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Tim Blake - Blake's New Jerusalem CD (album) cover

BLAKE'S NEW JERUSALEM

Tim Blake

 

Progressive Electronic

3.78 | 23 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Having already made a massive contribution to Canterbury/Psych/Space group Gong's classic `Radio Gnome Trilogy' from 1972 to 1975, keyboardist, vocalist and composer Tim Blake left to forge a solo career, initially resulting in 1977's instrumental `Crystal Machine'. `New Jerusalem' a year later is an endearing mix of hippie vocals with sweetly na´ve yet genuinely hopeful new-age lyrics, bouncing electronic atmospheres and eerie deep-space explorations, with everything from glissando driven Gong-like passages to darker Hawkwind moments (a group he would briefly join between 1979-80, and frequently collaborate with again starting in 2007). It remains a hugely charming, endearing and colourful space-music work, full of variety and personality.

There's great conviction from Blake on opener `Song for a New Age' as he implores `It's a new age, harmony, science and love joining together, building the new age that regenerates our Earth'. It's almost a singer-songwriter type piece, full of strident acoustic guitar strums and Tim's slightly loopy voice with only minimal trilling keyboard additions. Despite declaring `Light the laser in your heart for all the world to see!' and offering hopeful cosmic lyrics, `Lighthouse' takes a darker and more mysterious turn with warped and drifting spoken word passages, shimmering glissando guitar veils and brooding programming with relentless dark bass-like slithers. The fun `Generator (Laser Beam)' by contrast is a buoyant synth-popper with a constant dance-like beat that swaps between dorky rapturous vocal verses from Tim and whirring repeated synth breaks. The all instrumental `Passage Sue la Cite (Des Revelations) is a breathless ocean of floating synth caresses behind relentless sequencer beats and veils of glissando, the piece full of drama, movement and a maddening delirium.

The second side of the LP holds the sixteen minute `New Jerusalem', an epic piece that takes initial inspiration from William Blake's poem and marries it with sci-fi/new-age words and an aural canvas of space music atmosphere. Ambient calming keyboard passages that take on a cinematic elegance and drama are aided by lively bubbling Mini-Moog runs from guest electronic composer Jean-Phillipe Rykiel, and with words like `So here inside these valleys that are so full on energy, we'll build a new Jerusalem with love from you to me', the whole piece is full of great hope and even some sweetly gentle romance.

`New Jerusalem' offers a nice crossover of styles meaning those who normally find progressive- electronic works too cold, repetitive and vague will find other elements to keep them interested. In many ways, it's not unlike various moments of Hawkwind discs or even some of Steve Hillage's seventies works in fleeting instants, and Tim's colourful personality shines brightly throughout. There's an admirable optimism and naivety to the new-age words throughout the album, but Blake delivers it with such heartfelt sincerity that it's impossible not to embrace his feelings on this warm, hypnotic work to be truly cherished.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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