ORGAN THING: Nik Turner releases best Hawkwind album in years, The Orb dub up Sontaag’s Silver Machine and…

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How much more ‘awkwind could it be? The answer is none, none more Hawkwind, Nik Turner’s latest album, laced with the magic of Simon House as well as Paul Rudolph and references your captain being dead as we fly on into even deeper space,  from the first notes of Nik’s sax on Out of Control this is pure Hawkwind, classic Hawkwind, good drums, good Hawkwind always had good drums. Everything in there with Mr Turner’s sax and the Melotron-like flow, you pretty much know they’ve nailed the whole thing by the time you’d half way through the rather wonderfully restrained violin-heavy Interstellar Aliens. Yeah, I know this isn’t an Hawkwind album but hey, it damn well is, and this band are sounding far more committed and alive than the current Brock line up and their latest recordings ate. And no, classic Hawkfood it may be but this isn’t Hawkwind on auto-pilot, this is classic early 70’s Hawkwind, some of it flowing, some of it floating in deep space, they’re not just repeating previous voyages though, this is forward flowing space rock, the oscillation, the almost spoken work, that bit there sounds like Webcore, back to the ship they cry, yes Webcore, that good!  Output from the various branches of the Hawkfamily has been at best a little patchy in recent years, this new studio album The Final Frontier is the right stuff from start to finish, an album alive with just the right balance of light and shade, drive and flow, this is the best Hawkwind album in years actually, here the press release and the details of who’s on the ship and do not panic, things are good (and the idea of Nik Turner having a rose garden is a fine one, home Robert’s green fly aren’t a problem). Do like that in 2019 a new album from a Hawk can still be looking forward, best Hawkwind album in years

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“After suiting up as the Space Gypsy in 2013, blasting off on an epic Space Fusion Odyssey in 2015 and enjoying Life In Space in 2017, pioneering musician/songwriter Nik Turner is now set to venture to the outer reaches of space rock with his awe-inspiring new studio album The Final Frontier! Picking up where his last album left off, Turner brings another set of psychedelic freak-out grooves that will take listeners on a journey they won’t soon forget! Standout tracks include the album opener “Out Of Control,” a super-collider of rollicking psych rock that unites saxophone and guitar in spectacular fashion, and the dramatic space ballad “Interstellar Aliens.” Once again joining our intrepid traveller Turner is Nicky Garratt of UK Subs and Hedersleben, Jürgen Engler of Die Krupps, and Jason Willer of UK Subs and Jello Biafra’s band as well as special guest appearances by Hawkwind alumni Simon House and Paul Rudolph. Available on CD in a digipak case as well as a gorgeous limited-edition yellow vinyl in a gatefold jacket”

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Meanwhile, another headline in the ib-box – “International Rock Collective Sontaag Release Hawkwind Cover “Silver Machine” featuring Nik Turner” – that’s right, yet another version of Silver Machine, can you have too many versions of of one of Hawkwind’s least interesting songs? Sorry, Robert, we did love the idea of that silver push bike and we do love the song and the many many incarnations but it a little throwaway and by now little more than a kind of tiresome obligation of an encore and well, this new version is a good as any of the 437 recorded versions and covers and it is probably better than most of them, certainly better than that dreadful Vardis version that time, Vardis were great by the way.  Always loved the version on Hawkwind’s Live ’79 album and really loved hearing the original single over the PA in amounst all the lights and the naked painted bodies at that Neo Naturists gathering at the ICA a couple of years ago and yes Ian, Hawkwind were always punk proof, they damn well were punk rock back there in Notting Hill!  They were the urban gorillas, and well we may as well tag this bit of news of this latest Silver Machine flight to the end of the Nik Turner album review up there. This new cover seems a little pointless, the first remix add very little to the original Sontaag take on things, all three versions are pretty good I guess, pretty pointless but pretty good and probably better than that Sex Pistols version that time or that version thingy did, has anyone ever listen to the first Sex Pistols demos? How Hawkwind are they by the bleedin’ way?  They did a mean version of Silver Machine live, but you knew that already.  Saw myself on the telly the other night, on a Sex Pistols documentary, there I was down the Hundred Club (without Ken Mackenzie, preposterous tales, now then now then) at that press conference in the mid 90’s when they reformed for the first time, the bar was free and it was morning so we did get a little drunk and we did “liberate” most of the food that had been laid on and took it all around to Youth’s place where we’d arranged to meet to do a Killing Joke interview for Organ later that day, I tell you all this while I wait for these Silver Machine remixes to kick in again, I guess the third one is worth a listen, actually yes, that was mean spirited on me to say they were all pointless, the third mix on this EP is well worth your time, it really does sound like The Orb doing a dub thing to the Hawks, now this version is radical for a moment or two, this is more like it, this is what we want. You know what really annoys me about that Pistols press conference still? Well besides the food I also liberated the Union Jack flags they had on stage, I still have a big one here, now if only I could prove it was a bloody big punk rock Sex Pistols Union Jack rather than just any old Union Jack, surely a flag that belonged to the Pistols is worth a small fortune to some sucker on Ebay? Actually, We’ve got some great Organ interviews from Nik Turner, Dave Brock, Youth, and the rest from back in the day, one day we’ll bring the book out, then again who cares? This Orb mix is loosing direction now, they need to turn on the afterburners ans get moving sideways through time again. We actually launched the first edition of Organ at a Hawkwind gig, launched it out of the back of an old army ambulance with the blue lights on and a smoke machine in the back, somewhere in 1986, surely there’s enough for an Organ “best of” book by now.  Here’s the Sontaag press release, not sure what the point of the band or the version of Silver Machine is, but then again I was never sure what the point of Organ was and look how long that damn thing has dragged on for, if we ever attempt to release a book, come around here and shoot us, I got an apple to paint. and a fruit shop to open. Long live the good (space) ship Nik Turner and all who fly on her. Here’s the Sontaag press release and the whatever…  (sw)

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“Featuring Killing Joke’s Youth, Dave Barbarossa of Adam And The Ants/Bow Wow Wow and ex-Hawkwind legend Nik Turner. New York/London – International rock collective Sontaag, whose conceptually ambitious, eponymous debut album (a sonically cinematic, cross-generic space opera) arrived into the progressive firmament to critical acclaim in 2014, are finally set to re-establish contact with our much-troubled earthly realm.  On March 15th, 2019, Sontaag return with a fiercely contemporary interpretation of Hawkwind’s iconic 1972 hit, “Silver Machine.” The Sontaag crew on this particular mission finds core creatives Richard Sontaag (guitars, keyboards, producer) and Ian Fortnam (vocals and guitar) joined by Killing Joke’s Youth on bass, Dave Barbarossa (Adam And The Ants/Bow Wow Wow) on drums and ex-Hawkwind legend Nik Turner on sax. “Silver Machine” is mixed by Youth.  “Silver Machine” is available through Cleopatra Records via all digital platforms and also comes in radically remixed form courtesy of Sontaag’s fellow travellers in outer and inner psychedelic space, The Orb…

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Ian Fortnam: “Hawkwind were punk-proof. Even in ’77, Richard and I would jam on ‘Silver Machine.’ Hawkwind were the UK’s counter-cultural underground incarnate. I discovered them in that narrow space between Bolan and Bowie, simultaneous to Alice, in the summer of ’72. Astral explorers. Eyes aflame with psychedelic visions. The people your parents dreaded you becoming. The coolest band alive. ‘Silver Machine’ was Hawkwind’s magnum opus, a spiralling maelstrom of riff-driven brilliance. Who wouldn’t want to cover it? Four years ago I found myself spirited to Nik Turner’s place in Wales, where we spoke of the Great Pyramid, orgone accumulators, space rituals, hallucinogenics, sonic generators, woodwind and Hawkwind. Before we parted, I gave him a copy of the first Sontaag album and the seeds of the ‘Silver Machine’ project were sown. Obviously, the very best material deserves the very best band, so calls were made to maestro Youth and Dave Barbarossa (the dream rhythm section) and here we are. And what a rare privilege to work with The Orb whose ‘Imaginarium Translucent JellyFish Dub’ remix is a work of art in and of itself.”

Richard Sontaag: Ian’s been pestering me to do a Hawkwind cover since way back when — the coolest kid in our school, he was often seen walking around with the Doremi Faso Latido LP under his arm between classes. But our Silver Machine came about in an unexpected way. I was alone in the studio late one night, and noticed that the guys had strung up a microphone from the ceiling. I put all the amps in a circle around it — which is really bad technique – and went round each one, blasting out Silver Machine on different instruments. That was the most fun I have ever had in a studio — and some of it even made it on to the final track”.

Both the Nik Turner album on the Sontaag material are on Cleopatra Records

Nik Turner’s official website: www.nikturner.com

Further reading via these fractured Organ pages –

ORGAN THING: Hawkwind? At the London Palladium? Don’t be silly, that didn’t just happen…

ORGAN THING: Standing on a runway waiting to take off, Madonnatron’s impressive debut album…

ORGAN THING: The return of those legendary Oroonies, woods alive with the smell once more…

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