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Infinite River - Space Mirror LP

Infinite River - Space Mirror LP

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WHO: Organic freeform space guitar-based instrumental music made by folks with deep roots in the Michigan underground.

RIYL: Kranky Records, Cluster, Susan Alcorn, “Space”>“The Other One”

NOTE: Eric Isaccson from Mississippi Records did the cover artwork

The band is comprised of four badasses of Michigan underground sound: Gretchen Gonzales (Universal Indians, Slumber Party, Terror at the Opera), Warren Defever (His Name is Alive, ESP Beetles), Joey Mazzola (Detroit Cobras, Sponge, Sugarcoats), and special guest Steve Nistor (Sparks, Ural Thomas, Seedsmen to the World). The instrumental combo has already played in London, the Bay Area (where they accompanied some of Harry Smith’s “Early Abstraction” films), and to packed houses in Detroit. Their debut, Prequel (Birdman) released at the start of 2023, received many fine notices; this album was recorded at the same time and in the same home studio in Birmingham, Michigan.

Space Mirror is so good. Each unnamed track flows into the next. It’s subtle, often quiet, and beautiful, to be sure. But it’s expansive and hard to pin down. Part of the reason is that the Michigan way is all-out. You can’t get on the smallest stage here without fully committing. That’s why we not only gave you the single best album of the peak rock era (rhymes with “pun mouse”), but the mind-melding depths of Emeralds (to use two Ann Arbor reference points). This here is an Infinite River, after all: We have the perfectly crafted harmonic noise guitar stylings of Gretchen Gonzales. And the expert drone of Warren Defever on tambura and harmonium. Steve Nistor’s percussion veers from imperceptible to all-encompassing. And Mazzola is such an adept stylist that it’s easy to mistake his emotive slide guitar work here for a full-on pedal steel. Fans of Barry Walker, Jr. and Henry Flynt will find much to enjoy here.

Everyone’s seen that panel by now, multiple times, originally printed in late 1986 in the fourth issue of Alan Moore’s Watchmen: A blue guy with a dot in his forehead sits on a boulder on the moon looking back at Earth, apparently exhausted. “I am tired of Earth, these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives,” the original caption states. And now with meme generators you can change it so it’s about how you don’t want to go to work, or something cool about capitalism, whatever. My setup here is that if that meme could talk (and we’re not talking its excellent HBO adaptation), Space Mirror is exactly what the soundtrack would be. It’s expansive, exquisitely rendered, and carries with it an unexpected emotional depth.

- Mike McGonigal

Joey Mazzola - guitar
Gretchen Gonzales - lead guitar
Warren Defever - tanpura and harmonium

Special Guest: Steve Nistor - Drums
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