Church of Hed
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Church of Hed


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Church of Hed @ Cullman Civic Center

Cullman, Alabama, USA

Cullman, Alabama, USA

Church of Hed @ Orion Studios: Doug Walker Spacerock Benefit Show

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Church of Hed @ Little Brothers

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus, Ohio, USA

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The best kept secret in music


Hiding under the moniker Church of Hed is Quarkspace drummer Paul Williams. Created to indulge the latter's electronic side, this project focuses on tighter songs and a synth-heavy sound. Lack of electric guitar aside, the music follows a path very similar to the group's own brand of trippy space rock. Williams, billed as “the nefarious HED," plays multi-layered synthesizers, loops, drums and even vocals on a couple of numbers. The Archbishop of Budweiser (who this reviewer suspects to be none other than Quarkspace's Stan Lyon) supplied bass lines for half of the tracks. Other group members may have popped their heads into the studio, but they hide under similarly puzzling pseudonyms. Despite the fact that the album is presented as an electronica affair, it covers more ground. The key factor to enjoy it resides in your appreciation of synth-based space music. Think Ozric Tentacles, but also Tangerine Dream, The Orb, even a touch of Stereolab. Stand-out tracks include the opener “The Lone Freak," the hypnotic “Cathedral Ice Revival" and the utterly strange “Alpha Century Leisuretime." The latter kicks off with a delicate electric piano motif, then turns to swirling synths backing a spoken intervention by Thom the World Poet — played backwards! The odd track is “Rock & Roll Song" where Williams shows how much he knows his Peter Hammill as he emulates his writing and arrangements. In short, this eponymous release makes a convincing debut - Francois Couture

Care for some Hed? Church Of Hed's fusion of trance-electronica and
70s space-rock is now available in the form of a light, compact,
self-titled mini-LP format CD. Loops, filter sweeps, and analog
strangeness galore, the synthetic carousel encountered herein is
complemented by real drums, bass, and lead vocals by C.o.H. stalwart
and Quarkspace drummer Paul Williams. You won't hear any cheap-
sounding patches or presets on this—Williams either utilizes
faithfully warm emulations, or the real deal, or both. Members of
Quarkspace, The Red Masque, Nomuzik and other groups join Williams
on bass, synthesizers, and backing vocals—interesting credits,
indeed: the Archbishop of Budweiser, Monsignor Nomuzik, Sister Mary
Haruspex, etc. The last one should be a dead giveaway—that's
Lynnette Shelley of The Red Masque, her pseudonym taken from the
band's latest album.

"The Lone Freak" freaks out into trance overdrive with potent
efficiency, coming down with full force on bedsprings of gestating
swells and gyrating rhythms. "Axiom One" is quite the opposite, calm
without being somnolent, ripples of deep bass surging across the
mix. Perhaps this track needs its own genre—space dub? The album's
namesake track is a cautionary tone poem built on razor-sharp
conveyor belt sequences and a probing square-wave lead. Williams'
does the nigh-impossible and melds his live drumming with the
otherworldly chaos—magnifico! The ambient space of "Requiem One" is
the second cousin of Steve Roach's Structures From Silence with its
insular freedom. One of the best tracks, the mesmeric "Cathedral Ice
Revival" patterns itself after early 80s Tangerine Dream; Mellotron-
like choirs and a static tempo are components of the Teutonic
Blueprint—long-sustained notes and mechanical sequences extract
their own designs.

The web of warmth is dismantled by "Blue Freaky," a frenzied soup of
clustered buzzing, whirring and clanging. An aptly analog lead
graces "Requiem Two," a three-minute, thirty-second canvas on which
Williams paints the virtues of raw analog power—listen to those
filter sweeps. With a wonderfully minimalistic approach, and its
tasty, authentic-sounding reverbed Rhodes, "Alpha Century
Leisuretime" ushers the listener through eleventeen minutes of
delectable electro-space; it could last for another nine minutes or
twenty-nine, pure magic. Thom The World Poet (spelled backwards)
cues in with an eerie spoken vocal bit. "Northern Songs" features
vocals—very nice, but the sonic palette on Church Of Hed is so rich,
it should've just been another instrumental.
- Elias Granillo

Cue a wide array of drummer jokes, for this is a solo album by Paul Williams, drummer from Quarkspace. Fortunately, Mr Williams also knows his way around a bank of keyboards, and with Quarkspace having some down time, here's the result..

At first listen, things seemm more robotic, less organic, and if there is a constant them, it appears to be one of alienation, with electronic beats to the fore throughout. If Quarkspace fans are looking for an easy way in, then they should start with Track 7, "Cathedral Ice Revival", an old stylee Quarkspace soundalike and program the rest of the CD around it.

With a few helping hands to round out the sound, the Archbishop of Budweiser (aka Stan Lyon) on bass and spacecow, Sister Mary Haruspex (aka Lynnette Shelley from the Red Masque) on backing vocals, Monsignor Nomuzik (aka Carl Howard from Nomuzic) on analog box, Teop Dlrow Eht Moht (aka Thom the World Poet) on spoken words, Father Viv Bleating (aka Jay Swanson from Quarkspace) on freaky synth, and Cardinal Weimerheiner (aka Chet Santia from Quarkspace) on backing vocals, this veers from electronic freakbeat through traditional spacerock before heading off into intense, fiery riffology.

Sometimes dazzling, sometimes mesmering, there is a lot for spacerockers to get their teeth into, be it blanga, trance or pure prog. An excellent offering
- Stuart Hamilton

This release from the end of 2002 features 56 minutes of dazzling space rock.

Church of Hed is a side project by Paul Williams (the drummer from Quarkspace). While most of the music is performed by Williams (aka the Nefarious HED) on synthesizers, drumming, loops, and voice, there are solid contributions by: the Archbishop of Budweiser (aka Stan Lyon) on bass and spacecow, Sister Mary Haruspex (aka Lynnette Shelley from the Red Masque) on backing vocals, Monsignor Nomuzik (aka Carl Howard from Nomuzic) on analog box, Teop Dlrow Eht Moht (aka Thom the World Poet) on spoken words, Father Viv Bleating (aka Jay Swanson from Quarkspace) on freaky synth, and Cardinal Weimerheiner (aka Chet Santia from Quarkspace) on backing vocals.

Frenzied rhythms are a keynote here, as intricate E-perc, passionate drums, and sparkling electronics beat out relentless tempos that propel the tuneage into astral territory. Synthesizers abound, generating a pulsating interplay of slippery sequences and cloudbank textures. Nimble-fingered keyboards belt out tasty riffs and mesmerizing cycles with alarming velocity. The electronics are quite dazzling in their versatile substance. Devious basslines burrow through this myriad of unworldly noise, providing a rumbling earthiness.

A few tracks feature vocals that wax lyrical about the future and space-age concerns. Blurring vortices of shimmering electronics ooze around these crooning voices, screeching like a swarm of angry insects.

Catchy melodies are another keynote with this music. The fiery riffs conspire superbly with the driving rhythms, producing intriguing harmonics and ultimately appealing tuneage. Intensity goes hand-in-tentacle with cosmic disposition. Trance collides with spacerock, spiced with a little bit of prog.

Some songs abstain from frenzy, devoting their sonic expression to electronic laments. The awe factor still runs high among these more pensive passages.

Fans of Quarkspace will not be disappointed.

- Matt Howarth

Quarkspace... the Starbridge Freaks... have slowed their pace considerably due to the various life factors that distract people. But drummer and keyboard player Paul Williams never stops making music and Church Of Hed is the mostly solo project that is his focus these days. More purely electronic than Quarkspace, the music does nonetheless include clear traces of the Quarkspace sound, which makes sense given that Paul is the one behind the loops that were such an integral part of the later day Quarkspace sound.

The set opens with the revealing titled "The Lone Freak". "Axiom One" is a cool tune that consists of low drones, bubbling alien space sounds, and robotic patterns that make for an interesting combination of the cosmic and quirky elements. Like Kraftwerk jamming to the Forbidden Planet soundtrack. "Rock & Roll Song" would be very much at home on Quarkspace's Drop CD, probably due to the similar styled female vocals from guest Lynette Shelly of The Red Masque. It's got a very dark and slow moving intensity to it but is surrounded by swarming freaky electronics. The title track is one of my favorites being kind of a prog rock song augmented by space electronics. "Free Jim Brown" features classic Quarkspace synth patterns. But there's lots happening. Paul excels at combining disparate keyboard and synth sounds into a varied yet harmonic whole, which is very much a hallmark of the entire album.

Other highlights include "Cathedral Ice Revival" and "Blue Freaky", two more tracks with trademark Quarkspace synth patterns. In fact, the keyboard melody on "Blue Freaky" kind of reminds me of an old FM song (remember them?!). "Requiem Two" is another standout track with cool swirling alien elements. It's wild how there's this slow somber keyboard melody surrounded by UFO chaos, yet it all gels so well. And "Alpha Century Leisuretime" is the one long track at just over 9 minutes. It opens with a bouncy pleasant keyboard melody surrounded by heavenly atmospherics. But soon the main section kicks in which is a blend of cosmic space sounds and textures, light melodic bits, and syncopated keyboard patterns. Imagine early Tangerine Dream with a bit more rhythm and melody, or perhaps a more cosmic Vangelis. I was really drifting along with this one and would have loved for it to continue for a while as it was evolving very nicely and would have made a beautiful multi-movement suite.

Overall it's an excellent set that will appeal to Quarkspace fans and anyone into freaky electronica.

- Jerry Kranitz


Church of Hed: debut released 2002 by Eternity's Jest Records. Radio airplay all over the world on various shows featuring underground and experimental musics.


Feeling a bit camera shy


* - Winner of GRS Games (Vision Videogames) "Get in the Game Contest" 2004.

Church of Hed is about music, modern and experimental, but strangely accessible.

Conceived by yet another musician named Paul Williams, who gained indie almost-notoriety in the American spacerock band, Quarkspace, The Church of Hed has a sound that can be electronic and computerized, or human and kinetic, most of the time simultaneously.

The music explores various forms and structures, from song to experimental improvisation to forward-looking dance music, always sounding like Church of Hed.

It draws inspiration from Coltrane, Kantner, Glass, Hammill, Harrison, Ives, Vander, and Wyatt, while sharing parts of a musical language with contemporaries like Bjork, Mogwai, The Orb, or Tortoise.

Step inside, all are welcome at the Church of Hed.