Hawkwind space ritual

Hawkwind were still reeling from the shock of a monster hit single, "Silver Machine," when they set out on their late 1972 Space Ritual tour, a 26-date outing that crisscrossed Britain from early November until the end of the year. Vastly ambitious, incredibly choreographed, and brain-charringly loud, the concept had been on the band's mind for over a year already -- "we're getting a space odyssey together which will be a completely environmental situation," Dave Brock remarked in late 1971, while bandmate Nik Turner later reflected, "it was a very grandiose thing. Big stage sets, a lot of equipment, big trucks, very high overheads. But everybody was into it, so it was a very communal thing." Several shows on the tour were recorded, with highlights of two, in Liverpool and Brixton, remixed and released as Space Ritual -- in both legend and fact are the ultimate Hawkwind live albums. Four sides of vinyl documented a journey into deepest time and space, via behemoth re-creations of some of the band's greatest ever material -- definitive renderings of "Brainstorm," "Master of the Universe," "Sonic Attack," "Seven by Seven" and "Born to Go" await within and, when ads for the album called it "88 minutes of brain damage," they weren't kidding. Of course the record had its faults -- the sonic limitations of the vinyl medium excised chunks of two songs, as well as the mesmeric encore of "You Shouldn't Do That," "Seeing It as You Really Are" and "Silver Machine." Absent, too, was a sense of the sheer dynamism of the show, the band totally sublimated by the lights -- squad car strobes, blistered neon, colors the audiences had never before imagined; the slide show -- stark planets, bleak landscapes, harsh metallic objects passing through the icy void; the stage set -- enormous speakers built into cardboard tubes, brought to life by Barney Bubbles ' luminous designs. But still Space Ritual was a triumph; unearthly, unequivocal, unerring, a solid roar into which the individual instruments simply blended until guitar was indistinguishable from saxophone, flute from bass, rocket roar from engine throb, through which Dikmik 's pinprick whistles catapulted from the passenger hold like space dust, the blips of asteroids on the radar screen, while Del Dettmar interspersed his own generations with the fuzzy roar of Andy Dunkley 's DJ-ing collection, familiar records spun backwards and off-center becoming the static-laden broadcasts from an increasingly distant Planet Earth..

Hawkwind Space RitualHawkwind Space RitualHawkwind Space RitualHawkwind Space Ritual


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