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Ozric Tentacles - The Hidden Step CD (album) cover

THE HIDDEN STEP

Ozric Tentacles

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.92 | 148 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I got the CD by accident when I was visiting local CD store couple weeks ago. I have not tracked the band for the last couple years, about 5 years, I think. I'm impressed with this album. Yes, there is obvious disco or house music style in this album but it's more than that, especially when I observe the drumming and guitar work. On top of the musical part, this album has been produced excellently. Sonic quality of the CD is top- notch, especially when I play it loud. The detailed soundscape can be heard clearly. It's advised that if you spin the CD, you should play it loud with a decent stereo set.

I find the band is a band of its own category. Yes, there are influences of other bands, probably, by PINK FLOYD or GONG or HAWKWIND or even YANNI (the new age guy) or ROBERT MILES, probably. But it is not a real or direct influence, I believe, as their music is original. There are lot of sampling or programming techniques used in their music. If you fail to enjoy at first spin, give another chance of at least 2 spins, it will grow dramatically!

HOLOHEDRON kicks-off the album with a keyboard sound and followed immediately by FLOYDian guitar (it seems similar to the guitar opening of "Sorrow" of Pink Floyd' "A Momentary Lapse of Reason") that happens very short period and it continues with lead guitar solo accompanied by keyboard. When the other instruments enter and the music flows continuously the electric guitar takes the lead and spacey keyboard sounds fill at the background with sound effects. At approx minute 3:48 the music turns into a more rocking style with great drumming and bass line. Again, the keyboard still plays the sound effects stunningly And brings the music till the end. It's a wonderful opening track. I really love this track.

THE HIDDEN STEP opens with a keyboard exploration followed by bass and drums performed in moderate tempo. The keyboard sounds at the opening are maintained repeatedly with the same melody but then when the music starts peaking up, the additional keyboard effects are included. This set the right atmosphere for electric guitar works to come in. This time, the guitar sound is mixed very thin so it sounds at the background only. The keyboard sound effects are really amazing

ASHLANDI BOL (track 3) starts with middle-east nuances music produced by keyboard followed nicely with flute sound accompanied with acoustic guitar and sitar. The keyboard work at the opening reminds me to the type of new age music (such as YANNI) but with strong nuances of eastern music. The inclusion of Egyptian sounds of animals and human voices in the middle of the track have enriched this track.

ARAMANU is a track with repeated melody since beginning to the end. For me, it sounds that the music plays all intro from beginning to end because of that repeated melody produced by keyboard. It's probably a sampling sound. The magic thing about this track despite the repeated melody that serves as background music, there are various sounds, instruments and voices produced during the track - from spacey keyboards, woodwind instrument (mixed thinly) to human voices (Arabic conversation) - but it's not a boring track at all.

Now the band brings us to the most interesting track that has become my all-time favorite: PIXEL DREAM. It starts with (as usual) an atmospheric keyboard sounds (I wonder, it might not be a keyboard but a kind of woodwind instrument??) that shortly followed by lead guitar. When bass guitar enters the scene followed by drums, the music flows continuously using electric guitar as lead melody with sort of keyboard / mellotron sound at the background. It sounds like a typical JEFF BECK music with very thin guitar sound even though it functions to carry main melody. The keyboard sounds and bass guitar are excellent. Drumming is great and dynamic.

TIGHT SPIN is the longest track (8:45) that has even more repeated parts and tend to create a sense of boring. The problem lies in the rhythm that sounds like a house music or disco. But when I further observe the details, I found the track demonstrates various kinds of melody improvisation with some instruments: keyboards (with various sounds), drums / percussions and acoustic guitar. The trick here is to neglect (or at least to un-focus) the rhythm and enjoy the solo work - it's really a wonderful sound production. I especially enjoy the acoustic guitar work at minute 6:40 especially when it is then combined with the percussion - amazing!

TA KHUT (Fear) is the most mellow track that starts brilliantly with a pan pipe (woodwind) sounds in a middle-east style. It reminds me to GONG Shamal music even though the two are different in composition. It also reminds me to KING CRIMSON's "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" music style. The woodwind instrument is really taking the lead accompanied with acoustic guitar, percussion.

SUMMARY. If you are not into the kind of music I described above, you should give a chance to enjoy this album. It has a tight composition, excellent musicianship and great performance. If you don't like the music, you will enjoy the sound quality. This album should be produced on DVD audio format. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Rating 4.5/5 (****1/2). GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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