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Nik Turner - Nik Turner's Sphynx: Xitintoday CD (album) cover


Nik Turner


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.05 | 32 ratings

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2 stars One of the more popular solo efforts from the many former members of space-rock legends Hawkwind, saxophonist Nik Turner's 'Sphinx: Xintoday' saw the light of day just as his former band-mates were chucking in the chunky, proto-metal riffs and tripped-out madness in favour of a more measured, new wave approach, a change-of-style that would elongate the group's stuttering career deep into the 20th century - and beyond. Like many solo efforts from ex-progressive rock stalwarts, Turner was ably assisted on tape by many of his mates, with Gong members Steve Hillage(guitar), Miquette Giraudy(voices) and Mike Howlett(bass), Hawkwind alumni Tim Blake(synth) and ex-Hawkwind, Vinegar Joe and Chicken Shack drummer Allan Powell amongst the large cast of musicians to feature. Released in 1978, a couple of years into the late-seventies punk explosion, 'Sphinx: Xintoday' seemed very much to be a kind of neo-psychedelic concept piece about the ancient Egyptian pharoahs, with Turner himself said to have played some of the albums flute solo's inside the great pyramids at Giza. Whatever you believe, however, and despite the talented cast of musicians, this portentous album unfortunately fails to match the swirling, energetic and multi-coloured qualities of the best Hawkwind albums. Obviously, in creating his own opus, Turner was trying to distance himself from his former employers, at times, rather heavy-handed style, though in slowing down the music, adding ethnic flourishes and giving free reign to his imagination, the former Hawkwind saxophonist has only succeeded in creating a rather undistinguished and thoroughly unexciting concept album that wastes far too much time on lengthy, flute-drenched introductions, and then never, ever seems to get going. There is a nod in the direction of such Krautrock luminaries as Embyro, Agitation Free and Between, all of whom proved far more successful in their blending of Eastern, ethnic elements and Western rock sounds, though the cavernous production quality and ambling, overlong instrumental sections only detract from what could have been an interesting slice of late-seventies Egyptian-spiced psychedelic rock. Many of the tracks on 'Sphinx: Xintoday' segue carelessly into one another, giving the impression of one long, formless piece, though by the time the album is halfway through, those Hawkwind fans who have invested in this lacklustre album will be seriously craving for some proper rock action that is rarely, if at all, forthcoming. Those with a bit more patience may find the softly-spun melodies and flute-and-sax-dominated sections more to their liking, but truth be told, this is a strangely-unimaginative, flatly-conceived and ultimately, disappointing release, that obviously lacked a producer strong enough to curb Turner's more indulgent ideas. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 2/5 |


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