quarkspace - "Spacefolds 5" (Eternity's Jest Records 1999, CD)
From Aural Innovations #3 (July 1998)
The newest release from quarkspace is a CD continuation of the earlier Spacefolds cassette series. The Spacefolds series is something of a musical band diary featuring recent improv instrumentals. quarkspace is still Chet Santia on bass, Jay Swanson on synths, Dave Wexler on guitar, Paul Williams on synths, drums, and loops, and Darren Gough on guitar.
There are seven tunes on this 70 minute disc, some of which are more cool quarky space excursions, and some venturing into somewhat different territory. The disc opens with "Recaesarian" which sees the band further exploring the techno territory that has been hinted at on earlier releases. But please read on if the techno term turns you off because this isn't your standard relentless rave beat muck whose only purpose is to keep you on the dance floor for a 24 hour stretch. quarkspace combines techno with the recognizable quarkspace sound to produce something far more interesting and listenable. We've got the techno beats, but we've also got the cool space excursions which somehow don't seem to contrast with each other at all. In fact, the band is exploring the possibility of playing raves, which could well expose that crowd to more substantial music while still giving them something to... uhhh... "rave" to.
"qspace Pixies" takes us into the kind of space territory that should please fans of quarkspace's Live Orion release from last year. This sounds essentially like two tracks as there is a several minute jam (with some brief Gong-like chanting) that fades out and then becomes something completely new. I love quarkspace tunes that prominently feature piano. The piano and guitar each carry a main melody while trading off the forefront role. The bass thuds away and occasional freaky synth bits pop up throughout. This is yet another one of those tracks that could be described as, "if the Allman Brothers were a spacerock band".
Another standout track is "Voyage" which, though firmly in the quarkspace mold, has a strong Pink Floyd sound in spots. Very much on the ambient side as well. This one will carry you away quietly while still holding your attention with music. "We Are QPR" is something of a space symphony and my favorite on the disc. The band explores a variety of moods and moves from quark jamming to quiet journeys into atmosphere and sound. A flute sound is simulated that embellishes the music very nicely.
Spacefolds 5 should hold us over until "The Hidden Moon", quarkspace's second studio CD. It will be a double-CD release and is due Summer 1999.
You can visit quarkspace at their web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz