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(62:45, Trail Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Drifter 14:49 2. Euphoria, Euphoria 13:54 3. The Players in the Band 8:31 4. Floatin' Down the River Wheelin' on a Tune 7:01 5. The Drifter (Live) 9:18 6. Spirit Roots 9:12 LINEUP: No stated
Prolusion. Swedish space rock band THE SPACOIUS MIND have been an ongoing venture for more than a quarter of a century, starting out in 1991 and staying very active for the next 15 years or so. The last decade have seen band activities fade a bit, but as far as I know the band are still existing, albeit now in a more sleepy phase. "The Drifter" compiles material by the band that have become difficult to track down these days, and was released through US label Trail Records in the fall of 2018.
Analysis. Space rock is one of the curious children that resides inside of the progressive rock spectrum. Curious due to the fact that as niche genre, there is a a great deal of variety going on. The core traits most bands described in this manner share is that they are able and willing to make use of improvisations, and that they incorporate psychedelic and cosmic elements as key traits in their arrangements. Still, the end results can be wildly different still, and can move in many different directions. From the at times dub-oriented escapades of Ozric Tentacles to the hard, punk-tinged excursions a band like Hawkwind could produce on occasion. The Spacious Mind is one of the bands that explore a more typical loose improvised take on the genre, rather similar to many other bands from Denmark and Sweden that have appeared in the last couple of Decades. Oresund Space Collective is probably the most famous of those, alongside My Brother the Wind. The Spacious Mind is a band that, as I experience them, revolve a lot around the guitars. Careful, echoing and reverberating notes set against a more flowing, floating guitar layer is a typical example, and having both guitars open up with reverb and echo infused notes and tones that gradually develop into constant but different sounding layers of sound another one. Some more plain and crisp psychedelic guitar soloing also a mainstay of their repertoire. These and some other modes of delivery are explored in depth here, always with gradual, subtle developments in action, occasionally stopping a bit in phases I tend to describe as searching, where my association is that the band at that point waits for a new direction to solidify for the improvisations. Bass and drums give a steady but often careful and subdued support, and as is often the case with bands of this kind I get the impression that both of these instruments alternate as pacesetters as well as the main indicators of how any given improvisation should continue onward. Keyboards is an aspect of the totality as well, although perhaps a bit more sparingly used in this band than in others I have encountered, and arguably used a bit more here to add a vintage oriented sound to the proceedings rather than to focus on cosmic laden textures and effects. One details that sets this band apart from many others in this field is the occasional use of vocals, and while they do not add much for me in this general context, it does add an element of variation in itself, as well as obviously demanding the instrumentalists to cater for this very feature. The Spacious Mind is most certainly among the more interesting bands of this genre, at least if the material used in this compilation is representative of their entire catalogue. The moods explored provide ample variation, the improvisations remains interesting and hardly ever go stale, tension is maintained with relative ease throughout. Nothing too bombastic nor dramatic, while even the calmer cuts here manage to maintain a nerve throughout.
Conclusion. Trail Records have developed a good reputation over the years to seek out and find artists that for some reason or other isn't as well known as they deserve to be, and in The Spacious Mind they have added one more jewel to their roster. Fans of progressive and psychedelic rock are obviously all too aware of this, as I understand that the first print of this CD sold out fairly quickly. A second run has been done though, so there is still a chance for fans of this kind of music to get hold of this CD. Knowing the market for physical CDs these days, I rather suspect that a third run will not happen though, so those who know and know their space rock will have to make a relatively quick decision on whether or not this is a CD they should get hold of. For my sake I'd say that this is a CD that is pretty high up on a must buy list for fans of this kind of music.
Progmessor: December 29th, 2018
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