Album #276 – Space Ritual aka The Space Ritual Alive in Liverpool and London
The best way for me to describe Hawkwind’s music after hearing this album is that it is a cross between The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Hawkwind was a band that defined Space Rock. Pink Floyd was also involved in the creation of this genre but Hawkwind took it to new heights. This album was an essential part of this new space rock sound. It is actually a live album, which surprised me. It surprised me because I expected this kind of music to be created in the studio and be a monster. But, it had the same effect when it was done live. The audience is rarely heard on this album and it was originally edited down when it was released in 1973. The version I listened to was the 2007 reissue. This reissue is more complete and it was the only version I could really find. While listening to this album, it felt like background noise. That does not diminish this album at all. I did not pay enough close attention but when I did, the results were exciting. They were clearly rocking out at times. It was very easy to get lost in this record as well, if you know what I mean. The music felt slightly experimental but also like I was listening to a play or rock opera about space. The album just seemed to flow very well and the 2007 reissue gave a more complete picture to this concert tour. The album’s full title mentions Liverpool and London, which is where this album was recorded. Another note of interest is that Motorhead lead singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister was in Hawkwind before he was in Motorhead and Lemmy plays on this album. But, his voice is either absent or sounds very different than the gravelly Lemmy we all know and love. This is probably because Kilmister did not write any of this album’s songs and also because there were three other vocalists in the band. This album overall was quite an experience but, at times was a little too much for me. Highlights include: Lord of Light, Black Corridor, Space Is Deep and Electronic No. 1. Overall, I give this album 4 out of 5.
Next: Paris 1919 by John Cale