this is it this it this is it…

Well it’s Monday and time to take off.

Time to get the week off to a great start with one of the most brutal and unrelenting albums of all time. Conceived, recorded and mixed with intent to harm/reconfigure your brain.

I have no idea why I don’t play this more often apart from my brain is jelly by the end. From the crushing bass, the motorik drumming to the unrelenting riffing and then the electronics all over the place and is that a sax, this album will alter your neural pathways.

The transition from the opener Brainstorm to Space Is Deep is one of my favorite moments in recorded history. Lemmy’s melodic yet brutal bass playing is all over this album holding stuff together. Side One will break you down and then Side. Two will finish the job. From Lord of Light to Time We Left This World Today followed by the acoustic, menacing The Watcher to tuck your paranoid self in at the end there is no hope. If you make it through you’re an addict and heading for the wormhole.

Happy Monday…

if you know what I mean…

It’s Hawkind there are allegedly only 500 copies made and it’s the legendary Greasy Truckers show.

The downside it’s probably three sides of vinyl forced onto one single disc, it is a lost assuredly a CD transfer to vinyl, it’s definitely a dodgy release probably not benefitting a single band member at the end of the day.

The upside, it’s the classic lineup droning on in full on blanga mode rocking the socks off of a crowd of stoned weirdos at the Roundhouse Greasy Truckers Benefit.

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The Blanga guide is here: BLANGA, the creators stopped in 2010 and it looks like it is the end of the Blanga guide but it gives you a fine breakdown of this art form even if you find yourself occasionally disagreeing with the scoring. Actually frequently disagreeing with the ranking but thats the fun it’s all an opinion.

So you get the classics, Earth Calling< Master of the Universe Born To Go and the birth of Brainstorm as Brainstorm Jam, that is something worth spreading on your toast in the morning. You also get the original version of Silver Machine before Lemmy overdubbed the vocal and made it a monster, Nothing to complain about and everything to enjoy during these pandemic times when our leaders are doing their level best to kill us and our children. Oh for a happier simpler time when all you needed was to plug in drop a tab of acid and drop out to Hawkwind.

So if you are lucky enough to find a copy, you can’t have mine, make sure you turn it up loud as there is so much on the single disc you will need to and rock out or head into inner space whichever is more palatable to you at the moment and enjoy the zonked out honking of Hawkwind in 1972, somehow it is entirely appropriate that this is a bootleg.

it’s a cerebral vibrator…

Not been feeling it much these last few days.

Five posts deleted, just no happy with them and they had not been coming together for over a week so goodbye.

The obvious answer is something loud and brash and obnoxious. Enter Hawkwind’s Undisclosed Files, no label, no real track listing, the songs are written in the wrong order on the shield. It’s  a self released live album from 1993, although it’s the mid 80’s Hawkwind  you are hearing. Hawkwind 1 or The Emergency Broadcast System  is the apparent name of the label. Described as unofficial on Discogs but released by the band, only Hawkwind could unofficially officially release an album.

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So what do you get?

You get some classic wacked out Hawkwind, chugging along with Nik Turner  honking away, Harvey’s synths and Brocks metronomic riffing and Huw Lloyd-Langton playing his heart out. Some classics like Master of the Universe that is melded with Coded Languages, Orgone Accumulator, Motorway City and Angels of Death, as well as some other tracks of interest such as Watching the Grass Grow and Ejection.

Ultimately though you get to romp back to a simpler time when festivals were free and pandemics were something in books or movies. You get to remember what ti was like to romp around in the sun in a field with some like minded folk and drink warm beer and cider.

The thing I loved most about 80’s Hawkwind was the synths. They were an ever evolving pattern of oddness permeating everything that was happening musically on stage and visually. It was the wall of sound bubbling away that held the rest of the show together. Harvey really came into his own when he moved form bass to synth.

Remember:

“You must question the nature of your orders…”

 

I’m a derelict dweller.

Well we knew it was coming and there was the usual inadequate response  from our menagerie of leaders.

Day 1 of panic stations:

It’s like being in the first five to ten minutes of one of those post apocalyptic movies. Everything is in slow motion, the discomfort and the surreal nature of the stock piling and panic buying. I passed a lady in the store today, six packages of toilet paper, six packages of paper towels and a bag of Doritos, I am not sure what is going on.

Am I supposed to be stocking up, and if so what should I get? Water? Noodles? Rice? Flour and other staples? What to do?

The other shoe will drop I am sure.

I have been feeling unwell, I am pretty sure it is not real but still.

I woke up concerned for my mum, six thousand miles away, she is aging and with Lymphoma, alone and fearful. With the travel restrictions in place I am not sure if I went to see her they would let me back. I am not ready to be an orphan and I am passed fifty. Do you take off to help the aging or stay to look after the young?

They had a news show, facts versus fear, it was sensationalist. Like the T.V. in the background of that movie, mumbling away as people attempt to go on as normal. This is where CNN has ended up, Ted Turner would be shocked I am sure. Fox is worse still no real news just opinion. We have been watching PBS and listening to NPR to try and stay aware.

It’s a little odd to be finding out about shows I would have liked to see because they are postponed, I didn’t even know Califone were in town, now they are not.

There’s going to be an outbreak of reading and talking to each other as sporting events and concerts and theater is being cancelled. If I was paranoid I may think the government are out to control us, we will see if the election is postponed!

Day 2.

Its official it’s a national emergency, and the UK may end up on the ineffectual and half thought out and ill considered travel ban. Any chance of getting back to see my mum is now lost. She is doing okay but is lonely.

The entire day has been taken up with planning for the Corona problem. Staffing, looking after clients and then the need for people to work form home. Luckily their is not much apparent sickness amongst the staff so far.

I am coming to terms with a strange fact. I may not be able to just push through this like other emergencies. If you get sick you have to stay home, can’t push through work it out or any of the other idiotic and silly ideas we have had in the past. It is also outlining the problems with the American need to work when sick.

To top it all off it’s snowing/raining and my windshield wipers have stopped working.

Day 3.

No soccer, snowing still, very weird.

We engaged in some stocking up at the grocery store, probably a bad decision for four of us to go, and made only half joking statements about buying a gun or two. The decision was pushed down the road.

Day 4.

Still thinking about the gun, been binge watching the Walking Dead and realizing how disappointingly dangerous this all is.

The president has “tremendous control of the virus” we are now officially doomed.

Figured out how to online shop in the UK for my mother, at least she will get to eat now and won’t have to go out.

It was fun watching Anthony Fauci basically contradict the president with science in front of him, oh how we howled.

Day 5.

Gun sales have increased in the USA, only in this country would we decide to do this.

Off to work  and dropped the jeep into the shop to have the windshield wipers fixed, typical jeep shit going on have to wait three days for the part, if I had done the work myself it was a two week wait for the part, go figure. The jeep however is essential for the coming apocalypse.

My mum has decided that she needs so many things, that online order is really getting out of control, she is however stocking up for something that looks like it may be a long wait indoors, I hope she can stay healthy.

The Great Orange one has finally come to some sort of realization of the shit show, no longer is he in control but he is also not accepting any responsibility for the mismanagement of a crisis.. Let’s face it he usually gets to lie and run away from responsibility, history will not view this man well.

I have been binge watching the Walking Dead, well an episode a night is not a binge but it has dug into my listening time. So tonight’s fun is this German compilation of The Hawkwind Collection with some dodgy and odd versions of Hawkwind classics. Lets face it all of the songs are here but they are never the versions you want, sometimes abridged, other times just pointless, released in 1986 it manages to encapsulate everything bad about Hawkwind collections from the eighties. However I have to admit I got a little excited when I found it as it took me back to those original days of buying Hawkwind vinyl, then as I played it this evening I was reminded of the huge disappointment buying Hawkwind vinyl could be in the eighties. The best things about this album are Dealing With the Devil and Bring It On Home. I also like the frantic version of Urban Guerilla as well.

As you can see it also has  one of the worst album covers ever.

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Run to the shelter nearest you The planet’s running out of steam…

It was really hot today almost reaching one hundred of the fahrenheit’s, This led to some brain circuitry short circuits and listening to Out and Intake by Hawkwind.

It’s the curse of Hawkwind, the dodgy compilation or release. Out and Intake occupies the unenviable task of being simultaneously new and a compilation of odds and sods that were laying around after the album was completed.

It’s not awful, in fact some of it is good, I have always liked Harvey Bainridge’s synth explorations and Nik always has a good honk whenever he can. Danny Thompson manages to keep time the way Brock wanted in the 80’s, which was more reminiscent of a drum machine than a real drummer and Huw Lloyd Langton plays a mean solo and good ole Brock keeps the riffs going.

IMG_2165.JPGAt least it has a pretty cover as my wife says. It definitely falls into the less aggressive side of Hawkwind, melodic at times, even restful. To be honest it sounds better than I remember but 1987 was an odd year for me and Hawkwind. I have to admit thought that I have never found a Hawkwind album I would straight up reject as having no saving graces, this may be the fan in me though.

Tomorrow is potentially hotter so what the heck. The orange gnome says that climate change is not real so I am going with that rather than the evidence before me, after all he knows more about the climate than anyone. The natural hue of his skin tone has convinced me.

take what you can when you may…

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.

Screaming sounds are buzzing through my brain Am I mad or am I sane?

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. In the UK for the first time in awhile. This was meant to be a different type of trip, fun and adventure for me and Ben as he made some big decisions in his life that would ultimately impact the whole family. Over the last ten days I have not managed to have the “conversation” I thought I wanted to have.

This has been waylaid by my dad being in hospital the entire time. Days have been taken up looking after my mother, drinking coffee with her and then visiting in the hospital. This has not been the most exciting time for poor Ben, he has been very patient with it however. All in all it’s been somewhat bemusing. We have not managed to achieve any of the things I wanted to. Which makes me think those things maybe were not ever achievable.

Maybe the time for the heart to heart is gone with Ben and even with my own dad.

It’s odd coming from a city that is known around the world. You tell anyone you meet that you are form Liverpool they will know certain facts, mainly about the Beatles or one of the two football teams. It is however a whole lot more than that. An independent city that has finally succumbed it seems to gentrification and it’s own fame. The lines to Anfield were multinational this Sunday and you hear many languages as you wonder around town. The working class houses in the city center now multi thousand pound apartments. It is almost certainly a different city than the one I wondered around as a child/young man, there is however enough familiarity in the streets that I can still navigate with ease.

Slightly drunk on Sunday having met up with two friends that I had not seen in 20 or so years we reminisced about the apartment Andy, who was not present, had lived in. He lived on the top floor of a tenement on Bold Place opposite the bombed out church. The lower floors housed some prostitutes who would try and feed him up as he was so skinny. He is still skinny and living in the south of England now. He probably wouldn’t want me to tell you about the prostitutes though. The day ended in the Pilgrim surrounded by slightly self conscious students watching the football. The football was glorious, the students remained self conscious as the still slightly drunk older men shouted and chanted and cheered.

John made the observation that we all had felt so dangerous back then. How we must have pissed off a lot of people and also how people had looked after the stupid drunk 16 year olds in town. A kinder gentler more connected world. Now the self conscious students just looked bemused by the slightly drunk older men. They also somehow managed to be a little disapproving. Didn’t they know that in our prime we had screamed into the maelstrom that was Hawkwind, The Clash, Magazine, Gong and Here and Now, we had been through the excesses necessary and survived. We were entitled to our bleary gazes and ragged chorus of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

We staggered around from one teenage hang out to the next. Reminiscing and laughing as Ben looked bemused at these middle aged men remembering a time before smart phones and streaming jukeboxes. The Marlborough is no longer the Marlborough and Val is long gone, as is Big Clive from the Swan and the Wilsons is nothing but a memory, the Cracke is living on its brief flirtation with John Lennon as a student. At least John and Paul(the immortal Gooey) had held on to most of their hair even though they had moved to Manchester, of course who am I to complain with the 6000 mile move.

It had been Record Store Day the day before. I showed Ben where Probe used to be and the slightly diminished sad place where it is now. We never went in though. I suppose I should have really as that is what a collector should do isn’t it. I have never really experienced the thrill or need for RSD. I do however have a few of the releases I have picked up when they go on sale or online. We also walked past several other record stores that did not drag me in, mostly because they were closed.

Being in an urban environment as opposed to the rural environment we normally inhabit is a shock to the system. There is no roar of large diesel engines heading out in the morning or the sound of woodpeckers in the evening and the frogs who could forget the frogs, there is however the constant hum of the M62 across the field and the trains every 15 minutes or so and the harsh laughter in the streets and car doors slamming.

So for two weeks I have lain in my childhood bed listening to the music of my youth on headphones. The very same way I used to listen late at night so as not to disturb my parents. These days those albums are streamed on Spotify and not on crackly discs of vinyl. Each night has taken me through an album of the past in its entirety. No shuffle play and no skipping the annoying track allowed. The sounds of my youth in my ears as I come to terms with my parents aging and my youngest leaving home.

In this way I listened to Dark Side of the Moon, Here Come the Warm Jets, Hunky Dory, Wind and Withering, Close to the Edge, Stormcock, Meddle, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Space Ritual, Thick as a Brick, Audentity, Ricochet and Full House amongst others. Sometimes I woke up to Spotify deciding what I should listen to next based on some algorithm that would predict my taste. This was invariably not what I wanted to hear at all.

Then one night I looked up into the corner of the bedroom and there she was glaring down on me in her glory, the glow in the dark Virgin Mary that had counted my teenage years . Her ghostly green hue looking at me disapprovingly as I drifted off to In Search of Space. She has been a story I told my friends in the past and there she still is watching quietly as I tried to do my best.

In a fit of rebellion against the Virgin in the corner I bought Hawkwind ‘s record store day offering The 1999 party finally in vinyl were it belongs. I sat and looked at the record and then succumbed to streaming it. No Bob Calvert but Simon House on violin and keyboards and the joy of the glories of Lemmy and the boys blowing the minds of Chicagos youth. Tonight I sat down finally at home and played the record and it is as good as I hoped it would be. It’s anarchic and wild and free flowing, from a time when the pettiness of band life had not destroyed the fun of making a racket.

At the end of the day with all the travails that family bring, the worry of parents and their health, the difficult decisions children have to make and then the knowledge they have to make the decisions for themselves it is good to know there is always a Hawkwind record that will screw its your mind. My dad also reminded me that Ben is just like me, he is going to make his own mind up and at the end of the day a parents job is to love their children to support them to trust them and sometimes to pick up the pieces when they fall.

chaos all within my mind…

I’ve been steeping myself in the sounds of Hawkwind these past days, on some level it is the panacea to that confusion world events have caused me.

So in the order of playing this evening:

  1. Dark Matter RSD release this year of totally different versions of songs that really needs a proper post but I am not feeling like I will do it justice. If you like early Hawkwind this is a collection you need. If you want radically different versions of familiar songs then you need this. IMG_0388
  2. The eponymous first album. I have never appreciates this album, well to be honest I have never bothered to sit and listen to it before, I guess it’s of it’s time is the best description. I like it though, again it’s a record store day release and the vinyl is orange, what’s not to love about that?IMG_0432

So there you have it this evenings end of the day listening that has driven my family away to the nether regions of the house or Taco Bell.

In these dire times of upturned reality it is essential to revel in the strangeness of life and take a lesson from Syd the dog and dance in the sprinklers..

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It’s a passport to this world…

I have been looking for a copy of Space Ritual Vol. 2 for years well since I missed buying it in the 80’s when I first heard it.

It has been reissued, repackaged and reimagined so many times it is hard to know what to get. Of course it is now selling for silly money if you can find it. I did however this week find a thing of beauty, renamed and repackaged again to Victim of Sonic Attack Cleopatra records have re-re-released Space Ritual Vol 2.

This time it comes in a screen printed hessian bag and with Starburst spacey vinyl.

Now everything that I hold to be true insisted I buy this joyful thing, go home and sit trancelike and experience the fun that is the Space Ritual. Once it ends there is only one thing to do and that is play it again, loudly.

Now Space Ritual is a masterpiece, bruising in its insanity. There has however always been that disclaimer in the sleeve notes explaining how Brainstorm and Time We left This Earth Today had been cut so everything would fit on the record. In my brain having heard these uncut tracks only 3 or 4 times before this had become a quest to own these perfectly mind numbing mindfucks.

So are those extra minutes worth the wait, the cost etc. Fuck yes they are, The juggernaut that is Hawkwind drills into your brain until all you hear are parping saxes and the bass throbbing in your skull. Hawkwind in full flight as they are here on this album are a terrifying prospect,  once you get it though it is alway with you and thats without the need for augmenting medicinal supplements. This is the trip that has never ended for Brock and Turner, even if they can’t be nice to each other now, they once could create anarchy.

Yes I know it’s another Hawkwind cash in for someone probably not even related to the band but man some things you just have to have.

I just discovered that for those that like that sort of thing you can get it in clear vinyl.

Waiting in the valley of all creation…

Sometimes the fates align and everything is as good as it should be. For a couple of weeks I have been looking at this record, trying to decide whether or not to buy it. Deep down I knew that it was going to happen but well occasionally I make good decisions.

Then in the midst of a week of listening to nothing but Biograph by Bob Dylan it struck me that there needed to be balance. Yes it is good to challenge yourself with meaningful lyrics, dense vocabulary and protest, and sometimes it is just time to get out of it with one of the most intense space rock outfits ever.

So I finally acquired Live 1982 by Hawkwind from the Choose Your Masque’s tour.

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This was the tour I saw Hawkwind nine times in about two weeks. Nik Turner was back in the fold farting his unique brand of sax playing and it was a crazy out of control show, lights, coffins and roller skates along with Turner’s bizarre neon spike of a hair cut. Most importantly though for a 16 year hawkfan there was blanga, that moment when the guitars, synths sax and drums merge into an almost spiritual drone, yes it is not the Space Ritual but it was loud and insane and for us that was enough.

It is a truly beautiful package as well.