Something Else! sneak peek: Hawkwind’s Nik Turner, “Fallen Angel STS-51-L” (2013)

Beginning with an anthematic countdown to liftoff, the lead song from Nik Turner’s forthcoming Cleopatra Records studio effort couldn’t sound less like its name. “Fallen Angel STS-51-L,” quite simply, begins with all engines firing.

It never stops, either. From there, Hawkwind’s blissfully offbeat co-founding saxist leads a tough group of collaborators through an anarchic, ever-churning bit of lysergic-laced rock — with Turner sitting in the middle of this boisterous maelstrom, making a space man’s recitation of the lyrics.

“Fallen Angel STS-51-L” is available for preorder through iTunes.

It all brings to mind the title of Turner’s last project with Hawkwind, 1976′s Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. Easily the most prolific of its former members, Turner has spent the years since his memorable stint with Hawkwind — one that included co-writing credits on band staples like “Brainstorm” and “Master of the Universe” — following a decidedly idiosyncratic path.

From recording inside the King’s Chamber at Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Cheops to the big-band reformulations of the Nik Turner All-Stars to this, a brazenly modern update of his core psychedelic sound, Turner has consistently provided both amazing music and (in particular) astounding sounds. It’s prog rock for those who want to go to the very edge of the universe, then peer so far out that you risk falling ass over teakettle into its inky blackness — playing air guitar the whole time.


Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at
  • Anon

    It’s a dirge. Dreadful.

    • Anon

      Best song since Master of the Universe!