Element of Light

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Element of Light
Robin Hitchcock And The Egyptians.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedAlaska Studios
Berry Street Studios
Live recordings at The Town & Country Club
LabelMidnight Music
ProducerRobyn Hitchcock & Andy Metcalfe
Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians chronology
Gotta Let This Hen Out!
Element of Light
Globe of Frogs
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[3]

Element of Light is the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock and his second with his backing band, the Egyptians. It was released in 1986.

Most of the album was recorded at Alaska Studios and Berry Street, but two tracks, "The President" and "Lady Waters & The Hooded One", were live recordings made for the BBC, with overdubs recorded on BBC Mobile and at Alaska.

The overriding flavour of the album is dominated by the song "Airscape", which provides in its lyric the album title. "Airscape" has been cited several times by Hitchcock as a favourite amongst his own compositions, and a live rendition was tagged on to later CD editions. "Airscape" concerns his 'favourite beach' located on the Isle of Wight, and provided a backdrop for the cover shots.

The other songs encompass a variety of lyrical themes: the piscine "Bass" turning inventively through a litany of fish and sea birds, "Ted, Woody & Junior" mocking the homoeroticism of body building magazines, and "Winchester" paying a surreal tribute to the English town that lies on the main train line between London and the Lymington terminus, which connects to the Isle of Wight.

The song "The President" makes reference to Ronald Reagan's visit to Bitburg, where members of the Waffen-SS were buried.[4]

Originally running to ten songs, the first CD edition included extra bonus tracks, all taken from singles, whilst later pressings have added a further six, including the comedic spoken number "The Can Opener".

The album was self-produced with input from long-time colleague Pat Collier.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Robyn Hitchcock.

Side one[edit]

  1. "If You Were a Priest"
  2. "Winchester"
  3. "Somewhere Apart"
  4. "Ted, Woody and Junior"
  5. "The President"

Side two[edit]

  1. "Raymond Chandler Evening"
  2. "Bass"
  3. "Airscape"
  4. "Never Stop Bleeding"
  5. "Lady Waters & the Hooded One"

Midnight CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"

Rhino CD Reissue Bonus Tracks[edit]

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"
  5. "The Can Opener"
  6. "Raymond Chandler Evening (Demo)"
  7. "The President (Demo)"
  8. "If You Were a Priest (Demo)"
  9. "Airscape (Live)"
  10. "The Leopard (Demo)"

YepRoc CD Reissue Bonus Tracks[edit]

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"
  5. "Sprinkling Dots"
  6. "Upside Down Church Blues"
  7. "Into It"
  8. "Neck"
  9. "Bass (Demo)"
  10. "Lady Waters Mix 1 ("Lady Waters & The Hooded One" demo)"


  • Robyn Hitchcock - Guitar, vocals, upright piano on "Somewhere Apart"
  • Andy Metcalfe - Bass. vocals on "Winchester", "Ted, Woody and Junior", "Bass", "Lady Waters & the Hooded One", piano on "Ted, Woody and Junior", bass keyboard on "Raymond Chandler Evening", keyboard on "Never Stop Bleeding"
  • Morris Windsor - Drums, vocals on "Ted, Woody and Junior", "Bass", "Airscape","Lady Waters & the Hooded One"
  • Roger Jackson - Keyboards, glass armonica on "Airscape", vocals on "Lady Waters & the Hooded One"


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Element of Light – Robyn Hitchcock / Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (23 February 1992). "Rating The Robyn Hitchcock Solo And Group Releases". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Robyn Hitchcock". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 379–81. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  4. ^ Robins, Wayne (1988-02-07), "Robyn Hitchcock: A View From Rock's Underground", Newsday, archived from the original on 2012-02-07