Out and Intake. This was one I used to have on vinyl, only to relinquish it in disgust not long after
acquisition. The CD version seems to have a few extra tracks I don't remember...so I'm hoping that this
will actually turn out to be a good purchase in its' own right and not just grist to the mill of Starfarer CD
Turner Point is first up and I do remember this as being one of the more enjoyable tracks. It consists of a
couple of minutes of Nik honking, squealing and blaring away over the top of a fast metronomic drum
pattern (which has a great metallic edge to it) and assorted sound effects. This is supposedly what got him
sacked from the band in 1976 - well, they should have let him carry on! Or at least given him some
numbers on which he could go mental like this. I can't help but smile listening to this one.
A couple of the extra tracks follow (I think) - what I take to be Huw Lloyd Langton solo versions of
Waiting For Tomorrow and Solitary Mind Games. Each has more guitar texture than the familiar
renditions on the Choose Your Masques, and perhaps a slightly more leaden delivery from the rhythm
section. Solitary Mind Games has a menacing air, punctuated with bass runs that sound like the lower
strings on a piano being plucked. There are also some plinky synth bits along the way, a bit of flute (is that
you, Nik?!) and a clumping bass drum beat to maintain the tension. And is there a new keyboard part on
Waiting For Tomorrow? It's a kind of piping tone that sounds like something Harvey Bainbridge might have
played, but on both tracks the guitar still dominates, with Huw going more for his almost ambient
atmospheric playing rather than Levitation-era solos. His vocals are high in the mix too - all in all these two
versions are quite different to what was on Choose Your Masques. With that album, Solitary Mind Games
in particular sounds to me like early 80's trenchcoat merchants the Comsat Angels - but not here, it's pure
I have actually lied about the running order of the CD already. Cajun Jinx separated the two HLL tracks,
and this too was one of the better inclusions on the original Out & Intake. My guess would be that Harvey
is the main influence behind this number as it's keyboard dominated, starting off with a slow, dreamy intro
with staccato reverb'd drums, guitar figures from Huw, and ambient synth, before the main rhythm comes
in. This is based on a jaunty keyboard riff with layers of synth above it. These and the bass run up and
down the scale pleasantly enough for a few minutes but this is one of those songs that just hangs out there
and doesn't go anywhere in particular.
Starflight is the superbly atmospheric intro to Ejection, and combines characteristic Brock- and Bainbridge-
synth tones with one of Bob Calvert's monologues from the Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters album.
(I can't remember what track it was there, but it has the control tower talking to the pilot over the radio,
going over the checklist of his medication.) Ejection proper then launches, and it's not as blanga as I
remember, but sounds better balanced for all that. The presence of sax and the unmistakable presence of
HLL and Alan Davey suggest this was recorded during Nik's second period of residence in the band, from
1982-84. Everyone has an even hand in this and it might even be the best version of the song out there.
Assassins of Allah is a classic 80's Hawkwind treatment of the 70's track, when it was called
Hassan-i-Sahba. This was before rave music arrived to trouble my waking moments, and so there is no
dance interlude, and if anyone stands out here, it's Huw Lloyd Langton. I'd guess this was from Alan
Davey's early days in the band, as his bass parts stick closely to the chord structure, but he takes the
microphone for one of his better attempts at this particular vocal. So the song itself pumps along, the sound
is clear as a bell, but the end effect is somehow slightly flat - it just doesn't quite "breathe" in the way that
Hawkwind managed with this number towards the tail end of the previous decade.
This unfortunately is the signal for the album to dive into the dross, and the next four tracks were what put
the Out-take into the album's title. Flight To Maputo is throwaway. African women's tribal chant vocals
pop up and then disappear amid a muted cacophony of arrhythmic bangs and blares, while something that
sounds like a tuneless ukelele plinks away in the foreground. What was the point of this? And more
pertinently, why does it go on for over 5 minutes?
Confrontation begins promisingly enough, with a real Brock guitar riff, almost the first one we've heard on
this album (though he did chug away ferociously on Assassins of Allah). But then it devolves into one of
those unsatisfying sound collages, with a narrated commentary on the 1985 Battle Of The Beanfield, when
my old friends of the Wiltshire Constabulary rioted against the softest possible target - the men, women and
children of the Convoy, to make sure that Stonehenge Free Festival did not happen that year (or any year
since). This is a cause worth commemorating all right, but I wish the song was a stronger vehicle for this
5/4 the song is named for its time signature, and since Hawkwind rarely play in anything other than 4/4, I
suppose this experimentation should be applauded. But, er, it doesn't actually make the track any good.
Harvey bellows away somewhere in the middle of the mix and Huw plays some evocative lead parts which
for a few bars close to the end induce that dreamlike quality that Hawkwind can do brilliantly - though
almost always in fleeting snatches. This track ends with some synthiness first heard on the Church of
Ghost Dance completes the quartet of filler tracks, and illustrates why Harvey Bainbridge and Nik Turner
should never be allowed to collaborate on anything. It's not as long as I remember it being, but it's just as
interminable - "tribal" drums and "ethnic" vocals are the gist of it, and it was this sort of rubbish that made
Hawkwind's 1984 Stonehenge video such painful viewing. I read in an interview somewhere that Harvey
claimed "sheer desperation" inspired Ghost Dance. I would never have guessed!
The CD finishes off with two extra tracks, which are live cuts again from the 1982-84 period, at a guess.
Coded Languages is the first of these and it's easily the best rendition of this song. The band sets a goodly
pace, Huw solos like a dervish and Harvey turns in one of his best vocal performances, sounding melodic
and harmonious on the verses, and demented on the "your languages are coded / your image is eroded"
section. Definitive. The last track is a Michael Moorcock narrated Warrior On The Edge Of Time which
is better than his usual standard of moaning and raving, though it's all still a bit too melodramatic for my
taste. There's a nice underpinning of Tim Blake-esque synths and keyboards, though I'd guess Harvey is
once again responsible; in fact, his influence is writ large on this album. And the person who seems almost
to have disappeared is Dave Brock....
So, while this is by no means a classic, it is better than expected. This is because the album has been
greatly strengthened by the extra tracks; those I recall as being horrible are still poor, and the only tracks
which actually approach being quality pieces are rehashes of old material. So where once I would have
rated this at 4 or 5 out of 10, now I'd say 6. Not worth paying full price for but it was enjoyable to hear it
again after such a long absence. I'm now going to put it away in a drawer and leave it there for a couple of
years before I listen to it again :-/
Some comments from Nick R:
The Huw Lloyd-Langton songs were always on the album (not recent additions), and I always thought they
were live recordings from the Choose Your Masques tour which had been tarted up in the studio. The
credits on my copy say that engineer/co-producer Paul Cobbold plays organ on the album and there's
definitely some organ on Waiting for Tomorrow. Also the lack of Dave's obvious presence on these tracks
ties in with my recollection of the live performances at the time. Dave used to retreat to the keyboard and
make hooshing noises leaving Huw to do the guitar as well as singing.
As far as I can tell Nik is only on the above tracks (sax on Waiting for Tomorrow, flute on Solitary Mind
Games), plus Ghost Dance (vocals), and Turner Point (foghorn). I had always assumed that they could
never get him to knuckle down and go into the studio, except on Turner Point, with obviously disastrous
consequences. The latter track sounds like the middle bit of Social Alliance. Lets hope the rest of it never
makes it into the public domain.
Personally I've always thought this album was another case of 'Hawkwind: delicious hot, disgusting cold'.
Side one (in old vinyl money) is pretty excellent except for Turner Point, while side two is pretty dodgy
except for Ghost Dance and maybe Assassins of Allah (but don't play the Quark original first). The
Confrontation track is based on part of the Brock / Bainbridge /Huwie / Ali / Danny version of Brainstorm.
What a pity they didn't just record the whole song... Still at least the live version is on the Reading 86 CD,
wrongly titled Dreamworker..... In fact it segues into Dreamworker which then segues into Dust of Time
and the whole thing is an absolutely fantastic track. So obviously I disagree with the guy who attacked
Dreamworker in the course of reviewing a solo album by Harvey. Now Back in the Box, that's a totally