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Technicians of Spaceship Earth ...,
This review is from: In Search Of Space (Audio CD)
...this is your captain speaking: Your captain is dead.
With these words, written in proto-computer type on the back cover, Hawkwind unleashed their second album onto the unsuspecting Earthlings. The world has never been the same since.
Their debut album was essentially a live jam in the studio, bookended by two songs that still showed a fair amount of Baron Brock's busker influences. What came next distilled the filling of this cosmic sandwich into something with much more of a kick, while the bread on either side was toasted until black and brittle. All-time live favourite "Master of the Universe" makes it's first appearance here, and it's probably the closest the Hawks had come to a straightforward rock song so far. Elsewhere the spaced-out and laid back sounds of "We took the Wrong Step Years Ago" and "Children of the Sun" remind us that this thing first appeared in 1971 - oh yes - with "Wrong Step" in particular giving the impression of Dave and crew busking for the Ladbroke Grove shoppers. The other three tracks (on the original release) are Hawkwind at their scariest: picking things up from where "Seeing it as You Really Are" left off. "You Know You're Only Dreaming" and "Adjust Me" are both attempts to freak-out the listener (play 'em with the lights out and the volume up) but the stand-out track is the opener "You Shouldn't Do That". Over 15 minutes of tribal chanting, whispering/screaming vocals, whooshing effects, honking horns, chugging guitars and relentless drumming. This song has been called (amongst other things) the world's first trance track. It only took the rest of the music biz another quarter of a century to catch up. But all these descriptions are not really enough: Hawkwind's music cannot really be described - you have to hear it yourself.
So, what about the re-issue? If you're new to this 2 dimensional floating ship, then hurry-up and buy it. The extra tracks are all good'uns (although us old lags already have them on countless compilations) and the music sounds as scary today as it did then. One small complaint: no matter how many times this beast gets re-released, the record companies still can't get the album's title correct. Take a look at Barney Bubbles' cover - there's an X in there ;¬)