|Hawkwind Remix Project CD review
14th July 2005
Before I get into describing what this CD sounds like, I had better define what it is...not that the packaging
gives much in the way of clues. The CD 'booklet' is actually just a single piece of silvered paper, with a
bare bones tracklisting and the footnote "special thanks to Trevor Long for making this project possible".
The CD itself (it's a manufactured CD, not a CDR) has the serial number WARLORD777CD but no record
company is identified. And, er, that's it for the packaging.
This is in fact sort-of a tribute album, made up of radical remixes of Hawkwind songs by various different
people, and it originates from sometime in the year 2000. There was to have been an album of trance
remixes of Hawkwind numbers released in the early months of that year, under the title of The Bass Ritual.
This got quite close to being released, and was advertised in mail order catalogues etc.. However there was
some sort of row behind the scenes which resulted in the release being cancelled. Except that this virtually
anonymous album appeared in small quantities instead, and is, it seems, the Bass Ritual album, but without
any attribution apart from the tracklisting. And that tracklisting, along with the names of the "artists" who
remixed each track, is as follows:
Golden Void (Future Loop Foundation)
Sonic Attack (John Avery)
Brainstorm (DJ Speedranch)
Earth Ritual (Hawkwind)
Levitation (Scalper MIB)
Silver Kachina (Richard Chadwick)
Master Of The Universe (Colin Newman, ex-Wire)
Like the other, better-known, remix album (Future Reconstructions / Ritual Of The Solstice ) this is more of
a tribute to Hawkwind than anything else, and it's rave-orientated material, not proper space rock.
Golden Void (Future Loop Foundation) doesn't preserve much of the original: just some samples of
Brock's vocal and an approximation of the chord progression. The song is expressed by trancey synth
voices over a fast drum pattern. It's OK but nothing special.
Sonic Attack (John Avery) doesn't even do this much, supplying entirely new vocals, sounding like
multitracked recordings of the same voice with the pitch altered in semi-random sequences. There are also
some incidental synth noises which are woozy and distant. This really can't be called a remix, it's a cover
version. And not a bad one, when you compare it to the abysmal rendition that Hawkwind themselves did
on the album of this name in 1981: it's a reasonable updating of Calvert's original rendition on the Space
Ritual album, but has none of the menace of the original and certainly does nothing to move the track
forward into new territory.
Brainstorm (DJ Speedranch) on the other hand, shifts the envelope so far as to render it almost
unrecognisable. Through layers of white noise one can dimly discern samples of Dave Brock's guitar doing
one (only one) riff from Brainstorm. And then his voice says "Thank you, good night." This is worthless
Earth Ritual (Hawkwind) pairs a pulsing synth rhythm from the Tim Blake number "Lighthouse" with
bursts of guitar, not really playing any tune for the most part, some unremarkable synth / keyboard parts,
and heavily treatd Brock vocals intoning the words "This Is Earth Calling". Some of the randomicity of this
track is reminiscent of the direction the rump of the Hawklords briefly touched upon in 1979 - think of
"Douglas In The Jungle" or "British Tribal Music". In fact, given those motifs, the general scrappiness of
this track and the use of the Tim Blake synth part, I'd guess this to be a Dave Brock solo number from
around 1980 or so. And a damned undistinguished one at that, even if it is an otherwise unavailable
Levitation (Scalper MIB) - well, this one at least has the decency to provide just about all the lyrics of the
original, in a distorted snarl of a voice, with Brock's voice doing a looped sample of "Your Captain is dead"
over a pedestrian drumbeat. But it's utterly pointless. And so is Silver Kachina (Richard Chadwick) if one
expects it to have any resemblance to the original Silver Machine. It's tinny techno with only the most
rudimentary effort at carrying any kind of tune, although the stuttered sampled flute would be great if used
with some real music for backing. This rubbish goes on for seven minutes, as well.
Master Of The Universe (Colin Newman) features more disastrous distorted vocals, but at least there's
some guitar here and some of it might even be played by Dave Brock. The drum parts sound like something
modern added on with a drum machine and the bass parts also sound contemporary - they follow Dave
Anderson's original basslines OK but have a stripped-down minimalistic tonality. Sheets of frenetic,
squalling lead guitar are added but these manage to complement and not spoil the updated vibe that, overall,
works quite successfully here.
Well that's it then, and I have to say this CD is mostly utter gibberish and not at all worth owning IMHO, but
getting hold of it did at last solve the mystery of the Bass Ritual that never was - and having heard this, I
think that's no loss to anyone!