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Spaced Out - Slow Gin

Spaced Out - Slow GinIf you were fortunate enough to attend NEARfest 2002, I very much doubt that the band, Spaced Out, escaped your attention.  With two albums under their belt, fans have been eagerly awaiting this, their third, the amusingly yet appropriately titled Slow Gin (not sloe gin).

Antoine Fafard (bass and sequencing), Martin Maheux who recently release a solo album (drums), Mark Tremblay (guitar) and Eric St-Jean (piano) are the musicians on this Spaced Out album with special guest Ronald Stewart providing tenor sax on the last two tracks.

Spaced Out claims their music to be a unique blend of jazz, rock and progressive and indeed it is.  In fact the music on Slow Gin is very progressive with a jazz and rock edge.  Keyboards and guitar whilst far from dominating give the album it’s progressiveness whilst drums and bass move between all three genres – sometimes progressive (in the prog sense), sometimes jazz and sometimes rock – always pronounced.  And there are some great death-defying bass solos from Antoine Fafard who, incidentally, also composed and arranged all the music.  On the subject of arrangements and compositions, there’s a cracking guitar riff that punctuates the track Spaced In throughout.

The more, what I would call, experimental pieces such as Minor Blast are not SO experimental as to lose the plot.  The album is full of contrasts from the heavy to the experimental to the laid back.  For example, The Thing is a sort of jazzed-out Focus number – well, there are elements of Focus and Richard Sinclair that make you want to lie down and get up at the same time!

The album as a whole has a very warm sound so whilst keeping you on your toes in a manner of speaking it somehow manages to cosset you into a sense of well being, although the final track, Blue Ron Pipe P.M. may result in nightmares.

You can listen to some samples via the Spaced Out/Unicorn Records website but as I always say, samples can only tell part of the story.  Slow Gin?  I think I will.

Jem Jedrzejewski

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