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Ozric Tentacles
Spirals In Hyperspace
Magna Carta Records
www.ozrics.com


What can you really say about a band that has been highly original, and has somehow managed to survive the music industry for twenty years?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I am a bit amazed that after all these years, Ozric Tentacles is still crafting its very own unique sounding rock'n'jam music. I must admit I've been out of the loop with this band for quite some time, as the last release I remember hearing was 1993's Jurassic Shift. I am just as impressed today by their originality and ability to make good, solid, interesting rock. I am however, very very surprised by the amount of synthesizer that has somehow managed to find it's way into the Ozric sound. And perhaps a good bit of that is the presence of virtuoso Steve Hillage on this record. If you are at all familiar with Hillage's work, then you know he's not one to be shy about trying any sound he can find. I think it's rubbed off a bit on the Ozric fellows.

The songs don't so much move along, as they do dance along… to the beat of four-on-the-floor drum machines and loops. The sound is heavy and highly danceable, bringing a new audience to the Ozric fold. To think that one of the bands who've been known as a cornerstone in the psychedelic/jam rock community have created music that could actually be played in dance clubs. Kind of weird, when you think about it. The sound has moved into much more of what some would call prog-rock. You know, Electric Light Orchestra, and that type of thing.

"Chewier" starts the album off in highly thudding fashion, with its quirky and highly filtered synths and oddly placed cellular phone ringtones. Or at least, that's what they sound like to my ears. "Oakum" seems more like a track that would be much more obvious on an Enigma record than an Ozric release. Except of course for the cascading falls of guitar solos… And that would be what sets most of these songs apart from other band's ambient trance/dance tracks. Guitar playing that is both highly organic and somehow weaves in and out of all the other action happening sonically. My favorite track is album closer "Zoemetra", and not just because of the cool name. The guitars and synths become one interweaving tangle of sound, which cascades delightfully over much more organic drumming than otherwise found on the record. The beats move back and forth from straightforward rhythms, to convoluted polyrhythmic chaos, all the while creating a backdrop for dynamic and interesting sounds that meander back and forth, in and out of the song. It's trippy, man.

It may be a far step from their earlier tripped out, guitar oriented, psychedelic meanderings, but this is still music to sit in your living room and watch the colours and trails unreservedly zipping out of the television set… and your friends' eye-sockets.

-L. Keane

Track listing:

1. Chewier
2. Spirals In Hyperspace
3. Slinky
4. Toka Tola
5. Plasmoid
6. Oakum
7. Akasha
8. Psychic Chasm
Zoemetra


 

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Mike Doughty



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