Quarkspace - "Spacefolds 8"
(Eternity's Jest Records 2007, digital download)
From Aural Innovations #37 (September 2007)
It's been quite a while since we've had a new Quarkspace album. Three years since the last studio album (Node in Peril) and 6 years since the last Spacefolds. But being in semi-regular contact with Paul Williams I know he's been busy getting new goodies ready. Spacefolds 8 is a true new millennium album, being a digital download only release available from iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster and other digital music services.
The 14 minute "My Starship has Mudflaps" opens the album with a cool bluesy space groove. Original Quarkspace guitarist Darren Gough is back in the fold and injects a little something new (or perhaps old?) to the always recognizable Quarkspace sound. Gough trips along and his licks can get nicely ripping at times, and Jay Swanson's piano, which straddles the axis between improvisational jazz and classical, sweetly compliments him. "Bridget in Space with a Ham Sandwich" is classic jamming Quarkspace, and again I really dig the bluesy edge to their ultra cosmic sound. This is one of the shorter tracks of the set but the band build things up to feverish levels of intensity. "Shifting Dervish" has a slight King Crimson-ish feel, mostly at the beginning, while still dwelling firmly in the Quarkspace quadrant. A killer mind-bending space jam. "Far Gathering", parts 1 & 2, and "Obscured by Perch" are all cool space jams. And along with the opening track, the set closing 16 minute "Flight of the Architect" is a real highlight, and as an extra treat features Architectural Metaphor and Secret Saucer guitarist Greg Kozlowski.
Overall a very tasty set of space rock instrumentals. Veterans Quarkspace fans are guaranteed to be pleased and newcomers really should check these guys out. Paul Williams' ubiquitous synth contributions are noticeably sparse, though perhaps with the original lineup in motion nostalgia compelled him to hang behind the drum kit. Whatever… this is a sweet set of cool grooving space improvs.
For more information you can visit the Quarkspace web site at: http://www.quarkspace.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz