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Breathing Space

Crossover Prog

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Breathing Space Below the Radar album cover
3.73 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Below the Radar (4:12)
2. Clear (4:29)
3. Lantern for a Smile (6:44)
4. The Night Takes You Home (4:32)
5. Run from Yourself (6:42)
6. Dusk (2:47)
7. Behind Closed Doors (5:38)
8. Drowning (6:26)
9. Questioning Eyes (9:30)

Total Time 51:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Olivia Sparnenn / vocals, percussion
- Liam Davison / lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars
- Iain Jennings / keyboards, backing vocals (5)
- Ben Jennings / keyboards
- Paul Teasdale / bass, acoustic guitar (2)
- Barry Cassells / drums

- Anne-Marie Helder / flute (1)
- Marc Atkinson / backing vocals (3)
- Charlotte Scott / cello (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Richard Nagy

CD self-released - BS0901CD (2009, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BREATHING SPACE Below the Radar ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

BREATHING SPACE Below the Radar reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This sophomore edition effort from UK's Breathing Space is a rather pleasant experience. However, despite their branding by some as a progressive rock band, those looking for highly sophisticated, challenging music won't find much to please their tastes on this effort.

Musically Breathing Space explores a rather simplistic part of the progressive rock territory, with a distinct mainstream tinge to it. Te compositional structures are pretty straightforward, the melodies easyflowing and slick affairs - with just about enough alterations in pace and style to be regardeed as something more than just plain, radio-friendly rock. On this particular album, symphonic textures and a few excursions into vintage art rock territories are additional traits added to the compositions, resulting in a sound that comes across as a blend of AOR and neo progressive rock.

The songs in themselves are pretty easygoing affairs, without many intriguing dimensions to them from an instrumental point of view. The lead vocals of Olivia Sparnenn does add quite a lot to these excursions though. She has a good voice and know how to utilize it, and I suspect many of the tracks are made to be somewhat on the subdued side instrumentally to get the most out of those vocals.

All in all this results in a rather well made effort, dominated by strong and distinct female lead vocals, with an instrumental backdrop that should cater for the tastes of those who enjoy mainstream-oriented art rock of the symphonic variety as well as vintage neo progressive rock.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I really enjoyed Iain Jennings' first solo album that was titled Breathing Space, which subsequently evolved rather cleverly into a band name. He then left Mostly Autumn and forged his own path , releasing this third opus featuring the incredible voice of the sultry Olivia Sparnenn (a former and perhaps ongoing Mostly Autumn backing vocalist to the now departed Heather Findlay). Now, let's get one thing perfectly clear, this is not progressive rock at its most explorative, relying instead on a rockier, ultra-tight delivery that is closer to Magenta than anything, highlighting the fabulous vocals and a strong song structure. What makes it such a treat is that the first listen is really not convincing, requiring multiple and focused auditions before rendering a proper reviewer opinion. There is a definite period of adjustment needed to fall into the grasp of their breathing space.

The title track blasts with unabashed fury, a solid, concrete ramble that is both merciless and elegant , guitars rasping deliriously and the rhythm section fully turbo-charged , a cool melody and a poppy veneer like a hard version of Renaissance or recent Mostly Autumn. The mood quickly veers into more euphoric environments with the gentler "Clear", a nebulous piece that grooves breezily, a masterful vocal performance as well as a subtle little synth solo from bandleader Jennings complete the deal. Very nice indeed, great car driving music by the way, the method that eventually got me hooked to this record. The sadness drips gently on the gorgeous "Lantern for a Smile", a ravishing melody sung with despairing agony, tainted with some distant horizon of hope. Fans of superb female vocals will not believe their ears, Olivia is a star! Different than Findlay, she actually is just as convincing in the sweeping soft tones as the harder-edged stuff (The only slight Findlay weakness, in my opinion). There is an epic orchestral beauty that now starts taking over the disc, a previously undetected charm that eventually becomes clear, as one of the first of 2 absolute summits "The Night Take You Home" floats gently under the radar, a beguiling musical hypnosis that has that Magenta feel I mentioned earlier , Olivia bellowing a series of magnificent chorus and verse, a serene groove keeping it majestically symphonic thanks to a Jennings keyboard barrage , starring a bluesy organ solo and a slippery synth solo which befits his fame. Absolutely deadly, a fragile piece of exquisiteness, a tune that will stick in your head for many weeks to come. "Run From Yourself" explores the spikier territories Jennings obviously loves, a vast array of reeling organ solos propelled without pity, a deep furrow that rocks along, splitting the vocal duties as well with the crisp Olivia to great effect, a convincing romper that bubbles with vivacity. Hints of classic stuff here, a raucous festival of shivering ivory. The naturally pristine "Dusk" is a short selection laced with grace and elegance, piano and voice combining to reach celestial heights and deeply affect the romantic sensibilities. The colossal electronica of "Behind Closed Doors" is extremely adroit and appropriate, an icy mood kept arctic with brutally cold guitar fills, in ambush of a huge chorus that has "memorable" stamped all over it. A zippy synthesizer lead shrugs with impudence, the mood settling for a vivacious finale, Olivia crooning with intense revelation (sounding close to Maggie Reilly of Mike Oldfield fame). "Drowning" is another cheerless affair, with a despondent vocal line that shrieks with pain, a huge chorus that scours the skies and a delicate piano that puts the head to the pillow. The second summit is the fitting final epic , a lucid nearly 10 minute classic in "Questioning Eyes" where a cello introduces the scintillating Sparnenn voice )"just close your eyes", the Renaissance-like symphonics becoming obvious (a superb acoustic guitar courtesy of Liam Davison, who finally gets out from the shadow of the more flamboyant Bryan Josh). Check out the massive axe solo and see what I mean! Gigantic!

What an incredible recording, needing an open-mind and an attentive ear, as well as the right environmental circumstance. Way better and more polished than the last few Mostly Autumn offerings and an essential member of the current British prog scene. Iain Jennings has made the right choices Place with other female fronted bands like Iona, Legend, Nemezis, Strawberry Fields, Panic Room, Karnakata, The Reasoning, Blackmore's Night , Mostly Autumn or Magenta. The packaging is modern and yet breathtaking, bathing in deep green light. I love this album. Near perfection ,

5 estrogen blips

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I did not know what to expect from this album: all information I had at the time was that it was formed by Mostly Autumnīs keyboards player Iain Jannings and that it had a female singer. So I took a hot and got the CD thinking it was probably one of those ego trips by a lesser talented member of an important band. How wrong I was! Breathing Space turned out to be a group of its own, and Below The Radar a terrific album! Granted, they do sound a lot like Mostly Autumn in parts, but they have their own personality overall. And what a fantastic voice Olivia Sparnenn has! She sings like an angel!

The album starts very nicely with the title track , a quite rocking and melodic ditty that shows clearly that their songwriting department is very well served. Jannings is definitely a team player: there is room for all the musicians to breath (pun intended!) and give their contribution in the delivering of a powerful album, full of fine tracks that reveals a band to watch for. Nothing really new or groundbreaking, ok, but still excellent on what they do. I have been listening to this album almost non stop for a the last two weeks and I must admit I canīt have enough of it. It shows more subtlety, variety and small details every time I put it on. It is one of those CDs that sound simplistic at first, but after some time you end up realizing how well crafted and arranged it is. Best tracks: Behind Closed Doors, the 9 minute epic Questioning Eyes, the poignant Drowning and the aforementioned Below the Radar, but they are all at least very good. And they are all delivered with a passion and conviction that is hard to see (or hear) nowadays.

The production is very good: you can hear everything in a well balanced mix. I especially liked Liam Davidsonīs tasteful guitar lines, even if I was attracted by Jennings gorgeous keys at first. Not a single note wasted, everything falling into place at the right moment. And, top of it all, Olivia Sparnenn beautiful voice. How could I ask for more?

If you like melodic rock with generous doses of folk and prog elements all over it, then this is for you. Less Pink Floyd influenced than Mostly Autumn (although not devoid of), Breathing Space proves here that they are much more than just a side project for MAīs keyboards player. Iīm really looking forward to listen to their other works.

Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended

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