A member of both Gong and Hawkwind, Tim Blake's slow-moving keyboard style has also featured prominently in his own work. His Crystal Machine project of the mid- to late '70s was among the first tour acts to feature major laser light shows. Often compared to Tangerine Dream, Blake has continued to record into the 2000s, with his latest work, Tide of the Century, continuing to build on his experimental keyboard style.
Tim Blake was born on February 6, 1952, in Hammersmith, West London. At drama school, he became interested in studying sound. He became involved with the experimental psychedelic group Gong in 1971. At first he was supposed to be the group's sound man, but the job was taken from him. He then briefly served as keyboardist for the group, but his work did not please Gong drummer Pip Pyle, and Blake was let go. Far from discouraged, Blake founded the Crystal Machine studio in the south of France. There, he made a demo cassette of his work on the EMS synthesizer. He then rejoined Gong in 1972 as the band's keyboardist under the name Hi T. Moonweed. He remained with the band until they broke up in 1976. Meanwhile, with Patrice Warrener, he formed Crystal Machine, which toured behind stellar light shows throughout the late '70s. Crystal Machine (1977) is an assortment of tracks from various live shows. 1978's Blake's New Jerusalem was the keyboardist's first studio solo record.
Hawkwind's Nik Turner, Blake joined Hawkwind in 1979. However, he was dropped unceremoniously by the group in 1980 and Blake would perform very little throughout the next decade. He returned with Magick (1991), but outside of various reunion concerts with Gong, remained quiet until 2000's Tide of the Century.