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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Flame Tree Featuring Nik Turner

Flame Tree Featuring Nik Turner

Review by Gary Hill

A couple of the musicians here should be quite familiar to regular readers of Music Street Journal. Of course, former Hawkwind member Nik Turner (saxophone and flute) has been covered a lot at MSJ. So has Dennis Rea (guitar). They are joined by Paul “PK” Kemmish (acoustic bass) and Jack Gold-Molina (drums). This music (except the closing song) is pretty crazed stuff. It will probably be of most interest to fans of the Rock In Opposition movement. It has a lot of that same freeform, chaotic element. This tends to mix jazz and space rock with psychedelia throughout. Although purely instrumental, somehow this (especially the drumming) reminds me just a bit of Green Milk from the Planet Orange. Those drums and the sax are the most consistently prominent things here. While I’m generally not a huge fan of the real freeform chaos kind of thing, this one works quite well to me.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review

This comes in as crazed jazz jamming. It’s very freeform and chaotic. It’s also very cool. There is really a sense of little mosquitoes flying around everywhere. There are definitely psychedelic elements, too, most notably the guitar soloing.

Past Lives
Jazz and space rock collide on this tune, too. It’s another that feels very freeform. It’s a bit noisier than the opener and seems to land more on the space rock end than the opener did.  There is a cool mellower section later that really seems to coalesce quite well.
In the Distance
More of a pure jazz excursion, this is just a bit less freeform, too. This is a cool jam that is one of my favorites here, really. There is some particularly amazing bass work on this piece.
We’re back into noisier, more crazed territory here. Some of the mellower sections mid track have an almost folk rock meets psychedelic feeling to them. This is a bit less chaotic than the first couple tunes, but still definitely freeform.
Organic Truth
There is a healthy dosage of space music here. If anything, this more space oriented than it is jazz. There are some electronic elements at times, too.
While there are no big changes here, this is another that lands more in the space rock vicinity. It’s still quite freeform, though. There are some nice electric guitar bits on the cut, too. This thing really gets charged up and pretty crazed in the later portions.
Wild Flower
Flute starts this one and holds it unaccompanied for a short time. Then a droning space sound is added to the mix. Although the cut does get more involved in some ways, it’s still quite spacey and stripped back. It is atmospheric and almost symphonic in a way. This one remains mellow throughout. It’s a nice change. I just think that might have been better utilized somewhere in the middle of the set, breaking things up a bit.
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