Nik Turner - "Transglobal Friends and Relations"
(Transparency 2001, 0103)

From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)

The first five tracks of this double-CD set were recorded in-studio in 1995. The opening track "Delay" features drummer Alan Powell on a rare vocal, and he does a pretty decent job powering this catchy semi-spacepop song. The next three tracks are based on Michael Moorcock's Elric books, starting with the mellow flutey "Sun Jester", the lyrics almost identical to Blue Oyster Cult's "The Great Sun Jester". The one that does it for me best is "Yyrckoon", an incredible monster-groove powered by ultra-funky bass-guitar based on Pressurehed's "Slow Blo", courtesy of Paul Fox. Del Dettmar provides the freaky squeaky wood-axe synth, and Nik some decent vocals. Also quite good is "Sea King", no musical relation to Hawkwind's version, profering mystical double-tracked vocals and some nice watery reverbed sax over a mid-paced rhythm section.

The rest of the album is comprised mainly of live songs from Nik's Hawkwind-revival tours of '94 and '95, some differing enough from previously-released versions (see "Space Ritual 1994" and "Past or Future"), some not. "Thoth" rocks like a god, beginning with some Pressurehed-inspired guitar-riffing from Tommy Grenas, it cruises through Doran Shelly's super-agile and melodically metallic lead-guitar licks (which actually remind me of Mercyful Fate's Michael Denner or Hank Sherman), Babyface Welsh's powerfully-placed bleats and all the other essentials. The Turner/Bainbridge piece "Dream Worker" might have rivaled Past Or Future's masterful version, but lacks most of the dramatic Star-Treky, incredibly-freaked intro. Still, this gets me so pumped and is a good example of Nik and co. doing more than just covering a Hawkwind song, but forcefully altering it into a new piece. The most recent recording of this set is Farflung's "Day of St. Anthony's Fire", recorded live in L.A. in 2000, a show I was lucky enough to attend. The irony is that it was the one song of that show's set that I was less into as I'd never heard it at the time, but now I wonder how I could have just stood there. This is an utterly orgasmic 8 minutes of space-rock. The guitars scream for the sky like few other things I've ever heard, Nik's addition on flute is brilliant. As it was a Nik show, Len del Rio is also in attendance to add his epic keyboards, and Farflung's love for change-of-pace/build-up drama is as powerful as ever. Especially inspiring are the ascending 3-note guitar (or flute? I dunno--this is blanga!) bits thrown in as the final jam reaches its crescendo . "God Rock" can't go wrong, not quite as fantastic as Space Ritual 1994's version, but unique to this version are some catchy space-funky reverb-guitar licks from Tommy G. and as Helios Creed was present for most of the '94 tour, we have some quality guitar-noise as well. The famous Brock/Calvert Hawkwind boogie "Orgone Accumulator" is okay, but the original Nik version from SR'94 never really blew me away either. The music is blanga-fied enough, but I don't think Nik could ever sing this one as well as Calvert, lacking Bob's importantly indifferent tone. Yet another version of "You Shouldn't Do That" makes its way onto record, but is solid enough, with ever-inspiring scything synth-work from the double Dels (Dettmar and Rio, that is). Finishing off CD one is a break from the music, a radio interview between Nik and an unintentionally-hilarious Frank Rizzo type character--Space Rock meets the Jerky Boys??? Unfortunately Rizzo doesn't seem to have much of a clue...

Disc two begins with another Farflung/Nik space-rocker, "Mother Orbis", recorded at Strange Daze '97, which means reverb guitar-blasts into the universe, furious vocals, loud riffs, synth, sax and flute... Farflung and Nik, to be redundant. And perhaps a small nod from Tommy to Can. "D-Rider" is quite good, though not too dissimilar to Space Ritual '94's version, swirling synth aplenty, Len del Rio's cosmic symphonic keys, Nik's tuneful flute-playing and off-key vocals, Helios's flanged guitar-grind taking the place of Hawkwind's original celestial choir. Again, "Watching the Grass Grow", "Master of the Universe" and "Ejection" are songs that we know this bunch are quite capable of performing, and it's more solid punk-energized sonic-attack space-rock with all the screaming synth bombs and freak-out sax you could want, but perhaps a bit superfluous due to the previously-mentioned albums. It's nice to hear a live version of Farfung's crushing "Vision of Infinity". My favorite Hawkwind-turned-Nik-Turner-Band recreation "Opa Loka 2000" is of course present, and it's a fine version, but I've yet to hear one that matches the sheer sublimeness of that on Past or Future. "The Right Stuff" offers something new as Tommy does duel vocals with Nik and the twiddle-synth fires off an especially-offensive machine-gun attack. Members of California support-band Sleep join in for an insane encore of "Silver Machine". And Nik does his usual post-curfew performance, "In the Mood", but it's a bit anti-clamactic.

They've now fully milked this era of space-rock, awesome as it is, so hopefully any future collaborations will spawn some new compositions and ideas for them to play around with. That's me trying to be objective. On the other hand, as a huge fan of this lot, I can't recommend this enough, especially if you're a Nik Turner's Hawkwind kompletist or if you don't have the other live albums. Cheers, Mike!

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Contact via snail mail c/o Transparency; PO Box 81-1821; Los Angeles, CA 90081.
Transglobal Friends and Relations is also available from CD Services. You can visit their web site at:

Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg

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