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Hawkwind

Levitation

Review by G. W. Hill

Jim Lascko from Strange Trips, the US source for information on Hawkwind, describes space rock as being "characterized (by)(but certainly not limited to) spacey keyboards, driving guitar, sci-fi lyrics, repetitive chants, sound effects, long drawn out hard driving, high energy jams, along with the message that there is something wrong....something more going on in the Universe than just what is being done on this planet and our need to wake up to that fact, all played out against the backdrop of a killer lightshow!" Much of this description really would fit well in a description of progressive rock, so the temptation was certainly present to put this review in the progressive section. However, for lack of a better category, I have included it in the non-progressive section of this issue. Be sure to check out the info on the Strange Daze festival that Hawkwind is headlining on the tour date page.

This album, from 1987 is certainly considered to be one of the more classic of Hawkwind`s albums, and is a strong example of what space rock is about. Picking a definitive Hawkwind album would be very difficult, however, as their sound has continued to evolve over the years. The lineup on this album is Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and Ginger Baker.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Levitation
This energetic space rock piece features a rather hypnotic and invigorating rhythmic melody line and some very interesting keyboard work. This is a fitting tune to start the album.
Motorway City
Motorway City is another track which is driven primarily by the rhythm section, this one more in a progressive rock sort of vein.
Psychosis
Beginning with some space sound effects and voices, a mesmerizing keyboard drone leads this piece, which serves as an intro to the next track.
World of Tiers
Featuring a quirky arrangement, this cut is a moving number that really has a tendency to energize a person. This is an additional brief non-vocal composition.
Prelude
sychedelic space keys begin this piece, another concise instrumental mood piece.
Who's Gonna Win the War
This is a solid song featuring a haunting verse and catchy chorus based on military rhythm patterns.
Space Chase
A nicely odd keyboard intro leads into a track dominated by a solidly driving rhythmic melody and some energetic instrumental soloing.
The Fifth Second of Forever
An evocative guitar intro leads into jet screeching, which in turn leads into the main segment of the song. This main section is a nice progressive and enchanting piece of music, while still being quite catchy. The song drops back into the guitar section that made up the intro as it leads into the next cut.
Dust of Time
Another nicely rhythmic number, this one features some intriguing guitar work and a quirky instrumental break before dropping into a more laid back section. This sedate section is a complete change of pace which gradually builds back towards the main impetus of the song. Dust of Time is a considerably powerful number and a competent conclusion to the album.
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