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BLAKE'S NEW JERUSALEM

Tim Blake

Progressive Electronic


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Tim Blake Blake's New Jerusalem album cover
3.77 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Song For A New Age (5:13)
2. Lighthouse (6:46)
3. Generator (3:34)
4. Passage Sur La Cité De La Révélation (7:43)
5. Blake's New Jerusalem (16:12)

total time: 39:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Blake / keyboards, vocals
with
- Jean-Phillipe Rykiel / mini-moog on `Passage Sur La Cité De La Révélation' and ` Blake's New Jerusalem'

Releases information

Released in 1978 on the Barclay label, in 2000 on the Mantra label and in 2002 on the Voiceprint label, Voiceprint B0000659Q2.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to kingsnake for the last updates
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TIM BLAKE Blake's New Jerusalem ratings distribution


3.77
(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
54%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TIM BLAKE Blake's New Jerusalem reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Prepare for your cosmic journey, it's a new age!

...The age of progressive electronica! Tim Blake presents a mixture of progressive, acoustic, space rock and electronica music filtered through his talent and musicianship. The result is an innovative record that will surprise many people (like me) who are not very familiar with electronic music. The album deals with themes from birth of man and space that fit perfectly with the music. The listening of the record is a pleasant, yet 'strange' journey into cosmic galaxies... I admit I have never been a fan of electronic music, I was not even aware that Blake participated in Gong and Hawkwind albums... I can see the obvious relation now.

The album starts off with a pleasant and spacey 'Song for the new age'. Acoustic guitars and few keyboards compile a great opening with decent (not great) vocals. Very promising start that intrigues the listener and keeps his interest active for the next to come.

'Lighthouse' changes the flow of the album to a more electronic path. Spacey, obscure keyboards and weird vocals are dominant. Lyrics deal with space and cosmic relations, creating a 'psychedelic' emotion that will flow on through the album till the end.

'Generator (Laserbeam)' is the next and, most definitely, the weakest track in the album. The music continues on the same path, but the vocals are at least mediocre. The tone of the voice is ironic and may pose some interest on the song, but the overall vocal performance turn this track to a filler, that could easily be excluded from the record. Tim Blake might have probably included this as an interval to the next spacey track...

'Passage...' (instrumental) is another electronic piece of music quite similar to 'Lighthouse'. However, this time, the music is filled with more melodies and more jamming keyboards making this far more interesting for the listener. The perfect intro for the album's last epic that is about to follow...

I don't know what Blake was thinking when composing 'Blake's New Jerusalem', but this track is one of the most interesting in my short experience in electronic music. Beautiful instrumental parts alter with weird lyrical melodies, making this the ultimate standout from the record. Although this is a 16 minute track that follows a standard tone, it's far from boring, it's more like a journey...

Musically, and after careful consideration, I find some similarities with the music of Vangelis (electronica) and that of Eloy (more in the vocals section and the spacey feeling). The weaknesses of the album lay in the vocals, which are not bad, but mediocre at times, and the middle track that does not impress.

I was in the middle of a 3 and 4 star rating but I believe this album (keeps growing on me) will be an excellent addition to the collection of someone who is not very familiar with this genre... The fans are already aware of Blake's capabilities...

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars BNJ is a nice alternative for Ashra's albums of the same period. The lush keyboard sound is very similar to what Jean-Michel Jarre was using back then and the compositions are excellent.

The first three tracks feature vocals and, except for the forgettable ditty 'Generator', they work quite well for me, even though Blake doesn't have a very expressive voice or much feel for melody. Nevertheless, the only instrumental on the album works best of all. Passage is an up-tempo electronic piece that wouldn't be out of place on Oxygène.

New Jerusalem is an extended track that somehow combines Klaus Schulze's dreamy and organic style with Tangerine Dream's feel for melody and composition. The vocals are sparse but disturb the atmosphere somehow. The lyrics don't help much neither. Even though the music is entirely different, the '... build a new Jerusalem ...' chorus provokes unfortunate associations with the cheesy pomposity of ELP's Jerusalem.

The album doesn't reach the heights of similar artists of the era but still, it's fairly pleasant.

Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Unsurprisingly I knew of Tim Blake through his work with Gong on the Radio Gnome Trilogy, and in the 1990s, as I was getting familiar with Gong and related material, I discovered Tim Blake had a solo career.

In 1997 I bought Blake's New Jerusalem on LP, a French pressing on EGG. The cover is a bit different than the one posted here as the version posted here is from a CD reissue, as the original did not feature Tim Blake's name or the album title in the Crystal Machine typefont, but in a totally different typefont, and a different take on the photo.

While Crystal Machine was a collection of live material from England and France in 1976 and '77 (with any audience cheers removed), this 1978 followup Blake's New Jerusalem was a studio offering. He expanded his ideas to go beyond just synths, by including acoustic guitars and singing on most of the songs. "A Song for a New Age" is a perfect example what I'm talking about. Nice acoustic guitar passages, and spacy synths. "Lighthouse" has a more pulsing sound, with glissando guitar. He played this song live when he joined Hawkwind. I love the spoken dialog that stars the album that sounds like it belongs on Star Trek. "Generator (Laser Beam)" was released as a single, and it's his attempt at a disco hit. The music has an undeniable disco feel, but has that same hi-tech futuristic vibe I come to love of this album. I could have imagined this song appearing on Battlestar Galactica (the original 1978-'79 series) after all the TV series premiered about the same time this album came out. I'll take this song any day to what the Bee Gees were doing around the same time. The title track takes up all of side two. Again more futuristic sounding progressive electronic with vocals. This album seems to demonstrate why he left Gong. The music would be completely out of place on a Gong album. The lyrics have New Age themes, inspired by William Blake's Jerusalem (I also get an impression he was pointing out he shares the same Blake surname as the famous 18th century poet), with a far more serious tone than the Pot Head Pixies of Gong. So as much as I enjoy Crystal Machine, since that one was improvised live on the spot, it's hard not to have a few flaws show up. On New Jersalem, recording in the studio allowed him to edit any mistakes, so any flaws and mistakes aren't shown here, and while he isn't the best singer on the planet, he at least made his vocals acceptable here. Again another great album I sure highly recommend.

Review by 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 naïve 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.

Review by Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Blake's best album

Whereas TIM BLAKE's debut album was a collection of improvised extracts from his concerts, "Blake's New Jerusalem" was this time fully recorded in studio. Less ambient, more melodic and more structured, this second opus sounds a bit different than its predecessor. In addition to synthesizers, Tim plays acoustic and glissando guitars, and sings on nearly each track. He is also joined on mini-moog by young prodigy keyboardist Jean-Phillipe Rykiel, only aged 17 at the time. More polished and less atmospheric than "Crystal Machine", the music is nice and spacey, with electronic sonorities typical of the late 70's.

Curiously, the opener "Song For A New Age" is the only average track as well as the intruder in this mostly synthetic record. A acoustic guitar driven track, with various spacey effects. It will later be covered by HAWKWIND LIGHT ORCHESTRA on their 2012 album "Stellar Variations". Now truly begins the magic. The heavily electronic "Lighthouse" is simply great, as it features TIM BLAKE's typical threatening synthesizer gimmicks from GONG and that he will reuse in HAWKWIND. "Generator" is a pulsing disco song can remind a little GIORGIO MORODER. Surprising, but after all on par with the cover...

Only instrumental composition of the record, "Passage Sur La Cit' De La R'v'lation" possesses a trippy frenetic electronic sequence. The disc concludes with the 16 minutes title track, the longest. The name refers to the British hymn "Jerusalem", based on William Blake's 1804 poem "And did those feet in ancient time". This soft and dreamy mini-epic is a genuine journey to stars should please every TANGERINE DREAM and NEURONIUM lover. You're entering an unknown universe... The keyboardist will later perform "Lighthouse" and the title track live with Dave Brock and co.

The style has changed since the first album but still keep its own identity. Only TIM BLAKE could have composed these tracks. More melodic than other bands from the same time period, the music is overall really nice, oneiric and accessible. Very recommended to vintage seventies electronica!

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