Review Summary: Hawkwind start off their long career with a folky aspect and do well, but are let down by bad production a lack of a coherent structure.Hawkwind – A trip through Space.
Space Rock and Hawkwind go hand in hand, but it wasn't always so. Back in 1970 they released their first album the self-titled Hawkwind, which is in a more folky tone, but still holds some of the key aspects of what would later become the space rock genre.
Hawkwind was formed in 1969 when Dave Brock and Nik Turner joined forces and formed Hawkwind. After playing a gig where they turned up with no band name nor any idea what songs they were going to play, they managed to get signed on by Liberty records, and produced their first album the year after.
On this album Hawkwind is.
Dave Brock – guitar, keyboards, vocals
Nik Turner – saxophone, flute, vocals
Huw Lloyd-Langton – guitar, vocals
John A. Harrison – bass guitar, vocals
Dik Mik (Michael Davies) – Synthesizer
Terry Ollis – drums
Hawkwind was done live in the studio, so the sound quality can be a little off from times, and the instruments can blend into one at some points, but this helps to add to the spacey sound that rumbles through the album. Another thing to note is that all the songs on this album began their life as ram shackled jams, thus adding to the overall style of the music.
The opening track is very country blues, with folkish guitars and a sweet ol' tune on the wind sections. But due to the way the album was recorded, it is very hard to pick out the bass and drums at several points and the wind section seems to over power parts of the song. From the sounds of the first song, it would appear that this might end up nothing more than a simple folk rock album from the early 70s, but this is Hawkwind and they ain't done yet.
From the second track onwards the synthesizer really kicks in and it helps to hold a spacey theme that lasts the rest of the album. 'Be yourself' is a track filled with distorted guitars, a wild blasting sax and spaced out vocals. The sounds of space lasers blasting around accompanied by the shaking of maracas, bring the song to it's humble closure.
Then you have 'Paranoia' and 'Seeing It As You Really Are' are much different to the rest of the album, with flowing orgasms of sounds that web and flows across the next fifteen minutes of the album, the drums go off on their own, the guitars grind and blast, the wind sections sprials high and low. But the vocals are nearly non-exsistant and so is the bass guitar. These songs show both the best and worst parts of the space genre. They are experimental and diverse, but they have no direction or sense. They are truly jams in all sense of the word.
The album rounds off with the more structured 'Mirror of Illusion'. In amongst the sounds of the song, the guitars strum away happily whilst the drums and the synthesizer have the lions share of the song.
In conclusion, Hawkwind's Hawkwind is a mis-mash of amazing sounds and wonderful music with many interesting parts, however it is prone to losing track of itself particularly towards the end, in addition the bass is non-existent and can't be heard above the rest of the instruments due to the way the album was recorded. However Hawkwind is still a good album, and is a good album to get into if you are interested in Space Rock, or Hawkwind in general.