 1977 stands out as a great one.
At the first strains of “Magnu”, a real, full-blown multi-projector light show –the like of which has rarely been seen in these parts since the glory days of the Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms- splattered all over the back of the stage.  Everyone was instantly transported to London’s prime underground UFO club, 1967.  All Hawkwind’s classics sound pretty much the same – throbbing bass, triple-echoed vocals and groaning keyboards.  But it’s a good ‘same’, holding up well over the years.

Dave Brock on Hawkwind and Wayward (source and publication date unknown):
Hawkwind has been together for twenty years, in that time they have featured members such as Ginger Baker, Lemmy, and the late Bob Calvert.  Recently Dave Brock (the man who is Hawkwind) took time out from recording the new album at Rockfield Studios in Wales to speak with me.  The following is an edited version of the conversation.

Over the past twenty years Hawkwind has had many members.  Who is in the current line-up?
Harvey Bainbridge on keyboards, Alan Davey on bass, Richard Chadwick on drums, Bridget doing some vocals, Simon House playing electric violin and myself.

The band was in North America last October.  Can you talk a bit about that tour?
Well, we had a really good time.  We’re looking to come back this fall: hopefully with a few days off to see some things.  It was a great time, but it was hard work sleeping on the bus.  It was like we were sleeping in coffins.  All twelve of us crammed in.  We couldn’t get much sleep.  The bus was always bumping around, going from one place to another.  But we did see some beautiful countryside.  It was very pleasant.  We’d like to see more of it.

Is there a possibility we’ll see you in Saskatoon on the next tour?
Well yes, I would hope so.  It would be nice to actually come there and play.  We’d like to go to Vancouver as well.  Last time we only played in Toronto.  Yes, it would be very nice if we could do that.  We should be coming over in October.   It’s a shame it will be starying to get cold then.

Are there any more solo projects in the works?
Not at the moment as the band’s pretty busy.  I’ve done a few things that we’ve transferred onto twenty four tracks.

Will there be any more projects like the Traveller’s Aid project or the Friends and Relations series?
Well unfortunately not, because Flicknife Records (who put these out) don’t seem to be paying any royalties to us.  The Travellers hasn’t received any money either.  That seems to be the only problem with all these companies, they don’t pay you for what you do.   So for the time being I can’t see anything really happening.  There’s a lot of Hawkwind bootlegs out there that  that aren’t very good, that people have put out on record labels that don’t really do the band much credit.

Thanks for the interview Dave!

-Jeff Swick

Hammersmith Odeon 7/12/89 gig review (source and publication date unknown):
Verdict: The Brainstorm continues…

It could probably only happen at a Hawkwind gig, but when I wandered into the Odeon to sneak a glimpse at the supporting Connecting Routes I was hardly expecting an ethnic reggae band.  But then, Hawkwind kicked tradition into touch years ago, so…

Let’s face it, most of this planet wrote off the Hawks years ago, particularly after losing their RCA record deal in the early 80’s, a time when their ship had more of a ‘Blake’s 7’ feel about it rather than ‘Star Wars’.  Their strange, intriguing intergalactic travel -inspired from of Space Rock  was looking decidedly redundant, but just like an attack of herpes it refused to go away.  And it’s kinda reassuring to see a band with no major record company support –or indeed an album out to promote- drawing such respectable crowds over two nights at the Hammersmith Odeon.

For regardless of fashion, popular taste or industry attitude, Hawkwind have a stable, solid core of fans, ensuring that whatever the choice of material (no “Silver Machine” tonight, folks!), as long as the show itself is up to scratch, then the evening will be a success.  Indeed, the emphasis is very much on the visuals rather than the band themselves: guitarist / vocalist / mainman Dave Brock and Co have an almost Pink Floydian lack of personal profile, making the lighting and Psychedelic backdrop visuals as appropriate as ever in these seemingly Acidic times.

The overwhelming message from Hawkwind’s rejuvenated sonic attack tonight was that the passages of time have now rendered the band strangely relevant.  On occasions this evening their mechanical, hypnotic rhythms were gripping.  I kid you not.  Quark, strangeness and charm indeed.

Single review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND: “Spirit Of The Age” (4 Real).  Seeing as we’re deep into the right-hand corner of the page, it must be time for that Hawkwind single. ‘This WILL be an indie Number One!’ declares the press release.  Maybe, but in a post-Ozrics world, this is hardly a guarantee of excellence, is it?  The record is the old Hawkwind ‘classic’, put into a trance and let loose into a field somewhere.  Not too bad if truth be told, but an ambient rendition of ‘Silver Machine’ is the one we’re all waiting for up here.  “RA!-RA! SILVER MACHINE!!!”

Album review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND “It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous” (Griffin: PO Box 664, Lombard IL 60148)  To paraphrase the old meatloaf joke, “Oh no, Hawkwind again.”  How did I wind up with another Hawkwind assignment, Trent’s the guy walking around the office in face paint and that stupid aviator hat, let him do it. Well, at least IT IS THE BUSINESS OF THE FUTURE TO BE DANGEROUS is a brand new studio project and not something out of Hawkwind’s enormous backlog.  Okay, why not.  This mostly instrumental release starts out with the title cut, which sounds like an old fashioned washing machine floating somewhere out in the cosmos.  Although “Tibet Is Not China (Part 1)” would be good psychedelic muzak for cloistered monks, Hawkwind comes up stronger during the pulsating remake of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” with drummer Richard Chadwick on lead mike.  While “Letting In The Past” is short and also radio friendly, the vocals need a bit more depth to get wider attention.  Best of all, it medleys into “The Camera That Could Lie”, a more benighn, bell-driven reggae number that could be mistaken for an ice cream truck caught in a celestial molasses whirlpool.  All told, a perfect extension of what Hawkwind has been doing for over twenty five years while spanning the mental galaxies.  Remember the old line about playing Black Sabbath at 78rpm and seeing God?  Well, I played this release at 78rpm and saw…er, well…I…maybe it’s best not to say what I saw.

Rating: 3 quantum leaping weenies

Album review (source and publication date unknown):
HAWKWIND “Lord Of Light” (Cleopatra CLEO 57732)

All the joys of the fold-out sleeve  of “A Space Ritual” come flooding back with the opening chords of “Lord Of Light”, title track on this none-too-generous set that documents the band at its peak, during the years 1972-74.

This disc is aimed squarely at fans of that particular era, with single mixes of “Seven By Seven”, “Paradox”, and “You’d Better Believe It”, together with Robert Calvert’s “Ejection” / “The Right Stuff” 45, and “Lord Of Light” taped on the Space Ritual tour.  Inexplicably, it ends with a new recording by ‘Wind sax player Nik Turner, actually an alternate version of “The Weighing Of The Heart And Negative Confession”, which appeared on his “Sphynx” album.

While Pink Floyd took the oft-cited space music into high-tech territory with “Dark Side”, and Gong made intergalactic travel full of laughs and stop-start jazz rhythms, Hawkwind drew on the hard rock riffs of the time, set them alongside eerie VCS3 synths, audio generators and wah-wah sax, and recruited Commander Robert Calvert to talk you through your journey.

The form,ula had become contrived by 1974’s “Paradox”, with Simon House’s Mellotron adding an unwelcome touch of Moody Bluesisms to the proceedings, but for a while, Hawkwind were undoubtedly tops in the space race.  (MP)