Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.
British synthesizer ace Tim Blake was the artist who created all those bizarre and textured synth sounds for prog rock acolytes, Gong from 1972-1975. He later joined legendary space rock band Hawkwind in 1979 for a spell, but connected with French lighting stylist Patrice Warrener to develop Crystal Machine, which of course, is the title of this album that includes two live works in tandem with the latter's light show and bonus tracks. Digitally remastered with original artwork and insightful text provides a historic composite of Blake's artistic focus, collaborations and musical ideologies, the album was originally produced by the French, Egg label in 1977. And it precedes his equally harmonious and prismatic New Jerusalem (Cherry Red, reissued 1978), tinted by his low-key and rather affectionate vocalizing.
Blake presses all the right buttons, so to speak. Hence, his lyrically rich themes and buoyant undercurrents add to the galactic stream of consciousness he imparts on a per-track basis. For example, the opener "Midnight," highlights the artist's wholesome analogue sound swashes with a lovely and somewhat mesmeric hook that cycles atop streaming backdrops. Akin to the German space-rock band Tangerine Dream, who also burst onto the scene during the 70s, Blake ingrains rhythmic undercurrents and ambient shadings across broad or gracefully executed panoramas.
"The Last ride of the Boogie Child" was recorded live in 1976 at a British festival and is designed with whispery passages, understated vocals and a popping synth groove. Again, Blake morphs hummable melodic content into his works amid airy dreamscapes, although his mode of delivery is not sedate or one-dimensional. "Synthese Intemporel was recorded in 1977 at Le Palace Theatre Paris. Here, Blake blends sinewy and vibrating lead lines into a circular pulse, summoning notions of a medium-tempo space-rock hoedown. But one of three bonus tracks "Surf," is easily the most radio-friendly piece via its finger-snapping grooves and hummable primary theme. Indeed, the program rekindles the glory days of prog rock and electronica and still generates magnetic attributes forty-years after its inception.
Track Listing: Midnight; Metro / Logic; Last Ride of the Boogie Child (Seasalter Free Festival
1976); Synthese Intemporel (Le Palace Theatre Paris, 18/02/1977); Crystal
Presence; Surf; Synthese Intemporel I; Synthese Intemporel II.
Personnel: Tim Blake: 2 EMS Synthis A’s, Mini Moog, EMS Frequency Shifter, MXR Flanger,
Sony TC 850 Tape Deck Echo, Sony Mix 12, Elka Rhapsody. Patrice Warrener:
Spectra Physics 164 Argon Laser with his own Crystal Machine projectors.
I love jazz because it’s what sounds
I was first exposed to jazz in my
parents household and in school
I appreciate many styles of jazz
and shy away from really outside
stuff. I enjoy relating to the
One of the best shows I ever
attended was 1975 Chick Corea’s
Return To Forever tour at an
intimate venue in downtown
The first jazz record I bought was
Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon.
My advice to new listeners is try
several styles before you decide
what jazz is all about!
Listen to music daily and stay open