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Nik Turner

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Nik Turner Nik Turner's Sphynx: Xitintoday album cover
4.05 | 32 ratings | 8 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Awakening (Life on Venus) (4:20)
2. The Pyramid Spell (4:18)
3. The Hall of Double Truth (6:00)
4. Anubis (4:39)
5. Thoth (3:40)
6. Horus (5:18)
7. Isis and Nephthys (5:46)
8. Osiris (5:10)
9. God Rock (The Awakening) (8:09)

Total Time 47:20

Bonus track on 2007 remaster:
10. Pyramidaflutenik (29:51)

Line-up / Musicians

- Nik Turner / vocals, flute (1,2,4-8), Moog (3), Chinese bells (3,7), saxophone (9)
- Steve Hillage / guitars, synth (3,6), Moog bass (5), bells (7), bass (9), producer
- Harry Williamson / acoustic guitar (7), piano (1,6), Chinese bells (3,9), zither (5)
- Tim Blake / synthesizers (1,3-7), sequencer (5), Moog bass (9)
- Miquette Giraudy / vocals (7,8), synth (1,3-6), Tibetan & Chinese bells (3)
- Mike Howlett / bass (2-4,7,8)
- Malcolm Ashmore / drums (3,7,8)

- Andy Anderson / drums (9)
- Alan Powell / congas (5,7-9)
- Shelley Morris / congas (9)
- Morris Pert / percussion (2-4), vibes & timpani (8)
- George Kazazian / rebab (2,7)
- Jhalib / tablas (2,6,9)
- Baron Sanyata / timbales (5,9)
- Sheik Mahmud / chanting (9)
- Jeremy Gilbert / harp (7,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Barney Bubbles

LP Charisma ‎- CDS 4011 (1978, UK)

CD NIKT Records ‎- NIKTCD333 (1997, Europe) New cover art
CD Eclectic Discs ‎- ECLCD1055 (2007, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with a bonus track, previously unreleased

Thanks to BaldJean for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NIK TURNER Nik Turner's Sphynx: Xitintoday ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NIK TURNER Nik Turner's Sphynx: Xitintoday reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BaldJean
5 stars This is one of the forgotten gems of prog. Of Nik Turner, sax and flute player of Hawkwind, one would expect something on the heavy side, but this wonderful album is very quiet and spacey (though not completely without rhythm, and in the last track it even rocks a little - but don't expect anything like Hawkwind). With half of Gong - Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Tim Blake, Miquette Giraudy and Harry Williamson (who did not play with Gong but later became an important member of Mother Gong) - plus former Hawkwind drummer Alan Powell and Morris Pert of Brand X on percussion the lineup is exquisite.

But the biggest surprise is Nik Turner himself. His flute clearly dominates the album, and one really feels the ancient Egyptian Gods evoked by it. The music makes a lot of use of vocoder, which adds to the feeling that supernatural beings are around. This is not an album to play in the background; listen to it late at night by candle light, and then the Gods will come to you. Sometimes they will be scary, as is the habit of Gods. But when Isis and Nephthys appear they will seduce you. In my opinion clearly the best album of 1978.

Warning: The 1994 CD of Nik Turner named "Sphynx" only has the lyrics in common with this album. The music of that release is completely different though, not even the same compositions. It is not a bad album itself, but no competition for this masterpiece. So stick to the original. And then "Hommage to Thee, oh Ra, in Thy Rising".

Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars What an AMAZING album !!!!! It's hard to put this phenomenally cosmic release into words - absolutely mind-blowing. Former Hawkwind woodwinds player Nik Turner is joined here by an all-star crew of space cadets, performing music of the Gods, and, hence, it's by the Gods !! Turner has excelled himself with this album, no stoned waffling or neo-punk tendencies to be found, just pure SPACE. Based on the history of Egyptian Gods, the music is just incredible. Apparently, Turner's Flute playing was recorded in the Great Pyramid itself, adding more depth and ambience to the whole affair. Steve Hillage plays lead guitar and glissandos, Tim Blake twiddles his EMS, Nik Turner's voice is often heavily affected with delay, reverb, pitch-shifted delay, Leslie and so on as he spins his stories of Ancient Egyptian folklore. Mike Howlett contributes some suitable space-Bass licks and so on. Lots of ethnic percussion, gongs and chimes are utilised to create a mythical atmosphere of the lost world, and that works perfectly, almost as if Ancient Egypt as we know from history, exists concurrently, somewhere in space. The gorgeous voice of Miquette Giraudy can be heard perfectly here, more so than any Hillage solo release. This album has to be given 110 % attention, preferrably late at night, and if possible, somewhere far away - I committed this LP to tape so a friend and I could drive 100km's either to a craggy edge where land meets the sea, or down a forest road high up in the mountains to listen to this in peace, and absorb all it has to offer. That is how powerful this album is. Along with Steve Hillage's 'Green', Tim Blake's 'New Jerusalem' and Mother Gong's 'Fairy Tales', Xitintoday is a MUST HAVE - needs to be heard to be believed.
Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A 1978 concept album about the Pyramid's theme which involves most of the Gong family : Steve Hillage, Tim Blake, Mike Howlett, Miquette Giraudy plus other musicians such as Harry Williamson -who collaborated a lot with Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth-, Nik Turner from Hawkwind is on flute and vocals. Recorded into the pyramids, (which feature a superb acoustic, judging by the album's sound) the compositions try to carry this esoteric mystic vibration one could expect from such concept. Alas, the inspiration is lacking and the music never really gets off. We have an improvised egyptian twirling flute all along the record, lovely Tim Blake's synthe and (too rare) Hillage's cosmic guitar interventions, but all that lacks focus and real mystery. Nick Turner's vocals are odd (seem that there are passing through a Vocoder machine, as it was the fashion in that year). Things are getting better from the piece Isis And Nephthys until the end of the album, with more rhythm, thanks to the drum. The almost 30 minutes bonus (2007 SPV CD release) is just Nik Turner's improvised flute. Pleasant, but not transcendent. This record proves that you can gather the best musicians around a great concept, but if inspiration is not at the rendez-vous.the result is just good.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars There is a very cool story behind the making of this album. The info i'm giving is from the liner notes. Nik had just left HAWKWIND and in 1976 he got the chance to fly to Cairo, Egypt to visit the Great Pyramid. He had been interested in Egyptology for some time. When he got there he climbed the pyramid alone all the way to the top where he played his flute looking at the distant streetlights far below. He rented a cheap room in the village below and the next day went inside the pyramid playing his flute in the different rooms and hallways. The sound was awesome so Nik decided he just had to record this somehow. He got hold of someone(by phone) with recording equipment who agreed to do it. By now Nik had been adopted by the local Bedouins of the village that ran the pyramids. The head of the village Shiek Mahmoud actually closed the Great Pyramid for 3 hours so he could record his improvised flute playing. Nik jumped up and down on the floor boards, and even got the Shiek to bang the sarcophagus with his stick and to even chant, recording it all. Throughout this recording Nik quotes from the "Book Of The Dead" or as he calls it the "Book Of Coming Forth By Day" or "Exit Into Day" which is where the title of the album came from. His voice is processed, echoed and tampered with in many ways for affect. There is an all-star cast on this album mostly former members of GONG and HAWKWIND. So you can't expect this to be normal can you ? Haha.

"The Awakening(Life On Venus)" opens with the sound of thunder booming many times before the warm flute melodies begin to fill the air, joined by spoken words. "The Pyramid Spell" opens with banging sounds from the Kings Chamber(thanks Shiek) as flute and tablas create a rhythm. Spoken words arrive. There is some bass and percussion in this one as well. "The Hall Of Double Truth" opens with knocks from the Kings Chamber before moog and flute arrive. Spoken words come in, as the sound of chinese bells come and go. "Anubis" opens with a dog barking in the before flute and percussion take over. Spoken words 1 1/2 minutes in. He's almost rapping 3 1/2 minutes in. The dog is back after 4 minutes. "Thoth" opens with the ticking of a clock as flute comes in. This has some different sounds on it like zither, congas and floating synths. The vocals again are spoken.The guitar to end it is great but unfortunately we just begin to hear it and it fades out.

"Horus" opens with some loud synth sounds. Even the flute sounds different on this one. Spoken words before 2 minutes with spacey sounds. This one is very experimental, but check out the excellent guitar to end it from Hillage. "Isis And Nephthys" is my second favourite track. It opens with harp as flute and drums join in to form a melody. Miquette Giraudy is doing the vocals. She suits the music well. By the way she was playing synths on the previous track "Horus". "Osiris" features more flute as drums arrive 1 1/2 minutes in with vocals to follow. We get some harp, vibraphone and guitar in this one. Very spacey ending. "God Rock(The Awakening)" is my favourite song on here. Flute to open. Percussion a minute in before drums arrive before 2 minutes. Vocals(singing) and sax 2 1/2 minutes in. This is quite catchy. Some scorching guitar melodies 4 1/2 minutes in.The background synths almost from the start are a nice touch. We get some chanting from the shiek(in the pyramid) that are joined by spoken words as the music has stopped. An ethnic Indian instrument is next to end the song.

I would descibe this record as an experimental concept album. It is very unique given the circumstances. I'm sure that this is Nik Turner's pride and joy and he should be very proud of this work.

Review by stefro
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
Review by Neu!mann
4 stars By 1978 Hawkwind was flying high along a turbulent commercial jet-stream behind Robert Calvert and Charisma Records, but with the band's roster and even its name in uneasy flux (Hawkwind, Hawklords, take your pick). All of which made this offshoot project from erstwhile sax man and flautist Nik Turner entirely unexpected, and still mysterious a full generation later.

Turner's passion was Egyptology, a not-uncommon obsession in the 1970's (the young PETER HAMMILL also flirted with Nile River mythology, in the early VDGG song "Boat of Millions of Years"). But nobody captured its arcane essence better than this, and Turner's first album survives today as a near-masterpiece of Space Rock, albeit drawn from the abyss of Time, not Space, and hardly Rock 'n' Roll at all.

You can almost hear the dust of eons in the lonely echoes of his moody flute playing, and with good reason. While on holiday in Egypt, Turner was allowed access to the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, where he recorded three hours of contemplative arabesques to an audience of Fourth Dynasty ghosts. Only later was an album assembled around his taped solos, but the final product is remarkably seamless, with an organic authenticity only a four thousand-year old recording studio can provide.

Even with a long guest roster the sound is almost minimalist, at times resembling an unmixed Hawkwind session stripped of all its other backing tracks. Something like rock music finally appears in the latter half of the album, with actual singing instead of the ritual, rhythmic chanting from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. At its best you might discern a likeness to classic GONG, thanks to contributions from Mike Howlett, Tim Blake, and guitarist Steve Hillage, who also produced the effort, no doubt with a kindred interest in Turner's antique mysticism.

If the Michael Moorcock declamations were your favorite part of Hawkwind's "Space Ritual", here's an ideal album for you. Don't expect to spin it often, but in the right mood and at the right time (perhaps when the star of Sothis appears in the east, and the fertile Nile begins to rise again) the effect can be magical.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wow this is one you have to hear believe me this is an important even landmark record. Nic Turner reveals his thelamic centre and draws a great performance from top acid progsters Steven Hillage and one Hi-tea Moonweed. Even the most sonic of camels Miket delivers the vocal of her career. To sta ... (read more)

Report this review (#147821) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Where do I start - this is quite simply one of the true psychedelic classics - this may be a hackneyed phrase but is still inadequate to describe this album. With flute recorded in the Great Pyramid, Turner and his illustrious guests - notably Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy and Dave Howlett of ... (read more)

Report this review (#126454) | Posted by Boris Balalaika | Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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