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Hawkwind: It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous (remastered)

This rather lengthy titled album from space rock legends Hawkwind was originally released in 1993 and was at the time their 18th studio album. Like their previous release Electric Tepee, the line-up for It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous was the trio of Dave Brock (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Alan Davey (bass/vocals), and Richard Chadwick (drums/vocals). Also keeping in line with the formula on Electric Tepee, this one is a mostly ambient, instrumental affair, with keyboards, loops, and sequencers making up for the bulk of the instrumentation. Much of Hawkwind's heavy hitting space rock takes a back seat here, but it's still a compelling listen nonetheless.

Regular fans of the band will no doubt hear many little bits and passages throughout It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous that originated in earlier songs and here had been fleshed out to become full blown identities unto themselves. The opening title track, "Space is Their (Palestine)", and the two part "Tibet Is Not China" are great examples of chilling, ambient compositions, often times littered with techno beats, as the band basically allows a myriad of synth tones and textures to tell the musical story. In theory, this is what space rock is all about, as Hawkwind come real close to classic Tangerine Dream territory on these tracks. The bubbling "Let Barking Dogs Lie" sees the first real appearance of Brock's heavy guitar riffs, Davey's booming bass, and Chadwick's nimble drum work, but of course supported by spacey synths. No doubt Ozric Tentacles were greatly influenced but this type of material from the band. Just a classic song. Back to revelatory synth explorations for "Wave Upon Wave" (just close your eyes and imagine floating in space), while "Letting in the Past" is mostly just an updated version of the classic "Looking in the Future" from the 1982 album Church of Hawkwind. Brock's "The Camera That Could Lie" has a surprising reggae feel to it (not one of the albums strong points, but a 'unique' song to say the least), and "3 or 4 Erections in the Course of a Night" once again delivers some stunning, instrumental ambient/space rock. "Techno Tropic Zone Exists" is another of the albums few vocal tracks, and despite some groove laden bass courtesy of Davey, is nothing much to write home about. Two versions of the bands take on the Rolling Stones classic "Gimme Shelter" are included here; the single version with guest vocalist Samantha Fox is my personal pick, but either way it's kind of odd hearing Hawkwind covering this song. Intriguing to say the least. "Avante" closes out the album in fine fashion, a 6-minute instrumental with some fascinating synth textures and nimble drum fills.

Atomhenge's remaster sounds spectacular, and there is a bonus CD included that contains both the Solstice Remixes & the Decide Your Future EPs. None of this material is actually 'essential' listening, but for the Hawkwind enthusiast it will be worth a spin to hear all the different versions of "Spirit of the Age" and a few other songs. Toss in a colorful booklet crammed with info and photos, and you have another great Hawkwind reissue from the folks at Cherry Red. It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous might not be a top 5 or 10 Hawkwind album, but there are plenty of excellent instrumental ambient/space rock tunes to easily recommend it.

Track Listing
Disc One
1) It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous
2) Space is Their (Palestine)
3) Tibet Is Not China (Part One)
4) Tibet Is Not China (Part Two)
5) Let Barking Dogs Lie
6) Wave Upon Wave
7) Letting in the Past
8) The Camera That Could Lie
9) 3 or 4 Erections in the Course of a Night
10) Techno Tropic Zone Exists
11) Gimme Shelter
12) Avante
13) Gimme Shelter (single version with Samantha Fox)
Disc Two
The Solstice Remixes EP
1) Spirit of the Age (Radio Edit)
2) Spirit of the Age (Full vocal mix)
3) Spirit of the Age (Cyber trance mix)
4) Spirit of the Age (Flesh to Phantasy Ambient mix)
The Decide Your Future EP
5) Right to Decide (original mix)
6) The Camera That Would Not Die (original mix)
7) Right to Decide (Alien Prophets Radio edit mix)
8) Assassin (Magick Carpet mix by Swordfish/Astalasia)

Added: March 4th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2241
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Hawkwind: It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous (remastered)
Posted by Dell1972 on 2014-03-05 02:53:39
My Score:

Not a bad review, though the second track is called Space is their (Pallestine): There's no "not". The intoned "space is there" which appears once or twice on the track is a sample of the late Robert Calvert's narration of The Black Corridor from their own Space Ritual album. Actually I'm sure on the original album cover the track was spelt "Space is There (Pallestine)".

While it does sound not a million miles stylistically from the Ozric Tentacles, it would be unfair to say this was an influence on the Ozrics: Their high charting Jurassic Shift came out about 5 months earlier. I'm sure they did influence them generally, but not with this specific album. It was considered at the time that the Ozrics had "beaten Hawkwind to it". That said, I played the first two track of the album to a friend at the time and they thought it was The Orb. At the time there was talk of Hawkwind and The Orb collaborating, but nothing came of it, other than I think an unreleased Orb version of Silver Machine entitled Orbwind.

Fans were and still are polarised in opinion of this one. Those who don't like electronic music tend to hate it and those that do love it. This is the problem when a band encorporates many styles of genres over the years: You can't please everyone. It was seen by many as the follow up to Church of Hawkwind, with the Psychedelic Warriors' White Zone being part three of a trilogy of more electronic albums.

Personally I love the first half of the album, and side two comes across as being a bit cobbled together in hurry. There's a few interesting live albums from the tour, the Business Trip, and the soundboard legitimised bootleg Treworgy 1989, which is actually recorded in Bristol 1993.

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