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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawkwind

Family Tree

Review by Gary Hill

Family Tree or Friend and Relation albums are always weird things. It seems that many times the isolated parts have no where near the style or power of the whole. This one really takes the cake in terms of weirdness, though. The entire disc is essentially techno in nature, thereby making it a huge change for fans of Hawkwind. About the only things from the Hawkwind catalog that come close to this are some of the material on The Business of the Future. This odd texture would seem to make the disc of interest only to the extreme hardcore fans.

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Track by Track Review
The Paradogs-Nile
The Paradogs is the working name of Jerry Richards and Alf Hardy. Keys start this cut in cries, then a techno beat enters. As the guitar comes in it is in a frantic Hawkwind groove mode. Despite that guitar, though, the central elements of this somewhat hypnotic cut are techno.
The Paradogs-Noctis Labyrinthus
Sci-fi sounding keys begin this one. Atmospheric tones dominate this ethereal instrumental. The cut is another that is rather hypnotic, but it also feels somewhat cinematic.
The Paradogs-Jet Stream
More techno elements merge with guitar sounds that seem to careen between Hawkwind and the Beatles. This one feels rather pop-oriented while still maintaining its electronic basis.
The Little Big Men-Squall
Richard Chadwick and Steve Bemand are The Little Big Men. Their song starts with electronic keyboard elements that feel a bit like Kraftwerk. This piece is an extended one, weighing in at nearly 11 minutes. Unfortunately, the techno nature of this piece, mostly percussive, just doesn't change enough to warrant such a long track. So, it tends to get a bit repetitive at times. It does, to its credit, eventually drop to a mellower, more melodic segment that is rather pretty.
Ron Tree and Vital Chi-Tuff On De Street
This cut is quite weird and very brief.
Liz Gizzad-Another Day
This is based on a hammering percussive texture, but is no more than techno atmosphere.
Ron Tree-Tripping Shipping
Tree is back with more electronic weirdness.
Dave Brock-The Auctioneer
This is a hypnotic techno jam that is rather cool. It gets a bit more melodic as it carries on. Brock carries all the instrumentation himself on this and his other solo cuts presented on this collection.
Dave Brock-Space Show Biz
This one, another very short cut, is made up of looping.
Dave Brock-Voice Inside My Head:
This comes across more melodic and rather powerful and pretty. This one is definitely a standout cut on this odd CD.
Dave Brock-Moon Beams On Mars
More electronic techno wanderings, this is a fairly brief keyboard exploration.
Hawkwind-Only Time Will Tell
Feeling more like a "song" than the majority of the disc, this is still techno, but proggy as well.
Hawkwind (1979)-Motorway City
This is a rather weak performance of the Hawk classic mixed in a distant, raw manner, making it feel more like a tease than anything else.
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