Thursday, 30 October 2008

Gone All Technical

Thought I'd bring this little theme I seem to have accidentally created for myself to an end - I like to do things in threes - with a note (or two) from Doctor Technical himself.

For some reason this album didn't get an independent CD release, but was released as a back to back CD along with his first solo album Earthed to the Ground.
So if you'd bought Earthed to the Ground on CD you may have been put off from buying the double package; which is a shame, as I think The Agents of Chaos is the better of the two albums.

Brock, always a cynic of modernity and its consequential apathy, always scratched beneath the surface; often beyond the confines of our own societies and our own race.

His cynicism often manifests in tales of future dystopic warnings; void-like soundscapes that bring to mind Roger Dean topographies; or sci-fi inspired noodlings creating everything from airy-interstellar ambient sounds to sounds capturing the moment one is sucked through a black hole!

If Calvert was Philp K Dick, Brock was more Ray Bradbury; but with a big chunk of JG Ballard thrown in; and that's what makes him interesting.

Brock's cynicism prevented him from appearing on television.

(Recently omitted from the excellent BBC documentary about Hawkwind, in which the BBC stated that the reason Brock wouldn't take part was because Nik Turner was taking part! Suggesting a kind of hair-pulling, handbags at dawn problem between the two. There may well be a problem between the two space cadets, but that's not the reason he refused to take part - but it makes for a better narrative in the documentary! Especially when the real reason is that Brock believes television is for squares and dead heads.)

So his hatred of the medium allowed Bob Calvert back in the Quark, Strangeness and Charm days, to front the band when they were asked to appear on Marc Bolan's kids' TV show Marc.
Brock refused to be part of their mimed performance; not wishing his cover to be blown.

Just to compliment that wonderful piece of footage (Crikey, those were the days: this was mainstream weekday kids' TV!), here's a much better version performed by Inner City Unit with Calvert as a guest vocalist, captured at good ol' Dingwalls in Camden Town - boy, do I remember those pillars.
Wonderful stuff this:

However, back to the matter at hand.
Never one who wanted to grab the limelight, it's kind of understandable why it took Brock so long to release any solo albums.
I guess technology helped.
And from the very early eighties, Brock was spending more and more time on stage fiddling with Korgs and Rolands, adding enormously to Hawkwind's spacy sound and atmosphere, but the sound was beginning to head in a different direction.
Church of Hawkwind probably best captures that change, and in many ways The Agents of Chaos album kind of carries on in that mode.

There is a very heavy keyboard presence on many of the songs, synthetic beats are also used; but of course no Dave Brock album would really be a Dave Brock album without those pounding Westone guitar chords and that folksy, bluesy, ever-so-English voice of his.

Dave Brock - The Agents of Chaos (1987)

Hi-Tech Cities
A Day
In the Office
Hades Deep
Words of a Song
Wastelands of Sleep
Into the Realms
Mountain in the Sky

Vinyl rip @256 kbs.
Get it here


Anonymous said...

thank you....

roy rocket said...

Shanti, roy

Jerome said...

Been enjoying many of your posts - might as well leave my appeciative thanks here with my pal Dr Technical...
We've come a long way indeed - Friend'd Nik on Facebook just a couple weeks ago - so many space rock pals there now.
Great Job you're doing here - trying is flying is...