Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hawkwind Light Orchestra- Stellar Variations (Esoteric Recordings EANTCD1008)

Some of the members of Hawkwind, the ones that live close to where Dave Brock lives and has the Hawkwind studio, have put together this record. All the songs are by Dave, Richard (Drums, vocals) and Niall (guitar, bass). The material was recorded in 2011 and appears as outtakes, experiments, strange visions, and stuff that just did not fit in with the Onward LP. I have to say the CD is real mixed bag. Some of it is really great and some just does not speak to me. The CD came out in December 2012 and the vinyl edition is due out in April and limited to 500 copies. 11 tracks, 53mins starting off with Stellar Perspective. The sound is quite psychedelic with multiple layers of guitars, spinning, pulsing synths and Dave’s vocal with some effects and more to the back and it slowly moves more to the front. Richard takes the 2nd lead vocal as the track slows down. Great bass playing. All our Dreams is more tranquiel and spacey with a more spoken word vocal. That classic spacey Dave Brock guitar is so nice. The track really evolves into an almost like dance track but maintains this cool guitar line. Not sure the keyboard really fits but what the hell. Cool track. Damp day in August is a short piece that leads into the up tempo and political track, It’s all Lies. Niall lays down the cool bass line and a catchy political track takes hold (“Forget about religion, it’s down with the Pope!”). Variation 3 is a short instrumental track with a lot of strange overdubs and sounds but a nice lead guitar section complimenting the distorted Fender Rhodes like piano. Four Legs good, two legs Bad has programmed drums and would have fit well on the White Zone record with its ambient space keyboard line.  It takes a dramatic change at 1min and then the repeated song title with strange voices, barking dogs, etc.. is quite far out.. almost disturbing. In the Footsteps of the Great One is next and I wonder who they are talking about as you can’t tell from the lyrics, some of which Dave borrows from some of his older songs. IT starts with an eastern string instrument before the spacey synths and vocals take over. Quite a few layers of stuff going on as the drum groove kicks in to give the track a steady rhythm. Spaced out! A song for a New Age is one the band has played live in the past (and written by Tim Blake) features Richard on the main vocal and Dave plays a nice guitar solo while Niall gives the track its main body with great bass playing. The track is pretty basic and not nearly as layered as most of the tracks. We serve Mankind starts with a trance techno like keyboard that briefly fades to the back as the guitar, bass and drums take over this dark electronic track. City of Rust starts with a flight introduction sample before the track begins. Powerful lyrics on this one and delivered in a spoken word fashion, kind of like the Calvert-Brock CD. Then at 1½ mins it turns into one of the most rocking tracks on the CD. Instant Predictions closes the CD also in a rocking way with Richard on the lead vocal. It has a really spaced out sound. Pretty cool record.

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