Space Gypsy

Artist: Nik Turner
Label: Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid
Catalog#: CLP 0661
Format: Vinyl, Vinyl
Country: US
Released: 2013
A1 Fallen Angel STS-51-L  
A2 Joker's Song  
A3 Time Crypt  
A4 Galaxy Rise  
A5 Coming Of The Maya  
B1 We Ride The Timewinds  
B2 Eternity  
B3 Anti-Matter  
B4 The Visitor  
C Something's Not Right  

Nik Turner - vocals, saxophone, flute
Jason Willer - drums
Jürgen Engler - Mellotron, Moog synths and guitar
Jeff Piccinini - bass
Nicky Garratt - guitar


Open gatefold, printed inner.

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Sometime right before Hawkeaster 2013, Dave Brock's @HawkwindHQ camp sent out an ominous tweet; “Really hope this is not the year we have to say goodbye....” Had the rift with the Mighty Thunder Rider reopened? An appearance at SXSW was portent, but what was really going on? Well, now we know: Nik Turner is back, with a new album, Space Gypsy, on Cleopatra Records, a new band, and a tour coinciding with Hawkwind-proper's first US tour in decades. <p> No, this isn't Space Ritual, Hawklords, xHawkwind, or any combination of previous Hawkwind alumni. Nor is it Sphynx, Turner's US-based band of the 90s with a host of Cleopatra journeymen, including Len Del Rio and Tommy Grenas. This is something new. From the Cleopatra stable comes Jason Willer on drums (currently also working with Brainticket), and Jürgen Engler of Die Krupps. In addition to producing the album at his studio in Austin, Texas, Engler also plays Mellotron, Moog synths and guitar. Although Turner's latest project is groomed for the US market, joining him are two UK punk stalwarts, Jeff Piccinini, formerly of Chelsea, on bass, and Nicky Garratt of the UK Subs, on guitar. This should be no surprise, as Turner's post-Hawkwind band of the early 80s, Inner City Unit combined, at its very best, Hawkwind and the then-fashionable punk rock. <p> As the opening track, “Fallen Angel STS-51-L” suggests, none of that is here; instead we have a genuine space rock album, and possibly the most Hawkwind-esque music this side of 1975. “Joker's Song” follows suit with a riff straight out of an early 70s time machine, while the following “Time Crypt” cops a more modern groove. Turner, of course, provides his very monotone vocal, honkin' saxophone and flute throughout, while ex-Hawkwind violinist Simon House guests on three tracks. Engler's sympathetic production adds gobs of gurgling synths and thick washes of Mellotron all over the three-chord riffing and patented driving beat, ala original master Simon King. The acoustic number “Galaxy Rise” features Turner on flute, always a better proposition than his sax playing. The excellent “Anti-Matter” has that Opa-Loka Neu! vibe (with Steve Hillage adding guitar), while “Coming of the Maya” sounds like the magic riff-generator spewed out one from the early Pink Floyd. “Eternity”, another more atmospheric number, has me convinced it's an outtake from Doremi Fasol Latido or In Search Of Space! But the real story is in the songwriting. Composed primarily by the band, with Turner providing some lyrics, the album sounds more like early United Artists-era Hawkwind than Hawkwind did themselves back then, and TOSH does now! And in another first, the album contains no rehashes of old songs, possibly a first in decades for any Hawkwind related project. <p> In the decades-long feud between Brock and Turner, there are no eternal champions, only two combatants vying over a legacy too important to leave to either. A seemingly endless string of Hawkwind alumni have taken sides and also jumped into the pit. With typically varying results, Turner has usually ended up on the short end of it, whether an ill-timed tribute or barrage of live recordings. But not here. Space Gypsy is a gem of record, and a bona fide entry to the Hawkwind canon. Enjoy.
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