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Nik Turner: Space Fusion Odyssey

Ex-Hawkman excels on jazz-fusion record.

This is easily a candidate for the most accurate album title of the year – if space-fusion as a genre exists, this is unquestionably what it sounds like.

Creatively unfettered and juiced-up for a while now, Hawkwind’s ex-starfarer has bested himself with a collection of glorious jazz-rock excursions, shot through with his familiar sci-fi-informed, spaced-out heritage.

Abetted by a crack assembly of musicians, it’s near enough a supergroup of prog veterans. Steve Hillage and Gilli Smyth bring Gong’s airier elements to fusion legend Billy Cobham’s polyrhythms, and throughout, guitarists Robby Krieger (The Doors), John Etheridge (Soft Machine), John Weinzierl (Amon Düül II) and Chris Poland (Megadeth) jostle and spar over and under Turner’s haunting flute and sax runs.

Interstellar Clouds gets a convincing funk on, Arkestra style, and on Spiritual Machines Part 2, some pastoral folk is bolstered by a bubbling oscillator: Dik Mik’s influence still resonating.

There’s a theory in Hollywood which says that ensemble movies so obviously enjoyable for the cast are considerably less so for the viewer. Here, the exact opposite is true.