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Hawkwind - X In Search Of Space CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.62 | 350 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The title of Hawkwind's sophomore album was chosen well: this was indeed a band reaching for the outer cosmos, and their aim was improving despite a residual tug of earthbound gravity on the new music.

After an unfocussed debut in 1970, the blueprint for a more distinctive group style was starting to coalesce, with help from graphic designer Colin Fulcher, aka Barney Bubbles, who gave the album its title and illustrated the elaborate Hawkwind Log included in early LP pressings. And the band itself was learning the secret of the Hawkwind trip: push the jams forward with relentless momentum, and limit the chord changes to a bare minimum.

Any lingering trace of blues from the first album was forever bulldozed under the churning guitars and twittering synthesizers driving "You Shouldn't Do That" (filling most of Side One of the original vinyl) and the space-punk concert favorite "Master of the Universe". Add a steady motorik rhythm, Nik Turner's treated flutes and saxophones (to these ears the defining element of the Hawkwind sound), and some effectively spacey acoustic guitar ballads (like the stoner requiem "We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago"), and the result is a rough sketch of a roadmap leading toward the upcoming Space Ritual epiphany.

The band was still a work in progress, busy repaying its debt to PINK FLOYD, with a little Krautrock added to the principal loan. But there was always a critical difference between the two groups: while members of The Floyd were attending architecture classes at London Polytechnic, the Hawkwind gang was flunking out of the Notting Hill School of Hard Knocks, and finding their true voice along the way.

Three-plus stars for sonic a further half-star for some essential bonus tracks added to later CD reissues. The non-album classic "Silver Machine" is still the ultimate Hawkwind head rush; the B-Side "Seven By Seven" introduced poet Robert Calvert into the performance line-up; and the lyrics of the live single "Born To Go" (recorded at the same Roundhouse gig as "Silver Machine") summed up the band's newfound confidence and clarity of purpose: "We were born to go / We're never turning back / We were born to go / And leave a burning track..."

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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