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Michael Moorcock - 1975/2008 - "The New World's Fair"

(67:05, Esoteric Recordings)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Candy Floss Cowboy 1:27
2.  Fair Dealer 5:08
3.  Octopus 2:43
4.  Sixteen Year Old Doom 4:37
5.  You're a Hero 3:23 
6.  Song for Marlene 5:31
7.  Come to the Fair 1:22
8.  In the Name of Rock and Roll 4:31
9.  Ferris Wheel 6:30
10. The Last Merry Go Round 2:33
11. Dude's Dream 5:08
12. Dodgem Dude 2:47
13. The Brothel in Rosenstrasse 3:44
14. Starcruiser 3:16
15. Candy Floss Cowboy Demo 4:27
16. Kings of Speed 2:52
17. You're a Hero Demo 4:08
18. Dodgem Dude Demo 2:58


Michael Moorcock - guitars, mandolin, banjo; vocals
Steve Gilmore  guitars; vocals
Graham Chamock  guitars; vocals
Simon House  violin; piano, Mellotron
Simon King - drums, percussion
Alan Powell - drums, percussion
Pete Pavli - cello
Kurna Harada - bass
Snowy White - guitar
Shirlie Roden  b/v
Debi Doss  b/v

Prolusion. Michael MOORCOCK is an English writer, best known for his fantasy books about "Elric of Melnibone", as well as for various science fiction books, with "Behold the Man" as arguably his most renowned work. Moorcock also spearheaded what is known as "The New Wave of British Science Fiction". In addition to his literary work, Moorcock have also worked with various rock bands, most closely with Hawkwind, but he has also written lyrics and appeared on stage with Blue Oyster Cult. Various British musicians helped out when Moorcock made an album himself in 1975, the concept album "The New Worlds Fair". Esoteric Recordings re-released this disc in 2008.

Analysis. Despite various members of Hawkwind contributing quite a lot on this release, the music is quite far from the heavy space grooves of David Brock's starship crew. Instead, the compositions here are mellower in nature and have more in common with late '60s psychedelic rock than the space rock explored by most of the musicians participating here. Following the dark atmospheric mood piece Candy Floss Cowboy, Fair Dealer is the first real song here, most of all coming across as a country-influenced composition, the country influence being enhanced by the use of banjo as well as violins. Octopus continues with a distinct '60s psychedelic hard rock feel to it, with slick, but gritty guitar licks dominating. Sixteen Year Old Doom has a slightly more modern feeling, with electric and acoustic guitars creating subtle disharmonies in slightly quirky patterns maintaining a generally psychedelic sound, but with some slight blues influences added as well. You're a Hero features more country and blues influences, especially in the first half of the song where slide guitar and piano dominate. The tune ends on a psychedelic note, though, before the album moves on to the ballad Song for Marlene, a mellow affair that slowly increases in pace and intensity as it evolves, ending up sounding quite like Hawkwind at the end. Come to the Fair is a brief composition with folk influences and wild and frenzied violin playing being the central elements. In the Name of Rock & Roll sounds a bit like a mellow mid-70's Hawkwind tune, and Ferris Wheel is a slow, dark and twisted composition; a mellow song where voice effects and clever violin work create a distinctly ominous mood. The Last Merry Go Round returns to a very distinct '60s psychedelic hard rock style, before Dude's Dream ends the concept, exploring '70s psychedelic hard rock in style and dark apocalyptic nightmares in mood. The song starts to the sound of bombs going off and ends with the sound of an ominous bell, which fits the music and the lyrics rather well. The red thread throughout these eleven tunes are passages with eerie crowd sounds, and Moorcock reading parts of a story before each song; more often than not the lines read are of a slightly disturbing nature. As Moorcock never released further solo albums, it's nice to see that some of his other songs have been included as bonus tracks here. Not all of them are that interesting and the demo versions of various songs in particular will probably appeal to those with a special interest only. However, four regular non-album tracks are included as well, and of these Dodgem Dudes and Brothel in Rosenstrasse may arguably be the best tunes on this release, the former a '60s psychedelia-tinged hard rock song, and the latter an atmospheric rock piece with a driving and groovy bass line as the central musical element.

Conclusion. "The New World's Fair" is a mixed release in many ways. There's a mix of styles as well as quality, and the songs do sound like a product of their time. There are quite a few really good tunes here, though, and the concept and how it is executed in the first 11 tracks is quite unique. Hawkwind fans might want to get this disc, due to the participation of various Hawkwind members, and fans of late '60s and early '70s psychedelic rock might also find this release to be of interest.

OMB: April 28, 2008

Related Links:

Esoteric Recordings
Michael Moorcock


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