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Space Ritual

1973

Other: Space Ritual

Creator: Hawkwind

Recollections...

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The year it came out, and I was at school at the time aged 13/14
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In Depth

Space Ritual

British "space rock" band Hawkwind's audaciously ambitious live show.

Space Ritual was a pioneering multimedia experience, mixing psychadelic lightshow, stage sets, music, readings and exotic dance, courtesy of Stacia and Miss Renee. The desired ambience was somewhere between an LSD and a science fiction trip through space and time.

Cruicial to evoking this atmosphere were readings by band member Robert Calvert and science fiction author Michael Moorcock, describing Starfarers in suspended animation travelling through the universe. A free programme featuring a short science fiction story by lightshow maestro Barney Bubbles helped set the scene for the audience.

The Hawkwind crew had been mulling over the ideas that would become the Space Ritual for some time. They were finally able to bankroll them with the money from their sole hit single, Silver Machine. During 1972/3 the band toured Britain with the show, playing science fiction influenced tracks including Orgone Accumulator, Lord of Light (inspired by a Robert Zelazny book) and Master of the Universe.

A live double album, The Space Ritual Live at Liverpool, is the best known version of the Ritual. A famously psychedelic foldout album sleeve adorns the release, featuring science fiction images alongside mandalas and topless women.

Science fiction continued to be an influence on the members of Hawkwind, with later works including High Rise (on the PXR5 album), based on a JG Ballard short story, and Calvert's solo concept album, Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters.

Work nominated by mwhatfield.

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