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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawkwind

Love in Space

Review by Gary Hill

I'm not sure when this double CD live set was recorded, but the bulk of the material comes from 1995's Alien 4, and it was released in 1996, so that narrows it down. There are a lot of live Hawkwind albums out there, but this stands tall among them. The performance is smoking hot. Additionally, this includes a lot of material that isn't on a lot of the rest, meaning that it stands apart. The recording quality is top-notch, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
CD 1
       
Abducted

Trippy theatrical science fiction sounds are the backdrop for a spoken vocal section that conveys both amazement and fear.

Death Trap
Coming out of the previous cut, this Hawkwind classic really rocks in this live telling. It's on fire.
Wastelands
This melodic number serves as a great segue between the first two cuts.
Are You Losing Your Mind?
They deliver a killer hard rocking take on the song from Alien 4. I like the studio version a lot, but this one blows that rendition away. It's a real screamer.
Photo Encounter
I dig this trippy kind of interlude.
Blue Skin
Photon torpedo blasts are heard earlier on this. The cut is a powerhouse Hawkwind stomper delivered with a lot of fire and fury. This gets into some seriously rocking territory later in the track, making it one of the more intense things here. There is some particularly cool jamming underway.
Sputnik Stan

I really love the powerhouse rocking jam on this live version of the cut. They really throw some killer instrumental work into this thing, turning it into a nearly ten and a half minute excursion. The bass playing is exceptional on this. The song has some great shifts and changes here. I really love the bass solo section after the five minute mark. The bits of space chatter add something in terms of texture. They come back into a fierce version of the song proper to take it forward from there.

Robot
Trippy keyboards bring this older Hawkwind number into being. It powers upward from there as it works into the song proper. When they shift to more electronic stuff there are some clips from Star Trek The Next Generation. They bring it back out into more rocking territory to continue from there and take it to the end.
Alien (I Am)
This powers in electronically and builds outward from there. It becomes a melodic space rocking jam that works well after a while. It's both accessible and meaty. It's delivered in style in this live telling. I love the little bass fill in the transition section after the five minute mark. The cut really works out to a more intensified version of the song proper from there.
CD 2
         
Xenomorph

This is a bit punky. It's fierce and driving. It really rocks like crazy. It's a powerhouse number from start to finish.

Vega
Trippy keyboards are the concept on this mellow interlude type number.
Love in Space

A rather catchy cut, this works through some cool changes. The hooks are very accessible. It drops back mid-track for a different kind of vocal section. Then they fire out into smoking hot space rock jamming from there. It's purely on fire as it marches onward. Eventually it makes its way back to the song proper to continue. This piece is close to ten minutes long in this live telling. They use that time to great advantage working through a lot of different things along the journey.

Kapal
Cool keyboards and trippy nature sounds are heard at the start of this number. It gets some percussion and other rhythmic elements as it grows forward. Some Shakespeare is heard as this powers up and marches forward. It continues to evolve without risking into real rocking territory.
Elfin
This mellower cut is very much keyboard based. It's another that's more of an interlude or connecting piece.
Silver Machine
They put in a fiery rendition of the band's biggest hit. This is punky and yet space rock oriented. It's not my favorite live version, but it's a lot of fun.
Welcome to the Future
This classic older Hawkwind song is delivered with a lot of style. It's built around keyboards with the waves of vocals. It gets into some noisy rocking stuff.
Assassins / Space (Is Their Palestine)
It sounds like there is a sitar at the start of this, but I don't see anyone credited as playing sitar, so maybe it's keyboards. That section runs through, and then they work out to a tentative rocking jam from there. They keep it understated for a while, but the intensity starts to build as keyboard textures bringing the middle Eastern themes come over the top. It's past the six minute mark before they really launch into the rocking edge of the cut. Apparently the "Space (Is Their Palestine)" section is at the start and makes up the bulk of the lead-up, or it's improperly labeled because "Assassins of Allah" actually ends the live album.

 

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