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Nik Turner

Life in Space

Review by Gary Hill

This is the new album from Hawkwind co-founder Nik Turner. Let me just say up front that there are on-going battles between various Hawkwind alums about various things. I will not weigh in on those discussions at all. The sad fact is that if a band is around long enough, there is a really good chance that it will eventually devolve into that kind of thing. I do have my personal opinions about these particular battles, but those are not for public consumption. Instead, I prefer to focus on the music. The way I look at it is, as a Hawkwind fanatic (which I am) I get more Hawk-music this way. This album sounds a lot like Hawkwind. The interesting thing is, they released a new album this year, too. I will bet that it (along with this album) will wind up in my best of 2017 list. Really, how can you see that as anything other than more great Hawk music at least from the fan perspective?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
End of the World
Noisy, trippy stuff brings this into being. It's quite freeform and very space oriented. It drop to mellower, rather psychedelic music to continue. Vocals join, processed and distant. Those vocals are more realized as they come to the fore. This like a cross between Hawkwind and Beatles-like psychedelia. It's a classy piece and a great way to start things in style. Flute and ambient textures take it at the end.
Why Are You?
Classic space keys open this. As the guitar joins the cut spins out into some fast paced space rock that is incredibly strong. This is definitely classic space rock, moving through lots of shifts and changes as it moves along. It's much like old school Hawkwind, but also different.
Back To Earth

Flute, acoustic guitar and other space elements dance around one another as this cut starts. Vocals join as it coalesces into more of a "song" structure. There are some more purely prog like things in some of the changes here. There is a great dream-like space quality to it. It is a killer melodic trippy piece of space rock magic.

Secrets of the Galaxy
Hawkwind styled space rock merges with folk prog on this screaming hot tune. It has some killer jamming. The mellower spacey section of this has some great instrumental work built into it. It feels freeform, but it also gels in ways that makes it hard to believe that it is.
Universal Mind
There is nothing unexpected here. Instead we get more lush space rock. The arrangement is dense and powerful, and the whole track works so well. The lyrics on this one are more of a spoken reading.
Approaching The Unknown
This is very much a trippy kind of psychedelic music. It's a mellower number with some intriguing jamming underway. This really feels like it would have been well at home in the 1960s.
As You Were
In a lot of ways this feels like it could be some long lost relic from the recording sessions for the first Hawkwind album. This instrumental really rocks out gradually building in tempo as it works its way forward. It actually make me think of a particular early Hawkwind cut, but I can't place the title. It is incredibly cool, though.
Master of the Universe
Turner and company turn in a new version of the old Hawkwind classic. This is energized and powerful and feels a lot like a legitimate old school rendition from that band.
 
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