United Artists LA 120-H
Released: October 1973
Chart Peak: #179
Weeks Charted: 8
You never see any Hawkwind albums in bargain bins because they never get there. The unsold copies are apparently re-released and resold at regular prices. And that simply makes Space Ritual, In Search of Space twice, because this is a double package. For the benefit of those who insist this is truly a new LP set, please note that the bassist is still playing his same two notes, the synthesizer manipulators still maintain their fixation on "Journey to a Forbidden Planet" and the band's idea of dynamics still consists of turning the volume controls up or down. The group's real efforts seem to go into making up the record-album covers. This one folds six separate times before it's capable of holding the album intact. At the very least, Hawkwind's continued existence proves that somebody out there is still doing acid.
- Alan Neister, Rolling Stone, 1/31/74.
- Billboard, 1973.
Featuring the classic lineup of guitarist/vocalist (and founder) Dave Brock, poet Robert Calvert, saxophonist/flautist Nik Turner, bassist Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Simon King, synth player Del Dettmar, and electronics man DikMik, this double live album is Hawkwind's magnum opus and perhaps the ultimate sonic trip.
Devised by Calvert, the urban guerillas' 1972 tour was a multimedia concept involving naked dancers, cosmic stage design and costume, and a kaleidoscopic lights and lasers show. Songs from the group's second and third LPs, In Search of Space and Doremi Fasol Latido, were linked by eerie sound collages and spoken-word pieces. These formed a pseudo-operatic narrative about seven cosmonauts traveling in a state of suspended animation. That said, it is the musical anthems that provide the highlights on disc. "Born To Go" and the pulverizing "Brainstorm" are driven by metronomic bass and marinated in whooshing effects. The phased and confused "Orgone Accumulator" and blissed-out "Space Is Deep" create a more lysergic ambience, while contrasting "Master Of The Universe" is a brain-frying piledriver composed of hypno-metal riff, intergalactic oscillator grooves, and comic book fantasy.
Hawkwind continued to release great records throughout the 1970s, but later decades saw a number of personnel changes and dodgy "official bootlegs" diminish their status (although Brock is still plugging away). Nevertheless, their audiovisual presentation has proved hugely influential.
- Manish Agerwal, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.
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