The former Hawkwind legend, Nik Turner, returns with a brand new album of space rock and jazzy mayhem, titled Life in Space. Featuring some familiar faces, such as steady band members Nicky Garratt (guitars), Kephera Moon (keyboards), Bryce Shelton (bass), Jason Willer (drums), Jurgan Engler (keyboards, guitar, bass), and Chris Lietz (keyboards), Turner is also joined here by former Hawkwind/Pink Fairies guitarist Paul Rudolph on one track, as well as former Hawkwind/David Bowie violinist Simon House.
Life in Space kicks off with the dreamy, jazzy "End of the World", which features Rudolph on guitar and some gentle vocals and reeds from Turner. Bubbling synths, Mellotron, and wah-wah laced funk rock guitar riffs permeate the upbeat "Why Are You?", easily one of the most exciting cuts here and also highlighted by some screaming sax courtesy of Turner. Gorgeous flute hovers over acoustic guitars, synths, soaring violin from House, and Turner's haunting vocals on "Back to Earth", while "Secrets of the Galaxy" is, as you would expect, a rousing heavy space rock piece in the grand Hawkwind tradition. Fuzz & wah-wah laden guitar riffs, Mellotron, fluttering synths, violin, flute, sax, meditative rhythms, and Turner's hypnotic vocals swirl around the arrangement, creating an intoxicating miasma of sounds that will instantly appeal to any fan who has followed Turner since the early '70s. "Universal Mind" has more of a breezy, jazzy feel to it, Turner's vocals and flute leading the charge with clean electric guitar strains and Mellotron also finding some room to breathe, and the brooding "Approaching the Unknown" offers an instrumental take on ominous space rock, the flute fleeting, the synths percolating, and the guitars menacing yet holding back somewhat. Creepy stuff, that reminds of Pink Floyd's early material. "As You Were" takes a similar approach, a moody slow builder with booming bass & drums that slowly pick up the pace amid a wash of synths, sax, and heavy rock riffs. Not sure if Nik was short on material for this album, but we once again have another version of the Hawkwind classic "Master of the Universe", which, of course, is great, but I think another new track would have been more appropriate.
If you love vintage space rock, it doesn't get much better than this folks. Though in a perfect world, it would be great if Nik Turner and Dave Brock would kiss and make up and present just one Hawkwind faction, but I guess we are lucky to have both Hawkwind and Turner out doing their thing and keeping this great musical art form alive. Nik Turner is set to tour the US in 2018, so make sure you check him out at a concert venue near you.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. End Of The World
2. Why Are You?
3. Back To Earth
4. Secrets Of The Galaxy
5. Universal Mind
6. Approaching The Unknown
7. As You Were
8. Master Of The Universe