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Spacerock: Brainstorm, Floorian, ST 37

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BRAINSTORM: Earth Zero (CD on Brainstorm Records)

This CD from 1994 features 59 minutes of spacerock.

A compact compression of traditional instrumentation (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals) produces a tight delivery of sturdy spacerock. Very few frills are utilized; the emphasis is on direct rock with spacey overtones.

The guitars crash and grind, belting out riffs that exhibit a comfortable degree of authority. Acoustic guitars are frequently employed to accomplish a softer, almost folksy mood. The basslines rumble with foundational support. The keyboards are sweeping and clever, often displaying strong progrock influences. Synthesizers generate a cosmic tinge that surges congenially in the thick of the mix. The drums are commanding, pounding out durable rhythms. The vocals are strong and evocative.

While the majority of the songs are 3 to 4 minutes long, the last track ("Armageddon") is a 21 minute epic that explores an apocalyptic vision of mankind's imminent destiny.

This music exists in the territory between garage band and stadium rock, and is quite satisfied with this position. There are no affectations striving for grand aspirations. Instead, the tunes are tailored for the masses and that target is competently achieved. A blues element emerges in some of the songs.

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FLOORIAN: What the Buzzing (CD on Drigh Records)

This release from 2002 offers 54 minutes of dreamy spacerock.

Floorian is: Todd Fisher, John Godshalk, Larry Durica, Alex Lee Mason, and Bill Spiropoulos.

Dreamy guitars waft in the air, squealing, grinding, defining astral chords with tasty ease. Comfortable drums establish pleasant tempos in tune with the drifting melodies. Basslines rumble with ethereal vibrations, producing a tingly foundation underfoot. Keyboards trickle through the mix like sparkling water, cleansing as they enhance with their pensive drones.

The keynote instrument is the guitar, though. These stringed manipulations achieve a transcendental disposition, building from a nebulous fog to screeching outcries. These cosmic moods possess a decidedly Grateful Dead ambience, which is further elaborated by lead guitars that seek quite foreign sonic territories with their languid sustains and bent notes. These lead guitars alternate between psychedelic stylings and gothic darkness, conjuring melancholia that then strives to escape the box with emotional exertions. There exists an initial lethargy which gradually becomes agitated to a surging movement in each song, but the overall music retains a congenial sedation.

Some vocals are present, whispered and crooned in an unobtrusive manner.

There's a romantic edge in this music, bestowing this spacerock with more than a touch of humanity, making the tunes more accessible.

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ST 37: The Insect Hospital (CD on Black Widow Records)

This CD from 2001 offers 77 minutes of stunning spacerock.

ST 37 is: S.L. Telles, Mark Stone, Carlton Crutcher, Joel Crutcher, and Dave Cameron, with guests Cisco Ryder and Shane Shelton.

Mixed into a neutronium mass of sound: searing guitars and growling bass and celestial synthesizers and monstrous drums. The guitars soar and glisten like exploding stars. The basslines rumble like the bellows of prehistoric lizard. The keyboards swoop like shrouded Valkyrian spirits, while the synthis gurgle and bubble like a cosmic caldron. The drums produce compelling rhythms with a relentless drive. A horde of controlled feedback is present, being put to inventive use.

Vocals appear in a few songs, usually employed as raw rock vehicles. Harsh and rapid-fire, these voices inject a garage quality to the otherwise crisp and transcendental tuneage.

The title track features a taped conversation discussing the history of a portable insect hospital, while haunting guitar treatments and eerie hums provide a spooky harmonic backdrop.

Included are some cover songs, among them: Brian Eno's "Seven Deadly Finns" and Roky Erickson's "Cold Night for Alligators".

While the last 45 minutes of the CD is devoted to a masterful and rollicking spacerock interpretation of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". This section cooks with intensity and ecstasy. The instruments blend into an uncanny fusion of enthralling melodies. While the majority of this live performance is dedicated to forceful rock-outs, there are some instances of lilting trance states. Guitar riffs clash in mighty pyrotechnic displays, goaded into battle by tenacious percussion. Ponderous bass notes drip like huge globs of molten magma, splattering their guttural expressions across the frenzied mix. The sonic landscape features an abundance of tasty electronic embellishment that adds an undercurrent of sparkling wails and shrill pitches. There are no vocals disrupting this epic space jam.

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