Review: Spaces — Nothing Exists But Atoms and the Void

Reviews / September 8, 2012

Spaces creates enjoyable experience with versatile and balanced album

Walk-In Records

Even as someone who thoroughly enjoys listening to larger instrumental acts like Explosions in the Sky and This Will Be the Death of Us, it’s still difficult for me to really pinpoint particular songs that I enjoy within the genre. Instead, with most post-rock groups, I often find myself recalling certain segments of the album, large or small. But in rare cases, you can attach to an entire experience. Spaces, which consists of Brooklyn natives Duke Ahrens and Franco Colon, are able to provide this with their most recent LP, “Nothing Exists But Atoms and the Void”, a balanced, versatile and all around thoroughly enjoyable album that contains snippets of musical beauty in nearly every song.

In the first track, titled “Hadley,” there is a recording of the quote, “Man must explore, this is exploration at its greatest.” This quote, taken from Dave Scott, commander of Apollo 15, is a fitting start to an album that combines the versatile sound of post-rock throughout a 40-minute running time. The ideas of space and exploration aren’t uncommon within the genre, practically fitting the concept like a glove. But, its prevalence certainly doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to succeed at. What Spaces is able to do is combine that theme with some other successful aspects of their music.

On Side A of the album, you have standout tracks in the somber sounds of “Barren Moon” and the crescendos of “Erda.” Small segments of “Singularity” even contain some sexy rock elements that really got me focusing on the song. Side B continues to expand on those previously mentioned themes, beginning with “Alnitak,” a track which brings up the album’s energy. Immediately after, the pace slows down with “Reprise” and “Harbinger.” Finally, the album’s closer, “Depths,” concludes the experience with a long ride of large crescendos, similar to what you might expect from an album grounded in post-rock.

The beginning of the album definitely contains a lot more versatility than the second half, but all around, it’s an enjoyable experience. It will be interesting to hear what additional layers these guys can create with upcoming albums.

Sound Quality: First off, it should be noted that the album is very well produced. Considering these guys recorded the album themselves, the quality on this record is really impressive. It goes without saying, it sounds great as it blasts through the speakers on my record player. Furthermore, this genre of music meshes well with the vinyl format, as it needs to be heard as a whole.

Packaging: If there’s one aspect of the release which truly stands above the rest, it’s the art direction. The album artwork is beautiful, and on 12” packaging, it really does it justice. The album is pressed on a 180-gram transparent red vinyl and comes in a gatefold jacket. All around, the packaging really adds to the album in a way that’s extremely rare. A digital download is also included.

Extras: The silk screened poster, which comes with the vinyl record, is the only extra material given with the release. It’s a very standard package with no bundles available.

Summary: If you’re a fan of post-rock, this album will definitely get your attention. Spaces has really crafted some great songs that take you through a journey. The first half of the album is much stronger than the second, but the overall experience is a great listen. If you’re looking for something lyric heavy, you’re clearly not going to find it here. That just comes with the territory of the genre. Clocking in at only 40 minutes, the album deserves a listen.

Make Sure To Spin: “Erda,” “Barren Moon” and “Singularity”

You can still pick up the album over at Walk-In on 180-gram transparent red vinyl. The pressing is limited to 250 copies.

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Michael Escanuelas

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