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Space Rock: the Consortium of Genius, Krel, Space Mirrors

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THE CONSORTIUM OF GENIUS: In C.O.G. We Trust (CD on Little Blue Men Records)

This release from 2004 features 65 minutes of gritty lab rock.

The Consortium of Genius is: Lewis D’Aubin, Jim Fairchild, Drumbot, Jeff King, and Liz Streckfus.

Growling guitar provides a searing core for this surging rock. Sometimes wailing, mostly chugging, periodically dallying with an anticipatory calm, the guitar becomes a versatile linchpin for the tuneage.

Drums belt out adaptive rhythms, relentlessly pursuing a mode of stadium rock.

Pensive basslines lend a touch of studious restraint, generating an undercurrent of molten fire.

Synthesizers provide an ironic heavenly backdrop for the humor-laden tunes.

Commanding vocals alternate between urgent crooning and hoarse advice. Choruses support this singer with agreeable choirs.

Several songs are bridged by clever little bits that function as sardonic skits that will make you grin. In fact, a strong thread of humor runs through these tunes, from mad scientists plagued by crawling hands to showerhead envy.

In all fairness, this music combines space rock with smirking heavy metal, often sounding like a futurist incarnation of Spinal Tap with a dash of Suicidal Tendencies thrown in.

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KREL: Out of Space (CD on Dead Earnest Records)

This release from 2005 mixes live recordings and studio sessions to produce 54 minutes of dazzling space rock.

Krel is: Martin M, Mr Dibs, Floyd, and Mike Man.

Esoteric electronics spin in a pulsating darkness, like orbiting satellites incorporating catches of radio programs, NASA signals and other stratospheric flotsam. This astral intro explodes into a display of sturdy hard rock with pounding drums, squealing guitar, and subdermal basslines. Krel’s voyage back to Earth has begun.

Vigorous percussion surges and refuses to abate. Rhythms unfurl with manic determination, defining luscious tangles of emotional tempos that offer more than adequate propulsion to achieve escape velocity.

Savage guitar licks split the air with their emphatic cries. Riffs spiral and twirl, generating an ascending enthusiasm that seethes with otherworldly airs. Some of these riffs belong to the teeth-gritting variety, while others (sliding steel and delicate strumming) explore fascinating fugues of delivery to higher consciousness.

The bass rumbles from subatomic origins, spreading visceral vibrations throughout the dynamic music like an infection, unseen but not unfelt.

Supported by a crooning chorus, the vocals are manly and adventurous. The voice rings with the authority of a space cruiser commander who has witnessed stars collapse and planets blossom from stellar ejecta. His urgent lyrics communicate deep secrets of coping with zero gravity, while softer passages lovingly recall things that have yet to happen.

The electronics ooze from unnoticed niches in the tight compositions, spilling forth with a bevy of trembling oscillations and gurgling cosmic bubbles.

As with most space rock, a vibrant Hawkwind milieu is undeniably present. But Krel reaches farther, forcing their own style on the music and delivering upheavals of gritty stamina glistening with alien slime and twitching long-range antennae.

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SPACE MIRRORS: The Darker Side of Art (CD on Dead Earnest Records)

This release from 2005 features 54 minutes of eerie space music.

Space Mirrors is: Alisa Coral and Michael Blackman, with special appearances by Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Steve Youles.

Space Mirrors’ brand of space rock mixes glutinous doses of mysticism into the cacophonic displays of hard science, prying back a subconscious trapdoor to peer into the underworld.

Lots of guitars here: grinding guitars, squealing guitars, slide guitars, soothing guitars, ricocheting guitars--all working hard to captivate the audience. Their riffs twirl and bounce on the wind, operating in conjunction with a slithery bevy of synthesizers. Their intent? To mesmerize and seduce. To burrow their trancey melodies into the mind and carve out some cranial space to dwell.

Those melodies are laced with arcane lore. Haunting passages flitter and drift, riding air currents like ephemeral shrouds. The harmonics ripple. The rhythms pulsate. The electronics keep these cerements aloft with their delicate twinkling.

Percussives swim amidst this engaging volume, imparting sultry tempos that often lurk from a submerged vantage, cocooned but unmuffled by the swarming electronic milieu.

To be fair, the electronics are as abundant in this music as the guitars. Shuddering walls of ghostly sound are generated and let loose to wander the stage like animated bundles of vapor.

Periodically, female vocals emerge in the distance, swaddled in the electronic morass, establishing a safety zone among the darkling music.

Behind a mask of space rock, this music explores a purer form of trance tinged with the occult.

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