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(DVD / Unicorn Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Freak Az 5:05 2. Toxix 3. Infinite Ammo 4. New Breed 5. The Fifth Dimension 6. The Lost Train 7. Unstable Matter 8. Guitar Interlude 9. Singularity 10. Antimatter 11. Bass Interlude 12. Blood Fall 13. Art Attack-2 14. Jamosphere 15. Minor Blast 16. Furax EXTRAS: 1. Sever the Seven 2. Rehearsal LINEUP: Antoine Fafard - electric bass Martin Maheux - drums Marc Tremblay - electric guitar
Prolusion. Canadian band SPACED OUT was founded by Antoine Fafard in 1998, originally as a quartet, but have for the last few years been a trio since keyboard player Eric St-Jean left the outfit. "Live at the Crescendo Festival" was released on CD and DVD in 2007, with the DVD edition containing six more tracks than the CD release. This is the band's second concert DVD, and the first one with the band as a trio.
Analysis. Spaced Out explore a form of music containing elements from several genres, with progressive rock, metal and jazz being the most dominant styles in their sonic explorations. A central characteristic of their compositions is high class musicianship; all members are technically very proficient and make concentrated efforts to use their technical abilities as much as possible in their tunes. They make sure that each individual member gets the chance to showcase his abilities, as well as combining these individual abilities collectively in highly intricate themes and structures demanding that each individual player has to push himself towards the edge of his abilities to perform his individual instrument's role, and to make sure that the interplay with the others is kept up at all times. There is no set formula to the songs here; rather you'll get a high degree of variation in the sonic patterns explored. Sometimes one instrument will dominate while the other instruments underscore, at other times two instruments will explore slightly or highly different melodies and sounds; and a few times all three instruments will have their individual explorations with varying degrees of harmonizing between them. At times the soundscape will be minimalistic, exploring subtle details, at other times the arrangements will be highly complex and demanding to listen to, with a plethora of notes and melodies in a highly eclectic setting. Although Spaced Out doesn't have a keyboard player anymore, keyboards are still used in their compositions. In a live setting such as this prerecorded samples are used to add this musical element to the performance. This live DVD is an interesting addition to the band's discography. With the level of concentration demanded by the members playing these tunes, there's not much entertainment from the band here besides the music - some lighting and smoke effects are used, but the focus here is the performance. The four-man strong camera crew makes the most out of this setting; the instances where effects are used are caught, there are a few shots of the crowd present and some shots of the whole band on stage, but the main focus is on the performance. There's a lot of excellent footage where you get to see in detail how the individual members play details of the songs performed, where the focus seems to be showing how the more intricate parts of the compositions are executed. As for technical details, the sound comes across as good, the picture quality is decent, and the editing of the footage comes across as being of good quality. There's not much extra material on this DVD, which may be a letdown for some. One extra track from the concert with live footage and a picture slideshow combined and some brief footage of rehearsals prior to the concert are the sole extra material.
Conclusion. All in all this is an excellent release, and as well put together as you could expect from a concert where the focus is on performance rather than theatrics and effects. The DVD edition of "Live at the Crescendo Festival" will obviously appeal to fans of Spaced Out. The amount of footage portraying in detail the individual members performance should also make this release interesting for people impressed by the musical capabilities of this band, even if the music as such may not be quite their cup of tea.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 5, 2008
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