Spacer The Beamer

Luke Gordon dons his dancing shoes for the third Spacer album, and they're obviously a great fit. Here, influenced by his own evolution as a club DJ, the producer/engineer gets his groove on while maintaining the experimental edge he's long been appreciated for. While tempos have been upped, Spacer's sense of musicality has only become more refined, allowing Gordon to smoothly travel a path encompassing jazz, dub, electro-funk and more. He's never sounded more relaxed, confident or playful, resulting in an album that's solid from top to bottom. "Smile" leads us in easy - warm and beautiful, the song features sitar, strings, harp and gorgeous female vocals gliding over the richly orchestrated sounds Gordon is known for. He builds slowly, with gentle percussion giving way to more insistent beats that move us directly into the slinky, bass-heavy "Cursory Rub." This one lends new meaning to the term "electro-funk," as does its sparser, deep blue cousin, "Dark Fader." Gordon continues his Spacer tradition of incorporating instruments played by long-time friends and collaborators such as Max Moore (keys), Tim Weller (drums), and Ian Simmons, aka Juryman, (bass), and "Houston," my fave track on the album, makes incredible use of them. Here, chilled cymbals and Arabic-sounding violin lead to frantic blasts of brass, then the piece quiets into sultry bass grooves and steadier saxing. Urgent, playful and utterly captivating, it features more breaks, twists and turns than the best of mystery novels. On a different tip, the percussive, jazzy "Matamanoa" grooves along, tipping its hat to the acid jazz of the early '90s while stepping merrily into a bass-drenched future, and the delicate, dubby, spaced-out "Is It Real?" closes things off by hitting just the right spot. Supreme. (Pussyfoot)