Nocturnal ramblings ahoy…
Two days ago Syd discovered a skunk in the yard, this resulted in much mayhem and delight for all involved and an explosive mixture of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and bleach. He had fun frolicking in the froth and ended up smelling a lot better than skunk.
Recently I have been sitting in the dark, well twilight and listening to Hawkwind, it is after all summer time and while temperatures have not reached the heady heights of last year here in Oregon, it is still a lot lighter into the evening. I have been marching out across the rutted yard to the green plastic Adirondack chair by the creek, plopping myself down and plugging in to Hawkwind as I hurl balls for the dog.
This is my happy place right now, a little piece of heaven by the creek with my ears burning up with Hawkwind in the Oregon Sundown.
Later on I will sit in the semi-dark of the living room waiting for my mum to call and playing Dark Matter by Hawkwind. This may have taken over as one of my favorite all time releases by Hawkwind. A double album of never before heard, unless you bought Parallel Universe, sonic excess. It is essential as a release for anyone interested in the early years of the band when experimentation was the norm and the music was as loud and hard as the drugs consumed. Amazingly it can be picked up still brand new and wrapped up for about $20. This is a crime as far as I am concerned.
You Know You’re Only Dreaming opens side one, it is almost an entirely different song from the In Search of Space version, the type of folk busking psychedelia that Hawkwind do so well. Immediately after this we descend into the paranoia of early Hawkwind as they attempt to melt your brain with The Reason Is and Be Yourself. Side one starts the trip off in an off-kilter manner as we get ready for take off.
Things soon go haywire with Hog Farm being a fun guess were that riff ended up one day instrumental. Sweet Mistress of Pain is re-imagined, in fact it may really be a different song, and Calvert handles the vocals making the most of those lyrics. The side ends with 7 by 7 complete with different lyrics, we are now heading into orbit.
Side 3 just about blows your mind with Take What You Can and the full incendiary version of Brainbox Pollution. This is the moment when you know you are actually heading out into space rather than discovering what is going on inside. So many other bands at the time wanted to navel gaze, Hawkwind wanted to pollute your brain, fry your cortexes and then roll you over and do it again. The full on assault, Brainbox Pollution is not a song its a manifesto, it’s all that’s good about Hawkwind in seven minutes or so, the song just about holds it together, at times sounding like it may fall apart, then we get back to the riff and the bass and drums and the ever present electronics. This is when you know you are heading into uncharted territory.
Side 4. manages to gently bring you down from the previous heights with fun studio versions of songs that appears as live versions on Hall of the Mountain Grill and a full on Floydian Wind of Change.
The space rock monster mayhem that is Hawkwind has been part of my life for 40 years or so. I have spent a lot of time being disappointed in compilations, I would say this sits up there with Roadhawks though and will melt your face if you spend quality time with it.
I wrote this a long time ago and have not really been happy with it but decided what the heck, my listening has moved on a little, right now it’s X In Search of Space which is a whole other post.
Recently time spent by the creek has been in the company of That Peter Crouch podcast, this is highly recommended if you enjoy soccer. Other nights have been with the NY Times Daily podcast particularly as the 1619 feature has started. If you really want to delve into the history of oppression and slavery in particular give it a go. If not then go buy a copy of Dark Matter, they sell for less than $20 right now on your favorite online shopping place and fry your brain cells.