Quarkspace: spacefolds 7 (CD, 71:58); Eternity’s Jest Records, EJ0022, 2001 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: http://www.quarkspace.com 10 words or less: combine the improv of Djam Karet and electronics of Heldon Elaboration: ‘NO WAY’ you say? Well, that’s exactly what Quarkspace have done! I’m not talking about vague hints of those great artists either. I’m talking about the very best qualities of Djam Karet and Heldon! These boys got it goin’ on! If you aren’t a fan of either of those great bands don’t worry, Quarkspace show enough of their own personality to please any fans of SpaceRock, period. If you have never heard Djam Karet or Heldon then let me elaborate a bit here. On spacefolds 7 Quarkspace combine hypnotic, sometimes tribal Rock rhythms, echoing Guitar and Piano within a background of trance inducing Synthesizer washes. This is not as quite as droning as Heldon tended to be rather, there are enough changes in the compositional landscape to make any Djam Karet fan drool. As much as I love Djam Karet, I have to say I actually like this album better than any one Djam Karet album. If you’re looking for some great new SpaceRock, Quarkspace have it in spades! Also, for the record, the music of Quarkspace bears no similarity whatsoever to the band A Flock of Seagulls. ~ L Perez
Quarkspace: Drop 2001, Eternity's Jest Records, Inc. Quarkspace's Drop is a collection of techno-pop tracks that center around repetitive rhythms and progressions that are highlighted by synthesized effects and vocals. Quarkspace picks up where Flock Of Seagulls left off in the 1980s and is very similar in concept and sound to that genre of pop music. In considering the content of Drop from an objective, technical viewpoint, I find Drop lacking in many ways. The instrumentation, though well-mixed and produced, is very simplistic, which in itself would not be bad were it not for the lack of depth in the composition. The rhythms used are stale and unimaginitive. The progressions used are repetitive and not very inventive to begin with. Much of the music in Drop seems to drone on aimlessly, though Quarkspace seems to be aiming more for "mood music" than any sort of progressive accomplishment. Some of the technoid effects are interesting at times, though the music relies heavily upon them. The tracks on Drop offer some diversity in feel and content, but there is a definite style and cohesion that is recognizable. One more thing that I will add in hopefully constructive criticism of Drop. One of the reasons that I prefer instrumental music is because I do not like something pure like music to become polluted with one person's views of the world, especially when those views focus on what is bad in the world. And, Drop has some political commentary in their lyrics that is fixated on some unfortunate aspects of our modern world. It is not difficult to open your eyes and see the injustice, suffering, and other bad things in this world. It is, however, very difficult to overcome the natural distaste for seeing these bad things and to then instead make a conscious decision to focus on what is good in the world and to promote what is good to improve the world. Music is a very influential medium for sharing personal viewpoints with listeners and lyricists should be responsible in their selection of subject matter. Giving peace a chance and showing that all you need is love is what made John Lennon a great person and is what he is best remembered. Drop reinforces my preference for instrumental music with the topics they have chosen to promote in some of their lyrics. If you don't have something good to say, I'd personally prefer you keep it to yourself. I have eyes and don't need to be reminded of what is bad in this world! I am going to duck out on this one without further criticism because though I find myself with no interest in Quarkspace's Drop, I can see that there probably are some listeners that might like Drop. Drop just does not meet the demands that I impose to quench my thirst for progressive or advanced music. But, if you like light-weight techno- pop with a repetitive groove and technoid effects you may want to check this one out. Tracks: 1) Spinnin 2) Starbridge Freaks 2 3) Sound Inside You 4) Pavlovian Causeway 5) The Storm 6) Newton's Dream 7) Drop Out Form The World 8) Vazt 9) Bonnydon 10) Starbridge Freaks 3 11) The Lie 12) Blanket Hill ~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com
Quarkspace: Spacefolds 6 (CD, 72:05) Eternity's Jest Records EJ0021, 2000 Eternity's Jest Records PMB 212, 1487 W. Fifth Ave. Columbus, OH 43212 CYBERHOME: http://www.quarkspace.com Multi-instrumentalists, space-rockers, and renowned literary critics Quarkspace have recently presented inhabitants of the planet Earth with yet another 70 minute helping of tripped-out trance-inducing ambience with their newest release, Spacefolds 6. Sounding sort of like a mix between The Matrix Soundtrack and one of Robert Fripp’s “ProjeKcts,” Quarkspace fares quite successfully in this attempt at improvisational techno-tunes and marks a nice improvement (of 1) over their previous release Spacefolds 5. Spacefolds 6 kicks off with the excellent “Sheep Farm” – a track that makes the most out of the band’s electronica fetish with some excellent programmed percussion loops. Sweeping keyboards interact with some great (but subtle) guitar work to produce a very strong opening track. As a matter of fact, “Sheep Farm” is such a good track that the band is unable to match its quality for the rest of the CD. Now that’s not to say at that the rest of Spacefolds 6 is bad by any means, it’s just that “Sheep Farm” is that good. “Sturm und Calm” is another solid track, starting off with an almost hectic drum pattern peppered with meandering keyboards, and gradually shifting into a relaxing and enjoyable slice of ambience that is sure to ease a heavy mind. Very nice, indeed. Where Spacefolds 6 begins to fall apart a bit is in the tracks’ length. Most of the musical ideas put forth on this CD are quite interesting, and Quarkspace’s ability to successfully mix electronics with acoustics is formidable. However, most of the tracks drone on a bit longer than they should – 10 minute plus tracks such as “D.O.B.H. #1” and “Funkpalast at Brian’s Wormhole” simply are not interesting enough to warrant such lengths, and would’ve worked better as shorter improvs. Actually, “Funkplast…” is one that Quarkspace should’ve probably left off all together – it sounds like a Casio demo loop gone horribly wrong. In contrast the CD’s closer, “The Strangest String” (very clever boys), thankfully is an exception to this rule by actually staying interesting for its entire 13 minutes. So it’s not as if Quarkspace CAN’T write good 10-minute songs – it’s just that some of the ones on Spacefolds 6 aren’t them. Those negative points aside, overall I found Spacefolds 6 to be a very enjoyable CD full of impressive improvisation and nice use of a wide range of acoustic instruments and digital sounds. I especially found the bass guitar to very effective in “Sturm und Calm” and the guitar work is solid throughout. If you’re a fan of Porcupine Tree-like space-rock, then go ahead and take a trip into Quarkspace with Spacefolds 6. You may not be traveling where no man has gone before, but you’ll probably have a nice time. - “Space Commander” Askounes (email@example.com) More information on Quarkspace can be found at http://www.quarkspace.com CREDITS: Darren Gough: Guitarist Emeritus Chet Santia: Bass, Guitar, Guitar Synth, Vox, Percussion Jay Swanson: Keyboards, Purcussion Dave Wexler: Guitarist Emeritus Duex Paul Williams: Drums, Keyboards, Loops, Samples, Percussion Stan Lyon: Stunt Guitar, Bass TRACKLIST: 1. Sheep Farm (8:20) 2. Sturm und Calm (9:51) 3. Bonzo’s G.S.B. (11:07) 4. Guy Evans (4:07) 5. D.O.B.H. #1 (9:50) 6. D.O.B.H. #2 (4:43) 7. Funkpalast at Brian’s Wormhole (11:35) 8. The Strangest String (13:20)
Quarkspace: Spacefolds 5 (CD, 71:05) Eternity's Jest Records Eternity's Jest Records PMB 212, 1487 W. Fifth Ave. Columbus, OH 43212 CYBERHOME: http://www.quarkspace.com Quarkspace is a fitting name for this space-rock outfit - it invokes visions of future journeys just as the music does. The band uses electronic hyper techno beats like you'd hear at an all-night rave, and then wheels in actual instruments to create a mellow soundscape with bits of guitar and sweeping keyboard and loops. It is a sound reminiscent of fellow space-rockers Porcupine Tree, just not as structured and there's no vocals on Spacefolds 5. While Quarkspace doesn't quite succeed on all levels with this release, Spacefolds 5 is an interesting trip nonetheless. As a matter of fact, I remember it as if it was yesterday. [cue fog and "trippy" sound effects] Commander Spike's Personal Log: The crew is tentative as we approach launch - not only are we going to traverse space that has never been explored, but our exact destination isn't even known. We're apparently going into an area the scientists refer to as Quarkspace, and the only directions we've been given is we are to engage the hyperdrive module when we approach Spacefolds 5. What exactly Spacefolds 5 is (or are) remains a mystery to the crew, but we are explorers after all, are we not? Central Command has told us that this voyage will be broken up into 7 separate stages, and will last precisely 71 minutes - but to us it's all one big trip. The first 20 minutes of our journey are breathtaking... it seems that every time we look out our view screen, there a new and intriguing piece of space waiting to be charted and studies. At the 10-minute mark we did experience some minor difficulties in the propulsion system, but after a minor technical correction we were back on course. At this point, we began to see a large bright object dead ahead - it's obviously pulsing, but not violently - it's more a steady rhythm like the movement of a man's chest when he sleeps. Against our will our ship, the U.S.S. Heavenly Blue slowly comes to a stop and begins inexplicably spinning in place. Normally, we would try and check the ship's computer to determine why the sudden change in velocity, but quite frankly we couldn't care less as the spinning ship allows the crew the opportunity to view the universe as if it truly revolved around each of us. The sheer vastness of the galaxy slowly begins to broaden our minds and sedate our bodies, as we sit and stare at the Heavenly Blue's viewscreen, seemingly unable to do anything but. After what seems like years (but actually turns out to be minutes), we are snapped out of our trance by several piercing sounds - sounds that seem to be natural in nature (similar to acoustic drums), and not the processed technical rhythms we've begun to grow accustomed to during our trip. The Heavenly Blue finally wakes up out of its death spiral and begins a slow descent into the maw of the pulsating anomaly (which is both growing further away and rapidly approaching simultaneously - damn quantum physics!). After trying and failing to regain control of our ship, we finally acquiesce to the will of the glowing ring and accept our fate. As we all settled back into our reclining lounge chairs on the bridge (complete with multiple glowing buttons on the armrests), random letters begin to appear on all computers and all viewscreens - they even seem to be appearing on our standard issue uniforms. This was definitely getting a bit strange... At first the letters seem to make no sense - what in blazes does "DSSAC5OLFPE" mean? After a few minutes of brainstorming, a young Lieutenant we've never seen before but have known all our lives says "in order to untangle the phonetical riddle, you must begin to think backwards." He then grinned like the Cheshire Cat, and disappeared - leaving nothing but his Imperial Navy insignia and his Lieutenant stripes behind. ".dnuora sthguoht ruo denrut ew ,ecivda sih gnikaT !dloheB" and Lo the letters began to rearrange themselves on all systems. "SPACEFOLDS 5" began blinking all through the ship as a Don Cornelius-like voice boomed through the ship's speakers. "Welcome to the entrance ring of SPACEFOLDS 5. We have assumed control of your propulsion systems, your weapons systems have been neutralized, and your trays have been returned to their original upright position. Enjoy your ascension into QuarkSpace." And as soon as the voice has started, it stopped and we entered the portal. The next 25 minutes were spent traversing the giant pulsating ring, which turned out to be much deeper than we expected. The first few minutes of the trip were interesting, with never-before seen colors, spiraling pinwheels, melting people and other tired cliches greeting us as we entered Quarkspace. However, after 5 or so minutes the crew began to tire of the sameness of it all. After all the hype leading up to Quarkspace, the trip - one that started out so fab - was begin to turn into a major downer. Twenty minutes to go, and this annoying voice started reciting "Man's First Inter-Planetary Voyage...." What was he talking about? Anyway, finally we arrive on the other side of the ring and except for the occasional space organism or helium-based sentient balloon, the rest of the trip is pretty boring and non-eventful. As a matter of fact, the tedium of the final 15 minutes of was so bad that the crew resorted to playing three-dimensional cribbage in the mess hall for the remainder of the journey. Frankly, Quarkspace - despite an interesting beginning - turned out to be quite mundane in the end. I guess the space isn't always blacker on the other side of the wormhole... Upon our arrival home, I reported to Central Command. "Quarkspace on the other side of Spacefolds 5 is devoid of life. Despite the excitement of the 20 minute journey to the pulsating ring, the remainder of the trip was uninteresting. Nothing of import to report." Central Command replied, "What did you expect... The Matrix Soundtrack?" - Michael Askounes (firstname.lastname@example.org) CREDITS: Darren Gough: Guitarist Emeritus Chet Santia: Bass, Guitar, Guitar Synth, Vox, Percussion Jay Swanson: Keyboards, Purcussion Dave Wexler: Guitars Paul Williams: Drums, Keyboards, Loops, Samples, Percussion Stan Lyon: Stunt Guitar, Bass TRACKLIST: 1. Recaesarian (16:00) 2. qspace pixies (12:02) 3. Psionic Rift (3:07) 4. Voyage (7:38) 5. Dark Prophecy (5:32) 6. we are qpr (15:36) 7. project quark (10:48) More information on Quarkspace can be found at http://www.quarkspace.com EER Editor's note: "My first listen to Q's S5 elicited this quote before mailing it out for review, "Quarkspace's SPACEFOLDS 5 is light years better than anything they've previously done. A pretty darn cool T. Dreamy/ trance rock journey!"
Quarkspace: Live Orion (CD, 68:25); Eternity's Jest Records EJ0017, 1998 This live recording is a banner lifted to improv rock. The Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post", The Grateful Dead/ Phish concerts ragas, Mountain at the Isle of Wight doin' "Stormy Monday" or the percussive abandon of Santana at Woodstock is the atmosphere of Live Orion. Yet there is more, that leaning towards the tripped-out Hawkwind, space rock, sonic abandon here. Jam after jam after jam, everyone in the band has opportunity to stretch, to extend the soul of the moment, in an uninhibited frame of mind. This CD was recorded at the Orion Spacerock Festival in October 1997. Some folks dearly love this '70s style of jamfest, spacey-slick, happy-brownies, red-eyed rock. For me it was track after track of aimless, way too laid back, straight-up noodle rock. Imagine Quicksilver Messenger Service redoes Happy Trails but adds some Tim Blake or Tangerine Dream synth work here and there. You have Quarkspace. On the 10:18 long "Dancing Swan" this is most evident. The lyrics knocking "plastic people" is oh, so very much the late '60s cry for reality. This is retro-rock without the bell bottoms, no pink shades, and no Vietnam crisis. Best piece on the CD is "Whitehawk Space" which gave us much more synth work, walls of guitar wailings, and the bass at last, becomes melodic and animated. Drums were rock steady and more than decent every track but here, I heard a higher energy level come out. This final track shows the definite space rock in an early Hawkwind sound. Quarkspace is Chet Santia doing bass, vox, and guitar. Jay Swanson is keys. Dave Wexler is guitar. Paul Williams is drums, keys, and loops. Darren Gough had his guitar parts dubbed in later since he was ill the day of the show. So this 80% live with 20% post-concert enhancements. So be it. If you like endless jams this is for you. -- John W. Patterson
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