REVIEWS SPACECRAFT Summer Town Space For Music (2001) The music on Spacecraft's recording Summer Town takes me back to my teenage years, and that is (in part) understandable. The music itself is a live recording of a concert/appearance of the group at Unityfest 2000 at Summertown, TN. Summertown is a 'hippie commune' in the truest sense of the word, i.e. a sustainable and (as much as possible) independent community of like-minded individuals. The music was performed on a Sunday morning for the assembled masses and recorded for this CD. It features Tony Gerber on guitars, synths and vocals; Giles Reaves on synths, percussion and processing, John Rose on synths, flutes, and vocals, and Diane Timmons on synths, flutes and vocals. What I'm referring to, though, with my comments above, is the retro-spontaneity of this recording. I belonged to a student group in high school (in the late sixties and early seventies) called Media Diggers who held 'be-ins' at which we listened to psychedelic music, watched weird light shows, and in general spaced out (some of us used drugs, others did not). It was a wonderful time. A sense of innocence and beauty seemed to permeate our existence at these events. It was hard not to be swept up in the feeling of 'Groovy, man!' as we listened to everything from Crosby. Stills and Nash's 'Our House' to Pink Floyd's 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.' And that may sound trite or cliché or even maudlin to some of you, but actually, I miss that feeling of simplicity and clarity. Summer Town reawakened that feeling in me. The music is wonderfully extemporaneous (or at least it sounds like it is). It's spacy, but not OUTER spacy. It's spiritual but not dogmatic. It's filled with improvisation and a sense of floating free of constraints. Vocal chants, fuzzed guitar, keyboards, flutes, bell tones, and other cool instrumentation contributes to a nearly fifty-five minute trip into some kind of retro-metaphysical haven for lost innocence. Analog synths produce retro-tones and notes while droning vocals evoke images of black-lights and quasi-Eastern meditations. All in all, this is a real blast from the past for reformed (or not) freaks (like yours truly). It's hard for me to be objective in regards to this album. Every time I want to evaluate it in terms of modern times, I listen to it and a flood of memories come back to me. However, if your taste runs toward a mixture of vocals, conventional and distorted electric guitar, analog keyboards, and (in general) a psychedelic blend of musical elements, Summer Town is a 'trip' worth taking. I played it a lot before writing this review because, frankly, I enjoyed revisiting a part of my past that was a lot more optimistic and life-affirming than my present. I don't know how it would/will play to the ambient or spacemusic crowd, but (us) ex-hippies should either sigh with contentment or regret, depending on how satisfied we are with our present lives. Personally, and I mean this sincerely, I miss my black light, my posters, and my bell-bottoms when I listen to Summer Town. In the case of listening to this CD, at least as a modern-day Peter Pan I can go back (for awhile) to the Summer of Love. Bill Binkleman * Wind and Wire (UK) Summer Town by SPACECRAFT - a promise of cohesion in a season of warm, balmy days replete with thunderstorms, rainbows and dreams. High drama being played out, here, by the Gods of Peace and Tranquility! Nature at it's' best. The droning-- so meditative and relaxed- prayer is evident throughout this subtle ambient interplay of synthesisers, flutes, guitars and human voice; unified and difficult at times to distinguish between them. No boredom. No doom. No gloom... just a wonderful, warm feeling captured each time I hear this music as more new events unfold. Truly an aural delight and, yet, lovingly Diane's voice 'trance'-ports and lulls you Heaven-bound, along the way drenching you in stars dropped by Angels. Pat Brent Host/Prod. WVKR 91.3 'Summer Town' is the first Spacecraft CD on the SpaceForMusic label. Tony Gerber, Diane Timmons, John Rose and frequent Spacecraft guest Giles Reaves performed this fifty-five minute piece during the Unity Fest 2000 Celebration. The performance began at 8:30 a.m. as 'more than 150 people did their morning yoga and meditation exercises.' The press release for the album states that it is more contemplative than their other CD's. The liner notes suggest uninterrupted or continuous listening. That is a wise suggestion. I was most taken by the vocals on this CD. John's wordless chants are absolutely guttural and Diane's chorale chants are truly heavenly. The juxtaposition works quite well. By using the human voice as instrumental accompaniment, Spacecraft took me to deep introspective levels of imagination and spirituality. I am also enamored of the minimalism of this disc. Spacecraft has recorded some very sacred - almost religious - space music in the past. Indeed, 'Kaleida Dreams' ranks alongside Constance Demby's seminal spirituality in it's importance to the genre. This [Summer Town] CD gets me to the next level! The minimalism is surrounded by the vocals or the vocals surround the minimalism! It doesn't matter. The combination strikes timbres in my soul that few have reached! This CD is an absolute necessity in my daily spiritual routine. I use it with 'Prayers to the Protector' by Steve Roach to get my spiritual juices flowing every morning! Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of 'Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music' due for publication Summer, 2001 3/4/2001 Spacecraft-'Summer Town' CD This 7th release by Tennessee-based ambient group SPACECRAFT conjures some wonderfully primitive yet masterful ethereal vibes. 'Summer Town' was recorded live in the early morning hours at the Unityfest 2000 (held in Summertown, Tennessee), where over 150 people practiced their morning yoga and meditation exercises during the recording. With that in mind, this amazing 55-minute, single-track piece sounds sparkling and positively beautiful, joining multi-cultural ethnic tones and drones with gently drifting guitars, flutes, and electronic effects. The haunting live instruments harken back to classic Kraut/space rock like POPOL VUH or KLUSTER, while the production and electronic soundscapes should prove to be quite pleasing to fans of master soundscapers like STEVE ROACH or ROBERT RICH. 'Summer Town' is simply an engrossingly gorgeous work that works well in any setting, from background to deep listening. Take that as a recommendation. (SpaceForMusic.com) Reviewed by GODSEND Online 3/12/2001 Summer Town by Spacecraft Spacecraft's latest release is a one-track live recording, recorded in Tennessee on an early spring morning. The place of the concert was The Farm a community made up of differing peoples which was started way back in 1971 as an experiment to see if a group of people could sustain a strongly cohesive and outwardly °©directed community. The objective being to create a positive world, which in turn would hopefully create integrated fully functional community.Thirty years on and the community is still there and this is where Spacecraft featured their brand of unique music. Traditionally a concert more often than not would be performed in the evening. This concert was performed at 8.30 in the morning . During the course of the concert over 150 people did their yoga and meditation exercises to the sound of Spacecraft. As maybe expected the music is of a floating devotional quality. The beginnings almost sounding like Buddhist monks in prayer. Amongst the drifting synthesizer work Tony Gerber's meandering guitar plays along gently directing the track along. There are four members of Spacecraft including Space musician Giles Reaves, whose rare album 'Wunjo' is considered a classic. As well as playing guitars Tony Gerber plays synthesizers and provides vocals in the form of chant. John Rose and Diane Timmons make up the foursome each playing synthesizers, and flutes and adding more vocal chants respectively. I found Diane Timmons's chanting vocals particularly beautiful. At about the halfway stage the music seems to change by slightly having a 'discordant' section, before embarking on a slightly more reflective section. Usually I would play my music of an ambient nature well into the evening. With 'Summer Town' I have listened to it first thing on waking up and found it most rewarding. As it says on the back cover the CD can serve as a background soundtrack for your exercises, meditation, relaxation or pure enjoyment. In some instances I found the music reminiscent of the classic Krautrock band Popul Vuh., but the Spacecraft sound is still very much their own. By Gary Andrews for SEQUENCES magazine SPACECRAFT: Summer Town (CD on Space for Music Records) This recording features a single 55 minute long track that truly displays Spacecraft's improvised live electronic music. Here, Gerber is joined by Giles Reaves, John Rose, and Diane Simmons. The music is generally soft and tranquil, promoting contemplation through the peaceful application of electronic drones and sensitive guitar, with the subtle addition of haunting flute, minimal percussives, and non-lyrical vocals. There are some passages in which the guitar strains with electronic fury, but the outcries are subdued with a tenderness that refuses to jar the audience. Drifting with delicate sounds, the melodies evolve slowly, rolling from one cloudbank to the next. The result is atmospheric, yet still humanized in timbre. Quite decent music for meditation. There is a distinct undercurrent that reminds the listener of the ambient jams by Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, or Ash Ra Tempel during the early 70s. This 'old-time progressive' flair is transported into today's ears with modern sensibilities. Matt Howarth for SPACE.COM and Sonic Curiosity.