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Hawkwind - 1980 - "Levitation" (39 min, UK)


*****+

1. Levitation                   5.48 (Brock)
2. Motorway City                6.45 (Brock)
3. Psychosis                    2.22 (Bainbridge)
4. World of Tears               3.17 (Bainbridge / Langton)
5. Prelude                      1.41 (Blake)
6. Who's Gonna Win the War      4.43 (Brock)
7. Space Chase                  3.06 (Langton)
8. The Fifth Second of Forever  3.27 (Langton / Brock)
9. Dust of Time                 6.19 (Hawkwind)

Dave Brock        - vocals, rhythm guitars, synthesizer
                    (bandleader, only permanent member)
Huw Lloyd Langton - lead guitars
                    (he's second work with the band since debut)
Harvey Bainbridge - bass
                    (later he became the lead keyboardist for the band)
Tim Blake         - keyboards
                    (ex-Gong virtuoso)
Ginger Baker      - superdrummer
                    (ex-Baker/Gurvitz/Army, the many others)

Hawkwind is one of the most innovative bands from the category "Space Rock", they're a really progressive space rock band, unlike, for example, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra, and the like, which are simply "Space", maybe even "Prog-Space", but structurally not "Rock" at all, as it is. Hawkwind's stylistics has changed through their long "cosmic" years, yet it always remains their own, absolutely original style. This is the case, when any direct comparisons with any other band should not be drawn, especially when we talk about the incomparable great performers (read the review on Ozric Tentacles' "Strangeitudes" in "O" section).

The first titletrack opens with an energetic theme of bass guitar supported by a galloping drumming from Maestro Ginger Baker, and nobody can stop him until the end! This excellent rhythm-section is supported a bit later with driving electric guitars, keyboards modulations and excellent rockish vocals. There's no changes of tempos, and open drive, and energy, and speed, to keep you in strained attention till the end of a song, but still how many beautiful and diverse arrangements waiting for you on the way, including fantastic "spacey" solo interplays between keyboards and guitar! This is not the Morass of Dreams, and very soon you will lose your bag with tangerins, if you came here with it (of course, only for the first time, otherwise you won't simply like the Tangerins). And now you have a choice, as always, since the second track.

Motorway City with its overdriving tempo doesn't give you breathing-space while waiting for the true space: to go back to the morass of dreams under the ruines of someone else's temple, or to ride on this a very unpredictable horse, who already stops to drink the clear spacey water from Psychosis. It won't last long. Because it's a really rockish horse, and if you've made a right choice, ride on to the next World of Tears, where still more various spirits are waiting for you on the same hard road. And here you don't have time to rest and to turn over the LP, this is CD.

Prelude is indeed a spacey prelude to Who's Gonna Win the War (one of the most popular Hawkwind's songs), which, as always, is a quite heavy composition, yet one of the most truly spacey. And you, as already an experienced rider, now have time to watch with pleasure on the last three mid-tempo tracks a delightful locality of the road.

Space Chase is an instrumental piece with lots of brilliant solo interplays between guitar and keyboards, as well as with some impressive spacey effects from Tim Blake. The Fifth Second of Forever opens and also closes with a nice acoustic guitar, whereas in the middle this is a genuine rock song with a unique work from Baker (no drummer before or after him has ever given Hawkwind's overall sonority so diverse and energetic drumming) among the other things. Dust of Time is quite a long song completing the album. Along with the titletrack and Who's Gonna Win the War (now), this is one of the most complex, energetic compositions in the album.

Summary. As for me, this is my most favourite album from Hawkwind, though I also like very much "Astounding sounds...", "Quark...", "Doremi..." and even "The Chronicle...". Despite the absence here of such usual for Hawkwind instruments as sax, flute and cello, the combination of such extraordinary musicians in that album only gives it the status of the most (exactly!) progressive album of this band. Progressivity, such a complex of compositional and technical nuances (for details see the article "Progressive Rock and its meaning in our life"), is the main aspect to be considered in the lands of Progressive Rock. content

VM. 31.10.1998


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