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The Fourth Hour

by Church of Hed

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Q Ching 08:47


The Fourth Hour is the latest Church of Hed release. This new album features a return to a more immediate and improvisational form of music; likely the first in a series of releases not unlike the Quarkspace Spacefolds collection. Hints of Manuel Gottsching and Ennio Morricone lurk in this mélange of psychedelic electronica, as do other disparate music giants, like Klaus Schulze and Philip Glass.

Released digitally, The Fourth Hour is available for download from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, etc. as well as the usual streaming services, such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc. Remember to support Indie Music!

Mastered for download, not streaming. 24-bit masters exclusive to Bandcamp. So there.


released November 18, 2019

All Music Composed and Performed by Paul Williams, with Stan Lyon (Bass, Tracks 1-4), Sir Winky Stimplebean (Spoken Word, Track 1), Louisa Rhys-Stigmuffin (Spoken Word, Track 3)

Thanks to Tom Gagliardi for the Space Out

Produced by Lance Starbridge

Instrumentation: Moog Sub 37, Make Noise 0-Coast, Waldorf Streichfett, Yamaha MM8, Korg Z1, Waldorf MicroQ, Kawai K5000W, Arturia DrumBrute, Alternate Mode TrapKat, Various Hardware and Software Synths, Devices, and Effects


Gew-Gaw Magazine

Church of Hed released their first album in 2002. Featuring Paul Williams (a founding member of the legendary Space-rockers Quarkspace), Church of Hed plays electronic space/kraut music. I think, maybe I had rewritten it, Church of Hed is a fascinating band, perfect for auditions when your mind travels free to the universe. It’s like having a swinging feel that coils inside your body throws you hundreds of miles to infinity or far from it!! This is the Church of Hed space. And The Fourth Hour is their new spaceship. Another way for us to conquer the space!!

Pete Pardo for Sea of Tranquility

Here we have the latest journey into the worlds of space rock, psychedelia, prog, ambient, and krautrock courtesy of Paul Williams and his outfit Church of Hed, titled The Fourth Hour. Basically a one-man project for the Quarkspace veteran, Church of Hed has allowed Williams to explore and utilize his vast army of keyboards & synths, including on this release Moog Sub 37, Kawai K5000W, Korg Z1, Waldorf MicroQ, Yamaha MM8, and many more. Also helping out on The Fourth Hour are Stan Lyon (bass) and Sir Winky Stimplebean & Louisa Rhys-Stigmuffin on spoken word vocals on two tracks. Love those names!

The Fourth Hour is comprised of five lengthy pieces, each one featuring plenty of spacey atmosphere that allows the synths to undulate, blip, beep, bubble and boil, taking the listener away to galaxies far, far away, as on the dreamy “Avoiding the Beach” and the somewhat menacing, futuristic “Leave the Salad in the Desert”. “Q Ching” is more of an upbeat track, with electronic rhythms that add an ambient, trance feel to the piece, which works nicely alongside the cool synth washes and melodies. There’s a neat Pink Floyd-meets-Ozric Tentacles feel to “The Ruler Does Not Travel”, while the groove laden title track has some fun bass lines and oddball spoken word vocals, definitely one of the more ‘out there’ songs on the album.

Overall, another fun outing of space rock from Pau Williams and his Church of Hed. If you’ve followed any of their previous releases, this one will certainly be of immediate interest and you won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

Peter Thelen for Expose

Church of Hed is the solo project of Quarkspace drummer and synthesist Paul Williams, and The Fourth Hour is the latest in a long string of albums (not the fourth, in fact it’s the seventh by my count), and this time it’s only being released as a download. Of course, that’s always subject to change, and at around 40 minutes total it would make a perfect length for an LP release someday.

There are five long tracks here, and this time it’s a bit more wild and improvisational than the previous few COH releases, mining that rich and fertile sonic zone known as psychedelic spacerock, moreso than the Berlin electronics of his recent endeavors, but Williams is right at home here, and on most of the cuts he’s working with bassist Stan Lyon, the result is a bit reminiscent of the Quarkspace Spacefolds series. Right out of the gate we have “Q Ching,” an intense groover with a strong melody that continues to develop and blossom over the tracks near-nine minute duration; at around the four-minute mark we start to hear some repetitive spoken word part about “fertile soil,” followed by other spoken parts, contributed by the certainly fictitious Sir Winky Stimplebean (possibly Williams himself?) which gives those sections of the track a kind of Hawkwindish flavor.

“The Ruler Does Not Travel” is a bit more synth-dominant, with layers and layers of electronic color building as it goes, eventually resolving into a steady persistent groove. “Avoiding the Beach” is an interesting extended vignette, a mix of color and chaos, layered with care, and it’s the only cut here that doesn’t feature Lyon.

The title track moves briskly, a melange of driving percussion, blasts of synth, and a powerful undercurrent of electronics and bass, this time with spoken words by another fictitious female Louisa Rhys-Stigmuffin, but not really high enough in the mix to be understandable, though it’s still very effective. Somewhere in the timeline we get to “Leave the Salad in the Desert,” borne of deep dark repetitive pulses and swirling synth textures and dweedles interwoven with it. Overall the five tracks included comprise a powerful statement as well as exposing a well of new ideas worked into a serious grooveworld.


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Church of Hed/Quarkspace Columbus, Ohio

Church of Hed is the solo electronic space prog project of Quarkspace drummer/synthesist, Paul Williams. RIYL: Floyd, the Orb, Stereolab -- Quarkspace is an American band together since the mid 80s. Known for combining spacerock and electronics with folk and progressive songwriting, their influences straddle the American and English psychedelic scenes of the late 60s with more modern influences. ... more

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