Going Dutch

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This page features four articles which I've painfully translated from the original Dutch.  The translations are intended to yield readable English rather than provide a 100% accurate portrayal of the original text.
Above: L-R Simon King, Lemmy, Dave Brock,  Stacia huddled on the floor
From “Joopie” (a Dutch music mag, 28/12/80):
With Ginger Baker aboard, Hawkwind is now a totally legendary band

Recent years have been rather quiet for the English outfit Hawkwind, which in 1972 with "Silver Machine" attained one of the classic hits of the early seventies. For a time the band remained considerably successful, particularly in the album arena, but the punk explosion in 1976 and 1977 seemed have cut the ground from under the feet of this type of band, for good. For the so-called "old hippies" there was no further place in the world of rock 'n' roll.

It looked this way indeed because of a succession of comebacks and splits in the Hawkwind camp.   But at the start of this year the "Live Seventy Nine" LP suddenly attracted a lot of interest in England, and the same is happening with the new long-player "Levitation". Singer / guitarist Dave Brock declares "With Levitation we’ve come full circle back to the style of our debut album 'In Search of Space' ”.  He explains “And that was the record which totally expressed our ideals and what we stood for. Later on, there were all kinds of reasons why we were never again successful at that same level.”

But there is yet another factor that makes the record interesting. Hawkwind have a new drummer, and without doubt one of the best. Ginger Baker is in fact the most renowned drummer on the English music scene. In the Sixties he played in all kinds of London rhythm and blues bands, and formed the supertrio Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. He later left to do his own thing, first in the now-defunct Blind Faith, afterwards with his own group Airforce and the Baker Gurvitz Army. This year he first hit the news when it was announced that he would play percussion for the newly reformed Atomic Rooster, but then quickly changed his mind.

"The Hawkwind lads had invited me to help them in the studio with re-recording the new LP", explains forty year old Ginger. “But I found the atmosphere during the sessions so fantastic that I immediately decided to stay with Hawkwind. For me it’s not just my umpteenth group, I’m determined to give it everything I’ve got. Hawkwind always have made timeless music, but you can definitely still hear the eighties in it.  Hawkwind now stand stronger than ever.”
From “Ear” (01/08/73):
A Space Ritual in Rotterdam

It was actually 21 July 1973, but I imagined myself to be 6 years back, in the psychedelic year of 1967, with the first Pink Floyd LP 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn', and the Floyd’s first tour of the Netherlands: strange sounds and light effects. (When they die away, you feel yourself brainwashed…)  And then there was the New York band, The Velvet Underground. I remember feeling as stoned as a lemming by listening to 'White Light White Heat' on headphones: all chaotic crashes and monotonous hypnotic rhythms.

The English group Hawkwind preserves the psychedelic tradition in pop music.  As long as there are people who in '67 were doing something else or were too young, bands like this will have legitimacy. Hawkwind played on Saturday night in the small room of the Rotterdamse to an intensely partisan and enthusiastic crowd.  The brightly painted equipment, professional lightshow and cosmic sounds called forth memories of Pink Floyd concerts. But this time there was to be no naked dancing. Stacia, who has high standards to maintain in this area, played it this time in bright costumes, which was a disappointing move, if you ask me.

The eight-man strong outfit were using all kinds of pedals, generators, modulators and echo chambers to build an impenetrable wall of sound. Heavy machinelike music ('Heavy Metal Kids') that in its consequent monotony was reminiscent of the Velvet Underground.

The ‘story’ concerns space travel fantasies: philosophical judgments concerning overpopulation and individual freedom give it 'meaning'.  This was a trip to an unsuspected dark future cosmos. Welcome to the Future.  For me it was travel to the past…

-Bert van de Kamp
From "Ear" (a Dutch music paper, 12/7/73):
Skylab Rock (review of the Space Ritual album)

Well, we have waited a long time for this, but now it’s here: the best album of the year.  It was as long ago as last year (“Ear”, 6/12/72) that Hawkwind’s double-live album was announced in Paul Schaap’s article, and it has at last appeared.   By way of preparation much time has passed since the release of the seminal space single, “Silver Machine”.  Although, we have been treated to the opening track “Born To Go” on the night-time Caroline show, which scared my half-asleep girlfriend, stoked my enthusiasm and by implication gave advance notice of some excellent music.

Here it is then: an hour and a half of optimum format space-rock, without stops or slow numbers; a space flight complete with omens, symbols, portents, signs and warnings (“with sonic attack, survival means every man for himself”) and distant cosmic sounds. All this is set to music in a violent tempo, based on a pounding, stamping rhythm, complete with ear-splitting jet sounds, and where distant saxes and electronically-treated bubbling flutes undulate continuously. Take the raging monotone of the Velvet Underground, the electronica of Roxy Music, the floating quality of both and add phasing and mellowness to create a coherent whole: Hawkwind's Space Music.

In spite of the futuristicness the work is nevertheless wholly of its’ time. To wit, the entire thing has been built around a number of simple, well-articulated themes, which are continually restated and across which the more decorative motifs are overlaid.

From this a simple, but at the same time constantly changing, music with a massive soundscape emerges; obsessing and overwhelming, the sound hardens and undulates, blowing you away even as you move with it. The record opens with a variety of strange sounds on ‘Earth Calling’ and then out bursts ‘Born To Go': leaving the Earth behind us we shoot into space, the purity of the void which is Hawkwind’s true territory.  Because: “We were born to go as far as we can fly: turn electric dreams into reality”. 

Their entire philosophy is printed on the huge and colourful folding cover - it has progressed in the last couple of years. And while it is pointless to analyse the rest of the numbers on this album, I would single out 'Down Through The Night', 'Orgone Accumulator', 'Master Of The Universe' and 'Brainstorm' as the pinnacles. This last is also one of two numbers which have been shortened; all the others are uncut, and where one side of the record ends, the next overlaps.

This is impressive music, which should be heard on headphones for maximum effect. Destuctive, terrifying and yet, profoundly edifying.

NB: The record labels have been misprinted; the titles of Side 1 are OK; Side 2 has the titles for Side 4, Side 3 has those of Side 2 and Side 4 lists the songs found on Side 3. The cover, however, does have the correct listing.

-Matthieu Karel
From “Ear” (a Dutch music paper, 06/11/74):
Hawkwind – Hall of the Mountain Grill

Once again, Hawkwind have a new album out.  I leaped to the task of listening to the whole thing, on your behalf, and here are my results:

It’s probably the best LP that the Hawks have so far produced.  But is that saying much?  With all the monotonous nonsense / noise that the group have put out before now, does this album still have the slightest reliance on their old misshapen sounds?  So the cynic might wonder, but a more generous reviewer could ask the same question.  Instead of the outdated baggage of unworldly, psychedelic atmospheres, they have disciplined themselves to produce something far more musical. 

For two new men have joined the band, the more significant of whom is Simon House, a former member of High Tide and the Third Ear Band, and a multi-instrumentalist, who in particular plays the violin and the mellotron.  The mellotron is the defining sound of this album, fed in alongside the group’s characteristic monotonous riffy numbers with titles like ‘The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)’ – how did they come up with this title, I wonder.  This record also contains some superficially Pink Floyd–style compositions, more melodious explorations of the various galaxies, if you know what I mean. 

Simon House supplied the title track, and this, together with the Dave Brock-penned live recording of ‘Paradox’ represents the best of what this album has to offer. 

Perhaps with ‘Hall Or The Mountain Grill’ the band might land ten new supporters in this country.  If we subtract eight existing ones, who are not so keen on this new development, then the record should turn a profit.

The Amsterdam Youth Centre announces that you should procure this album without delay! 

-Bert van de Kamp