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The Awesome Space Rock of Quarkspace

By far one of the hottest space rock bands to come along in decades, Quarkspace is fond of live improvisation. The band is also blessed with more creativity than a single sonic entity deserves. As a result of this overabundance of talent, Quarkspace have taken to producing their "Spacefolds" series of releases to feature their overflow of quality material.

The band comprise: Chet Santia (on guitar and bass), Jay Swanson (on keyboards and synthesizer), Paul Williams (on drums, later adding keyboards, and synthesizer), Darren Gough (on guitar), and Dave Wexler (on guitar).

Although some vocals are featured on the band's regular releases ("Quarkspace", "Live Orion", and "The Hidden Moon"--all on Eternity's Jest Records), the music found on the band's Spacefolds series is purely instrumental.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 6 (CD on Eternity's Jest Records)

This 2000 release is indisputably the band's most awesome release, featuring 73 minutes of incredibly tight space rock.

With this music, Quarkspace achieve a perfect unity of space rock and techno. The guitar fury is refined and integrated into a soundscape surging with intricate tempos and shimmering electronics. Soaring guitar pyrotechnics seize the listener, elevating the vantage perspective high above a churning ocean of glistening electronics and swooning keyboards. The percussives not only provide engaging platforms, but frequently beguile to enhance the mix with clever diversions. The bass rumbles and oozes with enticing undercurrent joy.

Exciting is the keynote with this release. Space rock trances are infused with vibrant energy, propelling the listener to alien worlds and alternate dimensions, where perception becomes clouded with dizzying ecstasy and intense crescendos refuse to relent.

To say the band's compositional capabilities peak with this music is technically incorrect, for this music is created cold, improvised right on the spot. The tightness and appealing melodies are achieved through the band members' interactive intimacy. The tuneage displays an acute aura of compact cohesion and dynamics. The actual melodies realize a state of extreme tastiness and exhausting satisfaction.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 1 (CD on

Long out-of-print, the first four "Spacefolds" releases have recently been reissued on CD by "Spacefolds 1" features 28 minutes of the band's first between-projects cassette release from 1996.

Although somewhat raw and lacking in the band's current compositional brilliance, this early music displays strong prog rock tendencies pushed to the limit, spilling the tuneage into the void of outer space where it unfurls with dynamic verve.

Powerful drumming acts as a foundation here, while searing guitar spirals and keyboard sweeps cavort with engaging appeal. Basslines snake through the dense mix, rumbling with earthy tones.

While the structure is often abstract, this music inevitably flows into a pulsating unity that dazzles the listener with severe peaks and emotional performance.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 2 (CD on

This 29 minute CD features the band's second between-projects cassette release from 1997.

A spacier edge is found on this release, potentially attributable to the introduction of loop-based technology to the instruments. While the percussion goes electronic (yet retaining its humanity), the guitarwork steps down to intricate chords replacing astral tones.

Tempering the progression of spacerock into cyclic mode, the presence of a psychedelic mood lends tasty divergence to this evolving tuneage.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 3 (CD on

This 28 minute CD features the band's third between-projects cassette release from 1997.

With this release, the band evolve their improv mastery, creating music that possesses less conflict. A decidedly liquid quality is present here, with the keyboards and guitars undergoing a sonic gene-splice that flourishes with unique and stellar resonance.

Peppy keyboards caress the melodies, while complex guitar riffs sear in the foreground. Sinuous percussives goad this frenzy under control with guiding rhythms. Basslines slither like serpents of funk underfoot. And electronics chitter and smirk everywhere.

The four tracks herein represent a wide sonic scope, with "Spring Equinox 97" delivering an epic-heavy space jam of celebratory nature; "Freakin with the Qboyz" delving into funkier territory than Parliament Funkadelic; "Quarkital" exploring techno realms in a fashion emulating Orbital; and "Sly and the Family Stoned" displaying a grooving good time for all.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 4 (CD on

This 29 minute CD features the band's fourth between-projects cassette release from 1998.

This time, the band's guitar density steps back from three to two guitarists (as Gough takes a sabbatical from this release), allowing dual keyboards to generate a trippier flair. The tuneage here is more pastoral, with loops playing a supporting role. The music blends the band's primary jam nature with their growing expertise, resulting in a dose of hot melodies that float with Grateful Dead airs.

The festival density of "Fall Approaches" is nicely counterparted by the psychedelic ambience of "Chocolate Space Cookies" and the languid tidal flow of "It Flows to the Ocean...". Meanwhile, "Trinary Space" is a trio improv (sans Santia) that fuses power and calm into an inspiring trance of intricate surprises.

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