PXR5 Studio album by Hawkwind Released 15 June 1979 Recorded January 1978 Genre Space Rock Label Charisma Records Producer Hawkwind Hawkwind chronology 25 Years On
Live Seventy Nine
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PXR5 is the ninth studio album by Hawkwind, released in 1979. It reached #59 on the UK album charts.
The album was recorded and mixed at Rockfield Studios in January and February 1978. "Uncle Sam's On Mars", "Robot" and "High Rise" were originally recorded on the preceding UK tour but were overdubbed in the studio, significantly Robert Calvert's double tracked vocals. "Infinity" and "Life Form" were originally to have been part of a solo album Dave Brock was working on.
After the album was recorded and mixed, the band fell apart during a US tour in March when Simon House left to join the David Bowie band and Robert Calvert suffered a bout of clinical depression. With the band in temporary hiatus and no pending promotional tour, the album's release was shelved.
The band re-emerged in mid-1978 as the Hawklords to record the 25 Years On album with two single releases "Psi Power" and "25 Years", which featured "Death Trap" and "PXR5" on the B-sides respectively. The PXR5 album was eventually released on 15 June 1979, and the cryptic message on the cover "This is the last but one" refers to the fact it was recorded prior to the previous release.
- "Jack of Shadows" lyrics are inspired by Roger Zelazny's book of the same name.
- "Uncle Sam's On Mars" evolved from the Neu!-esque "Opa Loka", with a Calvert anti-US rant over the top of it. Its first performance was at the Cardiff Castle Festival, (Summer 1976) as 'Vikings on Mars' read by Calvert from his clipboard notes, and with the aid of a megaphone, on stage after Opa Loka. Robots also made a brief appearance as a poem at this historic gig. The song title itself is a pun on Gil Scott-Heron's Whitey On The Moon.
- "Infinity" uses a Calvert poem from Space Ritual.
- "Robot" lyrics are inspired by Isaac Asimov's I, Robot book.
- "High Rise" lyrics are inspired by J.G. Ballard's book of the same name.
- "PXR5" lyrics deal with Hawkwind's transitory period between Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music and Quark, Strangeness and Charm
The Virgin CD issue was mastered from different tapes from the original vinyl version. The most notable difference is that "High Rise" is the live version without studio overdubs, so starts with a clunk rather than the smooth bass intro and has a coarser vocal from Calvert. Also "PXR5" gains an introduction that's missing from the original.
The Atomhenge CD issue restores the original album, and includes the different versions of "High Rise" and "PXR5" as bonus tracks 14 and 15 respectively.
- "Death Trap" (Robert Calvert, Dave Brock) – 3:51
- "Jack of Shadows" (Calvert, Simon House, Adrian Shaw) – 3:28
- "Uncle Sam's on Mars" (Calvert, Brock, House, Simon King) – 5:44
- "Infinity" (Calvert, Brock) – 4:17
- "Life Form" (Brock) – 1:44
- "Robot" (Calvert, Brock) – 8:14
- "High Rise" (Calvert, House) – 4:36
- "PXR5" (Brock) – 5:39
Atomhenge CD bonus tracks
- "Jack of Shadows" [live studio version] – 3:40
- "We Like to Be Frightened" – 2:46
- "High Rise" [live studio version] – 4:43
- "Robot" [first studio version] – 9:24
- "Jack of Shadows" [Adrian Shaw vocal version] – 3:54
- "High Rise" [alternate vocal mix] – 4:37
- "PXR5" [alternate intro mix] – 5:40
- "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" [live 1978] – 2:38
- Robert Calvert - vocals (tracks 1-3,6,7)
- Dave Brock - guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Adrian Shaw - bass guitar (tracks 2,3,6-8)
- Simon House - violin, keyboards (tracks 2,3,6-8)
- Simon King - drums (except 5)
- Tracks 1,2,8: Recorded at Rockfield Studios, Jan-1978
- Tracks 3: Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, 5-Oct-1977
- Tracks 4,5: Recorded at Week Park Farm, 1978
- Tracks 6,7: Recorded at Leicester De Montford Hall, 29-Sep-1977
- Mixed at Rockfield Studios, Feb-1978. Engineered by Dave Charles and Anton Matthews.
- Artwork by Phillip Tonkyn.
- Jun 1979: Charisma, CDS4016, UK vinyl - first 5000 contained Pete Frame's Hawkwind Family Tree poster. The original cover had artwork of an incorrectly wired UK electric plug which caused controversy on safety grounds, so subsequent copies were released with a supposedly unremovable sticker covering the offending artwork. Subsequent prints had the artwork blanked out.
- Mar 1984: Charisma, CHC25, UK vinyl
- Apr 1989: Virgin, CDSCD4016, UK CD
- March 2009: Atomhenge (Cherry Red) Records, ATOMCD1010, UK CD - the extensive sleeve notes include a reference to the artwork controversy, and the original image is reinstated. The booklet also includes the Hawkwind Family Tree.
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