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

BLAKE'S NEW JERUSALEM

Tim Blake

 

Progressive Electronic

3.76 | 24 ratings

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Progfan97402
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.

Progfan97402 | 4/5 |

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