NIK TURNER – Space Fusion Odyssey

Cleopatra 2015

NIK TURNER - Space Fusion Odyssey

Space Fusion Odyssey

Further cosmic explorations of an orbital hornblower aiming at the nebulae – with stellar guests in tow – and carrying the spirit of HAWKWIND.

“Extravagant” and “experimental” have long become standard epithets when it comes to Mr. Turner’s oeuvre, yet the same descriptors can be used for free jazz, a vital element of the reedman’s style from the start. 45 years later, perpetual diminishing of rock in Nik’s music made him land on fusion, which is a central part of his new album’s title and formula, if there ever was one for the former Hawk to follow. While 2013’s "Space Gypsy" adhered to a melodically solid foundation, its successor’s framework feels fuzzy, getting higher and higher in improv stakes, as the main man’s saxes share spotlight with his friends’ instruments.

There’s a nice twine of Turner’s parping blast and Robby Krieger’s abstract, if arresting, licks on the astral boogie of “Hypernova,” filled to the gills with exotic anxiety and familiar motifs from the edge of time, whereas on “Spiritual Machines” the six-string anger from AMON DÜÜL II’s John Weinzierl provides a rich emotional backdrop to Nik’s Arcadian flute that gets brisk for “A Beautiful Vision In Science Forgotten.” He’s a bandleader rather than a performance focus here, letting Steve Hillage’s guitar decorate the carnival buzz on “Adjust The Future” whose riffs dance like a million suns before bluesy brass sets the course for a place far, far away. It might be the celestial domain of “An Elliptical Galaxy” where funk is served in spades, so alienation doesn’t dwell there, Billy Cobham drums banishing it from Turner’s sonic attack there and on “Pulsar” which turns transparent once Jürgen Engler’s keyboards drift in gracefully to ebb and flow amidst John Etheridge’s fluid runs.

CD-only bonuses, that double the album’s length, enhance the psych experience, what with Gilli Smyth’s lysergic cooing on the sparse “We Came In Peace” or ex-MEGADETH strummer Chris Poland raving in “Interstellar Clouds,” although the previously released “Random Acts (Revisited)” dissolve Nik Turner’s part in a wash of Rick Wakeman‘s piano and Jerry Goodman’s violin. But then, no odyssey is successful without fellow travelers, and this star trek reaches its ultimate goal which is the thrill of a journey rather than its destination.


January 20, 2016

Category(s): Reviews
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