Purple Pyramid 2019
Removing locks from an old box, a flock of HAWKWIND alumni find a new nest for exploring vibrant continuum.
As their erstwhile mothership seems to be ensconced in its pseudo-concept space, bent on alienating fans and former members alike, the latter found a different way to align individual birds of prey for a concerted flight. With this project’s name a pun on a couple of avians and the word “orchestral” – because the sounds the veterans make are layered and complex, yet faithful to the players’ common denominator – there’s grandeur and defiance to “The Future Is Us” that features old and new recordings woven into fresh context. Devised by multi-instrumentalist Alan Davey, whose other endeavors – THE PSYCHEDELIC WARLORDS, BEDOUIN and ACE OF SPADES – delved into various aspects of HAWKS-universe and come together now, here’s an album steeped in cosmic consciousness, if fueled by earthly energies.
Heavy and textured, the pieces on display run along mostly motorik groove and sprinkle across-the-globe influences all over the tracks to create a reality where “Do What Ya Need To Do” can move from Eastern motifs to Western rhythm-and-blues and have Simon House transform his violin into fiddle, and where “Bad Boys For Life” may rumble and see Lemmy bark a paean to friendship. Still, the results are greater than the sum of the participants’ personal contributions – even though the post-mortem presence of some people gives a few numbers undeniable gravity. Or levity, like Huw Lloyd-Langton’s harp and licks on “12 String Shuffle” prove playfully, as do the title track’s tight vibes which take on a truly symphonic scope, with Paul Rudolph’s six strings soaring and searing the air. So the elastic waves of “May Sun” may reflect a bluesy gloom, but it’s the oud-spiced “Sea Of Sand” that brings on hypnotic, and at the same time effervescent, effect thanks to the hefty thump of Ginger Baker’s drums and Bridget Wishart’s witchy incantations.
As Davey’s vocals cut through the thick clouds that his synthesizers ooze, jazzy jive is updating this artsy sprawl, with or without the help of Nik Turner’s saxes which get embroiled in the electronica-kissed “Nyx Of Khaos” side by side with Mick Slattery’s lysergic guitar, while riffs for “World Of Fear” snuff its incendiary dance in favor of punchier rhythms. There’s no better name for such an approach than “Sonic Attack” and there’s no better bearer for such classical snippet of spoken word than William Shatner, whereas “Goodbye Death Valley” banishes sci-fi wooshing to usher in infectious prog ‘n’ roll, before Alan’s bass pours fierceness into “Free Like Us” and emotionality in “Hawkestrel” and removes pop patina applied to the songs, letting the arabesques of “Old Dinah” crawl out in the open.
That’s why this record does not attempt to rescue friends, relatives, loved ones; rather, it gives the folks liberty to be themselves. Whether it’s a one-off thing or it’s here to stay, “The Future Is Us” is one of the best albums HAWKWIND – for HAWKESTREL is them in all but name – could ever make.