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Tim Blake: New Jerusalem (1978)

In 1978, Tim Blake recorded and released his second solo album, Blake's New Jerusalem, also released on the French Egg label. This time around, it's a studio effort, so whatever flaws of Crystal Machine, are not here, since he got time to edit those flaws. Blake this time around, not only handles his trustworthy Mini Moogs and EMS Synthi "A"s, but he also plays acoustic guitar and glissando guitar (that same sliding techique that Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage used), and he sings on all but one cut. He also gets some help from a Frenchman named Jean-Philipe Rykiel on additional synths. Admittedly Blake is not the greatest singer out there, but it works fine in the context of the music here.

"Song For a New Age" is the opening cut, with a great spacy feel, acoustic guitar, spacy synths, and while the song title might sound like he was exploring New Age, luckily it wasn't, it was his brand of spacy electronic/prog rock! Then comes "Lighthouse", which features some spoken dialog like it came off an episode of Star Trek (the narration actually went, "Captain's log, stardate..."), which is largely dominated by synths and some great use of glissando guitar. "Generator (Laser Beam)" was actually released as a single prior to the album's release, here it's almost disco-like. Yes, that might scare many off, because it has that pulsing beat and synth rhythms that would almost go well in a disco (this is 1978 after all, the height of disco), but it actually works here, because he still has that same progressive electronic attitude, and keeps up with the spaciness of the rest of the album. "Passage sur la Cité (Des Révélation)" is an all instrumental electronic piece, it reminds me a tad of Jean Michel Jarre, but using instruments Jarre wouldn't use like glissando guitar and Mini Moog. The title track closes the album, which features more great spacy electronics, and a quote from William Blake (Tim Blake obviously realized he beared the same last name as the famous poet, but I doubt Tim had any actual releation to William).

After this album, Tim Blake joined Hawkwind for the albums Live '79 and Levitation (both released in 1980), but apparently the band ditched him, and Blake pretty much laid low, only releasing that occasional solo album like Magick (1991) and Tide of the Century (2000).

Blake's New Jerusalem is a great album of electronic/prog. This doesn't sound much like Gong, and even non-fans of Gong who like electronic would have no problem with this album.

Added: November 28th 2006
Reviewer: Ben Miler | See all reviews by Ben Miler
Category: Music
Location: UK
Related Link: Tim Blake's website
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