Hawkwind - Canterbury Fayre 2001
United States Dist.
Space Rock
Disc 1: 11 songs (66:38) Disc 2: 5 songs (28:04)
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Misha
Archive review

“Yay, a live album”, they said, and their stares deflected from the refined pattern of lines and curls that is this review, to look for something with a quote to bitch about. Yet make no mistake! This is a double live album of jaw-dropping quality, that represents everything that is Hawkwind.

What a perfect place for the self-proclaimed inventors of the space rock genre to record a live album. Although the genre drifted away from its initial sound, to be embraced by later experimental rock genres like post-rock and shoegaze, Hawkwind still embodies everything the stream stands for. Among countless live albums, the Canterbury live album jumps out in one way: while heavily relying on old songs, they almost sound like new ones. Not only is the production a lot clearer and the musicianship better than on the older works, (yes, even the studio-albums), moreover, the atmosphere is stronger than what they ever could have wished for back in the days. Some of these songs are 30 years old, but the timelessness and continuity of space itself convinces of the opposite: that they will be written 30 years from now.

As the style almost defines, guitars are used to create textures rather than riffs, often soloing absently through the void that the nonexistent riffs left. Drums are hypnotic and sometimes break into the territory of modern trance beats (Levitation) or do something completely different like on the (out of this) world fusion that is Assassins Of Allah. The bass is fairly present in the mix, and immediately sets a standard for itself on the opener, 5th second of forever, rattling out very strong riffs that are just as down to earth as they are emotionally touching and fitting the guitars, that took more of the role of the traditional bass on their imaginary shoulders. To this added are the keyboards, occasional violin and vocals, that give the mix and even more convincing space-lift. Even the most recycled songs such as Angels Of Death and Silver Machine are given an entirely new meaning, they sound thickened yet colder, and obviously, much more spacey.

In conclusion, the echoing melodies and textures of this masterpiece effect in a levitation of the mind directly into the ionosphere. Hawkwind gained a more free atmosphere by actually making their music more solid. Despite its high level of experimentation and extraordinariness, the outcome is highly accessible and good point to start exploring the world of Hawkwind.

Killing Songs :
Shut up.
Misha quoted no quote
Other albums by Hawkwind that we have reviewed:
Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
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