|Daze of the Underground - Addendum
Triple vinyl album version of 2003 Hawkwind tribute CD, released by Black Widow records of Italy.
the design from Godreah Records' original CD.) There is also a small badge (or button / pin, if you prefer)
bearing the same design. This arrived outside of the outer sleeve, but everything else is contained therein.
We get an insert containing expanded sleeve notes, which encompass not only Crin's originals as on the
Godreah CD but also some new notes from Brian Tawn, dated September 2003. (All these can be found
over on the Album Sleeve Notes, Part 6 page.)
And then there's the poster. I do have a bit of form
when it comes to buying vinyl Hawkwind albums on
account of the free posters accompanying them. It
was that that tempted me into buying Roadhawks in
December 1975, and the consequences of that
purchase are still with me today. (And with you,
seeing as you're reading this.) Besides which, I'm
very fond of having framed Hawkwind posters on the
walls despite the reservations of others! Anyway, the
poster is a bit of a disappointment, being very
obviously a reproduction of the original, possibly
printed up from a digital photo or a scan - up close
the detail is quite grainy, and the green flowery
section at the bottom of the original is not reproduced
on this version - which measures 11" x 19", so it's not
all that big. Thereâ€™s a reversed image of the
original on the Make Your Own Hawkwind T-Shirt,
Part 2 page which shows what I mean about the
green flowery section. Perhaps it's no loss!
This is not to say that the free poster and badge are
the only reasons for buying the album. There are in
fact a few differences in the roster of bands
compared to the original CD. Present on the CD but
gone from the vinyl are The Enchanted, who did an
execrable version of Song Of The Swords; History Of
Guns, who'd given us 'Magnu Reprise'; Sloterdijk,
with a version of 'Golden Void' that I personally
greatly disliked; and (surprisingly) Harvey Bainbridge,
with 'Acid House Of Dreams'. If you want to know
more about these tracks, check out my review of the CD on the Daze Of The Underground CD Review
Replacing them on the vinyl album are Northwinds with 'Images' / 'Ejection'; The Black with â€˜Fahrenheit
451'; Jet Jaguar with 'Lord Of Light'; Simon House with 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill'; and Universal Totem
Orchestra with 'Alien (I Am)'. I'm going to confine this review to just those new tracks since there's no
point in rehashing the rest. (Although I do note that the running order of the album is somewhat changed
from that of the original CD and so the overall listening experience may be qualitatively different...I'm not
about to sit through the whole thing in order to find out!)
Northwinds - 'Images' / 'Ejection'
Opening with a quiet 'Dear Prudence' type of arpeggio, this track quickly bursts into a guitar-dominated
arrangement which faithfully reproduces the morphology of the track 'Images', but sacrifices the ripping
power of the original. The reason for this is the bass playing, which is far more pedestrian than what Alan
Davey put on the 1990 recording. Here, the bass plays slightly behind the beat rather than just in front of it,
and does not attempt Alan's double-time pummelling. The vocals are male and high-pitched, probably
outdoing Bridgett Wishart's originals, except they attempt to replicate "the Fee-uh and the Ang-uh" which is
a mistake! And then, rather than go into the tiresome freeform midesection of the original, or attempt the
stops and restarts that Hawkwind did, the track cuts over to Northwinds' version of 'Ejection', providing
two for the price of one. The thick, riffy guitar tone suits this arrangement very well (the Captain often
uses too febrile a guitar sound for this one, IMHO) and it is nice to hear the full vocal lines on the chorus
instead of just repeated shouts.of "Ejection!". Throw in a tasteful little guitar solo and a climactic chromatic
coda, and the end result is highly commendable, outstripping Northwinds' take on 'Images' by some distance.
The Black - 'Fahrenheit 451'
This was never a classic for my money, with Calvert's cerebral lyrics being ill-served by a tune that comes
across as riff-by-numbers. The Black have taken their cue from the musical rather than the lyrical qualities
of the original and turn in a reasonably serviceable slice of ramalama. The dark, wavering synth chords of
the atmospheric opening belie the lightweight thrashy guitar and yelping, reverbed vocals of the main part of
the song. The prevailing vibe is D.I.Y. punkiness, and thereby quite old hat. And although I said I wouldn't
re-review the whole album, the main benefit of this version of 'Fahrenheit 451' is to make the next track
(Acid King's sludgecore rendition of 'Motorhead') sound weighty and consequential by way of comparison.
Jet Jaguar - 'Lord Of Light'
My favourite Hawkwind song, and so I approach this with trepidation - but no need: it's excellent! The
rhythm guitar is thick and churning, powerfully phase-shifted like it should be. Synthy witterings are found
where they ought to be and the vocals are all right if a bit low in the mix. The bass sticks to the root note of
each chord rather than attempt Lemmy's brilliant extemporising. Overall this is maybe a bit closer to the
little-known 1995 soundcheck version of Lord Of Light, appearing on the Love In Space EP, than either of
the powerhouse 1972 renditions on Doremi and Space Ritual respectively. But then, these tribute albums
really prove that it's not just the songs, it's Hawkwind the band that makes the total experience what it is.
So yes, I like this, and it's a very creditable stab at one of the classic numbers, but give me the real thing
Simon House - 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill'
Well this *is* the real thing, is it not? The original track on the album of the same name always was
effectively a Simon House solo effort as well as being one of the most sublime three minutes of music ever.
And it had a certain amphetamine rush to it which is sadly absent here. The piano arpeggios are
accompanied by luminescent veils of synth and a subdued voicing which sounds like whistling without the
sibilance. The pace is slowed way down, and it takes a couple of minutes before Simon's violin comes in,
again as just one layer of the arrangement rather than as a lead instrument. The whole thing is almost
ambient, and to be fair has a crystalline beauty which develops as the number progresses. But I would opt
for the soupier delights of the 1974 version every time, personally.
Universal Totem Orchestra - 'Alien (I Am)'.
Another interesting opening, with discordant noises off undermining distant, possibly female choral vocals.
But as with a couple of the other tracks here, it's disconnected from the main part of the song, which fades
in with the familiar two-chord "diabola in musica" keyboard part (nicely accompanied by demented
gregorian chanting). After wallowing about with this for a couple of minutes, the track takes an unexpected
turn with some jazzy noodlings which are, musically, very accomplished and manage to sound
simultaneously dark and dilettante-ish. Once the vocal part commences ("I...lack emotion") Universal
Totem Orchestra again resort to the ensemble choral arrangements (these are really very operatic) and jazzy
keyboards. There is though, a rock underpinning of bass and drums: no guitar, unless it's been placed very
low in the mix. And no traditional synthesizer voicings anywhere, so this ends up being a profoundly
unusual take on a Hawkwind number, and perhaps the most ambitious cut on any of these tribute albums to
Well that's it. I'm off to buy a frame for that poster.
Not being a kompletist, I would normally not have
bothered with picking up the vinyl version of this
2003 Hawkwind tribute album, as I already have it on
CD. However, I kept seeing it advertised, albeit not
cheaply, and the nagging thing was that it came with a
free poster...and not just any poster, but the lovely
1970's "Love and Peace" design - originals of which
sell for considerable sums consequent upon their
vanishingly rare appearances on E-Bay. This vinyl
reissue of the double CD also appears on E-Bay from
time to time, and while not quite as pricey as an
original Love & Peace poster, is still somewhat steep...
So anyway, here's what you get for your $40. A
triple album, with each record in an attractively-
printed inner sleeve, providing biographical detail of
each of the bands that plays on the album. (The outer
sleeve is an unremarkable card affair, which replicates
|Attenuated and folded across the middle, too!