NIK TURNER – Space Gypsy

Cleopatra 2013

HAWKWIND’s original reedsman returns to the cosmic playground with a motley caravan in tow.

NIK TURNER - Space Gypsy

NIK TURNER – Space Gypsy

A scandal caused by the concurrent touring plans by Dave Brock’s band, who retained the name coined back in the day in Ladbroke Grove, and Nik Turner’s ensemble, who decided to use it on American soil as well, wouldn’t burn as hot if the music on the hornblower’s first album in almost two decades wasn’t so good. Surrounded by the HAWKS aficionados – DIE KRUPPS’ keyboardist Jürgen Engler sharing guitar duties with UK SUBS’ Nicky Garratt while another British punk, CHELSEA’s Jeff Piccinini, locks in his bass with Jason Willer’s drums, all of them songwriters here – the 73-year-young Nik delivers a record every inch of the Milky Way in the mold of his old band. The past gets stitch to the future via riffs echoed from the edge of time which carry the jazzy likes of “Joker’s Song” while the purely progressive “We Ride The Timewinds” and “Time Crypt” pick up familiar lyrical themes, the latter featuring Turner’s erstwhile compadre Simon House on lysergic violin and “Anti-Matter” getting sliced with Steve Hillage’s axe. Not a journey into the unknown, then, yet the spirit of things is admirable.

Motorik groove raves in place from the opener “Fallen Angel STS-51-L” on, but the flight gains real pace once the sax kicks in, although it’s “Coming Of The Maya” that lies in the record’s much calmer heart, it’s trance-inducing recital drowning in the Eastern drone and outlandish electronica off which Nik’s flute bounces to the stars. The drift gets elegiac there, as “Eternity” floats on an acoustic strum that’s still wrapped in subtle FX, so suitable for such a folk flow unfolding fully in the epic “The Visitor” – the earthiest piece on offer and, quite possibly, the most catchy in its throbbing and tremulous respite from the interstellar overdrive – with the time-signature shift amounting to a gentle trip in a cosmic caravan. Perhaps, sensing that it might be too delicate a finale for a nomadic tribalism inherent to the HAWKWIND’s oeuvre, the veteran tags “Something’s Not Right” to the end of the album, a bonus track to marry spiked energy to the glacial fire of his music perpetual engine. Competition is a good thing after all.

****1/4

March 1, 2014

Category(s): Reviews
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