British synthesizer wizard Tim Blake became a mainstay of the adventurous musical Gong collective in the mid-1970s and joined legendary rockers Hawkwind by the end of the decade. In between, he recorded a number of experimental solo albums, of which the first, Crystal Machine, was the most innovative and ambitious.
An album taken from epic live performances staged at the Seasalter festival in 1976 and at Paris’ Palace Theatre in 1977, the disc had four extended synthesizer suites and a locked fragment at the end, all featuring Blake on various futuristic keyboards, including an EMS Synthis A, a Minimoog, and an Elka Rhapsody, as well as an EMS Frequency Shifter, an MXR Flanger, and a Sony TC Tape Deck Echo, performing in tandem with a Spectra Physics 164 Argon Laser and a Crystal Machine Projector, operated by Patrice Warrener for maximum trippy-ness. The result is an innovative masterpiece of ambient electronica with a touch of jazz-funk. This is a deep dive into all that is possible in the realm of the synthesizer, repeated listening revealing the hefty skill woven in layers of dexterous playing.