Hawkwind – Space Ritual (Remastered) (1973/2007/2014) [HighResAudio FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Hawkwind – Space Ritual (Remastered) (1973/2007/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 01:43:46 minutes | 1,24 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio | Front Cover | © Warner Music Group

There can never be another album quite like “Space Ritual”. Captured live, for many, it’s Hawkwind’s very apex – the sound of your brain being fried. Originally edited into four glorious sides, it now spills across two extended discs with bonus tracks. From hereon in, Hawkwind were permanently cast as sonic overlords with wit and intelligence just as strong as the substances coursing through their veins. There was always something of the whiff of Campari about poet and sometime frontman Robert Calvert among the heavy sweating hairies, as if he was puffing a cigarette through a holder, observing, detailing. The doom metal of Time We Left This World Today slamming in after Calvert’s Richard III-isms on Sonic Attack still thrills. Space Ritual is as central to the 70s as The Dark Side of the Moon of the three-day week.

Recorded live in December 1972 and released the following year, Space Ritual is an excellent document of Hawkwind’s classic lineup, underscoring the group’s status as space rock pioneers. As the quintessential “people’s band,” Hawkwind carried ’60s countercultural idealism into the ’70s, gigging constantly, playing wherever there was an audience, and even playing for free on five consecutive days outside the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. The band’s multimedia performances were the perfect accompaniment for exploring inner space and imagining outer space. While not concerned with rock’s material trappings, Hawkwind were, ironically, among the hardest-working groups in Britain, averaging one show every three days during the year preceding these recordings. Given all that practice, it’s not surprising that the performances collected here are incredibly tight (although, reportedly, a couple of tracks were edited). Incorporating most of Doremi Fasol Latido, the show for the Space Ritual tour was conceived as a space rock opera, its blend of sci-fi electronics, mesmerizing psy-fi grooves, and heavy, earthbound jamming punctuated with spoken word interludes from astral poet Bob Calvert. Although his intergalactic musings date the album, coming across now as camp futurism, they still provide fitting atmospheric preambles to Hawkwind’s astounding, mind-warping sounds. Calvert’s manic recital of Michael Moorcock’s “Sonic Attack,” for instance, is an exercise in tension that subsequently explodes on the stomping “Time We Left This World Today”; with Nik Turner’s otherworldly sax, Dave Brock’s guitar distortion, and the earth-moving rhythm section of Simon King and Lemmy, this track offers a blueprint for the album’s most potent material. Another standout is “Orgone Accumulator,” ten minutes of hypnotic (Wilhelm) Reich & roll that could be the missing link between Booker T. and Stereolab. A 1973 advertisement described Space Ritual as “88 minutes of brain damage”; that characterization still holds true.

01 – Earth Calling
02 – Born To Go
03 – Down Through The Night
04 – The Awakening
05 – Lord Of Light
06 – The Black Corridor
07 – Space Is Deep
08 – Electronic No 1
09 – Orgone Accumulator
10 – Upside Down
11 – 10 Seconds Of Forever
12 – Brainstorm
13 – Seven By Seven
14 – Sonic Attack
15 – Time We Left This World Today
16 – Master Of The Universe
17 – Welcome To The Future
18 – You Shouldn’t Do That [Bonus Track]

Recorded at Liverpool Stadium, 22 December 1972 and Brixton Sundown, 30 December 1972 by Vic Maile and the Pye Mobile.

Digitally Remastered.