Coded Languages, is a new double CD from the space rockers Hawkwind. It has the subtitle Live At Hammersmith Odeon, November 1982. This title sums up virtually the whole question that is generated by this new record because you actually can't speak about a real new album. What we have here is a concert the band performed in Britain in the fall of 1982, that is to say, in full promotion for the album Choose Your Masks, which was released in October of that year.
At the time, Hawkwind operated with five players participating in the tour which are in fact band leader and founding member Dave Brock, (guitars, vocals, synthesizers), Harvey Bainbridge (vocals, bass and synthesizers), Huw Lloyd Langton (lead guitar and vocals), Nik Turner (saxophone, flute and vocals) and Martin Griffin (drums and percussion). Add to this Michael Moorcock, author of science fiction and secondarily lyricist, guru and passing vocalist at concerts.
The tour in the fall of 1982, that aimed to promote Choose Your Masks is one of the most famous in the history of Hawkwind, although they have many other historical tours to their credit. We already had traces of this tour with the album Zones which includes excerpts from a concert in Bristol in late October 1982. The Hawkwind musicians have fond memories of this tour, which was marked by numerous surprise moments and loads of fun. Above all, it took place in two waves. The first one was in the fall 1982 which had 29 dates, and the second leg was in the winter of 1983, which included seven dates. Some unexpected guests came to animate some dates from time to time. Thus Robert Calvert, former resident of Hawkwind between 1976 and 1979, joined the group during the concert of Folkestone and illusionist Paul Zenon came to do magic tricks as well during some of the concerts. In addition, the ambitious stage set representing a spaceship cockpit surrounded by sixty TV screens helped to knock the collective unconscious of the audience.
One of the tour high points included two concerts played at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. On this double CD, Hawkwind can be heard in great shape, playing many titles from Choose Your Masks- tracks such as Waiting For Tomorrow, the sequence Utopia/ Arrival In Utopia, Solitary Mind Games and Dream worker. Moreover, tracks from the album released one year earlier titled Sonic Attack (1981) were done and can be enjoyed here as well-songs such as Coded languages, Angels Of Death and Sonic Attack. Nik Turner, one of the band's historical members was fired in the late 70s but who returned to the group in 1982, breathes irrepressible saxophonist madness on this release. However his uncontrollable stage mischief was the origin of his second ouster two years later.
On this live double album are the 70's songs not left out since Hawkwind interprets excerpts from Warrior On The Edge Of Time (1975), Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976), Hall Of The Mountain Grill (1974) and of course the classic Doremo Fasol Latido (1972), with the unstoppable Brainstorm which ends the show.
Coded languages is a must have for all Hawkwind fans out there. Hearing them in this great shape only wants them all to be present at the time the recordings were made. Maybe a DVD of one of their performances at the time would have made this release the best you can get in the field of space rock and beyond!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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