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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding change of direction, but still amazin'
The 1976 release of `Astounding Sounds' saw Hawkwind embark on an eclectic journey of musical discovery, for the first time going beyond the single-minded focus on swirling chugga chugga space rock that was perfected on the previous year's release of `Warrior On the Edge of Time'. This was the start of their `Charisma period', where elements of punk, new wave, funk and...
Published on 29 Jan 2009 by Jim

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm
I have a large portion of Hawkwind's output in my collection but somehow this LP passed me by.
Quite obviously a band in transition both musically & personel wise, sounding more like what would follow than what had gone before
I've listened to it twice through & at the moment think it's "OK"
But a lot of Hawkwind LPs are growers so I may change my...
Published 15 months ago by Quizzimodo


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding change of direction, but still amazin', 29 Jan 2009
By 
Jim (South Devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
The 1976 release of `Astounding Sounds' saw Hawkwind embark on an eclectic journey of musical discovery, for the first time going beyond the single-minded focus on swirling chugga chugga space rock that was perfected on the previous year's release of `Warrior On the Edge of Time'. This was the start of their `Charisma period', where elements of punk, new wave, funk and even jazz were woven into the Hawkwind sound. The eccentric rock poet Robert Calvert helped to give the band a whole new direction with his original lyrical style and quirky song-writing contributions. Highlights on this album include `Steppenwolf' and `Reefer Madness', though my personal favourite is the atmospheric Turner-penned number `Kadu Flyer'.

Although Hawkwind's reputation largely rests on the back of their space-rock glory days of the early to mid-70s, this new phase of the band also produced a handful of albums that, though a departure from the signature Hawkwind sound, deserve a special place in the affection of both Hawkwind fans and the wider rock community. The other late 70s Charisma albums are `Quark, Strangeness and Charm', '25 Years On' and `PXR5', which are all being re-released this year.

More than any other band I can think of, Hawkwind have been plagued over the years by a plethora of often expensive, substandard and illegal releases of both live performances and studio albums. So the new Esoteric/Atomhenge label is a boon to rock fans, allowing definitive CD releases of most of the band's post-EMI catalogue. Falling into the gap between the EMI albums and those now in the Atomhenge fold is the aforementioned `Warrior', the music rights to which I believe are owned by the individual members of the band that played on it. So there'll have to be a lot of grown-up cooperating to bring a worthy release of this gem to the world. We're waiting! In the meantime we have much to enjoy with the simultaneous release of `Astounding Sounds' and '25 Years', and the rest of the catalogue coming on a rolling release schedule throughout 2009 and beyond.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Remastered Sound Quality!, 11 Mar 2009
By 
T. Williams - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
I would like to echo Mr. Blackwell's review of this album. I've always loved these Charisma-period Hawkwind / Hawklords albums. In addition though, I would also like to praise the remastering work on this. This album always sounded good (the original vinyl sounds great). This remastering job is superb! A really full, dynamic and detailed sound. No 'loudness wars' here.

Great packaging too (I would very much like a Japanese 'mini LP CD' format version but I can't see that happening soon...!)

A brilliant album properly done for the digital age. About time too!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the cave of chromium, 13 Oct 2010
By 
Stephen E. Andrews "Writer" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
Hawkwind : here's the typical chapter and verse from music journos and some fans - 'Hawkwind's seminal period is the "Space Ritual Alive" era. After Lemmy leaves it gets a bit proggy and not so good,'.

OK, consensus out of the way. So since when has the consensus meant anything to true rock and roll fans? Isn't rock about rebellion, subjectivity, individual truth and finding your own way? Well, it is to me, so, consequently, I've always loved this album, which was the first Hawkwind I bought on disc after the introductory compilation 'Masters of the Universe'. And don't get me wrong, as I love all the band's 1970s output as every bit of it is great.

After the masterpiece that was 'Warrior on the Edge of Time' (sorry, that's my fave Hawks album, with its perfect balance of instruments, great mix, lack of sludge and intense sonic colours) and Lemmy departs, we get something new. For the first time Calvert is in the dominant lead vocalist seat throughout a Hawks album, so we're guaranteed superb lyrics, fascinating vocal delivery, intelligent songwriting to rival the likes of Bowie and early Roxy Music (not that it wasn't profound at times before that). The sci-fi trappings of the band are given more authenticity by the covers' parody of "Astounding" (THE key SF magazine of the pulp era), then are beautifully skewed into Euro-Glam territory by the inclusion if the Weimar Eagle and the amazing "Steppenwolf", based, of course, on the brilliant misanthropic novel by Herman Hesse. So just as Bowie is discovering all things Kraftwerk and Neu! (who Dave Brock liked by the way), Hawkwind get in on the Berlin Decadence act. And how well it fits them. A perfect mesh of prog, psychedelia and Eurocentric modernism wrapped in cod nostalgia - for me, this makes mid-seventies Hawkwind more like classic early Roxy than any other band, especially when you compare the mix of instruments.

The musicians : Brock takes a bit of a back seat (maybe why he never seems keen on the album, but he's there singing in the background, that fantastic keening folksy voice always sounding ideally archiac and somehow fitting in these hypermodern settings), Calvert is in full flight, Turner is making a lovely chaotic contribution on the wind instruments, not to mention a lovely vocal on the sublime 'Kadu Flyer', whose lyrical imagery about flight - kites, pterodactyls and so on - simply says to me "Hawkwind are about flying, so share their wings.'. It's al very Himalayn and mystical, but great fun. Paul Rudolph (former Pink Fairy and Eno collaborator) is always great to listen to, as he's a great player (check out his contribution to 'Here He Comes' from Eno's " Before and After Science" album), but he isn't Lemmy, no. But who is? Lemmy is, like all the truly great rock bassists (a very small elite club) totally unique - like J.J. Burnel, Mick Karn, Barry Admanson and Chris Hillman. Rudolph is another guitarist (like Lemmy and Burnel) playing bass here for convenience' sake. Then we have Simon House, whose taste, skill, tone colours and elan are just magical - Hawkwind only became truly special when House came on board to my mind and he plays on all their best records - his classical training always made such a brilliant counterpoint to their grungier charms, rather like John Cale did for The Velvet Underground. His synths on this album are almost as colourful as those on the magnificent "Warrior" album. Fans need to check out his contribution to Bowie's amazing 'Stage' live album, which anyone who likes the Charisma era Hawks should try. Finally, we get the Drum Empire : King and Powell. Some nice stuff, here, lads, well done.

The songs: 'Reefer Madness' is great fun of course, a colourful tongue-in-cheek warning about the dangers of dope (referencing the unintentionally hilarious health warning/exploitation film of the same name). 'Steppenwolf' is for me the moment of unassailable genius on the record, with its Coltrane-esque refrains after each chorus, gorgeously simple guitar riff, brooding violin section and words that are - to this published writer - confirmation of Calvert's poetic mastery. Chosen like the finest precious stones and set in sterling platinum, this is seriously good writing. Hesse himself would have loved the song, I'm sure. Sheer literary rock bliss for those who appreciate lyricists of the calibre of Reed/Morrison/Bowie/Ferry. Proper writing!

'Kerb Crawler' is also massively underrated, with its images of 'boot girl' pickups (in 20s Berlin, casual prostitutes advertised their sexual specialities based on the colour of their boots- avoid any ladies with green high heels is the message if you want to stay healthy) and the narrator who will 'burn you down the autobahn' in this superb meshing of futuristic automobile fetishism and old fashioned lady-of-the-night-cruising. Isherwood via Metropolis via Soul Revues, with some brilliant female backing vocals a la The Sirens and Calvert's stunning middle eight lyrics, whose imagery reflects the influence of New Wave science fiction writers such as Samuel R Delany and Roger Zelazny, while not sounding unalike the early Ultravox! of John Foxx (I'm thinking the first album) in its urban imagery and spindly edgeiness, hitning at the cyberpunk future of William Gibson.

Not only all this, but there's the cracking instrumentals - the near-ECM jazziness of 'City of Lagoons', nicely laid back and spacious, the mutant funk of 'The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon' (very trippy, man) and the transcendental sunny vibe of 'Chronoglide Skyway', which is ideal chill-out room material.

All in all, if you like clever, colourful seventies rock without stodge and lots of style, this album is for you. Ideal for fans of psychedelia and True Glam and even Prog. Excellent!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i love this band, 9 Mar 2009
By 
Mr Blackwell (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
in hindsight this album was always doomed to failure,how can you follow a classic like 'warriors on the edge',suffer loss of key members,especially lemmy and expect everything to remain the same,well being hawkwind you just get on with it and the rest of the planet will catch on eventually!!.This is actually a very good album reefer madness and kerb crawler are genuine 'wind rockers and still have that spaced out feel,steppenwolf is the greatest hawkwind track most people never heard,listen to the instrumentals especially city of lagoon with its floydian soundscape,in fact if floyd had written it it would have been hailed as a classic,kadu flyer is another beautiful piece of music,the bonus tracks are all worthy additions,always loved the gritty back on the streets,all in all this is a fantastic remasterd edition and augurs well for the rest of the series,cant wait.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the name says it all, 22 April 2014
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ive been listening to this album 36 years and probaly listen to this more than all the other great albums by the wind it has so much depth and feeling than anything else but most importantly it takes you out beyond the stars. just layback and light a spliff. and enjoy.;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album?, 17 Sep 2013
By 
Tekniq (Beckenham, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
Personally I think this is probably the best album Hawkwind ever made. During the making of it Robert Calvert apparently banned all use of substances in the studio to instil a more professional approach, and I think this really shows through in the final production. Not really a bad track on here. Reefer Madness and Steppenwolf being too great chugging, spacy rockers. And the rest being made up of good atmospheric (mainly) instrumentals. The best of which is IMO The Aubergine that ate Rangoon. No one ever mentions this track. I suspect because most Hawkwind fans aren't so into the funkier end of the music spectrum. But this track is fantastic, and can be considered to be proto dance music, done very much in the Hawkwind style. Add to that an underlying knowing-humour in the lyrics, and all in all you've got a fab album that has stood the test of time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm, 26 May 2013
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I have a large portion of Hawkwind's output in my collection but somehow this LP passed me by.
Quite obviously a band in transition both musically & personel wise, sounding more like what would follow than what had gone before
I've listened to it twice through & at the moment think it's "OK"
But a lot of Hawkwind LPs are growers so I may change my thoughts & review later
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4.0 out of 5 stars Steppenwolf!, 6 April 2013
This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
In my opinion this album is worth it just for Steppenwolf - Calvert's lyrical delivery and Brock's riffing combine perfectly. Lots of other good stuff on here, in a collection of songs that is full of depth and good humour.

This album would have been released on the cusp of the punk explosion. I don't deny the righteous influence and power of the "new" three-chord music - but a record like this reminds me that a lot of the progressive/space rock of the mid-70s was actually very good indeed, and was performed by very talented and imaginative people.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hawkwind Strange but True, 29 May 2010
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This is a tricky one. After two exceptional studio albums we get a marked change in sound and, with Bob Calvert back the band, seem to be searching for a different feel. There's something missing here. They found that feel on the next album, Quark Strangeness and Charm, and this is precursor to that, confused by the factionalism in the band at the time. Another reviewer describes it as "middling album a little over-rated by die-hard fans" and I can almost see that. However after listening to some of the less than wonderful albums of the early to mid 1980's this albums really stands out in comparison.

Refeer Madness is a bit of a classic despite the messy middle section, and it would have been good to get the version cut with Honky Dorky featured on one of the Anthology albums as a bonus. Steppenwolf is an absolute classic with some of the best guitar riffing from Dave Brock. City of Lagoons is a bit dull and Chronglide Skyway is saved by Nik Turner. The much maligned Aubergine That Ate Rangoon is also saved by Nik Turner who is clearly on form on his last studio album as a full band member. His song Kadu Flyer is another highpoint. Kerb Crawler is a very passable Calvert/Brock rocker and we get the single version as a bonus along with the out-take B side middle of Reefer Madness, Honky Dorky, which is rather good bit of Hawkwind doodling. Back on the Streets is another single from the period, a fairly straight rocker, while Dream of Isis is a fairly good instrumental more reminiscent of the sound of Quark Strangeness and Charm.

So we have four decent songs and three passable instrumentals plus three decent bonus tracks. Despite there being something missing in the sound it's an album I've grown fonder of over the years and there are a number of worse Hawkwind albums. It is the weakest of the Charisma albums but far preferable to the likes of Sonic Attack and Chronicle of the Black Sword and I'd take it over the likes of In Search of Space and Doremi any day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music (Audio CD)
Husband loved it, constantly playing it in the car.
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Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music
Astounding Sounds; Amazing Music by Hawkwind (Audio CD - 2009)
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