Spirits Burning – “Starhawk” (Gonzo Multimedia 2015, CD)

Don Falcone’s on-going “Gathering in Space” continues with a musical adaptation of Mack Maloney’s sci-fi novel Starhawk (I Googled it and it’s actually a series). We’ve got over 70 minutes of music and more than forty-five cosmic crew members on this Space-Prog adventure. As usual I won’t list them all but tell you that among the luminaries are the late great Daevid Allen, Dave Anderson, Alan Davey, Kev Ellis, Pete Pavli, Jerry Richards, Cyndee Lee Rule, Steffe Sharpstrings, Billy Sherwood, Jay Tausig, Nik Turner, Bridget Wishart, Cyrille Verdeaux, and Twink. AND the CD comes with an 8 page Starhawk based comic book with art by Steve Lines and Matt Woodward.

The set kicks off in full Space Rock ‘n’ Roll mode with Our Crash. Killer guitar solos from Billy Sherwood on this and I Have Two Names. There’s lots of variety across the 17 songs. I like the combination of Keith Christmas’ vocals and acoustic guitar and Cyrille Verdeaux’s piano backed by electro beats and spacey soundscapes on JigSawMan Flies A JigSawShip. Things get Eastern Psychedelic jazzy grooving on Let’s All Go Cloud Puffing. Stellar Kingdom has an orchestral Prog-Pop feel and whimsically exaggerated vocals from Judge Smith. Emma MacKenzie’s vocals are lovely on the beautifully ambient and electro rhythmic Xara’s Poem. Bridget’s trademark breathy vocals are a cosmically seductive narration on For Those Who Are Searching. Bridget also takes lead vocals on the heavy Blues rocking and Prog infused jamming Right On The Mark, which includes an always welcome violin solo from Cyndee Lee Rule.

Other spirited Space Rockers include the propulsive Live Forever, with dual vocals by Kev Ellis and Emma MacKenzie and guitar from Steffe Sharpstrings. My Life of Voices kicks ass with its ripping metallic edge, but also Kev Ellis’ distinctively emotive vocals, soulful keys and King Crimson-ish guitar fills. We Move You is both ripping rocker and Broadway Space-Prog show tune. I like the ultra-heavy Prog keys and spacey synth licks on Rolling Out. Angel Full of Pity starts off totally trippy Eastern Psychedelic before launching into a bouncy anthem rocker with potent vocals from Kev Ellis, who appeals to us fans of his old Dr Brown days with a little Bluesy harmonica wailing.

Lyrically this is a full blown sci-fi adventure and while I’ve not read the books I suspect this musical adaption would be exciting for Mack Maloney fans. For seasoned Spirits Burning fans, the adventure continues down ever expanding paths.

For more information visit the Spirits Burning web site at: http://spiritsburning.com

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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