By J Eric Smith Y'see, there's this obtuse and somewhat obscure form of music that those of us in the know refer to as BLANGA and those of them not in the know refer to condescendingly in stilted critical terms, if at all. Just between you and me and the flies on the wall, BLANGA all goes something like this...
The drummer drops into a martial 2/2 seigbeat with the bassist and guitarist hammering power-chords in lockstep like the crack rhythm section of hell. Audio generators pulse and chirp as bottom-heavy analog synthesizers shred speakers and tighten sternums throughout the auditorium.
Sax squonks blurt in and out of the mix as lights flash, dancers twirl, poets declaim, and the non-stop relenting beat hammers and hammers and hammers at your head and your chest and you have no choice but to move with the beat and your heart picks up the beat and hammers in your chest with the drums and the pressure builds in your head until your forebrain extrudes out your left eyesocket and wraps round your neck and chokes you 'til you see stars and stars fall and falling falling deep deep deep space space is deep space in case I oh and um crash and it's time we left and BLANGA BLANGA BLANGA BLANGA.....
That's the BLANGA experience as best it can be writ: free-form noise and a good beat you can dance to. Good BLANGA is liberating, exhilarating, irritating, and enervating all at the same time. Bad BLANGA doesn't really exist, as BLANGA is one of those things like sex and pizza that is (oftentimes) best when it's at its worst.
The Best BLANGA of All was produced by the venerable British band Hawkwind. Back in the mid-1990s, when the Hawks were celebrating their 25th Anniversary, your humble scribe and a couple of smart buddies with computer skills (Steve Pond and Dave Rice) set this page up to provide a modest, opinionated overview of where one might find the best bits of BLANGA among the sprawling Hawkwind catalog, while also helping newcomers avoid the bits without choice BLANGA within. The word BLANGA was first coined in an online conversation between Steve and yours truly in Compuserve's Rocknet forum circa 1993. Imagine the sound of rapidly hammered guitar strings when you say it. Who knew that it would take off the way it has, becoming a recognizable part of the Hawkwind fan experience? Not us, that's for sure.
Some 15 years later, I finally got around to my long-standing promise to maintain the BLANGA guide post-1995, so this version is the official 2010 upgrade, supporting Hawkwind's 40th Anniversary. Huttah!
So within the links to the left, you will find a list of the "official" Hawkwind albums (in chronological order) , with a bit of history and discussion and a BLANGA rating for each.
A BLANGA Score of 10 is the epitome of the form; a BLANGA Score of 0 is ANTI-BLANGA, music from an evil alternate universe where all male musicians have their testicles removed at age 13, and female musicians are only allowed to sing seven-part amens whilst shrouded head to toe in surgical gauze. Enter at your own peril. Leave at your own pleasure. See you again in 15 years!