SUBARACHNOID SPACE have been around since 1995, but unfortunately this is my first meeting with their completely improvised heavy psychedelic rock. Well, better late than never, because it's really worth paying attention to their multilayered sound. The history of this US-band is long and complicated so I will spare you the details. SUBARACHNOID SPACE was founded by guitarist Melynda Jackson who is the only constant member of the band. As so often, she has found a new group of musicians to record 'Eight Bells' that has been released by Crucial Blast in 2009. Even if their instrumental music is based on improvistaion, it doesn't mean that this is an uncontrolled journey into sonic galaxies. On the one hand with delicate floating melodies, on the other hand with suspenseful and atmospheric parts a diversified but harmonious and structured general view of upper class music is created. Although 'Eight Bells' consists of five long tracks it has to be seen as a whole, but nevertheless I would like to pick out a couple of tracks.
'Hunter Seeker' is truly an epic song where the band is capable of playing cleverly on different moods. There is a calm middle part that evokes memories of late 60's/early 70's psychedelic music before the band cranks up the volume and the sound waves looming up on the horizon. 'Haruspex' is the most unsettling song here that starts with a huge wall of noise and is free of any rhythmic pattern. At times a distant voice breaks through this dark lysergic chaos and generates a strange effect. In contrast 'Bird Signs' is underpinned by a mesmerizing beat as well as the opener 'Lilith' and 'Akathesia', where I have to remember Pink Floyd during their late 60's period. 'Eight Bells' is a massive and mind-blowing album which exudes a permanent attraction on anyone who has a strong predilection for psychedelic krautrock and trippy improvisation in combination with metallic heaviness. The album comes in at just under 40 minutes, and is packaged in another one of Crucial Blast's high quality visual presentations with stunning new artwork from Stephen Kasner. This trip can be done without any illegal substances and I would encourage you to do it, but be warned that this is a dark experience. (KK)