The debut album from Head Spin, the instrumental project of UK musician Andy Scoffin, is a particularly well put together collection of laid-back space rock that combines energy and detail to make for a fascinating hour’s listening.
With all the tracks played, programmed and produced by Scoffin, there is the potential for the result to head down a ‘one-man-band’ cul de sac of indulgence or lack of focus on the listener’s experience, but that certainly isn’t the case here as trippy grooves and spacey soundscapes are embellished with well-realised soaring guitar solos, the whole drawing elements from funk, prog and electronica, amongst other genres.
The shifting sands of the instrumental music keep you hooked throughout and the choices made are exciting and captivating. It owes a debt to the likes of Ozric Tentacles but is no pastiche and cuts its own furrow through the cosmic expanses, delighting in the sense of exploration, which comes across in the exuberance of the music.
From the trippy opening, Limpet has a groove that you just can’t shift, the layered synths combining into a satisfyingly fulsome whole. Andy is clearly a talented sort and his guitar soloing fits beautifully within the framework he builds, whilst the reliance on drums-in-a-box is in no way detrimental to the end result. The tension is ramped up with a change of direction mid-way through the eight-minutes, beautifully released on cascading synths. With sojourns through bass keyboard leads and changes of pace, Andy crams a lot it and it never gets tedious.
The basis of these tracks in synths and keyboards gives more emphasis to the guitar when it appears, as in the way it is threaded through Moai with care and detail in a variety of styles, leading to some forceful soloing and laid-back Ed Wynne-like moments. There’s real drive and questing momentum in tracks like Wax Donor, all the pieces given plenty of time to run their individual courses, ranging from around seven to eleven minutes each in duration.
Live and Learn drops the pace initially and adds a satisfying bluesy edge to the swooping electronic stew, moving to stately sky-bound riffing. Digitalis is an extended version of the track from the EP Andy released last year and Swoop has a deliciously hypnotic quality, again bringing Ozrics to mind. There’s a fragile quality to the easy going Eggshells, the loping rhythm giving it an almost West Coast vibe, with the shimmering synths giving a spacey sheen, turning to more forthright guitar towards the end.
Galactic Sheep ties things up with some different sounds and intense grooves, underlining the dexterity and attention to detail that makes Escape Velocity work so well. The whole thing is very well organised and executed, well worth your time if you enjoy free-flowing high quality instrumental music with the emphasis on electronica. The Ozrics influence is there throughout, but it never gets close to copying and I’ll be keeping an eye on what Andy Scoffin comes up with next.
01. Limpet (8:16)
02. Moai (7:54)
03. Wax Donor (9:58)
04. Live and Learn (6:05)
05. Digitalis (9:03)
06. Swoop (10:42)
07. Eggshells (6:55)
08. Galactic Sheep (8:11)
Total Time – 67:04
Andy Scoffin – Guitar, Programming
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 24th June 2022