Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hawkwind review

HawkwindAh, “The” Hawkwind – a band I have long loved, while acknowledging their habit of issuing albums of sometimes wildly variable quality. A band who was perhaps the first truly counterculture band to have a real hit (with “Silver Machine” in 1969 – the follow-up, “Urban Guerrilla”, issued at a time when terrorism was being nailed into the public consciousness due to the likes of the Baader-Meinhof gang and a surge in Far- and Middle-Eastern-related revolutionary actions, was banned by a paranoid and hysterical BBC and failed to match the same heights). A band who gave no less a legend than Lemmy a reasonable tenure prior to Motorhead – who were themselves named after one of his Hawkwind compositions. Perhaps if they had ever taken much of a break from their activities, the ‘Wind would have been more missed and be held in higher regard; but even if the record-buying public at large have never really taken them to heart, there is a worldwide army of Hawkwind enthusiasts, albeit considerably less disciplined than most armies (though probably impossible to poison given their collective level of sustained drug use).
“Spacehawks” marks the latest of their forays onto the formats. Whatever scars the intervening years have left on their collective psyche, there’s no sign of any waning of their creative powers; nor is there any suggestion of a softening of their counter-cultural position. While there is a little more electronic chicanery in evidence, the key trademarks of their sound – hypnotic guitars, swirling psychedelic synths and Dave Brock’s (and the other’s) rough ‘n’ ready vocals – are all present and correct and little changed from any point in the last couple of decades. But this isn’t the only reason why parts of “Spacehawks” have such a familiar feel.

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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.