Tim Blake: Crystal Presence, 3CD Box Set Review

Tim Blake’s Crystal Presence: A Journey Through Ambient Electronica

In the vast universe of electronic music, few artists have managed to leave an indelible mark quite like Tim Blake. Known for his pioneering work with Gong and Hawkwind, Blake’s solo career has been a testament to his innovative spirit and mastery over the synthesizer. Now, thanks to Esoteric Recordings, a division of Cherry Red Records, Blake’s seminal works from 1977 to 1991 are being celebrated in a meticulously remastered 3CD box set titled “Tim Blake: Crystal Presence.”

The box set encompasses Blake’s debut album “Crystal Machine,” the follow-up “Blake’s New Jerusalem,” and the later “Magick,” each a cornerstone in the evolution of ambient electronica.

“Crystal Machine,” originally released in 1977, is a sonic exploration that predates much of what would become standard in electronic music. Its rhythmic pulsing and ambient textures are reminiscent of Tangerine Dream’s ’80s output, yet Blake’s work stands out for its pioneering approach.

“Blake’s New Jerusalem” represents a departure from purely instrumental compositions, introducing vocals and narrative elements into Blake’s soundscape. The title track, a 15-minute epic, showcases Blake’s ability to blend storytelling with his unique brand of electronic music.

The journey through Blake’s discography culminates with “Magick,” recorded in 1991 in a windmill in Brittany. The album features vocals not unlike Marianne Faithfull even thoiught it is Tim Blake actually singing!

The inclusion of Jean-Philippe Rykiel on mini-moog in “Blake’s New Jerusalem” and the recording of “Magick” in a single evening underscore Blake’s status as a maverick in the world of music.

Tim Blake: Crystal Presence,” offers both longtime fans and newcomers an opportunity to experience the depth and breadth of his musical genius. This is a must have for anyone interested in the history and evolution of electronic music.

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Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine 

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