Album review: NIK TURNER – Space Fusion Odyssey

Nik Turner - Space Fusion Odyssey

Cleopatra Records [Release date 30.10.15]

Nik Turner’s biography ‘The Spirit Of Hawkwind 1969-1976′ has just been published and chronicles the earlier sorties of this enduring space cadet.  If you thought Nik Turner in Hawkwind parped away in search of a tune rather than space you were wrong.  In recent years he has emerged as a formidable free jazzer and assembling around him a coterie of jazz rock royalty.

Space Fusion Odyssey is his latest outing and he has enlisted such luminaries as Billy Cobham, John Etheridge and Steve Hillage.  To be honest, Turner’s flute and sax is the icing on a cake that yields some tasty jazz rock/funk punctuated throughout by Juergen Engler’s spacey moog sounds evoking Del or Dik from the glory days.

From the funky opener ‘Adjust The Future’ which resounds to Robert Pagliari’s pneumatic bass lines, via the infectuous ‘Spiritual Machines’ and Amon Duul II founder John Weinzierl’s psychedelic guitar figures and the formidable ‘Pulsar’ which teams Cobham and Etheridge, this is a great listen.  ‘Interstellar Clouds’ reminded me of a more spaced-out “Rock Candy Funk Party’, Joe Bonamassa’s jazz funk side project.

‘A Beautiful Vision Of Science Forgotten’ is perhaps the most instantly accessible and is a wonderful funky Steve Hillage workout that recalls his own best solo work and that of Gong (represented here also by Gilli Smyth on ‘We Came In Peace’).  A bonus track features Rick Wakeman and Mahavishnu icon Jerry Goodman.

Probably best on large headphones (do we still use such things?) and under the cover of darkness with a smell of patchouli oil in the air to feed the battered soul.  A perfect antidote to more troubled times.  ****

Review by David Randall

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