13 February 2013

Space Rock Classic

Begun as a psychedelic collective in the 1980s, Quarkspace grew up to become one of America's best space rock bands from the 1990s.

Their third studio album, Drop, was released into the public domain as a CD-R in November of 2001, as the group was retiring from stage activities. It is available for minimal cost from Bandcamp and vendors and free with every order from the group's record label, Eternity's Jest. Duplication is authorized and encouraged.

Drop, rated 4.5 stars by the All Music Guide, is available in mp3 format at the official website Quarkspace.com, FLAC at Bandcamp (support), or on CD-R with every order from Eternity's Jest.

Fran├žois Couture of All Music Guide writes:
Since the lyrics deal with the abuses of a consumerist society, the bandmembers felt uncomfortable with selling the album and thus decided to give it away. And listeners can thank them for that, because Drop stands as their best effort, a fantastic swan song.

The eponymous Quarkspace had good moments but lacked some studio proficiency. The Hidden Moon was impressive but a bit overstretched. Every track on Drop is dense, concise, and delightful. New songs (sung by a Chet Santia, still improving as a vocalist) alternate with fresh instrumental tunes. Guitarist Stan Lyon replaces Darren Gough, and a handful of guest musicians appear here and there, including Architectural Metaphor's Greg Kozlowski and Thom the World Poet reciting on the great 20-minute closer, "Blanket Hill."

As songcrafters, Quarkspace has become very efficient Meddle-era Pink Floyd trippers. As jammers, they rise even higher than before -- and Lyon's guitar work has definitely something to do with it. A group's best album available for free? Why should you pass? Fans and newcomers alike have all the reasons to be very, very happy.