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Garage A Trois: Outre Mer

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Garage A Trois' Outre Mer is the soundtrack to an as yet unreleased French film of the same name. The band, consisting of Mike Dillon (percussion, vibraphone), Charlie Hunter (eight-string guitar, pandero), Stanton Moore (drums, polyrhythms), and Skerik (saxophone), lays down surging funk-influenced tunes, tempered by the intricate delicacy of vibraphone and guitar.

The main problem with most soundtrack recordings is that they can be, well, boring. Since the main purpose of the music is to accompany the action on the screen, it may not have the weight that's necessary to maintain interest when played apart from the images. Garage A Trois is able to overcome this issue purely by upping the groove quotient of the music. With the group's polyrhythmic base, most of the tracks achieve a hypnotic power that strikes a balance between being unobtrusive and being mesmerizing. "The Machine is a fine example of a track using its bedrock groove to maintain an insistent mood. Elsewhere, "The Dream acts as a changeup from the rest of the album, functioning almost as an ambient exercise, while also featuring some fine sax work by Skerik. The loping, mellow closing track, "Amanjiwo, with its spare, twangy guitar and breathy sax would be lovely in any context.

Outre Mer is a highly listenable work that functions both as a mood piece, like a soundtrack should, and as a standalone effort. Should the film ever find wide distribution, it will be fascinating to see how these evocative pieces accompany the action on the screen.

Track Listing: Outre Mer; Bear No Hair; The Machine; Etienne; Merpati; The Dream; Antoine; Circus; Needles; The Dwarf; Amanjiwo.

Personnel: Mike Dillon: percussion, vibraphone; Charlie Hunter: 8-string guitar, pandero; Stanton Moore: drums, polyrhythms; Skerik: saxophone.

Title: Outre Mer | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Telarc Records

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