Purple Pyramid 2017
Charged with cosmic energy, restless reedman soldiers on to chain the rage of the greatest enigma.
“It’s not a rut if it’s in space” could be Nik Turner’s motto had it not been a concept for rolling down the route mapped out by 2013’s "Space Gypsy" and "Space Fusion Odyssey" from 2015. Intrepid and exhilarating, the veteran’s trip finds him shedding skin and shifting mood time after time, and this time there’s unexpected mellowness in his delivery of pieces that form a microcosm of the larger idea where bringing on a dance-like update of HAWKWIND’s anthem “Master Of The Universe” for a finale is a way out of our mortal coil rather than a return to base.
With Simon House on board and Paul Rudolph guesting on the acoustically driven opener “End Of The World” to give the album a delicate gloom which would be dispersed further down the line, Turner is transporting the listener to the “Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music” era before taking them on a vertiginous trajectory through a well-trodden continuum. Nik’s attempt to look at it all from a different angle is stoked on the intense, though very varied in tempo, “Approaching The Unknown” and “Secrets Of The Galaxy” by Nicky Garratt and Jürgen Engler’s songwriting that evokes classic prog period and fills it with a punk vim, while the funky riffs of the playful “Why Are You?” and the pounding “As You Were” ruffle the feathers of art rock discipline with a sax-spiked madness.
The flute-painted pastorale “Back To Earth” may be married to otherworldly synthesizers, yet they complement a guitar strum that anchors such a fantasy – like the gravitational wave mentioned a little later – and “Universal Mind” has its poetry recital set to a serene sort of jive for an even more heady effect. That’s why, less experimental than this series earlier installments, “Life In Space” is more accessible – and worth living, albeit maybe it’s time to move on from the rut.