Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Hawkwind—
Doremi Fasol Latido


Released 1972 on United Artists
The Seth Man, November 2000ce
The first release after their surprising successful “Silver Machine” single, “Doremi Fasol Latido” was an album that saw Hawkwind gel into highly combustive space metal that continued for one serious year and half period as their new rhythm section of Ian “Lemmy” Kilminster on bass and Simon King on drums joined the classic MK whatever lineup consisting of Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Robert Calvert, Dikmik, Del Dettmar and Stacia. The pummeling rhythms of “Silver Machine” and the driving nowhere-ness of “Seven By Seven” had already exhibited Hawkwind’s newly forged sound that was far more muscular and driving than their previous albums. In fact, “X In Search Of Space” found most of the members so unconfident of their musical capabilities that they asked to be turned DOWN in the mix! But on “Doremi” all instruments were now wielded as weapons of psychic warfare as the Sonic Assassins commence to break down the bad vibe squad in the most reckless and stupor-fying ways. “Doremi Fasol Latido” saw their building energies emerge into a single vision, housed in a sleek black and silver chrome sleeve comprised of seven crossfaded tracks that were their heaviest, drug-numbed blur-outs ever.

Nik Turner’s “Brainstorm”, a track that occupies a fourth of the entire album, opens it up with a near mono-chord assault that speeds across Turner’s rant-style vocals that proclaim:

“And this body of mine (I don’t want to be destroyed)
Body of mine (And I don’t want to turn android)
Body of mine (You gotta help me avoid that)
Brainstorm -- brainstorm -- brainstorm...
You miss it -- you bet I kiss it!”

And the fractured, heavy cacophony that accompanies these lines run throughout labyrinths of time and space for what seems a quick eternity, featuring Brock’s psy-wah-wah penetration and Simon King’s ever-driving drum fills. Eight minutes later, it finally falls apart and into the wormhole that is the near-spoken, drum-less intro of “Space Is Deep.” Beginning as a psychedelic acoustic busker with accompanying twittering synthesizer backing, it soon dissolves into a droning synthesizer and guitar DNA model that begins to levitate, spiraling upwards and out into the beyond into a shining, transcendental pinnacle. The brief Del Dettmar solo keyboard vignette “One Change” ends the side quietly.

“Lord Of Light” starts side two with a phlanged and over-echoed guitar riff as Lemmy and King jump into the fray at once with metronomic rhythms and everything is soon pulsing ceaselessly due to the heavy phasing on EVERYTHING and it builds and builds continually as flames burst from Hawkwind Mothership’s fuselage, pushed far beyond the limits of its already over-taxed capabilities. It made perfect sense that Amon Düül 2 engineer, Peter Krampner remixed this track for an exclusive West German single release, as not only this but the majority of tracks on “Doremi Fasol Latido” share similar musical characteristics with Amon Düül 2. In fact, “Time We Left This World Today”, the heavily repetitive minor chord trance out that occupies a large chunk of side two, is extremely similar to Amon Düül 2’s “Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight” as the bass line from this track gets hijacked by Lemmy into a propelling zone out. The bass line winds up skewering the chanting vocals, FX’ed guitars and keyboard stutters and everything else on a kebab of thundering psychedelic metal.

The album’s closing track, “The Watcher,” is a paranoid acoustic trip with Lemmy in strung out ‘observer’ mode as his amphetamine-cracked vocals and fuzz-bass revive elements from “You’re Alone Now,” a track he recorded with Sam Gopal for their 1968 album, “Escalator.” And now it was transformed into a stark ending for an album that succeeded in blurring all aural distinctions between inner and outer space, and the near-constant use of VCS3 and audio generator provide a backdrop for the entire album as twinkling yet forbidding as a nighttime display of stars in the cold dead of night.