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Spaced Out (Canada) - 2000 - "Spaced Out"
Green Teeth 4:51 Toxix 4:50 A Freak Az 5:43 Magnetyzme 5:10 Delirium Tremens 5:10 The Fifth Dimension 6:39 Pensestuax 5:57 Futurosphere 3:58 Furax 6:37 Glassosphere 5:51
Composed, arranged and produced by Antoine Fafard. Recorded and mixed mainly at 'Studio Ekonomik' by Marc-Andre Lepade & Antoine Fafard.
Line-up: Antoine Fafard - electric bass guitar, synthesizer; Martin Maheux - drums; Mathieu Bouchard - electric guitar (except tracks 3&8); Louis Cote - electric guitar (on tracks 3&6); Eric St-Jean - keyboards (on tracks 3&6)
Prologue. Yet another band from New France - they're from the same Canadian province Quebec where such famous and really strong Prog bands as Mystery, Voivod, Miriodor, Maneige, and a few more lived and worked - this is an addition with regard to Maneige. I see this province is really rich in Progressive Rock talents, but I also have noticed that none of Canadian 'French-language bands' sing in French - they either sing in English or play "with no words at all", though I know for sure the absolute majority of members of these bands speak French among themselves. But it doesn't matter, of course, and really, all in all, I can't remember any weak band from among the (originally) 'French-language bands' of Canada. Also, three (or even four) last months I've been really happy to receive only good albums to review. It seems most of the leaders of labels and bands now really know what kind of Progressive Rock I try to support with particular enthusiasm. Really, I just can't write anything different from my true thoughts. I know I will never receive any promo CDs from many bands and few labels as well. I am still sorry that some of the CD senders were probably / really quite disappointed in my reviews and / or ratings (in other words, in me myself): such as "Cyclops", "Snapper Music"; Apocalypse, Event, Philip Gelb, Gnidrolog, Mansion Maze, Flamborough Head, Ancient Future, Everon, Jadis, Shepra, to name a few. The leaders of Everon and Jadis were, however, going to send me their newest CDs, but didn't do it as yet - probably after reading my reviews on their other works. But, as for Shepra and especially Gnidrolog, I don't really know why they didn't like my reviews. Anyhow, it's clear to me the leaders of these bands (of course, I have no idea about the thoughts of each band member) was seriously offended by me since they didn't even response to my reviews and, of course, their web pages have no links to my site. Yes, I am sorry some musicians would rather read only positive reviews about their work, but I am not sorry about some Prog people who don't like me. That's the main thing, I personally consider such a situation as absolutely normal. But if some album has everywhere only totally positive reviews - that's really abnormal. Fortunately, the "Spaced Out" album deserves to be praised.
The album. This is a very serious work of the Jazz Fusion genre (under the term of Jazz Fusion I mean the fusion (exactly) of Jazz with any Progressive genre or style), conditionally only, though. Despite an obvious 'jazzy' spirit in the album it's clear even at the first sight (listening) that all improvisations here are just pseudo improvisations, as each of them was in reality thoroughly composed. This all-instrumental album looks, anyhow, as a concept work thanks to a specific atmosphere present practically in each composition (except for track 8) thus uniting them in a whole monolithic picture. On the whole, this is quite a dark atmosphere, though its origin is far from darkness in a traditional sense of the word. This is the darkness of cosmic depths and the anxiety of the starship pilots in the face of the marvelous. Each piece on this album was composed and arranged in a very original way, not to mention this is music that is able to create quite vivid pictures in the consciousness of the listener. Themes, fundamental structures, are mainly of the Classic Art Rock "quality", but the most part of arrangements, interplays and especially solos from each musician bring a lot of jazzy feels to the music. But as I said, actually each note was thoroughly composed on "Spaced Out", including flashes of some 'wild' improvisations. Musicianship from each performer on this album is outstanding in general, either these guys are just beginners or they had a good school as musicians already before they formed Spaced Out (though, I personally doubt the latter). Although all the varied solos I've heard on "Spaced Out" from all the five band members were played very masterly and exquisitely with a lot of virtuostic passages, I didn't find here any virtuosity just 'for the show'. Also, I hear that one of the guitarists knows who is Allan Holdsworth, but his playing on the whole looks truly original yet, because he just uses the school of playing of the famous guitarists, but never used Allan's technical or some other methods. As for the bandleader and bassist, Antoine's endless soloing is simply fantastic. His mastery and all the other 'data' of playing the bass guitar are at least of the same quality as anyone of his team shows from the beginning to the end of the album. Despite the fact that Antoine often doesn't seem able to stop his endless "machine-gun fire"- bass solos, the drummer is a good match for him, making the work of the rhythm section on the whole excellent.
Summary. Firstly, this is a very mature debut of a high quality. Secondly, this is a very original album in all meanings. Some people may consider "Spaced Out" a work of pure Jazz Fusion / Jazz Rock genre and, thus, they become "victims" of self-delusion. Because this is a brilliant example of how to create a Jazz Fusion album, using only the laws of Classic Art Rock, ie the laws of European Classical music with its symphonic harmonic series, sonatas, etc. So, thirdly, this is a very innovative album. Practically all the three components* (see below, though originally they're in the Intro to Key Reviews) I check and sum up to have a total rating look wonderfully. But, if I were the producer of this album I would place the only almost purely spacey piece on the (so monolithic!) album right in the end. This is the same track 8: see the first paragraph of 'The album'. Also, both tracks with a free keyboardist sound slightly richer than the rest. These are details that eat a half star from a perfect score of six stars that are nothing but the indicator of a pure masterpiece. Anyhow, my congratulations on such a debut: nearly a masterpiece after all.
VM. November 17, 2000
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