SPC ECO (pronounced Space Echo due either to laziness or a disdain for certain letters) is a British dreampop/newgaze band. It is the brainchild of former Curve mastermind Dean Garcia, who, with vocalist Rose Berlin (his daughter), make up the core of the group. A great many collaborators and guest performers have appeared on various SPC ECO releases, perhaps most notably Alan Moulder and Andy Bell, formerly of Ride and Oasis (disclaimer: not the Andy Bell of Erasure).

The music made by SPC ECO is very smooth and rather unique given the genre their music falls into—dream pop and shoegaze. But since they formed very recently (2007), they're sometimes referred to as "newgaze", which has all the same parameters as shoegaze except that it came long after the original shoegaze movement ended around 1994. People who grew up listening to shoegaze started calling it "newgaze" as both a play on words and because, by dint of their placement in time and space, they missed the opportunity to release music during the original shoegaze period (c. 1989-1994).

Dean and Rose have been quite busy since the band was formed—to date, they've put out five full albums, five EPs, eight singles and a remix disc. All of them were released by ELaB Records, a label founded by Garcia himself. Suffice it to say, he's been busier than his former Curve bandmate, Toni Halliday, who has had a handful of guest appearances on others' songs and put out two albums, each with a different band: The Secret Meeting and Chatelaine, which has (to date) put out one album: Take A Line For A Walk (2010). She recorded a new solo album in 2005 but it remains shelved and is unlikely to see a proper release. It is somewhat surprising that Toni hasn't appeared on an SPC ECO release yet, given that she's married to Alan Moulder, who is not only a musical collaborator but SPC ECO's producer. But who knows what the future holds. At the rate that SPC ECO is producing and releasing new material, it seems inevitable that she'll appear with SPC ECO eventually, possibly in a duet with Rose Berlin, who has provided the vocals for every SPC ECO song thus far.

Anyway, the music—when I was much younger, I fell deeply in love with certain albums, in disparate genres, seemingly at random. That hasn't happened very often since the end of my early twenties, but it's happened with just about everything SPC ECO has put out so far, especially their 2014 album The Art of Pop. TAoP is dream pop in its purest form: dreamy, hypnogogic, angelic and absolutely addicting. I'm not sure I've reacted this way to a shoegaze or dream pop album since I first heard Slowdive's Souvlaki or Whirr's Distressor. It's really good. It's not extremely different from other SPC ECO music, but there's something distinctive yet unidentifiable about it. I've fallen in love with it. Reviews I've read about it (which haven't been that many yet, given the album is only about three weeks old at the time of writing) have said similar things. After weeks of constant listening, the songs I love the most are definitely "Hear Me Now" and "Right Mind". One of their first EPs, 2010's Silver Clouds, is also wonderful, particularly the opening track, "Like It Is". Devour it.

If you're familiar with Curve, then you pretty much know what to expect from Dean Garcia's instrumentation. It's similar enough to Curve to be recognizable as such but different enough to make your head spin with its beauty. And it is beautiful. While Curve's music was more aggressive, SPC ECO's is dreamy and ethereal. Comparing to other works is difficult, but th best I can do is this: take early Cocteau Twins music, slow it down a few measures, remove Liz Fraser's voice and replace it with Rose Berlin's breathy, angel-siren voice and give it more polished drum programming. That might resemble something like the music of SPC ECO. The closest comparison I can make of Rose's voice is to that of Mariqueen Maandig-Reznor from How To Destroy Angels, only softer. I'm absolutely over the moon for the resulting musical bliss it produces. Believe me, you would be remiss to ignore it, unless your preference is for power metal or bluegrass or something else diametrically opposed to dreamy music.

I was going to include a list of SPC ECO collaborators, but really, the list is so long and is constantly being added to, so there's really no point. You'd be better off, if you really need to know who all is appearing on these recordings, by checking the band's official site or their entry at Discogs.com.

All of SPC ECO's music can be played for free, or downloaded in a variety of lossy and lossless formats at cost, at their Band Camp site. Hard copies of their work can be found at all the usual music retailers.

The obligatory discography (a constant work in progress):

Albums

Singles and EPs

A few links

Listen and dream.


For dannye,
who always seemed to enjoy my music writeups.

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