I haven’t managed to put this album down for more than a few minutes since it dropped through my letterbox.
Anyone unfamiliar with Tim Blake will be amazed by the music on show filled as it is with synths, garage and even folk.
He was with Gong through their most impactful era, playing keys and synths on ‘Flying Teapot’, ‘Angel’s Egg’ and ‘You’ and then jumped ship to join together with French lighting designer Patrice Warrener in forming Crystal Machine. On ‘Blake’s New Jerusalem’ you can hear the influences that he later brought to Hawkwind as well as the music that influenced him.
Frankly, it is a very difficult album to review if only because it needs to be considered as a whole piece – every track has its place and the meaning of the album is directed by the music but every track is capable of standing alone and the whole is a magnificent and pioneering piece.
The album opens with ‘A Song For A New Age’, softly sung vocals over nylon stringed acoustic and with a wailing synth setting a feeling of loneliness – definitely has the feel of early King Crimson but the synth is more Hawkwind.
‘Lighthouse’ most definitely shows how he influenced both Gong and Hawkwind, the vocals have an industrial feel to them and the throbbing bassline takes the listener along while the synths skitter and shimmer around them.
‘Generator (Laser Beam)’ was released as a single and fits perfectly into the beginnings of the rave culture that was generated by the Travelling community and the night-time festivals of the late seventies. The synth refrain is very Tangerine Dream and it does make me wonder what a joining of the Hawks and Dream might sound like.
‘New Jerusalem’ itself was the whole of side 2 of the original vinyl album and gives Blake full range to show his talents. Working with the theme and rhythm of the poem ‘Jerusalem’ he creates a magnificent evocation of a new world order through music rather than verbal bombast.
Hawkwind fans might recognize ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘New Jerusalem’ from their live sets on the 1979 – 1980 period – these are the originals.
As usual with Esoteric, the remastering is superb, the bonus tracks are worth listening to and the packaging is very good.
This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite albums all over again.