Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Alan Davey - Four-Track Mind Volume 1

Alan Davey
Four-Track Mind Volume 1

Cast your mind back to the late 80s when Alan Davey was first finding his way as a member of Hawkwind and to the double pack of singles released by Brian Tawn through his Hawkfan label 'The Elf' EP; five numbers that Davey had recorded on a four-track tape machine. The vinyl is long out of print and now highly collectable in its own right. Fast forward to 2007 and find Davey trawling through his tape collection and discovering masses of extra tracks stored away and in need of salvaging and crying out to be made available. Hence this new series of CDR releases available direct from the Bass Monster himself, the first volume of which appeared in November 2007 with the remaining three to be released in stages through 2008.

"Excuse the sound quality because these are old" notes Davey in the accompanying liner notes. Well, no apology required here because the tapes have emerged remarkably well preserved and the sound quality, whilst indicative of the basic equipment used to record these tracks, is more than acceptable. It's fortunate that the project has been started now, though, as Alan goes on to suggest that "another year or two and I think a lot of it would have been lost."

Let's give thanks, then, for the timely intervention in the decay process that has occurred because Four-Track Mind gives a fascinating insight into the development of Davey as a musician and, for the Hawkwind historians among us, an interesting view of some well-known Hawkwind tracks in their early demo state. That's particularly valuable as, although some of Dave Brock's demos have been officially released (on the Weird Tapes series for example) and Bob Calvert's solo demos received a legitimate airing, there's been scant other Hawkwind 'work-in-progress' made available aside from some early 80s Rockfield demos that have circulated the traders network over the years. Here, for example, early versions of 'Sword of the East' and the Bedouin song 'Chasing the Dragon' are laid out for posterity whilst future volumes promise Davey's initial workings on 'Back in the Box' and 'Wings' for a start.

So it's classic Alan Davey territory all told, swirling synth sounds and rhythmic bass lines - these recorded between 1986 and 1988 and including his first ever four-track recording 'R.E.M. Time' and his hilarious take on the famous Pink Panther theme-tune interpreted in the style of Lemmy and entitled 'Motor Pink Head', which is worth the price of admission all on its own.

Volume 1 is predominately instrumentals, captured using a Fostex X 15 four track tape machine, a Roland drumatix drum machine and a Roland Juno-6 synth. The equipment might sound primitive but there's a useful discipline involved. As Davey says “If a song sounds good when recorded on a four-track machine, you know you’ve got a good one as there’s no space for tarting it up." And these sound great.

Alan Davey Official Website
Alan Davey Myspace Page
Alan Davey's Gunslinger Myspace Page

1 comment:

Spees said...

I love these recordings, have got vol 1 and 2 now...keep 'em coming Alan !