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Ozric Tentacles - The Floor's Too Far Away CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.70 | 140 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Newcomer Brandi Wynne steps up from her previous guest appearance to that of full-on collaborator--mostly on synth and in the production booth. Otherwise, this album represents Ed in an almost-solo capacity. You go, Dude!

1. "Bolshem" (4:48) actually a pretty cool groove--a steady but easy-going pace with some fine performances (and fine coherence) across the board, start to finish. (8.875/10)

2. "Armchair Journey" (5:53) seems to get a jump start from the bleed-over from the previous song but is, in fact, a totally different song. The long spacey intro is really great--quite YES-like, but then, in the third minute, Ed breaks out his STEVE HILLLAGE--but then backs off--it's only a tease while he lets the drums (grâce à Matt Shmigelsky) show off a bit before taking off/over himself. The bass (Ed's) is pretty great throughout: not just a rhythm keeper but also a part- time melody-maker. The dreamy Fender Rhodes is cool too--there are parts that make me think I'm in the middle of the lush soundscapes of NOVA's Narada Michael Walden-produced Vimana, 1976. This is great--not just regurgitated old OT stuff.(9.125/10)

3. "Jellylips" (6:07) opens with computer-effected weirdness (like the treated voices in Kanye West's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"). The drum, bass, and synth cohesive rhythm track has some nice staccato elements but is otherwise another variation on the "drive with the top down country road" format that this band excels at. I've got to hand it to Tom Brooks and Ed's synth mastery (with perhaps a little assist from new-energy newcomer Brandi Wynne) for the very creative soundscape they've pulled off for this one. The solos are 90% synth generated, 10% Ed's Hillage-guitar. Kudos for sound and palette creativity. (8.875/10)

4. "Vedavox" (2:51) Space-African sound palette with talking drums, drones, and all-kinds of teeth, nose, and thumb instrument sounds all woven together within a kind of Arabian orientation. Again, credit is deserved for the sheer creativity behind the sound choices devised to make this weave. (8.875/10)

5. "Spacebase" (9:36) the slow bouncy percussive synth-bass intro reminds me the work of both Berlin School-KLAUS SCHULZE and SONAR. Other instruments soon join in to create the usual full-spherical four-dimensional surround- sound. It feels as if the bouncy synth-bass is quite often either the lead instrument, or the melody-setter, as well as, occasionally, the attention-getter. Even when Ed is soloing on his guitar I find myself much more interested in what the bass line is playing. That super-funky BILLY PRESTON ("Space Race")-reminiscent sixth minute is so ill! And the synth player(s) just keeps driving it home throughout the next minute--even while a separate synth tries to take over and Ed's searing guitar play really does. Cool, simplistic PAUL HARDCASTLE-like solo synth in the seventh as the support palette of instruments slowly shifts to a more dream-jungle-like soundscape--until 7:25 when the robot funk "bubble" voice takes over and carries the lead well into the ninth minute. Overall, quite a magical, danceable ride. (18.5/20)

6. "Disdots" (6:48) more great multi-multi-dimensional sounds woven together magically across many levels in a very jazz-rock fusion fashion with some great drumming, bass play, and Steve Hillage-like lead guitar work. (13.5/15)

7. "Etherclock" (8:01) using a foundational soundscape that sounds remarkably like something from one of ANDREAS WOLLENWEIDER's early albums, this one takes off into planetary reconnoitre before going heavy rock 'n' roll with one of Ed's raunchier guitar sounds soloing away. The interesting rhythm guitar chord strum play in the fourth minute is quite JAN AKKERMAN like. Great MOOGY KLINGMAN/UTOPIA-like synth play in the sixth as Ed's guitar continues its creative strum play. A song with some great highs (the syncopated strumming) and irritating lows (the raunchy guitar). (13.33333/15)

8. "Splat!" (8:59) a very funked up weave (that my wife loved!) sets up plenty of opportunities for solos--many that come from the synths as well as a few tamer ones from Ed's electric guitars. (I count, minimum, five different ones-- which is actually small when compared to the number of synth sounds employed.) Solid, very good, but just not enough to raise it to "write home about" level. (17.75/20)

9. "Ping" (6:39) a dreamy sci-fi keyboard soundscape over which Ed flies around on his fretless bass. Besides Brandi's keys, I'm not sure there's anyone else contribution to this one. Daryl Stuermer (with Jean-Luc Ponty)-like acoustic guitar joins in and then takes over for the third minute as the music flattens out and runs a few red lights. Impressive! The fourth minute presents some very PAT METHENY GROUP-like polyrhythmic math rock odd time sigs and playing while the drums and electric guitar take off in straight time over the top. Very impressive!! Another one of those once- in-a-album songs that serves notice that this band is very much alive and producing highly creative, highly charged music. (9.5/10)

Total Time 59:42

I think the creative input added by Brandi has definitely provided a much needed shot in the arm--this despite the signs that the OT moniker is becoming a shadow mask for Ed to realize his ideas in solo. The sounds created by the computer keyboards for so much of this album are highly original and, therefore, to be commended and praised. Otherwise, I'm not sure the band has any new ideas to contribute to rock/progressive rock music in terms of song structures and style. (Though I should perhaps be reprimanded for accusing a band that has originated and perpetuated a style that is very much all their own of not being creative or progressive enough!) On another positive note: this album gets the "Big Funk Seal of Approval" from my Prince-loving wife. (It's rare that she ever asks me to turn up my music much less dances her sultry Soul Train dances right next to me while it's playing.)

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and a real turning point in the lineage of OT sound and energy. Welcome, Brandi! Just what the band needed!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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