Spaced Out — Evolution
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5057, 2008, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2009-07-01
After numerous releases sticking pretty close to a singular style, this appropriately titled latest studio release by the band shows them trying out some new directions, while still maintaining close ties with their instrumental rock-fusion roots. The complexity factor is ratcheted up on many of the album’s nine cuts, and there are some edgy passages that might find the band approaching an avant-garde funky metal sound. That said there is still enough of the electrified jazz-rock fusion sound to tie in nicely with their previous work. Guitarist Mark Trembly and various guest keyboardists cover the upper reaches, while leader/composer/bassist Antoine Fafard and drummer Martin Maheux maintain the busy bottom end. This writer was able to see the material here previewed in their live set at FMPM 2008 in Montreal last September, and it was certainly impressive, although perhaps custom made for music geeks who trip on impressively complex compositions and brilliantly flashy playing. One could see some of the more ‘song oriented’ folks in the audience getting bored with all this high intensity musicianship; with that observation it should be evident that this is probably not for everyone, but those who thought “YYZ” was the best cut on Moving Pictures and are ready to absorb nearly an hour of all instrumental material of that caliber – stuff that demands the listener’s attention to every note and measure, then Spaced Out’s latest will indeed be manna from heaven.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more