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TIM BLAKE

Progressive Electronic • France


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Tim Blake biography
UK born and France based composer and keyboardist Tim BLAKE started his career way back in 1970 as a sound and light artist. And while some will associate him most for his numerous stints in renowned bands Gong and Hawkwind, it is as a solo artist he made a name for himself.

His first solo album "Crystal machine" was issued in 1977, and Crystal Machine is also the name most often associated with Blake by keyboard and light effects aficiniados. Together with lights expert Patrice Warrener they have performed under this moniker numerous times, enchanting and enthralling audiences for decades. On occasion, French keyboardist Jean-Philippe Rykiel has participated on these concerts as well, in particular in his formative years, and he also contributed to Blake's second solo effort "Blake's New Jerusalem" in 1978.

The 1980's was a barren period as far as solo recordings from Tim Blake is concerned, but in 1991 he returned with his third full album effort "Magick". Another 9 years would go by before the fourth solo effort "The Tide of the Century" saw the light of day, issued in 2000. The final regular solo album by Tim Blake came in 2002, in the shape of "Caldea Music II".

Since then Blake has opted to stay away from the old-fashioned scheme of releasing music on physical formats, and has chosen to go all digital instead. He currently purvey his various solo efforts digitally exclusively from his own website.

Blake's career was put on halt in 2004, when he suffered serious injuries in a car accident, but in 2007 he had recovered and decided to hook up with long time associates Hawkwind. He's an active member in this band to this day, and is currently busy with the rest of the band celebrating their 40 year anniversary as recording artists.

------------------------------------------
March 2010, Tim Blake and Olav M. Björnsen

Tim Blake official website

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MagickMagick
Import
Voiceprint UK 2000
Audio CD$12.94
$5.00 (used)
Blake's New JerusalemBlake's New Jerusalem
Import
Voiceprint 2004
Audio CD$79.99 (used)
Crystal MachineCrystal Machine
Import
Voiceprint UK 2000
Audio CD$199.98
$49.99 (used)
Tide of the CenturyTide of the Century
Import
Blueprint UK 2006
Audio CD$99.77
$19.95 (used)
Crystal Machine by Tim Blake (2000-07-25)Crystal Machine by Tim Blake (2000-07-25)
Voiceprint UK
Audio CD$422.92
Magick by Tim BlakeMagick by Tim Blake
Voiceprint UK
Audio CD$48.88
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TIM BLAKE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TIM BLAKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 28 ratings
Crystal Machine
1977
3.78 | 22 ratings
Blake's New Jerusalem
1978
3.25 | 4 ratings
Magick
1991
3.06 | 4 ratings
The Tide Of The Century
2000
3.31 | 4 ratings
Caldea Music II
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Noggi 'Tar
2012

TIM BLAKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Waterfalls In Space
2007

TIM BLAKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TIM BLAKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIM BLAKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TIM BLAKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blake's New Jerusalem by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.78 | 22 ratings

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Blake's New Jerusalem
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

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!

 Crystal Machine by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 28 ratings

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Crystal Machine
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After his collaboration on Steve Hillage's debut "Fish Rising" and his departure from GONG in 1975, Tim Blake adopted the moniker "Crystal Machine" for his solo works. With the collaboration of light artist Patrice Warrener, Philippe Denis and Bernard Szajner (who worked on GONG tours and will later create Jean-Michel Jarre's laser harp), they will conceive the first live performances combining music and laser lighting.

This first album is mainly a compilation of live extracts from the Seasalter Free Festival in 1976, except "Synthèse Intemporel", recorded at Paris's Palace Theatre, February 1977. Improvised on EMS and Moog synthesizers, the music is spacey and ambient but remains different from what the German or French electronic bands were proposing during the same time period.

Curiously, the first two tracks are not the best ones. The aerial atmospheric "Midnight" is enjoyable, but a bit lengthy. Also ambient but more surprising, "Metro Logic" features tribal percussions sound effects. "Last Ride Of The Boogie Child" is trippy and possesses a slight mystical feel. Nice. Longest track of the record, the spacey style of "Synthèse Intemporel" reminds a little TANGERINE DREAM. My personal favorite. The disc concludes with short sci-fi atmospheric "Crystal Presence".

"Crystal Machine" is rather good but does neither possesses the hypnotic power of TANGERINE DREAM or Klaus Schulze nor the melodic accessibility of Jean-Michel Jarre. Maybe the music should be listened to in the context of laser shows to be fully appreciated. Anyway, this album contains nonetheless a few experimentations and will please vintage 70's electronica fans.

 Blake's New Jerusalem by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.78 | 22 ratings

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Blake's New Jerusalem
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

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.

 Blake's New Jerusalem by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.78 | 22 ratings

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Blake's New Jerusalem
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by 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.

 Crystal Machine by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 28 ratings

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Crystal Machine
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars First solo effort by Tim Blake. I was first made aware of him in 1995 when I bought my first Gong albums (the Radio Gnome trilogy). So naturally that's how I became aware of him. In 1995 I barely knew of the Internet (it was just beginning to take off thanks to the introduction of Windows 95, which included built-in web connection and web browser). I didn't get hooked online until 1999, and it was a lousy WebTV (good for surfing the web and making online orders, but you couldn't download, and you had very limited access to certain audio and video files). So in 1995 I still had to resort to mail order catalogs to buy stuff I couldn't get in my neck of the woods. One mail order catalog sold CDs of Tim Blake, including Crystal Machine and Blake's New Jerusalem. That meant I discovered he embarked on a solo career in the late '70s. So I had to assume they were progressive electronic and I was right. I assumed they were originally released on Virgin Records, which was the label Gong recorded for. Turns out he was recording for EGG, a French label (that's known for many great progressive electronic albums of the late '70s), apparently Virgin rejected his music.

Crystal Machine is a collection of live recordings from the Seasalter Free Festival in England in 1976, and La Palace Théâtre in Paris in 1977. These were all improvised, so whatever flaws are plain to show to everyone, but I really dig the wonderful analog synth sounds. I knew after hearing Gong's final Radio Gnome Trilogy, You (1974) that he would have made it as a solo artist and does this album ever prove it! "Midnight" has that wonderful synth effects and lots of wonderful analog synth leads. "Metro/Logic" features this strange percussive rhythm, with plenty of synth leads, with Gong-type sound effects at the end. "Last Ride of the Boogie Child" shows the one weak spot, and that Tim Blake wasn't the greatest singer out there, but it's just two short spots here,, mainly synth bass with synth bubbles and leads. "Synthese Intemporel" is close to Tangerine Dream territory, not too different from what TD was doing around 1975. "Crystal Presence" is simply electronic effects, sounds like the same effects I heard off Angel's Egg. On the original LP, this piece ends in a lock-in groove that repeats the same sound effect over and over at the end until you lift the needle (provided you're playing it on a non-automatic turntable).

I am ever so glad Tim Blake did pursue a solo career in electronic music, and while the album isn't perfect, I really dig the '70s vibe and analog synth sounds and this is a required addition to your progressive electronic collection.

 Crystal Machine by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 28 ratings

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Crystal Machine
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Space/Rock & Psychedelic Electronics.

I suppose that by 1977, when this Tim Blake's first work appeared, it could even have sounded a bit old-fashioned. Well, after Tangerine Dream's, 1975 "Rubycon" mostly everything else in the prog/electronic world, sounded old-fashioned.

Straight to the point, this "Crystal Machine", Tim Blake's first post Gong and Hawkwind solo effort, owes a lot to some of this genre's pioneers, he is really "composition-wise" not telling a different or "new" story. But he turns out to be an excellent story teller.

By blending various approaches in styling, like "Space/Rock's" basic rhythms with a very 60' psychedelic focus and of course more than enough very!! TD's atmospheres. He kind of makes it a worthwhile experience and maybe an "essential" Prog/Electronic album, depending where you are standing.

I myself first heard TD's "Rubycon", almost at the time of its release (give n' take). So I, as to where I'm standing, I will decieve myself, telling you, it is not annoying more than once, that this record sounds more than a lot, to TD's musical language, than Blake's. This happens to the point of "laughter" in track 1 "Midnight" and "Synthese Intemporel" track 4.

Worst of all, the other 3 tracks are superb!... Which makes it difficult to just miss or throw away into oblivion. A real shame!

What makes this 3 tracks work perfectly, is that they do not rely on synthesizers alone, nor their "pulses". They are by far more "unique" because the composer establishes a more "experimental" tone, and a more relaxed atmosphere with additions of other "flavors" to the mix.

So! Kind of hard to rate, but 2 out of 5, sets this one only for true "electronic" followers>"

I myself will further into Tim Blake's solo discography.

***3.5 PA stars

 Crystal Machine by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 28 ratings

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Crystal Machine
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Recorded after the end of his stint in Gong and before he joined Hawkwind, Tim Blake's debut solo album Crystal machine is a part-studio part-live affair, documenting music composed to accompany a pioneering laser light show. Musically speaking, it's mostly in line with the work being produced at around the same time by Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze, with enough callbacks to Tim's earlier work in Gong to distinguish it from those pioneers of Krautrock- derived electronic music. It doesn't present anything to revolutionise the genre, but it more than holds its own against the likes of, say, Tangerine Dream's Ricochet or Schulze's Moondawn.
 Caldea Music II by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.31 | 4 ratings

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Caldea Music II
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by betawave31

4 stars Its easy to critique Mr Blakes fantastic work in Gongs best known works like the Flying Teapot trilogy as some of his best work but Caldea Music II still retains his ideas and compositional attitudes.

Tim is NOT a rock and roller tho his aesthetics in the keyboard department might at times hint this he is a maestro at manipulating tonal sound structures into a very eastern hypnotic potpourri of delicious electronic listening.

Caldea Music 2 is further into the hypnotic realms of electronic music and it satisfies those willing enough to step away from the progressive rock stage and into the world of laid back drifting nirvana of synthetic overtures.

Tim accomplishes a perfect music for cloud watching, sunset gazing and yes relaxation. It is the intent of the music to induce this mindset just as progressive rock demands listeners listen to an pay heed to the skills of the band members in the recording.

This music draws on eastern subtleties, minimalism ala Terry Reilly and mid 1970s period germanic teutonic sequencer based electronica and for the most without pomposity.

I would not fully disregard the new age over tones but there is less saccharine found here than 99% of most new age records not to mention Tim has a gifted ability for hypnotic hooks and stereo shifting sounds.

Nice job!

 Blake's New Jerusalem by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.78 | 22 ratings

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Blake's New Jerusalem
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

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.

 The Tide Of The Century by BLAKE, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.06 | 4 ratings

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The Tide Of The Century
Tim Blake Progressive Electronic

Review by groon

1 stars Well, well, well... What have you done, Tim Blake... And where are you now, Hi Ti Moonweed, GONG's synth wizard, a superb performer and composer, one of the founders of the band's unique sound? No more space magik. An experienced listener can find nothing exiting and intriguing on this album, just the banal techno of a rather mediocre quality accompanied with an inexpressive vocal. Only the title track could smooth the general (negative) impression - you can hear a reminiscence of GONG era in Blake's electronic passages. The rest stuff is simply not worth to listen by prog heads. Better have fun with Radio Gnome Trilogy one more time!

Flee. One star only. Sorry...

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to windhawk for the last updates

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