|Memos and Demos Review
Dave Brock's recently (Autumn 2001) released solo album finally fell into my clutches, so here's a
review of it. For anyone who was wondering....BTW, I've only just noticed that this CD has a cat
smoking a joint on the cover
One of the best solo albums by any Hawkwind member, and definitely the Captain's best alongside
Strange Trips and Pipe Dreams...Verdict: essential for all Hawkwind completists, obsessive-compulsives,
blinkered, mad and/or quite normal people.
A more finished-sounding version than appeared on Distant Horizons (which was released prematurely
by Doug Smith, so the story goes, resulting in his dismissal as Hawkwind's manager...)
State of Mind, Instrumental
The standout track. A storming opening featuring a great guitar chord progression, reminiscent of
Looking In The Future on the Church of Hawkwind album, and staccato bursts of bubbling sequenced
synth. Lots of lead guitar all the way through.
State of Mind, Vocal
Same song but a totally different feel - more subdued. Starts with an organ riff, and minus the
sequenced synths. Lots of 'breathy vocal' synth, as heard on Blue Shift (Electric Tepee) - preset 437
("Itopia") on the Yamaha PSR290 keyboard, as it happens!
Cod reggae with cheesey organ riffs.
A very brief, stately synthesizer piece.
Starts with jungle drums. More ambient sounding, familiar vocal line....unremarkable...
Find The Right Way
More Hawaiian / Pacific islander overtones...imagine Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick and Ali Davey, all
implausibly tanned (i.e. they've been at the boot polish), paddling towards a palm-fringed beach in a
dugout canoe, garlanded with leis. A slow-paced number with Kon-Tiki drums and an oddly strangled
vocal sample of a woman singing "Find the right way".
Didn't Have A Problem
An update of 'In The Office' from the Agents of Chaos album, the lyrical ancestor of 'Treadmill'.
Vaguely reggae feel...a bit lame.
A rocker with opening wah-wah guitar riffing. Sad (as in 'downbeat') lyrics about a horse that had to be
put down, I believe.
Love In Space
Different again to all the other versions of this song already out there. More 'breathy vocal' synth work,
with more guitar than the Love In Space EP version, and a re-arranged middle section that has a spoken
word delivery over a thrashy backdrop.
Surreal Sex Dreams
A fast ambient drone with a choppy 2-chord guitar riff. Sampled female American voice intoning
something like "only when I'm having a dream during sex". Sex at this pace would be pretty
exhausting...3 or 4 erections during the course of a night would be about the limit...
Ambient sequenced synth and the Kon-Tiki drums again. Brief, but hypnotic.
Vocal line a bit like Steely Dan's 'Do It Again', lots of keyboards and lead guitar...mid-paced...
Why Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk?
Having listened to this a few times, I still don't know. Starts off with what I might describe as the
timeless music of the starless void, which segues into a jaunty, pulsating riff. Guitars and voices come
and go and after about 5 minutes, when you are completely tranced out, Captain Rizz rudely interrupts
with a burst of spouting. I hear echoes of Jean-Michel Jarre's early stuff in this track.
Space Riders and Sex Dreams
Basically, Part 2 of Surreal Sex Dreams (but not as surreal...). 100mph thrash with synths. The middle
is enlivened with trademark sonic attack synth bursts...for me, this track is a bit too long...
Jazzy, funky mellow...a lovely 2-chord synth pattern underpins this number, with funny noises going off
left right and centre, mostly emanating from the Captain's synths, and some from his guitar. Nice to
hear a longer "mellow" track, since this is something I think Dave Brock does very well (e.g. the outro to
Looking In The Future) but he rarely does it at any length.