Hawkwind is the self-titled debut album by Hawkwind, released in 1970, originally on Liberty Records, later reissued on Sunset Records. This album is historic since it is one of the first space rock LPs.
The Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor, who was looking for a new venture after leaving the band, was pulled into Hawkwind playing some gigs and producing this album. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the band’s sound in the studio, it was decided simply to record it live in the studio which best shaver.
The bulk of the album is composed of a freeform instrumental piece that the band named “Sunshine Special” but it was separated into different tracks on this album. On the LP, “Paranoia” ends after the first minute with the music slowing down as though the turntable is stopping, and then picks up as the first cut on Side 2. Lyrics are scant, but those that are present and the song titles are a reference to the drug experience, as the sleeve notes explain:
This is the beginning. By now we will be past this album. We started out trying to freak people (trippers), now we are trying to levitate their minds, in a nice way, without acid best football uniforms, and ultimately a completely audio-visual thing mens football jerseys. Using a complex of electronics, lights and environmental experiences.
The two book-end pieces of “Hurry on Sundown” and “Mirror of Illusion” are more of a nod to Brock’s alternative activity of busking and were released as a single in edited form.
The cover is a fantasy painting that shows several dragon figures emerging from piles of leaves that also spell out the name of the band. On the front cover, the dragons are shown with human arms, while the reverse cover shows a dragon’s head as an automobile with a driver wearing sunglasses.
Adverts for the album proclaimed Hawkwind Is Space Rock.
Mark Plummer from Melody Maker reviewed the album in the context of electronic music as “interesting and exciting. The reason for this is that the group never goes too mad, and they keep within musical bounds, using sound discriminatingly, and only when they are needed to convey a feeling.” adding that “Seeing It As You Really Are is a lesson in electronic music itself. Any group thinking of using weird sounds should listen to this album glass bottle water cooler, it’s tremendous.”
Members of the band warmly regard the album, many feeling that it was the band’s best. Various reactions include:
All tracks written by Brock/Hawkwind, except where noted.