|Music from the Hawkwind family tree - Part 6
Many thanks to Graham who penned this piece
In 2001, Bedouin were Alan Davey, Danny
Thompson and Glen Povey, with Simon House
guesting on violin.
Alan Davey's vocals are still somewhat strained (he
tries too hard to emulate Lemmy's inimitable gravel
voiced singing) but the playing is excellent, with a
much tighter feel than the rather limp solo
performances on "Bedouin". Bedouin are a sort of
space-rock version of Motorhead (not surprising
really, given that their alter ego is a Motorhead tribute
act). One minor gripe is the lyrical content - great
titles and portentious sounding lines ("flying into
your dreams, object of desire, unidentified zeal,
higher and higher" - from the title track) but I'm not
sure what any of the songs is actually about: Jon
Anderson would be proud of Alan's work here!
The album opens with four consecutive high energy heavy rock numbers: "Vision Quest", "Say Goodbye Da
Babylon", "Rock Palace" (originally from the "Bedouin" album and revisited by the band) and the excellent
"As Above So Below". Two instrumentals follow: after being bludgeoned into submission by the opening
four tracks, the well-named "Air Space" provides a brief respite, before more heavy riffing on "Dagger
Dance". "Demons In Denial" and the powerful "Chasing The Dragon" close the album.
This is as close to mainstream (latter day) Hawkwind as any of the various solo offshoots gets. The album
was released on Salahadin Records (CD001) in 2001.
On this album, Alan Davey is accompanied by Danny
Thompson (track 6 only) and Sean Massett (tracks 1,
2, 3 and 7). I think the main problem I have with this
is that it sounds like Hawkwind-by-numbers or, to be
more precise, like Alan Davey playing along with a
drum machine on various instruments. At this stage,
Bedouin was an idea more than a band and this album
misses the dynamics and feel of a real band. In fact,
of the five tracks on which other musicians
accompany him, Alan Davey plays only synths on
three of them (tracks 1, 2 and 6). For my tastes there
are three pretty good tracks ("One Moon Circles",
"Queen Of The Night" and "Sand Devil") and the rest
is well-executed but rather forgettable.
The album kicks off with the full-on assault of "Rock
Palace", followed by the instrumental "Wadi Dhar",
which starts out very laid back (make that comatose)
and then gains a rhythm track and repetitive synth motif over which Sean Massett lays down some soloing
on guitar, finally slowing right back down to finish after 11 minutes. "Passion Is An Animal" picks up the
pace again but Alan Davey is not an effective singer and, perhaps because this is just Alan overdubbed and
playing to a drum machine, it lacks any sense of dynamics. "Alhadan" starts out as another laid back synth
piece before some Arabic sounding strumming and vocal samples come in. "Space Rock Cafe" is a faster
instrumental, propelled along by Alan's bass work; in places it is reminiscent of "Valium 10".
"One Moon Circle" is a Davey / Thompson collaboration, featuring real drums and percussion and some
pleasant synth doodles from Alan. Best track so far. "Queen Of The Night" is the only track to feature Alan
Davey playing bass to accompany Sean Massett on guitar - although they're still playing to a drum machine
(and Alan's singing is still far from wonderful), this track has an energy lacking elsewhere on the album and
gets closest to classic Hawkwind.
"Eyes In The Dark" is another atmospheric but directionless instrumental with sampled voices, which
suddenly wakes up after 5½ minutes as Alan starts playing some bass and rhythm guitar. The closing "Sand
Devil" brings things to a rousing finish, with Alan again playing bass and guitar. Apparently this last track
was recorded in 1987, which has the unfortunate effect of implying that he hasn't really progressed much
The album was released on EBS in 1997 (EBSCD 133).
Worth A Listen: Alan Davey - Bedouin
Some of the best: Bedouin - As Above, So Below
repeating the words of the title and such like - pointless but harmless!
"Choko Drives In" is familiar, under its alternative title "Toad On The Road", from the Friends and Relations
album. It remains an inoffensive but inconsequential song, with some spoken Spanish thrown into the mix.
"Antario" (or, as implied by the lyrics, "Antonio") is another upbeat track with a rather ridiculous spoken
vocal about Antonio, "the coolest cat in Bonio". You could imagine The Shamen turning this into an
exceptionally irritating rap; as done by Harvey and Norman it's just mildly amusing. "Old Man From Japan"
is another silly rap, over within 2 minutes. "Partie d'Afrique / Automind" starts out as a percussion workout
with "African" vocals before turning into another light and bubbly synth-based piece with an
incomprehensible vocal (plus backing vocals courtesy of Sue Newman).
Lasting for 50 minutes in total, this album is largely undemanding and doesn't outstay its welcome.
Originally issued on cassette, the CD (TASTE 37) was released in 1997.
The Alman Mulo Band was Harvey Bainbridge
(synths, vocals, guitar, bass) plus Norman Alman
(percussion, vocals, guitar).
There are probably two reasons for preferring this
album to some other largely instrumental albums by
Hawkwind alumni, like Harvey's own â€œInterstellar
Chaos" or the Paradogs' "Foul Play at the Earth Lab":
firstly it's quite pleasant to listen to and, secondly, it
doesn't seem to take itself too seriously.
"Electronique" is light and bouncy, more Jean-Michel
Jarre than Tangerine Dream, while "Too Late" is a
rather statelier instrumental, meandering tastefully for
11 and a half minutes. "A Touch Like Ice" is slightly
more sombre, with some treated voices and
pleasantly melancholy instrumentation. "Get Up!" is
basically a percussion exercise with chanted vocals,
Worth A Listen: The Alman Mulo Band - Orisha
Approach With Caution: Dark Sun featuring Nik Turner - Ice Ritual
Well, this is a novel idea: Nik Turner teams up
with a space rock band and plays a set of
Hawkwind covers. Fair enough, it has worked
before but this moves into karaoke territory.
I'd never heard of Dark Sun but, according to
their web site www.darksunband.com, this was
their third release. The earlier "Electric Dreams"
promo featured Nik Turner on one track (which
is included here) and they have subsequently had
tracks released on four different compilations,
including another track with Nik ("Abduction
Files") on "Not Of This Earth".
This album actually mixes some live
performances with Nik in 1999 with a set of
Hawkwind covers from 1998. Although the
sequence on the CD mixes performances from
both sets, I'll review them separately since only
Nik's contributions are of any real interest. Focussing first on the 1999 material, Nik recites "Sonic Attack"
effectively enough and the band then turns in a decent version of "Watching The Grass Grow". "Kadu
Flyer" is spoiled by some pretty awful vocals from Nik, although his sax playing is fine. Nik then recites
"Utopia '84" and the band play a medley of "D-Rider"/"The Right Stuff"/"Master Of The Universe".
"D-Rider" works well, with vocals and flute from Nik; "The Right Stuff" is instrumentally good but with
rather wayward vocals from Nik, and "Master Of The Universe" is excellent, with Nik contributing sax and
vocals, and using the words from (I think) ICU's version on "Passout". The last track featuring Nik is
"Brainstorm", which is suitably wild, if brief, with some good sax work from Nik.
The 1998 material kicks off with a so-so version of "Psychedelic Warlords". However, the band then dare
to tackle "Assault and Battery" / "The Golden Void". Hawkwind fans are perhaps best advised to skip these
tracks: the music is played fairly faithfully but the vocals (at least they are not by Nik) are dreadful and an
unnecessary spoken part is introduced into "Golden Void". The karaoke continues with a painful version of
"Hassan-i-Sahba" and the set closes with an energetic cover of "Silver Machine".
The final treat is the studio track "Dream Circuit", featuring Nik, originally released on the "Electric Dreams"
promo. What we get is nine minutes of rather pointless noodling with various vocal samples and some sax
thrown in at one point.
This album was released on Burnt Hippie records (BHR-004) in 2001.
Worth A Listen: Robert Calvert - Revenge
This mini-album of demos is a posthumous release of
fragments of Robert Calvert's otherwise unreleased
work. What happened here was Pete Pavli (who
played cello on "New World's Fair" and bass for High
Tide) produced some demos, then Bob wrote and
sung the words. This was their second collaboration,
the first being on the "Hype" album.
There is only about 10 minutes of Calvert music here.
The sound quality isn't great, as you might expect
from demos - it actually sounds better on my PC than
on the hi-fi. The playing time is doubled by the
inclusion of an unnamed track of synthesised voice
("Turn The Tape Over") and minimalist synth,
repeated over and over for 10 minutes - your cat has
probably composed better music!
However, the 10 minutes of Calvert is good. None of the demo backing tracks was especially exciting but,
in each case, Calvert's words and performance fit perfectly and his imagery is as powerful as ever, even on
what are essentially minor works.
Pick of the bunch is the title track, on which Bob Calvert offers a lovely vignette of a lone gunman taking
revenge on unnamed enemies, over a backdrop of cello and keyboards. The closest reference point I could
think of was "Only The Dead Dreams Of The Cold War Kid" but this is actually better. The rather florid
cello and keyboards arrangement of "Isadora" had me expecting to hear the late Viv Stanshall telling one of
his stories of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End. Calvert nevertheless turns in another good performance, singing
about girls on a stage, windscreen wipers and trees - the link, by the way, is that they are all dancing. The
remaining two tracks are less immediately appealing, although the lyrics are better than the music. On
"Fascism / Futurism" he talks about burning libraries and the like for two minutes, while "Bugatti" concerns,
as you might guess, driving a Bugatti (sample lyrics: "burning like a meteor, through the letterbox of
This was released on Blueprint (Voiceprint) as BP320CD in 1999. Now we just need someone to release his
recitations of the "Centigrade 232" and "Earth Ritual" poems...¦
This is the album of the novel (the paperback
occasionally turns up on E-Bay) and it's not bad
except that Calvert just doesn't convince as the sleazy
rock star, Tom Mahler, whose songs we are
supposedly hearing. The band on this album
comprises Simon House, Nik Turner, Michael
Moorcock, Trev Thoms, Pete Pavli, George Csapo,
Pete Dowling and Nick Michaels. The last three were
three-quarters of Bethnal ("punks with a violin"), who
supported Hawkwind on tour in 1977. [No bass
player is credited].
The music, far from being sleazy rock, is poppy,
with arrangements dominated by syn-drums and
synths; quite appropriate for 1980 and a big stylistic
leap away from "Lucky Leif". Trev Thoms plays lead
guitar but the arrangements keep his punk and metal
tendencies firmly reigned in. Even Nik Turner's
playing is generally restrained. Anyway, forget about it being "Songs of Tom Mahler" and treat it as songs
of Bob Calvert: put away preconceptions and enjoy. Perhaps his third best album (after Captain Lockheed
and Die Lösung)
The best track on the album is probably "Evil Rock", which has been described elsewhere as Calvert's "It's
Only Rock'n'Roll" (the lyrics of which are echoed in the closing refrain of "it's evil, but I like it"). This track
is more guitar rock than electronica, with Nik Turner contributing a suitably dirty sax solo. Now this song
might just have worked as a hit single...¦
The original LP and CD closed with (reworked?) versions of both sides of the insect-themed single "Lord
Of The Hornets" / "Greenfly And The Rose" - neither of which really seems to fit the concept of the album.
The new CD re-issue (Voiceprint VP261CD, 2003) adds two demos ("Over My Head", "Flight 105") and an
alternative version of "Hanging Out On The Sea Front".
Worth A Listen: Robert Calvert - Hype
Approach With Caution: 46000 Fibres and Nik Turner - the 5th Anniversary Concerts: Set 3
This is a CDR (TRI 3/3, available through CD Services) of a live performance from 1999 and qualifies as
one of the least exciting Hawk-related artefacts I've yet come across - and there is strong competition for
this dubious honour! There are two tracks on the album, the first being the set with Nik, which clocks in at
58 minutes. The lo-fi sound works better on the PC speakers than on the hi-fi. What you get is a gradual
build-up to an extensive freeform jam, over which Nik gets plenty of opportunity to do foghorn impressions
as well as some rather more conventional improvisation on the sax. He also plays flute, notably during the
final 15 minutes of the track, where his work is reminiscent of the Xitintoday album. At best this is rather
"difficult" music; perhaps it made more sense if you were there at the time. The second track is more
freeform noodling, presumably without Nik, in 1995.
Worth A Listen: Anubian Lights - Eternal Sky
In which the Space Ritual (USA) crew does ambient
electronica. This is basically Len Del Rio and Tommy
Greñas (as in Pressurehed, Chrome, Farflung, Spiral
Realms, etc, etc), plus Nik Turner, Del Dettmar,
Simon House, Paul Fox, Doran Shelley and Brandon
The concept is Egyptian myth meets flying saucers
(Eric Von Daniken territory in other words); the CD
booklet comes complete with a four-page logbook.
Sample: "The tall one, through a series of disjointed
mumbles rose to crystal clarity and pronounced that
after many years of battle with the dark drone lords,
he had gone to the Great Pyramid to test out his
instruments of chaos". This bit at least seems to be a
thinly disguised mythologizing of Nik's departure
from the mothership. The rest is a bit like "Time of
the Hawklords" but nothing like as readable and
without the humour. I tried reading it through three times and it defeated me.
The music itself meanders along pleasingly enough, with eleven tracks of synths, percussion and eastern
flavoured instrumental touches, plus Nik talking over top in places. Only "Grid Coordinate: Vorp One" (track
4) really grabbed my attention, when it hit a sequenced groove, before the album reverted back to providing
relaxing ambient background music. Appropriately enough, this was released on Cleopatra's "Hypnotic"
division (CLEO96032), in 1995. The Hawkwind connection disappears on later albums but this one is worth