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Spaced Out — Eponymus II
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5003, 2001, CD)

Eponymus II Cover art

Zeuhl rules on the second outing from this quartet from Quebec. Bassist Antoine Fafard composed, arranged, and produced all of the music and he plays in a throbbing Jannick Top / Bernard Paganotti style that dominates the proceedings. His work on the five-string bass frequently functions as the lead instrument. The keyboard often doubles the bassline in classic zeuhl fashion with repeating patterns that build the tension. The guitar leads are in a “tortured” style with wildly bent notes and tons of wah-wah. It can recall the more manic and twisted aspects of Allan Holdsworth’s playing as opposed to his fluid solo work. There are also times when the guitar breaks out for a speedy outburst with the entire band hell-bent in pursuit. This is energetic and intense music that features a tight band and compositions that have frequent stops and starts and changes in tempo. Spaced Out has created the type of album that sends spouses and the non-initiated running for cover, but the unrelenting intensity of this excellent band will be manna to the rest of us. Definitely recommended, and a “must-have” for zeuhl fans.

by David Ashcraft, Published 2001-12-01

Like their debut, Eponymus II is a blazing display on instrumental chops. They play two speeds — fast and faster. The unison fills on "Sever the Seven" are flat-out rapid! Bassist / composer Antoine Fafard has a mastery of the instrument that would impress people like Jeff Berlin and Billy Sheehan. Drummer Martin Maheux, keyboardist Eric St-Jean, and guitarist Louis Cote are no slouches either. There are "vocals" in a couple of spots, but they're more abstract tones than sung lyrics. The guitar playing is actually quite Allan Holdsworth-like in places — the solo in the middle of "Trophallaxie" or at the end of "The Alarm" for example. "The Alarm" is a funny tune that is basically a cool drum solo over a bunch of various car alarms. The level of musicianship here is quite high throughout. You want breakneck speed? No problem. These Canadian dudes love to shred. The compositions are kind of a cross between jazz-fusion and traditional old-school progressive rock. The songs have a definite and complex structure, but there are lots of sections with solos and improvised parts too. Each musician takes his share of the spotlight and serves to keep the compositions interesting in the frenzy. For a band that's pretty new to the scene, they certainly play with the experience of a group much older.

by Mike Grimes, Published 2001-12-01

About a minute into this and you would swear Jannick Top has relocated to Canada and gotten a new band together. To say this release comes as a pleasant surprise is an understatement. Spaced Out is a quartet of guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums led by bassist Antoine Fafard, who had a hand in composing all the material. Everyone here can really, really play — we’re talking lightning-fast multi-part arrangements that stay in sync and get from point A to B without meandering or outright wankery. Stylistically the compositions cover a fair amount of ground; instrumental zeuhl in the Weidorje vein, Crim-like repetitive, interlocking riffs, and general bass-slapping, ass-kicking fusion. If there’s a complaint it might be that these guys could use a few changes of speed. Everything is pretty much balls-out and testosterone-laden, with not a heck of a lot of relief. As a result the album can get a bit samey after a while, even if what is being delivered is pretty solid stuff. But wow; they really can play. Undoubtedly the finest thing I’ve ever heard on this label, and deserving of more renown.

by Sean McFee, Published 2001-12-01

Filed under: New releases, Issue 23, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Spaced Out, Antoine Fafard / Alta Forma


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