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Ozric Tentacles - Erpland CD (album) cover

ERPLAND

Ozric Tentacles

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.04 | 348 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars For many people, this is the album that finally launched Ozrics into prominence and respect--the album in which the band meshed to produce some really fine, engaging compositions all performed with great band cohesion and skill.

1. "Eternal Wheel" (8:20) bouncy synths pan around the field before chunky low-end bass and steady drum beat root this one into an engaging, hair-thrashing groove. Then Ed Wynne's heavily treated bluesy lead guitar enters and takes over (and almost never stops!) Bass and drums sure shine on this--as does the foundational contributions of the airy synths. Fun to listen for the odd percussives and synth flourishes occasionally thrown into the mix. And cool synth- treated & -accompanied flute play near the end. Great opener! (18.25/20)

2. "Toltec Spring" (3:03) very pleasant slow groove that makes you feel as if you are walking through a jungle while paying attention to the amazing array of flora and fauna around and above you. Great melody, too. Gorgeous and mesmerizing! (9.5/10)

3. "Tidal Convergence" (7:14) awesome spacey synths and percussives open this one before funky bass line and full speed drums join in just before the end of the first minute. Melodic shift at the two minute mark signals the entry of Ed Wynne's searing lead guitar (though it stays in the background). After a little bridge/diversion, the original "verse" returns with Ed playing some very cool combinations of whip-strummed treble chords over the top at 2:30. At 4:20, after another round of verse and "chorus" (these are all instrumentals, we must remember), Ed bursts into the lead with some impressive lead guitar over the third verse. It's a highly charged and very engaging & upbeat cosmic jam. (14.25/15)

4. "Sunscape" (4:02) opens with picked acoustic guitar arpeggi that are joined by layers of other instruments, many percussive, before flute and electric guitars take on the lead roles. Reminds a lot of Corrado Rustici's 1970s NOVA project--especially the Vimana album. Unfortunately, this one doesn't quite come together or soar to the heights of the previous three songs. (8.5/10)

5. "Mysticum Arabicola" (9:14) opens with weird samples before letting an Arabian sounding instrument, sound, and multi-instrumental pattern establish itself as the foundational groove. The instrumental array and arrangement is very impressive--as are the lead performances, but the foundational riff/pattern, I think, needs more development, more variation, and more length to it in order for it to not become aggravating/annoying. This song is really more of a showcase for the exotic instruments and the percussionists. (16/20)

6. "Cracker Blocks" (5:40) more exotic percussives with arpeggi of guitar harmonics and steady background synth support (and ChapmanStick-sounding bass notes) for the first two minutes. New subtle instruments join in in the third minute giving the song a "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls" feel to it. It's a pretty cool, almost Crimsonian weave. Could've used a little more development or shifts and variation but it's a pretty cool, interesting, and immersive song. (8.75/10)

7. "The Throbbe" (6:21) Opens with a MARK ISHAM horn and synth soundtrack feel to it. At 0:57 a tin can hit and drum beat and bass-synth note establish themselves as the baseline groove, signaling the step into the meat of the song. An Arabian male vocalise becomes the lead instrument. Synth player takes over "lead" in the third and fourth minutes while percussionists and Ed's STEVE HILLAGE-like delay/echo guitar snakes around beneath the baseline groove. (8.75/10)

8. "Erpland" (5:32) opens with a POLICE "Synchronicity"-like pace and sound while samplist has fun playing with all of his myriad sounds and noises. In the second minute Ed's straightforward guitar chord playing leads for a bit before spacey synths get some showtime. A second guitar chord chord pattern takes over in the third minute before pace and melody play quickens--electric guitar turning into lead soloist la Steve HILLAGE. Great, complex section bridges this section at the end of the fourth minute into a new, super fast-paced multi-leveled jam in the fifth minute. Return to the "Synchrocity" formula for the final 30 seconds. (8.5/10)

9. "Valley of a Thousand Thoughts" (6:32) more jungle play--this time African. Love these guys' adventurousness! Once again, they follow the formula of 55-second intro before the foundational groove is established, and, like "Toltec Spring" song, the first three minutes are filled with so many subtleties that you can feel as if you're walking through a jungle, taking in all of the sights and sounds. A few rampages of searing guitar and percussives enter like wild animals. Simply awesome! (9.5/10)

10. "Snakepit" (3:17) a return to an Arabian themed song/sound at a medium pace, but then things amp up and the soundscape fills with many instruments and sound streams as Ed's heavily-treated guitar wails away. Not as engaging melodically as some of the others, but still impressive for its intricate weave. (8.5/10)

11. "Iscence" (4:37) settles into a Jamaican Rasta groove (bass, percussion sounds, and guitar/synth chord play stylings- -though the drums are less succesful at mimicking the Rasta sounds and stylings) before male vocalise and assorted instruments bring in their added flourishes and passages. (8.5/10)

12. "A Gift of Wings" (9:46) very steady base of large percussion ensemble over which amazing lead performances from synths, treated guitars, Arabian stringed and wind instruments. Cool, cool, mesmerizing song! (18.75/20) = 9.375

Total Time: 73:38

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and a shining example of world-space jam fusion.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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