All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Nik Turner: Space Gypsy

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Nik Turner (woodwinds, vocals) was a member of the seminal British space-rock band, Hawkwind. Here, he rekindles the days of yore with a splendid new offering that proffers a fresh perspective. To a certain extent, Space Gypsy generates a contrast of how current and perhaps cleaner digital technology contrasts the warmer, full-bodied sound of analog, when considering Hawkwind's 70s albums, for example. Regardless, Turner's tuneful works are standalone entries, paralleling his roots. Coupled with his popping and serrated sax lines, often skirting free-jazz, the artist's wistful flute phrasings add harmonious overtones during the transcendent ballads, complete with mellotron backwashes and a few nods to early pop-based East Indian influences on "Galaxy Rise." Otherwise, Space Gypsy could loom as one of the best Hawkwind albums that never came to fruition.

The streaming synth patterns, pulsating rock grooves and cosmological sine waves are mixed evenly with Turner's reverberating vocals. Amped by Nicky Garratt's crunch chords and fluent psycho guitar licks, the dark ambience of the mellotron performed by keyboardist Jurgen Engler complements the largely thrusting grooves and pieces that spin out of the ozone into a terminal void. At times, the leader's vocals spark imagery of a pagan god foretelling the fate of humanity.

Turner's lyricism spans interstellar topics such as eternity and cross-galactic fertilization; therefore, the phantasmagorical themes are neatly wrapped into a moveable feast of oscillating soundscapes. However, "Coming of the Maya" draws similes to Pink Floyd's 1968 space-rock tome "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," where drummer Jason Willer's rumbling African toms patterns lay the foundation for a wavy dreamscape. Consequently, legendary British progressive rock guitarist Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7) imparts his signature style, shimmering with psychedelic speed licks and distortion-laced voicings amid Turner's steely sax lines on "Anti-Matter."

Generally speaking, not many rock artists or bands can jump back onto the bandwagon and make a noticeable impact, following decades of productive output, leading to creative burnout. But Space Gypsy defies the odds. Turner packs a wallop here, as he forges a crystalline production with artsy panache and memorably melodic choruses for an album that refutes all semblances of time and space.

Track Listing: Fallen Angels STS-51-L; Joker’s Song; Time Crypt; Galaxy Rise; Coming of the Maya; We Ride the Timewinds; Eternity; Anti-Matter; The Visitor; Something’s Not Right (Bonus Track).

Personnel: Jurgen Engler: guitar, Moog synths, mellotron; Jeff Piccinini: bass; Jason Willer: drums, percussion; Nik Turner: vocals, flute, saxophone; Nicky Garratt: guitar; Simon House: violin (3, 5); Steve Hillage: guitar (8); Chris Leitz: additional mellotron.

Title: Space Gypsy | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Purple Pyramid

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Locked & Loaded CD/LP/Track Review
Locked & Loaded
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Long Story Short CD/LP/Track Review
Long Story Short
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Awase CD/LP/Track Review
Awase
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2018
Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Live from San Pedro" CD/LP/Track Review Live from San Pedro
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Heartscape" CD/LP/Track Review Heartscape
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: October 8, 2017
Read "Opus" CD/LP/Track Review Opus
by Doug Collette
Published: March 29, 2018
Read "Let Your Mind...Space Out" CD/LP/Track Review Let Your Mind...Space Out
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Motion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Float The Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017