HAWKWIND – ” In Search Of Space ” Classic Albums

Posted: October 9, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Happy 50th anniversary to “In Search of Space”, the first masterpiece of Hawkwind originally released on 8th October 1971. Hawkwind’s debut album is one of the first full length “Space Rock” albums, but they mastered that art by the time of this sophomore album. The band went on to release the classics like Doremi Fasol Latido (1972), Space Ritual (1973), Hall of the Mountain Grill (1974)

A bold step forward for Hawkwind, their second album, ‘In Search Of Space” laid the groundwork for the landmark track ‘Silver Machine.’ It’s hard to imagine the world of rock’n’roll without Hawkwind’s presence. The pioneering London space-rockers have now endured for five decades, and have a string of classic albums under their belt, among them “In Search Of Space” and “Warrior On The Edge Of Time“. While guitarist/vocalist Dave Brock has remained the only constant, legendary figures such as Ginger Baker, sci-fi/fantasy writer Michael Moorcock and Motörhead founder Lemmy have all passed through its ranks.

Even now, the band’s detractors still dismiss them as merely a “hippie” aberration, but while this seemingly invincible outfit will forever be associated with the UK’s free-festival circuit, in reality their music has embraced everything from prog-rock to psychedelia and heavy metal. Later LPs, such as 1992’s Electric Teepee, even flirted with genres as disparate as ambient and techno.

To date, Hawkwind has recorded almost 30 studio LPs for both major labels (Charisma, Bronze, Active/RCA) and independent imprints (Flicknife, EBS). Yet while the band remains a going concern, most long-term supporters would argue that their career-defining discs emerged from their fruitful tenure with their initial sponsors, Liberty/United Artists, between 1970 and 1975.

Released in August 1970 and co-produced by former Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor, Hawkwind’s eponymous debut was book-ended by two folk-flavoured tracks, “Hurry On Sundown” and “Hall Of Mirrors,” but it was dominated by a lengthy free-form, psych-prog jam which was edited down, in Can-like fashion, into shorter individual selections.

Hawkwind was a volatile outfit at the best of times and their initial line-up disintegrated soon after their debut. The original nucleus of Brock, sax/flute maestro Nik Turner, drummer Terry Ollis and synth player Dik Mik remained, but guitarist Hugh Lloyd Langton quit; ex-Amon Düül II bassist Dave Anderson replaced Thomas Crimble, and the band’s soundman, Del Dettmar, stepped in as an additional synth/electronics manipulator.

This line-up recorded the band’s celebrated sophomore release, In Search Of Space. First issued in October ’71 and compiled from sessions overseen by former Jimi Hendrix/Small Faces engineer George Chkiantz at London’s Olympic Studios, the album was a bold step forward from Hawkwind’s debut. Arguably,  The album opens with the mind-numbing galactic haze of “You Shouldn’t Do That,” a spooky little 15-minute excursion that warps, throbs, and swirls with Dik Mik’s “audio generator” and the steady drum pace of Terry Ollis. Then comes the ominous whispering of the title, set to the pulsating waves of Dave Brock’s guitar and Turner’s alto sax, with Dettmar’s synth work laying the foundation. Wonderfully setting the tone, “You Shouldn’t Do That” improvisational looseness and rhythmic fusion smoothly open up the album into the realm of Hawkwind. The peculiarity never ceases, as but Brock and Co. also excelled on the intergalactic blues-rock of “You Know You’re Only Dreaming” and “We Took the Wrong Steps Years Ago” delves even deeper into obscurity, sometimes emanating with the familiar jangle of the guitar which then has its acquaintance overshadowed by the waft of the keyboard. Just as laced the succinct, acid-addled “Master Of The Universe’ with Nuggets-esque proto-punk energy, chugs and rolls with a foreboding rhythm, “Adjust Me” retaliates with its moaning verse and tonal fluctuations fading into oblivion. The ground breaking sound which Hawkwind achieved on “In Search of Space” helped to open up a whole new avenue of progressive rock. The track “You Shouldn’t Do That,” wherein the band locked into a super-hypnotic motorik groove.

Designed by future Stiff Records/Elvis Costello artist Barney Bubbles, “In Search Of Space” came housed in a spectacular interlocking die-cut sleeve which unfolded into the shape of a hawk, and came accompanied by a 24-page book, the sci-fi-flavored The Hawkwind Log, conceived by the band’s long-term associate, poet Robert Calvert. Successfully feeding the era’s discerning heads, the LP climbed to No.18 in the UK, it won Hawkwind a gold disc, and laid the groundwork for their UK Top 10 hit, June ’72’s “Silver Machine,” which featured a commanding vocal from new recruit Lemmy.

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