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Space Rock - 1969-1979

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Album Review

While countless compilations have rounded up the mass of generally sub-bootleg waifs and strays that litter Hawkwind's back catalog, only one has actually set itself the task of marshalling all those hidden glories and depositing them in one place. Golden Void draws material from more than a decade's worth of oddities, beginning with the primal Hawkwind Zoo demos that appeared as a single in the early '80s, moving on through sundry live and studio outtakes dating from the "golden age" of 1971-1975; swerving on through the Sonic Assassins' and Hawklords' interludes that themselves have spawned any number of knock-offs, and then closing with four tracks from the 1983-era Hawkwind's rare Earth Ritual EP. With such variety in store, consistency goes out of the window from the outset, in terms of both content and delivery. The lengthy drone of "We Do It," from 1971, is a superlative example of the band's early penchant for Neu!-like tribalisms, but suffers from almost impenetrable sound quality, while the Earth Ritual material is more-or-less lackadaisical Hawks-by-numbers — a common fault with their early-'80s search for direction, of course. Such inconsistencies, however, are part of Hawkwind's very allure to collectors and, besides, they are readily rectified by moving back to a delightfully lumbering "Motorhead," with an unexpected Dave Brock vocal, or an instrumental take on "Kings of Speed." Gripping, too, is the Sonic Assassins' epic "Over the Top" — recorded live, with Calvert apparently unaware that the band was not about to play "Master of the Universe." From the same show, the eternally underrated "Death Trap" has a rattling urgency that even the studio version can only hint at. Again, there is little here that has not been recycled across more Hawkwind compilations than one would ever want to seriously consider owning. But, if you should only want one of them, and be guaranteed that you're getting the best of the batch, Golden Void does indeed fill the void.


Formed: 1969 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Any sci-fi fan with a long memory probably remembers those 1970s' DAW paperback editions of Michael Moorcock's sword-and-sorcery novels, with their images of heavily armored, very muscular warriors carrying large swords and standing against eerie landscapes and starscapes. Take that imagery, throw in some names and terminology seemingly lifted from the Marvel Comics of the era (and particle physics articles of the period), and translate it into loud but articulate hard rock music. That's more or...
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