Robert Calvert - The Last Starfighter review

Remix project celebrating ex-Hawkwind frontman produces mixed results.

Robert Calvert
(Image: © Cleopatra Records)

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After leaving Hawkwind, Robert Calvert pursued an increasingly minimal electronic rock sound as a solo artist. While albums such as Freq and Test-Tube Conceived went unheralded at the time, they sound like visionary works now, anticipating a world of online paranoia and human redundancy against a stark setting of synths, drum machines and processed guitar.

The Last Starfighter sees a (mostly) new generation of electronic producers updating and reimagining Calvert’s post-Hawkwind catalogue, though whether it’s an act of homage or way of bringing his music to a new audience is unclear. A Flock Of Seagulls’ mix of Over The Moon marries the innocent joy of the original with vibrant synthpop, while Antoni Maiovvi’s apocalypse disco take on The Luminous Green Glow Of The Dials Of The Dashboard boosts the urban anxiety of the lyrics. Also noteworthy are the Depeche Mode-esque melodies of Thanks To The Scientists (Sixth June remix) and the dreamy, weaving guitars of The KVB’s Work Song. But more often than not, the remixers struggle to complement or deepen Calvert’s originals. This album is a nice idea, but what’s really needed is a proper retrospective of his work.

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Joe Banks

Joe is a regular contributor to Prog. He also writes for Electronic Sound, The Quietus, and Shindig!, specialising in leftfield psych/prog/rock, retro futurism, and the underground sounds of the 1970s. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, MOJO, and Rock & Folk. Joe is the author of the acclaimed Hawkwind biographyDays Of The Underground (2020). He’s on Twitter and Facebook, and his website is