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Tracklist: Severthe Seven 8:56 The Lost Train 6:20 Infinite Ammo 4:17 For the Trees Too 4:55 Trophallaxie 5:57 Severthe Seven - Revisited 5:33 The Alarm 3:58 Glassospherev Part II 5:31 Jamosphere 7:50 All music composed & arranged by A. Fafard, except 3: by A. Fafard & M. Maxeux. Produced by A. Fafard. Recorded and mixed by A. Fafard at "L-Astronef" studio. Line-up: Antoine Fafard - electric bass Martin Maxeux - drums Eric St-Jean - keyboards Louis Cote - electric guitar Additional musicians: Mathieu Bouchard - electric guitar on 6, 7 & 9 Michel Deslauriers - acoustic guitar on 1 & 8, voice on 6 & 8 Jean-Pierre Dodel - electric guitar on 9 Ronald Stewart - tenor-sax on 9 Jason Martin - narration on 1 & 5Spaced Out online:
Prologue. Time goes by like lightning, that's true, but this group's story is another thing altogether. Just eight months have passed by since the Spaced Out debut album was released (in September 2000), yet another new album by this excellent Canadian band is already out. Actually, Spaced Out would have released their second studio album two month ago except for a delay on the part of a factory that was pressing their CD. Now, with two wonderful 55-minute albums offered up to the Progressive world in just eight months, Spaced Out is, probably, the only time-breaking record-holder (the word "record" has two meanings here) in the contemporary Progressive Rock movement. In this connection, I've immediately recalled the old and good (old'n'gold) years of the first half of the 1970s when lots of the bands, being deeply inspired by that wonderful first wave of the Progressive Music movement, easily had time to release two (sometimes even three) albums a year . By the way, the first edition of the Spaced Out self-titled debut album has been sold out for some time; the second edition of this CD was made available for sale by Unicorn Records since the beginning of the summer. Congratulations go to both the band and the people at the label whose CD-catalogue so far consists only of excellent works and masterpieces.
The Album. Firstly, I'd like to let you know that the band's second album is more progressive than its predecessor, so "Eponymus II", without a doubt, should attract a lot of potentially new Spaced Out fans from the Classic Progressive camp. Secondly, all the old and new fans of the band will be more than amazed with the mind-blowing, fantastic musicianship of all the band members (and guests, too), as well as with their joint performance on the band's second album. Thirdly, it's great that the keyboard player is featured on more tracks of "Eponymus II" (only two compositions on the debut album featured keyboards). The first three compositions are the real progressive killers, having less jazzy elements than in any other remaining pieces on "Eponymus II". What's more, Infinity Ammo, The Lost Train, and especially Sever the Seven are filled with all those things that are essential in creating a truly progressive work. Each of these three pieces amaze with extremely frequent and very unexpected changes of the musical directions, a lot of diverse and complex arrangements, and totally unpredictable developmental compositional techniques . Also, these pieces project tense and dramatic feels. I didn't expect to hear such specific emotions in the music of Spaced Out. Wonderful is the word. Well, it's time to move farther. The same essential attributes of progressive music (in its general meaning this time, - not in the 'classic' one), that I mention above, are typical for the majority of compositions of this album. Apart from the three already described (classic progressive) pieces, the remaining tracks consist of: Trophallaxie, Sever the Seven (Revisited) and both the "spherical" ones (the last two tracks) - Glassosphere (Part II) and Jamosphere. Only these two "Spheres" contain classic progressive arrangements and they're adeptly intermixed with jazzy bass and guitar solos / improvisations. The fifth and the sixth compositions are also full of such specifically progressive ingredients as unusual time signatures and rises and falls of different themes and arrangements, though these two pieces represent the fusion of Jazz Rock and Spacey Progressive structures. As always on this album, all these musical changes and events happen on a very "slippery" musical base (I just cannot call it "background") that consists of complex, illogical, often atonal and, at the same time, very tense acrobatics of Antoine Fafard's bass guitar. Each of the musicians demonstrate brilliant musicianship throughout the album. Quirky, intricate guitar solos by Louis Cote are as impressive as is the uniquely diverse drumming by Martin Maxeux. The bass lines, moves and solos by Antoine Fafard, however, are the most special elements on the album. The bass guitar plays not just a prominent role on "Eponymus II"; it is the leading instrument on the CD and it is wonderful to hear how masterly other musicians tat their laces-movements around the constantly changing fantastic bass traceries - the real acrobatic tricks of the bass. By the way (fortunately!), Eric St-Jean is the only musician here whose parts on "Eponymus II" are almost always played in the treble sonata clef (it seems to me that most of them were specially written out by Antoine). That's why this album as a whole sounds more progressive than the band's self-titled debut. And this is true despite the fact that the other four compositions of this album have little to do with Progressive as we see it. (I have discussed two of these pieces earlier in this review.) The two remaining tracks are not part of the the aforesaid majority (can you still remember it?) and each of them sound quite independent from the rest of the tracks on the "Eponymus II", and, in addition, sound quite different from each other. While For the Trees Too almost entirely consists of jazzy improvisations and improvisation-like solos of bass and guitar, the largest part of The Alarm is filled with the diverse interplays between the various percussive instruments and the real drum kit. Finally, using the voices in spacey (exactly) episodes sounds innovative and effective. As for a couple sax jazzy solos on the last track, they sound good, though I am not sure that adding them just (and only) at the end of the album was necessary.
Summary. After the first listening to the Spaced Out second album, it's already become clear that the band has grown heavily since their debut album - both compositionally and technically, though their debut album was really an excellent debut in the Progressive taking into account the fact that Spaced Out was formed just a couple years ago and has no history nor even biography that could be related to some pre-Spaced Out formations or bands, the reviews for which the hero of this review has completed. In other words, the band's maturity developed extremely quickly as evidenced by the absolute masterpiece the second Spaced Out album has turned out to be and which, moreover, has been created during such a short space of time (at least relative to the last decade). Also, with the "Eponymus II" album, Spaced Out has just confirmed that they are currently not only a hallmark of one of the chief Progressive Rock genres, but also, most likely, a leading contemporary Jazz-Fusion band within the frame of the progressive sense of said terminology (according to the real meaning of the word Fusion: Confluence). In respect to this meaning, Spaced Out's "Eponymus II" album can be described as the Confluence of Jazz-Rock and Classic Symphonic Progressive.
VM. July 29, 2001
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