Timothy 'Tim' Blake (born 6 February 1952, in Shepherd's Bush, London) is a keyboardist, synthesist, vocalist, and composer working with both Gong and Hawkwind.
Blake is also known for his Synthesizer and Light performances as Crystal Machine, with the French Light Artist Patrice Warrener. They were sometimes joined on keyboards by the young prodigy Jean-Philippe Rykiel.
Working as a sound engineer in the summer of 1969, Blake gave a group of musicians their first chance to play together during a concert at All Saints Hall in London, and so Hawkwind was born..
It was as an engineer, too, that Blake met Daevid Allen at Marquee Studios, where the latter was recording his first solo album Banana Moon in 1971. At the end of the sessions Allen had invited Blake to come back to France to be Gong's sound mixer, but Blake rapidly moved on to work on his own music, using synthesisers. He eventually joined Gong full-time in September 1972 as the band's synthesizer player, being among the first to bring the synthesizer out of the studio and on to the stage. He appears on all 3 albums of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy; Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg, and You, in fact Blake is the only composer, apart from the Allen/Smyth partnership, to have written for all three of the "Trilogy" Albums, making him one of Gong's most important composers.
He left Gong in early 1975, prompting the eventual departures of almost all of the other members of the 'classic era' .
Blake began a solo career under the name of Crystal Machine, which is noted for being the first live act to introduce the use of laser lighting in the entertainment world. At this time, Blake produced 2 solo albums 1977's Crystal Machine and 1978's Blake's New Jerusalem, and a large number of stage performances, in Europe and Japan, culminating in the 1979 closing spot at the Glastonbury Festival.
Later in 1979, Blake joined up with another noted "space rock" outfit, Hawkwind, the group he had helped to form 10 years before, for a short stint between 1979 and 1980, and has sporadically rejoined them on several occasions. Since November 2007, Blake has been collaborating with Hawkwind full-time, performing on theremin and what he chooses to call " Virtual Lead Guitar" .
He has reunited with the 'classic-era' line-up of Gong (minus Pierre Moerlen, who died in May 2005) for one-off concerts, in May 1977, 1995, and in November 2006 at the 3rd Gong Family Unconvention (Uncon) at the Melkweg in Amsterdam.
Blake's discography contains more than 25 titles, including eight solo albums as Tim Blake - Crystal Machine.
Since 2006, Blake removed all his solo albums from the record market, preferring to make them available for download as mp3s from his own web site.
As well as his work with Hawkwind, Blake continues to work with Patrice Warrener on his Chromolithe Illumination System, and doing concerts with Jean-Philippe Rykiel.
Blake currently lives in the Poitou region of France. He previously lived in Questembert, in Brittany, in the 1990s.1977: Crystal Machine
1978: Blake's New Jerusalem
1979: "Waterfalls in Space" (digitally re-released in 2007)
2000: The Tide of the Century
2002: Caldea Music II
2006: Live Waterfalls in Space
2012: "Noggi 'Tar"