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Spacefolds 11 by Quarkspace

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Spacerock maestros Quarkspace deliver another vibrant dose of music that combines progressive, space, and Berlin school elements with delightful results.

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QUARKSPACE: Spacefolds 11 (DDL on Eternity's Jest Records)

This release from 2011 offers 69 minutes of engaging progressive jazz/rock.

Quarkspace are: Darren Gough (on guitar), Chet Santia (on guitar), Jay Swanson (on keyboards and synthesizers), and Paul Williams (on drums, synth, keyboards, and loops).

The first track is a short song with peppy e-perc and droning electronics punctuated by keyboards that evoke a cheery sentiment. The introduction of snarling guitar toward the end prepares the listener for the unexpected diversions ahead on the rest of the album.

Driving pulsations mark the opening of the second track. This foundation is tempered by a bevy of guitar pyrotechnics that wobble and spiral and achieve piercing pinnacles before diving back into the growling electronic loop to pursue further guitar contortions.

The third piece explores a more pensive milieu with languid guitar strumming and twinkling keyboards and sparse percussion. While the keys establish a cafe jazz mood, the guitar intrudes with delightful space age embellishments. The percussion attempts to support the jazz motif with erratic beats, as does the brooding bassline, while liquid electronics slither into the mix to boost the song's cosmic disposition.

The next track utilizes a quirky set of electro rhythms as the backdrop upon which the other instruments cavort with energetic relish. The guitar indulges in some complex diversions, while the bass generates a rumbling undercurrent that is seasoned by auxiliary tempos. Ultimately, the bassline conquers the flow with its alluring undulations.

The following piece adopts a more conventional mode of modern jazz enhanced by nimble percussives and twinkling guitar. The result is surprisingly accessible.

Next we have a track that combines bouncy electro rhythms with sprightly-fingered guitar while a moody electronic foundation churns just beneath everything.

The seventh piece encourages the guitar to get adventurous with intricate riffs and secondary strumming layers. Meanwhile the bass engages in its own groove, providing a luscious chugging geological strata within the mix. The freeform percussion succeeds in keeping up with these numerous threads of charismatic activity.

The next track presents a more laid-back persona, but the band's sense of animation will not be repressed, so the guitar and keys stray into more lively territory, followed by the nimble (but understated) rhythms. A sweet keyboard textural dominates the end of this short piece.

While a crisp electro pattern attempts to set a spry tone in track nine, heavy-handed keyboards bully their way in and commandeer the flow with regal piano chords. Chugging guitar rises to the challenge, and when that delivery fails to triumph, the guitar slips in a little funk to persuade everything into a lavish contest of instrumental wills. The appearance of spacey tones sweeps through the mix, lending a stately posture to the music. In the end, the demonstrative piano and a more eccentric guitar tie for supremacy.

The next track adopts a more languid temperament, allowing the guitar to display its romantic chops, while piano urges assertive action over auxiliary keyboard tapestries of delicate character.

The album concludes with a peaceful track consisting of controlled guitar sustains and somber keys. This serenity is punctuated by sparkling notes of a xylophonic nature.

Once again Quarkspace display the ease with which they conquer a variety of music styles and fuse them together into tuneage of bewitching appeal.

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