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Ozric Tentacles - Live at the Pongmasters Ball CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.61 | 80 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars While most people who buy their first live OZRIC CD would be likely to start with Live Underslunky, I started with "Live at the Pongmasters Ball". There is also a DVD to this album, but since I have no DVD player (I still have VHS, and would continue to do so even when I get around to getting a DVD player), I have to settle with the two audio CD set, which is fine with me. The band lost their previous drummer Rad at the beginning of 2001, so he was replaced by Stuart Fisher, better known as Schoo, and he is put to good work on this live CD. Unsurprisingly, the music is live reruns of material you are already familiar with, but of course the band included added on solos and ambient experiments as well.

Material as far back as "Sliding Gliding Worlds" ("Kick Muck", "It's a Hup Ho World") is represented, up to the title track of "Pyramidion". Also you get "Oakum", a song that previously appeared only as a fan club-only issued CD called Oakum, released in 2001. I obviously never heard the original, but this live version is amazing. It starts off deceptively like the beginning part of Steve HILLAGE's "Rainbow Dome Musick", before the synth rhythms kick in and the band really starts jamming with great analog synth leads. But the most amazing thing of this whole two CD set is it sounds like the band is returning to that earlier sound. In fact, I can't help be reminded of their early cassette- era material, except the band is much more experienced at this point, meaning the music has better dynamics. Schoo used nothing but real drums throughout (Rad used combination real and electronic drums), which is a real surprise. Many times you wonder if Joie and Merv had returned (of course not, especially with their duties with EAT STATIC which they decided to concentrate full time after 1994).

Not to mention, the they really seemed to cut back on the techno, reminding me more of albums like "Tantric Obstacles", "There is Nothing", "Pungent Effulgent" or "Erpland". Talk about returning to their older sound, I never saw a band more successfully do it as they did on "Live at the Pongmasters Ball". I can't say if their upcoming release on the Magna Carta label will follow in the same footsteps (after all the CD has yet to be released). But still, this whole two CD set is a wonderful live album, and it avoids many of the less desirable traits of live albums like endless wankfests, drum solos, guitar solos, etc., as the band is just as tight and solid as in the studio. If you want more live OZRICS, you can't go wrong here.

Proghead | 5/5 |


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