Hawkwind: The Future Never Waits


The future doesn’t look good. The present looks a bit shabby. And the recent past could’ve done with a shower, a shampoo, and a shave too, couldn’t it? The past few years have tested everyone’s ability to remain sane. With an unforgiving suicidal economic system, open warfare in the cultural and political landscapes, and technology continuing to tighten its chokehold, dystopia has become the new norm. We should have seen this coming, shouldn’t we? The signs were there, buried somewhere deep in the terms and conditions of the user agreement that we quickly scrolled past to click the box marked ‘I agree’ so that we could continue consuming even more of the puerile and futile nonsense that blips and drips from our mobile tracking devices. The counterculture warned us long ago and urged us to turn on, tune in, and drop out – or at least consume copious quantities of LSD and experience the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth… erm, “man”. The past is knackered, we just missed the present, and hey diddle diddle, the future has run way with the loon. Well, if the future isn’t going to wait, why should Hawkwind? Album number thirty five from the Space Lords brings to us earthly mortals an amalgam of electronica, drum and bass jazz, saxophone, fuzzy riffs, fuzzy bass warbles, ambience, new age and softly psychedelic samples, poetry and more. Yep, something mellow this way comes.

Preparing us for lift off is the ten-minute new age, ambient, gently pulsing title track. A spiralling, swirling, sparkly whirlwind of possibility, it is mystical and majestic in equal measure, it lays bare an LSD-splashed and splendid vision of a future long left behind. And then, lift off! The overdriven chunky riffage of the driving ‘The End’ layered with synths and solar-powered drums lifting us off the ground and towards the heavens. Dying the same day as C.S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy (22 November 1963) and ingesting LSD on his deathbed – not, as some might suspect, on some grassy knoll – author of the prophetic dystopian novel Brave New World and the counterculture bible, The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley is given a track all of his own that tingles with eastern promise, tinkles with piano and orchestrated with spacey sparkles. Another ten minute piece, ‘They Are So Easily Distracted’ requires and deserves your attention, piano, sax and synths jazz up the drum and bass rhythms before morphing into a protracted and meandering spacey groove that has us floating in most peculiar way.

So far, so groovy, the album continues with more of the same mashup of styles and countercultural themes, bobbing and bubbling along as we are drawn deeper and deeper into the nightmare of the now. That’s not to say that the latter half is a mere facsimile of the first. That’d be a little too dum de dum de dumdum. Mundane. Obvious. Hawkwind’s thirty fifth album is a visionary piece, an album that laments utopia and reminds us that we are, indeed, ‘Trapped In This Modern Age’. Yep, we’re living the nightmare. Hyperbole? The future has been disappointing for a long time now. We were promised jetpacks! Technology was supposed to set us free, to liberate us from the spatial and the temporal so that no physical boundary could hem us in, but no. The stars look very different today. Take your protein pills, put your helmet on, and let us hop aboard the good spaceship Hawkwind and set the controls once more for the heart of the dying sun…

Peace out.

Words by Jason Guest

Released by Cherry Red Records on Vinyl, CD, Digital here

Track Listing:

  1. The Future Never Waits
  2. The End
  3. Aldous Huxley
  4. They are So Easily Distracted
  5. Rama (The Prophecy)
  6. USB1
  7. Outside of Time
  8. I’m Learning to Live Today
  9. The Beginning
  10. Trapped in this Modern Age

Line-up / Musicians

  • Dave Brock – guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Richard Chadwick – drums, vocals
  • Doug MacKinnon – bass
  • Tim “Thighpaulsandra” Lewis – theremin, SynthAxe
  • Magnus Martin – keyboards, guitar, vocals

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