Mott the Dog : Nik Turner and The Trance Dimensionals- Synchronicity

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The dramatic cover for Synchronicity. Hinting strongly at the stories to be told once the album is played.

5 Stars.
Firstly what a great album, combining the talents of Nik Turner, and Steve Hillman, Musical Spacenauts of the first order. Great Album cover, the song writing is extraordinary. The music is delivered bang on, with a real unearthly groove. Calls for getting up and giving it your best space boogie.

Nik Turner, is a legend in the real world, most of us have to put up with living in somebody else imagined world, only allowed to join the space time continuum at Uncle Nik’s desire. Nik Turner first made a name for himself as founder, saxophonist, flutist, vocalist, songwriter with the original Space Cowboys Hawkwind. He was a member on the Hawkship twice from 1969-1982-1984 two classic eras for the band. Since then, Nik has been a founder or member of Sphynx, Inner City Unit, Nik Turner’s Fantastic All Stars, Space Ritual and the Hawklords to name a handful. Plenty of Solo work and collaborations to compile to complete your catalogues. It’s been quite a journey so far.



Steve Hillman has been around the Asteroid Belt a few times as well. In the early Seventies Steve Hillman would haul his Audio Generators around the hemispheres complimenting his guitar and keyboard playing. Heavily influenced by Hawkwind, Gong and Tangerine Dream. During the Eighties he was very much a part of the British Underground Electronic scene, then in the Nineties he was signed up by Cyclops Records releasing three staggeringly epic journeys. Matrix 1994, Convergence 1999, Opener of The Ways 2002. Since those days Steve has kept himself busy, playing sessions etc. He also joined the Progressive Rock Band Ra Rising.



Which was especially handy as when Steve Hillman wanted to form The Trance Dimensionals, he was able to call upon their drummer Dai Rees and bassist Clog to join the trip. This was after a great meeting of the minds of Nik Turner and Steve Hillman in 2016. Steve Hillman already had enough songs for an album, but with Nik Turner now fronting the band, more writing took place resulting in Thunder Rider Invocation (Nik Turner’s long-term nickname is Thunder Rider.) and Sekhmet, which harkens back to 1978 and Nik Turner’s album Xitintoday purposefully.

Thunder Rider in repose.

To keep the Hawkwind factor high Dave Anderson who played with Hawkwind on In Search of Space 1971 flew in, giving the band a good excuse to rearrange the song Children of The Sun that appeared on that album, written by Turner/Anderson. Mr. Dibs also Ex Hawkwind but now a Hawklord also does a rather spiffing job on the vocals for the song Taken to the Limit. Angel Flame the artist best known for performing with Arthur Brown lends her vocal attributes to The Enchantress, and Abode of The Blessed. It’s a pure delight to also hear Linda Hillman on Flute and Voice on The Enchantress. Eleanor Rees does a splendid job with the Vocals on Abode of The Blessed too. Richard Benjamin fits his Vocals perfectly onto the uptempo Angels of the Light, sounding very spacey.
So, all in all there is a lot to look and listen out for on your journeys around the Multiverses.



The music is such an incredible mix of talents. As soon as Nik Turner intones his voice in opener Destination Void you know it could only be Thunder Rider, the Saxophone riffing along with the guitar is a bit of a giveaway too. Steve Hillman’s Sonic Sounds are all there as well as his nifty guitar work. So, each individual is easily recognizable, but together they have a unique sound.

To me next up is the central piece of the whole album, The Enchantress. Narration by Angel Flame, acoustic guitar, beautiful flute from Linda Hillman. Lulling you in, but then at one minute thirty seconds the bass guitar lays down a pounding riff, followed by Steve Hillman coming in over the top. As fine a piece of Space Rock as you are ever likely to hear. The Keyboards run rampant across the sky of the song as that bass drives into your soul. After just two songs you are totally bewitched, if you haven’t got it, you never will.

 

Do not stare at this for too long.

Mr. Dibs takes over vocals for Taken to The Limit. You cannot fail to be impressed by the way this man imposes himself into the scene, bursting with energy, painting a dramatic picture, a perfect choice. The musical accompaniment is unearthly with the synthesizer looping off in all directions. The drumming of Dai Rees impresses here, very precise.

Cloudlands does as it says on the label, slowing things down allowing the talents of Nick Turner and Steve Hillman to flow through as the song drifts you away, upwards. Giving the album some shade in the light. The sequencing of the music could not be better.

Nik Turner is obviously delighted to have Steve Hillman write a song for him on Thunder Rider Invocation, opening proudly with the words “I am the Thunder Rider.” Like a returning High Lord preaching to his flock of devoted followers. Steve Hillman then leads the band into a driving riff that builds as we are led through the sound scopes, breaking only to let Nik Turner back in, as the song pounds along finally breaking into an all-out Space Boogie. That will have the faithful jumping about in their hoards. A well-appointed mid set highlight.

Sphinx Dancer will be an excellent live number, hopefully featuring the dancing talents of Angel Flame, the music pays tribute to some of Nik Turners work from the Eighties. This is followed immediately by Sekhmet which Steve Hillman knowingly wrote in the vein of Nik Turner’s work on the album Xitintoday from 1978. Nik’s vocals and flute playing could be from the Pyramids.


Thunder Rider on stage with Angel Flame.

Angels of the Light will again have people tripping out on the dance floor. Who said Space Rock could not be fun?

Night of the Jeweled Eye is the epic length piece that the album needs allowing the musicians to develop the story. Although the song is credited to Steve Hillman it certainly gives off a wholesome vibe of being a proper band song. You can almost hear them smile behind their space helmets. Steve Hillman switches between some very flash guitar work, and the keyboards completing the picture. The Martians landing mid song seems quite natural, slipping by without alarm. No War of the World dramas here in fact as First Contact they would be very welcome, joining in the Space Jig in the music’s final moments.



Abode of the Blessed is a showcase for the talents of Steve Hillman allowing him his solo piece in the spotlight, it fits in perfectly, leading us into another spacey narration from Angel Flame.

Leaving us with the reunion of Dave Anderson and Nik Turner on Children of The Sun a song they wrote together originally released on Hawk wind’s In Search of Space 1971. This is not just a run through of a former glory, but a total rearrangement of a previous masterpiece. A fitting way to draw the music to a conclusion. Finishing the album as it did previously on In Search of Space. Bringing everything nicely full circle.



Black Widow Records are to be congratulated on putting this together. In fact, their whole catalogue is worth looking into.

With Trance Dimensionals and Hawklords both going through purple asteroid belts, Space Rock is in good hands.

A Group of Trance Dimensional Spacenauts. From Left to Right. Dai Rees, Angel Flame, Dave Anderson, Nik Turner, Steve Hillman and a very naughty little boy called Clog photo bombing.

Songs.
Destination Void.
The Enchantress.
Taken to the Limit.
Cloudlands.
Thunder Rider Invocation.
Sphinx Dancer.
Sekhmet.
Angels of Light.
Night of the Jewelled Eye.
Abode of the Blessed
Children of the Sun.



Trance Dimensionals.
Nik Turner – Vocals, Saxophone, Flute.
Steve Hillman – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers.
Clog – Bass Guitar.
Dai Rees – Drums.
Angel Flame – Narration on The Enchantress and Abode of The Blessed.
Dave Anderson – Bass Guitar on Children of The Sun.
Eleanor Rees – Vocals on Children of The Sun.
Linda Hillman – Voice and Flute on The Enchantress.
Mr. Dibs – Vocals on Taken to The Limit.
Richard Benjamin – Vocals on Angels of The Light.

If it’s a show you want, it’s a show you’ll get.



Angel Flame catches flight as the playing of Nik Turner does the same.



A vortex.