Exposé Online banner

Spirits Burning — Starhawk
(Gonzo Multimedia HST323CD, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-05-10

Starhawk Cover art

On this latest offering by Spirits Burning there are nearly fifty musicians, vocalists, and writers involved in the proceedings, most only on a track or a few but that’s still a lot of talent from across the field of years of progressive and space rock and related genres. I could start listing the players and what they play and what bands they are from here, but I’m sure most will be known to many or most readers and I’m certain that detailed information is available elsewhere. Head chef Don Falcone will probably not say that’s too many cooks in his kitchen, but each singer and player here brings their own ideas and style to various parts of the overall project in varying combinations, and when all is said and done, Starhawk is quite good, but it does tend to sound somewhat like a various artists compilation CD, with much variance in style and approach from one track to the next across all seventeen cuts. Falcone is involved at one level or another on all of them, either as a collaborative writer of lyrics or music or both, and player of various instruments, mostly synths, keyboards, and electronic percussion, and backing vocals on many cuts. There are numerous representatives of the extended Hawkwind, Gong, and Clearlight contingents as well as other space-rock families involved, so that should give the reader a decent idea of where much of the input here is coming from and in general what might be expected. Arrangements tend to be thick and dense throughout, a wall of space sound, but coming from all over the star-map. There are numerous stand-outs, too numerous to mention every one actually, but “Xara’s Poem” is one of those, a dreamy gothic styled piece with a beautiful lead vocal by Emma MacKenzie, and its follow-on “For Those Who Are Searching” follows a similar vein, with space-whispery lead vocals by Bridget Wishart. “My Life of Voices” is a snarly rocker with some killer lead guitar soloing by Igor Abuldaze, some great keyboards by Falcone, and lead vocals by Kev Ellis. Its follow-on “Let’s All Go Cloud Puffing,” an instrumental, uses a combination of tablas by Larry Thresher and Falcone’s electronic drums to achieve a strong percussive groove, with droney sitar-ish guitars, and lead EWI solo from Bridget Wishart, seemingly like something from the Amon Düül stylistic idiom. All taken, this is a superb album, even if occasionally a bit uneven.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Cyndee Lee Rule, Spirits Burning, Bridget Wishart, Nik Turner, Cyrille Verdeaux, Daevid Allen, Billy Sherwood, Jay Tausig, Alan Davey, Paul Sears

Latest news

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Arashk - Ustuqus-al-Uss – Arashk is presented as an Iranian three-piece instrumental unit covering multi-guitars, bass, keyboards and drums, though more correctly in recorded form it’s mostly the vehicle of...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues