Saturday, January 30, 2010
1972 is an absolutely incredible year in music history. I cannot help but think what it would've been like to be the age I am now back then. Where would I have stood musically? Would I find myself part of the increasingly popular Glam Rock scene? Would I find myself with long hair and a hog, listening to Deep Purple? Would I be at crux in my life - rejecting traditional rock n roll for the likes of the classical influences inherent in Progressive Rock? Could I be cool enough to have connections to people following the apex of the Brazilian music scene? Maybe I would just be listening to the popular stuff by Elton John, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder.
37 years past that particular year, I find myself wanting to be a part of all these scenes, loving many albums released during this year retrospectively. I have no context of what it would have been like to actually have BEEN THERE. I've seen concerts, I've read anecdotes, I'm jealous to not have lived through this time, just as I'm jealous to not have lived through any significant time in pop music history.
As a natural extension and rebirth of the hippies at the end of the 60's, perhaps the burgeoning Space Rock, psych folk, Glastonbury scene would've been the scene for me. These people held true to what they wanted to do, mixing pop, rock and electronics to create music that was similar to that being created in Germany at the time - but distinctly different.
The difference was Hawkwind.
Doremi Fasol Latido came out on the heels of the massive UK single "Silver Machine" - a song that was not found on any Hawkwind album at the time, but still featured a sound that would soon define them. Lemmy's vocals sound like Roger Daltry, the guitar and bass chugging is reminiscent of the heavy rock found in Uriah Heep and Deep Purple - yet there was this ambience added to the music. A constant humming sound that gently slid up and down the scales, not distracting from the music but definitely noticable. Imagine your rock band performing in the middle of a hurricane, attempting to send it back from where it came. You get the point.
Doremi was 7 tracks the first time it was released. Alternating between hard rock, proto punk, kraut rock, and a handful of British folk moments - many consider this their masterpiece.
I've never really understood the genre title of "Space Rock" beyond the occasional synthesizer whirlings. To me, I think of the serene, minimal, bleep blopp fizz captured perfectly in the soundtracks to movies like Solaris, Moon and Sunshine as something "true" to space. I see The Orb as much more indicative of the loneliness I imagine space to be rather than what Hawkwind present it as.
A party. A huge, drug-fueled, week-long, awesome party.
If those soundtracks (or even perhaps the 2001: A Space Odyssey score) are what I imagine the true sound of space to be like, Doremi Fasol Latido is the quintessential soundtrack for teenagers traveling to space in rebellion against their aging parents. You see, there is a sense of urgency and defiance found throughout the album. The guitar is harsh, the recording is shit and everytime lyrics and singing are introduced I can't help but feel that Hawkwind is trying to write some melodramatic space opera.
But the drawn-out, mind-melting, feedback laden instrumental passages rock. This isn't space music to float around to. This is the your soundtrack to conquer space.
It's not a perfect album, I don't think it's even the best Hawkwind album, but it's fun to pull out every now and then and listen to loud. Grow your hair out, put on some bizarre threads. Hell, paint your face if you must. It might not be your version of space, but it's theirs. And it is one hell of a fun vision to have.
PS. Album includes 4 bonus tracks - none of which I find as good as the any of the preceding 7.