Eight Bells is the first new release from Subarachnoid Space in four years (following 2005’s The Red Veil on Strange Attractors). Featuring the recording lineup of Daniel Barone, Melynda Jackson, Lauren K. Newman, Daniel Osborne and Steven Wray Lobdell, the music of Eight Bells continues in the heavy lysergic vein as their last couple of post-Release albums, fusing wicked metallic crunch with ethereal fx-laden guitar freakouts and some of the band’s most narcotized jamming yet.
Their last couple of records pointed towards a heavier direction for the band, and this new material continues on that trajectory, combining blazing luminous axe-howl over hypnotic heavy acid riffage and dense squalls of fx-stacked sound. 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. We’ve been big fans of Subarachnoid Space here at Crucial Blast since back when the band was releasing albums on Release/Relapse and Charnel Music, and they have continued to be one of our favorite bands working within the heavy neo-psych spectrum.
Since their formation in 1995, Subarachnoid Space has evolved into one of the preeminent navigators within the realms of psychotropic underground rock and have firmly established themselves alongside the brightest stars in the constellation of contemporary acid rock.
Playing a form of lysergic and almost entirely instrumental rock that draws its DNA from the sounds of classic Krautrock, prog, long-form improvisation and metallic heaviness, the band has attracted a fervent and dedicated following over the past decade around albums on established independant labels such as Relapse Records and Strange Attractors Audio House. Subarachnoid Space have also continued to bring their ominous, ethereal riffage, soaring fx-laden guitars and pulsating rhythmic propulsion on the road with numerous tours and festival appearances, including multiple stints across the U.S., three appearances at the legendary psych-rock festival Terrastock, and a tour of Japan, and has performed alongside such a variety of artists as Sonic Youth, Acid Mothers Temple, Khanate, Wolf Eyes, YOB, Sunn O))), Danava, Red Sparowes,Boris, Lightning Bolt, These Arms Are Snakes, Master Musicians Of Bukkake, and Ludicra.
Thoughout the band’s existence, the one constant has been visionary guitarist and bandleader Melynda Jackson. A native of rural Texas, Jackson grew up an only child, and never considered that the isolated grasslands and windswept landscapes of her youth would eventually inspire her to evoke equally mysterious terrain through experimental, exploratory guitar and wordless vocalizations in Subarachnoid Space. Jackson moved to San Francisco at the age of twenty-six and within a year had become part of the fledgling version of Subarachnoid Space, which had been formed by experimental guitarist Mason Jones, already known within the post-industrial/psych underground from his long-running Trance project. After the release of the band’s debut 7″ Char-Broiled Wonderland in 1996, Subarachnoid Space went on to fine-tune their sprawling improvisations and began to tour frequently. This led to the band scoring a record deal with Relapse Records soon thereafter.
After three albums on Relapse Records, the band went on to release material on a number of smaller labels like Elsie And Jack, September Gurls, and Strange Attractors Audio House, and continued to perform regularly, touring both the USA and Japan with Acid Mothers Temple and performing alongside Sonic Youth at the 2002 Terrastock V festival. After the release of 2003’s Also Rising, Mason Jones retired from the band, leaving Jackson to assume control of the band and reshape Subarachnoid Space into something heavier and more song-oriented. This new phase of Subarachnoid Space saw Jackson bringing a darker and more metallic edge to the band’s sound while still retaining the elements of fiery improvisation and rich textural guitar that the group was known for. Both 2003’s Also Rising and 2005’s The Red Veil further introduced the band to a new audience of left-field metal and heavy rock fans.
Now, Jackson and Subarachnoid Space have returned with Eight Bells, the band’s first new release since 2005’s The Red Veil on Strange Attractors, and the newest chapter in Jackson’s continually evolving vision of music as ecstatic ritual.
The recording features a new lineup of Daniel Barone, Melynda Jackson, Lauren K. Newman and Daniel Osborne, and was produced by Steven Wray Lobdell who also performs on the album. The music of Eight Bells continues in a similar heavy lysergic vein as their last couple of post-Relapse albums, fusing wicked metallic crunch with celebratory sky-streaking guitar freakouts and some of the band’s most narcotized jamming yet. Their last couple of records all increasingly pointed towards a heavier direction for the band, and this new material continues on that trajectory as it combines blazing luminous axe-howl over hypnotic acid riffage and dense squalls of fx-stacked sound. Eight Bells features five songs (“Lilith”, “Akathesia”, “Hunter seeker”, “Haruspex”, “Bird Signs”), and features stunning new artwork from Stephen Kasner.