Spaced Out — Live at the Crescendo Festival
(Unicorn Digital UNCDVD-002, 2007, DVD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-10-01
Typically, the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the name Spaced Out is the superhuman bass playing of Antoine Fafard. Make no mistake, band mates Mark Tremblay (guitar) and Martin Maheux (drums) are no slouches either, but Fafard exists in a rarified plane of ability among bassists drawing comparisons to such names as Les Claypool and Victor Wooten. This DVD presents an entire Spaced Out concert from the 2006 Crescendo Festival in France, and to actually see Fafard, Tremblay and Maheax play live further cements their reputation, though it’s also a bit like seeing the man behind the curtain. It makes the band more human and reveals how they translate their studio recordings to the stage. Part of this is through healthy doses of pre-recorded backing tapes, including keyboard and percussion parts that are no doubt fed into the PA as well as the band’s in-ear monitors. This requires a slavish need to stay in sync with the backing tracks in terms of tempo and dynamics and so what you get on stage is a very close rendition of the album songs. Consequently, Spaced Out can seem a bit clinical live as they chew through aural scenery. If you want three guys with insane fusion and rock chops, look no further, though if you want an engaging performance where musicians bond with their audience you may want to search elsewhere. Still, for sheer instrumental wizardry and a clinic in bass playing I heartily recommend this DVD.
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
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more