Wednesday, September 29, 2010

[self-titled] - The Space Between Things


The Space Between Things
84 Records.

SCQ Rating: 84%

Considering how I’ve never met him in the flesh, it seems unreasonable that Chris Hobson (The Space Between Things) has been pestered by Skeleton Crew Quarterly for the better part of 2010. It began in early February with a newly finished track uploaded to his Myspace, a few comments traded, another couple songs uploaded by late April, and my increasingly probing questions on his plans for these one-offs. Every comment I posted on his page plugged for an album, pleaded for release dates. Satiated by his prolific output but admittedly unable to foresee any glue that could bind Hobson’s encyclopedic influences, I resigned myself to his Myspace page for an occasional fix.

I now recognize that Hobson’s patience, which enshrouds [self-titled] in every detail, dwarfs my own. The Toronto resident, hard at work writing and recording every note of this eight-song cycle for the past year and a half, wasn’t about to toss out a zip file on the heels of some fanboy, Myspace-chatter… and his careful approach pays substantial dividends. That “glue” I stated earlier as missing or invisible from his online playlist is audible straightaway on ‘Solitary Man’; it’s in his sleepily-layered vocal delivery and his guitar’s shambled dissonance that line up uniformly into something crisp and slate-grey. A sound that’s languid but comfortable like autumn jackets or week-night social calls; it’ll seep into your stride with ‘Don’t Care That Much’ and sear your heart on the disarming ‘GCDC’. An entrancing sequencing allows these songs to speak back and forth but Hobson’s embellishments, lo-fi yet well-formed, often say the most. Whether it’s the building ambience that glazes over the hypnotic ‘Twins’ or a muted breeze that blows across ‘Ginger Snap’, [self-titled] thrives on its minimalist detours.

A few of these songs debuted on Myspace during my watch - including the two that initiated my pestering – but the majority of material here either predates my knowledge of Hobson or was intentionally kept away from curious ears. I prefer to believe the latter theory, that the missing puzzle pieces to an excellent record were purposefully hidden in Hobson’s underground lair, waiting. At least in that version of history, everyone else is just as blindsided by this record as I am.

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