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Ozric Tentacles - Erpland  CD (album) cover

ERPLAND

Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Sean Trane
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Prog Folk
3 stars This is a band that made so many similar albums that you could say that owning one of them , you own them all. This one is generally pointed out as their best but from what I heard of the others this is only marginally so . All in all this sounds as a more progressive Hawkwind .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#5399)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
dandandan78@y
5 stars Bloody amazing album, works really well as a whole and needs to be listened to in a field at dawn to make proper sense. Best tracks are A Gift of Wings and Tidal Convergence. I have only got 2 other Ozrics albums but this one is the best as it has a good mix of full on psych out rock and chilled out grooves.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#5400)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that "Erpland" show to us who love the avant garde music is the trigg to OZRIC TENTACLES career around the world. This work let us to enjoy a complexely but amazing art picture of sounds that project several images and feelings inside our soul. Very good performance as the most OZRIC TENTACLES`s discography.

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Send comments to Queno (BETA) | Report this review (#5401)
Posted Sunday, March 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Without a question "Erpland" would be perhaps in my opinion the mighty OZRICS greatest moment of all. "Erpland" resonates with sheer world brilliance and offers a wonderfully complete album full of space induced-Eastern musical ideologies. Like all OZRIC albums, the lads get into some pretty heavy mind blowing jams with heavy emphasis on electronics and guitar/bass driven grooves. "Erpland" offers a wonderful mix of space fusion and softer more atmospheric parts carrying still a strong improvisational aspect to their music... brilliant stuff.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#5402)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is space progressive rock. It contains many interstellar dreamy keyboards, bubble sounds effects, and well crafted electric guitar solos. "Erpland" is not their best album, but certainly not their worst one: it is seen by the majority as a major work in the progressive world of the 90's. Obviously, any comparison intention automatically brings out Gong and Steve Hillage. "Erpland" has many exotic passages, often having a Middle Eastern style. There are also many excellent flutes, acoustic percussions and acoustic guitar parts; some bits remind me Peter Gadriel's "Passion" album. It is still too soon here to consider their sound quality and the refinement of their atmospheric textures at their best. The drums are absolutely varied and refined. Those musicians are so talented and versatile that they even produced a good reggae track: "Iscence"! Compared to "Strangeitude", "Erpland" is more constant: globally the tracks are better. Compared to "Jurassic shift", the keyboards and electric guitars here are more timid, less colorful and atmospheric; the tracks are also less catchy than on "Jurassic shift".

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5407)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the finest records i ever heard, a little more rough than JURASSIC SHIFT, but extremelly good in essence and concept. Tha band has a peculiar trademark, from playing to performing, a unique sound, sometimes unimmitable. Certainally, the record shows a progressive side, but a fusion with electornics that we barely accept in other bands. Sadly this effort is not very well known as well as the band, but, hey, if youre into prog, you must research a lot more to find this kind of hidden treasures. I cannot expose the whole record beacuse it might loose the mystery, but be sure that you'll be enjoying 74 minutes of pure "out of this earth" music experience. Just check "Mysticum arboricola"... wow

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Send comments to arqwave (BETA) | Report this review (#5405)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The digitally remastered version of "Erpland", which was originally released in 1990, is regarded as the first official album by OZRIC TENTACLES. They had released a series of cassettes in the eighties prior to this album. This 1998 version by Snapper Records brings the exceptional quality and multiplicity of OZRIC TENTACLES' music out with sonic delight on every track. The stylistic variety is breathtaking on this prog-space masterwork. From the rocking surfy "Sunscape" to the Middle Eastern deserts of "Mysticum Arabicola," the musical landscape changes at every turn. "Erpland" is a driving pulsating rocker, and one of the highlights of the entire CD. Then to make yet another musical shift, "Iscence" is a rock reggae splash of island sun.

This group is fully capable of handling whatever change of direction that every group member decides to go in a song. Each individual makes the necessary adjustments to follow along and fulfill their obligation to the group as whole. This is exceedingly intricate and hypnotic music; it can be mystical and soothing and also change in the next song to powerful and exciting rock. Its no wonder this is considered some of their best work, there isn't a whole lot that they missed on this session. It seems that just about every style was touched upon one time or another.

Albums like this serve as a benchmark for an entire genre and a landmark for the group that created it. This group spurred on the jamband sound, but in a different way than the GRATEFUL DEAD did, however they played a huge role in starting a fire that continues to burn today.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#5406)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is modern psychedelic prog with a strong dose of New Age, World and trip-hop in the base of the music, with jazz-fusion and Arabic influences topping it all off during the solos (which aren't as many as you would expect from an hour-long prog album). I tend to lean towards the earthier, more organic moments (Sunscape is one of my favourite tracks of the 90s and Toltec Spring and Valley Of A Thousand Thoughts aren't far behind) slightly more than the trippy instrumental workouts (Tidal Convergence, Eternal Wheel, the disctinctly Middle-Eastern sounding Mysticum Arabicola and the synth-drenched closer A Gift Of Wings) but almost all of this album is excellent, and that includes the exuberant reggae of Isence!

I'd have to say that Ozric Tentacles are more mood dependent than most of my prog ... you need to want to space out when you enter the group's soothing grasp, otherwise their music might leave you cold. With their steady, almost danceable backbeats over which Ozric's many capable musicians weave a rich tapestry, this group feels like a sort of Tangerine Dream/Gong/Hawkwind hybrid yet with a distinctly modern (for the 90s) vibe.

Ozric Tentacles is one of those groups (like pre-classic proggers Colosseum and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and post-classic proggers Marillion and The Mars Volta) to whom I give a high rating partly because they really stand out for their time. That doesn't mean this album isn't excellent though ... I'd recommend it to anybody who really wants to kick back and enjoy some (ahem) medicated relaxation. ... 72% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#5408)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Wonderful followup to "Pungent Effulgent", this was their first album on their own Dovetail label (apparently the band had a falling out with the Demi-Monde label). Along with Ed Wynne, Roly Wynne (Ed's brother), John Egan, Joie Hinton, Merv Pepler, and Paul Hankin, you get guests (all from earlier lineups) on some of the cuts like Marcus Carcus, "Generator" John, Tom Brookes, Steve Everett, etc. The album has a rework of "Eternal Wheel" (originally from "There is Nothing"), this time guitar is dominant, rather than being electronic, and I have to admit is quite an improvement. There's a couple of ambient pieces with "Toltec Spring" (nice use of exotic flute) and "Tidal Convergence". "Mysticum Arabicola" is heavily Middle Eastern-influenced while "Crackerblocks" is a trippy little experiment. "Valley of a Thousand Thoughts" has some African influences, complete with marimba. "Iscence" was the only reggae cut on the album and one of the rare times there are actual vocals, John was responsible for the vocals. This is truly a great album, and even those not big on the OZRICS tend to go for this album. There is enough material on this CD as not to warrant bonus cuts on later CD reissue (like the 1998 reissue on Snapper). Wonderful artwork from Blim (perhaps Blim's finest). Essential to all OZRIC fans.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#5409)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Space rock at it`s best

I was introduced to Ozric Tentacles because of an strange and ridicolous fact, reading an article in a mexican web site, i found the name of Ozric Tentacles and it suppose that the mentioned band plays spacial music, i liked the name, and actually that was the reason of getting their music.

Now that i know much more about them i can say that that old fact which made me get into them, was a mere coincidence and a strange but great situation, then i clearly remember that i found Erpland in a "market" of my city, put it in my stereo and loved it since the first time.

The music, the space effects and use of electronic instruments has made me love this album since then, in fact i got more interested in the band because of this album, and actually i got more interested in discover new bands with space effects and alike to Ozric Tentacles.

The greatness of the album and its music is the blend of great electric guitar sound with that space and variable music sound created by the band, also we can listen hints of Reggae, electronic moods and powerful rock songs.

After all i think is not a true masterpiece despite my love for it, so for that reason i think of it as a 4 star album, great!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#5410)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first Ozric Tentacles album I purchased...and I sure am glad I did. This simply stated is one of the greatest albums of all time. Combining elements of trance, ambient, ethnic, space rock, jazz and every other style known to man, this album makes for a truly unique listening experience. The first track "eternal wheel" gets the listener ready for what is about to come. Starting off with simple synth and bass lines, the song suddenly burst into a psychadelic jam. The guitar work on this track is exceptional, thanks to Ed Wyne (ozrics mastermind). Notice any similarities between Ed Wyne and Steve Hillage (GONG etc.)? "Toltec Spring" is a mellow track that uses ethnic influences and amazing flutework to create amazing atmospheres. The standout track on this album is "Inscence". The amazing thing about this band and album is their ability to combine so many different elements into their music. This track is their version of a reggae song. The only song on the entire album to feature lyrics, this track grooves in and out of hypnotising bass lines and drum beats. If someone played this album for me for the first time again, I would have never guessed that this space/techno/ethnic rock album was released in 1990. Although about 95% instrumental, the music makes up for the lake of lyrics. Clocking in at 75 minutes, Erpland well worth the time it takes to fully soak in everything the album has to offer. I think it is apparent that this group is/was under the influence of psychadelic drugs from their covers and music. Defenitaly recommended for any fan of prog rock as a whole, but essential for anyone who loves psychadelic space rock. If you enjoy Steve Hillage era Gong, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Duul II etc. you will love the Ozric Tentacles. Thank you Ozric Tentacles for being one of the brilliant bands around today.

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Send comments to Erpland316 (BETA) | Report this review (#59375)
Posted Wednesday, December 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
www.FOBdrumme
4 stars I will admit there are some psychedelic/spack rock bands I just can't into but there are three exceptions: Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, and now Ozric Tentacles. Now the reason why I can't get into that genre is well at times it gets a little to weird for me shoot there are even some songs by Pink Floyd i can't get into and i love Pink Floyd. But as i was learning more about Floyd and Tree these guys popped up on AOL radio out of nowhere and played this crazy song with an amazing guitar solo and cool synths. I was like WHO WAS THAT and found out it was Ozric Tentacles. I wanted to know more about them and at the same time wasn't sure if i should get any of their music. I did some research on the whole Space Rock thing and as many bands i heard none of them got me as interested as OT did. So finally i decided to go with my gut and get this album Erpland in a double cd pack with Jurassic Shift. Glad I did cause snapper music has been doing that with about all of their albums now but anyway i will say it was different for me at first listen but second listen i definitely have started to enjoy this sound that OT is bringing. well it really surprised me at how diverse their sound is as not only do they bring out the space rock in them but they also mess around with some Latin, Egyptian, and Mexican themes they even play some reggae in this album which really surprised me. Plus the way these guys play to me its more of a non-traditional space rock band as while most bands have nothing but electronic equipment to supply the whole rhythm OT expands their sound by having a real rhythm section of bass and drums, and plus they also add in some woodwind instruments along with some marimba for fun. I mean sure ya get some ambiet songs that to me remind me of Tangerine Dream but there are many great songs like Eternal Wheel, Tidal Conergence, Erpland, Mysticum Arabicola, etc. that really pack a punch. But i have to say the soloing in the album are GREAT. Ed Wynne is quite a talented player as he definitely has made a name for himself and for the band as well. Its crazy thought the effects are so outrageous i have a hard telling if Ed is soloing on guitar or if Joe is using synths. But anyway no matter Ed is quite a shredder. So this album wasn't bad there were some songs that didn't really catch me but there are some great rhythms and solos that will really catch ya. So try this band out if you wanna expand your musical taste and listen to it in the car cause its great driving muisc.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#88462)
Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When you think of the year 1990, I dare you to come up with many albums by prog/space rock bands, let alone flat out progressive bands outside of the Neo's. It's remarkable therefore that a space prog band would last as long up to this point in time. You can go back to this album and the following one, (1991's "Strangetude") for all the reasons why. Surging space prog, (the opener "Eternal Wheel" and all-out classic "Erpland") and psych/trance epics, (the soft to rocking "A Gift Of Wings") have been milked ad neuseum all the way through their career. But it's this album that has the classic template. It even has a song with a bit of vocals! The Oz's patented meticulous sound and recording are evident to the hilt here with perculating synths, raggae beats and middle eastern grooves that just spring from your speakers like they were inside your car or live in your house. I was turned on back then and have never looked back. Sure, it's been done by bands back in the 70's and arguable better or worse, but really, these guys have been given the torch and have held it well.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#89384)
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
obiter
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sublime.

Having been introduced to Ozrics while at uni in England (86-89) (by the way ... thanks Seb) and after being dragged to gigs and listening to cassettes this was the first album I actually bought. To be honest Ozrics are continually pushing an open door with me. This music floats my boat. When I first listened to this album I thought "this is the type of music I always hoped Yes would produce (OK so for me Jon Anderson's vocals sometimes grate) and there are proabably more shades of Yes here than in any other Ozric album. And .. there's more than a touch of Olias of Sunhillow in there as well.

Eternal Wheel, Sunscape, Cracker Block and a Gift of Wings are absolute musts for any space progger. Mysticum Arabicola and Valley of A Thousand Thoughts branch out into an ethnic vibe that make the OT sound so instantly recognisable.

Isence is a reggae number with a snatch of vocals ???!!! Maybe it's just me but sometimes the bass feels more like a Madness Ska (Bedders was good so that's no bad thing).

Is is 4 or 5 stars? If you limit 5 star to your top 10% of your prog collection then this is in by a country mile, but is it "essential", a "masterpiece"? N'ah: it's a space progger's 5 but a prog 4.

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Send comments to obiter (BETA) | Report this review (#112237)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not as energetic or dynamic perhaps as "Curious Corn" but this has a variety of sounds and styles to keep you entertained.This was originally released as a double album, so we get over 73 minutes of music here.

I like the opening track "Eternal Wheel" the best, it has some fantastic guitar melodies as well as some scorching solos.The drumming and synth work really stands out as well. Check out the swath that the guitar cuts out of the soundscape later on followed by some ripping solos. Flute and a spacey atmosphere to end it. "Toltes Spring" features various sounds with percussion and flute. "Tidal Convergence" opens with synths before the song accellerates with drums and bass leading the way. Some good guitar 4 1/2 minutes in, but the drumming that follows really shines. "Sunscape" opens with some excellent guitar and the percussion is great too. "Mysticum Arabicola" as the title suggests has an Arabic feel to it as the tablas pound away.

"Cracker Blocks" almost sounds like chimes clanging with synths. Waves of synths arrive before 4 minutes. "The Throbbe" features pounding drums and a spacey soundscape. "Erpland" is an uptempo tune with bass,guitar and drums leading the way. "Valley Of A Thousand Thoughts" sounds like your in a jungle with bird-like sounds and tribal drumming. "Snakepit" has some nice crisp drumming and intricte guitar melodies.The latter part of the song doesn't do a lot for me though. "Iscence" has a reggae beat and the drumming on this track is incredible. "A Gift Of Wings" has spacey atmospheres an island beat and Eastern sounds as they try to combine all these elements on the final and longest track on the album.

Without question this is one of their best and I recommend this record to all the fans of Space Rock music out there. This is a trip around the world !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#132480)
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
rushfan4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is somewhat unchartered waters for me. I am mostly into the classic prog, prog metal, and neo-prog genres of prog with the occasional Wakeman or Earthworks album thrown in to complement my Yes collection. This album is my first Ozric Tentacles purchase so I can't compare it to their other albums. What I can do is give you my first impression of this album, and you can take it as that. Three songs into this album, I was totally blown away. This album may be one of the greatest prog finds that I have had in a long long time. I have a couple of Tangerine Dream albums which I think are OK, and I was expecting something like that with this album, but this album was so much better. The drums and percussion work are excellent throughout the entire album. The music on this album has a beautiful and lively atmosphere. I normally prefer lyrics with my prog with the occasional instrumental thrown in, but I was thoroughly pleased with this mostly instrumental performance. I would hesitate to call it a masterpiece, mostly because I am not familiar with this area of prog enough to judge masterpiece status, but I definitely think that this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection, and I am certainly glad that is now part of my collection.

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Send comments to rushfan4 (BETA) | Report this review (#133427)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I first heard of these guys a few years back when I read about them in a magazine. They were really recommended for fans of Porcupine Tree, who I was just getting into at the time. So after some extensive digging I was able to acquire their '93 album, Jurassic Shift. Unfortunately, at the time it didn't quite hit me. It seemed very random and meandering for much too long a period of time. The spacey aspects I love were all there, but I just couldn't get into it. It wasn't until I later picked up Erpland that I really fell in love with these guys. Since then I have grown to love Jurassic Shift and a number of their other albums.

Ozric Tentacles have a highly unique sound that I have not seen mimiced by many other bands (Hidria Spacefolk is the only one I can think of off the top of my head). The sound is highly electronic, though makes extensive use of Ed Wynne's shredding guitar skills. A unique sound likem this is something I believe most prog fans look for an electronic music. The combination of sweeping soundscapes, virtuostic guitar, extended composition and solos, and a blend of various styles is what makes this band so progressive.

The electronic part

I'm a huge fan of electronic music, and in my opinion Ozric Tentacles are the best representation of what electronic music should be. The main problem I find with electronica is it often makes a song from only 3 ideas and doesn't have much variety. However, I love the feelings and emotions created by it. Electronica can often be a very beautiful form of music, which makes up for its lack in variation. Then Ozric Tentacles come along. These guys have all the aspects of a typical electronica artist: Synths, sampling, programming, effects, spacey keyboards, and powerful bass. There is the usual lush layering of psybient influenced keyboards with arpeggiated synth pads and programmed drumbeats, but the great thing is though that they use MUCH more variety than your typical electronica artist. The songs progress from one section to another and often change tempo and sometimes even time signatures. It's more than the average ambient artist you'd hear on internet radio.

The progressive rock part

There are many prog influences to be found here, most notably those of space rock and krautrock, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and Steve Hillage being among them. The compositions are tightly crafted, but at times are also based around jamming, usually dominated by sailing guitar licks. As I said before there are many tempo changes and the songs sometimes even use time signatures other than 4/4. Have you ever heard any techno artist using anything but a pulsating 120 beat per minute song in 4/4? Not too often. Most of their songs are also often in highly unusual middle eastern modes not typically heard in this style of music. It really is quite progressive in a sense.

About the music?

Trippy. This is about as trippy as music can get. Their album covers actually display the visualization created by the music quite well. Usually a very atmospheric looking jungle landscape. With the multiple layers of percussion and synth effects, I often find myself feeling as if I'm on a journey through an ancient mystical jungle. It's sound dominated by a psychedelic tornado of pounding basslines and loads of various sound effects. A prog fan can clearly appreciate the strong composition and rich textures while most people could even dance to the guitar work. There are all kinds of instruments used in their work including everything ranging from flutes to xylophones. As for individual songs? In my opinion some of the best the Ozrics have ever written.

"Eternal Wheel", which has grown to become one of my favorite Ozric tunes, begins the album with a looping synth intro that is soon joined by those signature hopping bass and guitar lines. After quite some chaotic jamming the soon soon progresses into a section completely dowsed in relaxing keyboard. All this feels very spiritual and enlightening, like you're under a mystic Japanese waterfall. This is the kind of music that just makes me love being alive.

All of the songs range from mysterious tribal moods to atmospheric soundscapes and driving rock. It's quite a journey of an album, but as much as I love it there's still probably some things that would turn people off.

The average person may not have the attention span for this music. At the times the band can seem to jam for hours without moving onto a carefully written out section. Of course I doubt us prog fans will have a problem with this, but I've noticed my friends becoming tired with it at times. The album is utterly immersed in different effects and can feel kind of random at times. This is how I felt when I first listened to Jurassic Shift. Honestly though, after a few listens this doesn't seem to be a problem anymore. Another thing is the lack of vocals. If you're the type of person who tends to love lyrics this won't appeal to you much considering the Ozrics are entirely instrumental. Also, while this album may have an extreme amount of variation for an ambient music fan, it may not vary enough for a prog fan. If you're used to the Ozrics style, there is nothing innovative or new on this album, as they reuse the sound they've held for so long. It's a great starting point for those who are new to the band though.

Except for only a few uninteresting tracks that seem to drag this album is almost flawless. Psychedelic music does not get much better than this my friends (except for Jurassic Shift, which IMO is actually a superior album). It's got everything from the driving basslines and drum beats to the electronic instrumentation found so often in psychedelia. Moods ranges from relaxing and ethereal to the frantic and intense. Many of the songs feature complex arrangements with frequently changing time and key signatures and tempos. Though it may not be a "perfect" masterpiece, if this doesn't deserve five out of five stars in the psychedelic and space rock genre I can't tell you what does.

My rating: 9/10

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Send comments to Fight Club (BETA) | Report this review (#144911)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What a treat OZRIC TENTACLES is. Excellent production, spacey sounds and stellar guitar. You could listen to it for - well, minutes.

The great thing about OZRIC TENTACLES is their immediate accessibility. Swirling arpeggio keyboards, clear, emphatic percussion, funky bass and soaring guitar, with no pesky lyrics to worry about. This formula is clearly evident on this, their first widely released studio album, and it is equally evident on every one of the albums following this one. The OZRIC TENTACLES are, therefore, the most extreme example I know of a band that is all surface and no depth. Great to listen to when cruising back, and excellent as background music. Here's their trick: start with a synth loop, bring in the percussion and rhythm, and then layer guitars over the top. Go for five to eight minutes, rinse and repeat.

The problem for me is they are so clearly influenced by STEVE HILLAGE's work, both with GONG and his solo recordings, that I find them difficult to take seriously. At about this time HILLAGE was working with ALEX PATERSON on a project that became THE ORB, a much more edgy and fascinating experiment than this. His own band, SYSTEM 7, is a slightly trancier version of OZRIC TENTACLES - or are OZRIC TENTACLES a slightly less trancey version of SYSTEM 7? I don't know. All I know is HILLAGE and PATERSON had the better and more interesting tunes, and had a much more progressive edge.

This stuff is great, don't get me wrong. But without lyrics or great songwriting, these musical fragments never assume any real meaning, and so no OZRIC TENTACLES album can be described as either a masterpiece or excellent. Three stars for this solid debut, then: none but the most assiduous listener will be able to work out which of their 30 or so albums is the best - or the worst. Though if you have to buy one, I'd suggest 'Jurassic Shift', though this is well worth a listen. Just don't expect anything more than what you hear first time through.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#149342)
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars ERPLAND was the very first venture into the more obscure Space-Rock territory. After learning to absolutely adore bands such as Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, I happened to stumble across these guys by accident while searching through my record store one day for a Marillion album. I happened to walk a little too far down the aisle and came across a very funky, out-of-this-world cover. It was ERPLAND. Having never even heard of the Ozrics before, it seemed to me that I wasn't going to just pick these albums up no a whim (there were several used copies of the Ozric digipacks on display for five bucks each), so when I got home that evening, I went straight to my computer and on to the archives, where a search for 'Ozric Tentacles' proved successful. After a quick listen to the song samples available here, I was sold on this band. The very next chance I got, I went back to that record store, picked up two of the albums without hesitation; one being BECOME THE OTHER and the second being ERPLAND.

As soon as the opening few seconds of the first track played on ERPLAND, I knew that I loved this band. They had it all; just the right mixture of everything I adore about music: rock, jazz/fusion, world, electronic and ambience. I love all of those genres dearly, and for each of them to meld so well with one another really shows what talent the Ozrics truly have.

I think overall the album is very together as a whole piece, but at the same time I have yet to hear an Ozrics album that really feels like it needs to be listened to as a complete entity. Usually each track ccan stand just fine on its own without loss of direction or purpose on the listener's part (Unlike fellow Space-Rockers Pink Floyd, who after DSotM became very much exclusively an 'album band'.)

Brief overview:

''Eternal Wheel'' begins the amazing ride with electronica openings, drum n' bass meets fusion-style guitar soundscapes, and not to mention a very creative songwriting experience, where every note seems to say something about the song, yet the songs never lose that feeling of free-form jamming, which I kind of like. It's a breath of fresh air after so many Prog bands feeling like they absolutely have to tell the next epic tale with their albums. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and enjoy the ride, even if the destination is very fully clear or stated. Not everything has to be the next CLOSE TO THE EDGE or DARK SIDE OF THE MOON in order to be alot of fun to listen to. Ozric Tentcales surely prove that fact with their amazing yet unstructured jam music.

''Toltec Spring'' is the first glimpse of World music influence, with chimes, deep, booming African drums and truly stirring flute-work that makes me feel like I am on an archeologic dig with Dr. Jones himself in the deep jungles of an uncharted island somewhere. Before long, though, the keyboards come in as well, giving the very ethnic journey a unmistakebly Psychedelic vibe, which is of course most welcome.

''Tidal Convergence'' begins with just an absolutely heart-wrenching ambient opening with those masterful keyboards, which are soon joined by Roly Wynne's rhythmical bass playing that cements the Ozric's unique sound as just that-- original and fresh. Soon some funked-out guitar playing comes into play accompanying the hypnotic rhythm section created by Roly and Merv Pepler, the band's mad drummer. The guitar work takes the song to new places, and it now feels like a dreamscape opening up before the listener's very ears.

''Sunscape'' is a pridominantly guitar-based track, with uplifting acoustic playing followed closely by more masterful flute work by John Egan. Eventually, Ed Wynne, the guitarist, breaks in to some more fusion-esque guitar wizardry that would make even the oldest of music fans dance a quick jig. The melody soon becomes contagious before the bass breaks in to some great off-time jamming. The keys then come in once again to join the others and make the song another psychedelic trip based in Eastern influences with some Jazz-Rock thrown in for good measure.

''Mysticum Arabicola'' took the longest to grow on me. The initial beat of the song never really has spoken to me. Nothing really changes much the entire song long, either. Unfortunately.

''Cracker Blocks'' is my second-favorite song on the album. The mixture of keyboards in the background backing up the ringing of beautiful chimes plus the repetetive yet mind-altering six-note bar of the guitar puts me into a trance always. Especially effective when listening to the track at night while driving in the car. For me, anyway. I think this track really shows how much can be done with so little if you know the proper way to execute the plan from the get go.

''The Throbbe'' has an absolutely beautifuly haunting beginning, with a vibe that to me is very Asian, mainly because of the types of notes being played, most likely. Something just screams 'oriental' about it in my mind. Before the song really gets going, however, the drums come in pounding away in the fashion of a much more straightforward rock ballad. 4/4 time and very little fills. I could do without the idiotic chanting going on the background, but it isn't too prominant overtop of everything else the instruments are causing to be going on. Probably the second most repetetive song on the album, which is a shame given its very promising beginning. Oh well, you can't win them all.

''Erpland''. The title track of the album is very Jazz-Rock influenced in my opinion, and it is very powerful and uplifting in the best way possible. It really grips at my soul with its use of unusual bass playing paired up with the spacey guitar playing style..

''Valley of a Thousand Thoughts'' Is epic. nce again it reaks of the eastern influence that I cannot get enough of! The beats and rhythms found here all also very catchy if not down-right original! If you are not someone who really gets much out of drum-dominated work, this song may not appeal to you, but I alwayd end up shifting around in my seat as I bounce along to the hard-to-pin-down drumming patterns found within the track.

''Snake Pit'' starts out with a face-melting bass riff/solo thingy that is soon accompanied by some spanish-guitar-influenced acoustic flourishes. Nothing all that fantastic about the track particularly, but some good flute and lead guitar work can be found later, as well as additional string sounds not found on the traditional rock instrument. Near the song's end, the guitar solo starts to feel a little bluesy, which reminds me considerably of David Gilmour. The song's ultimate end, however, is nothing like Floyd at all, which keeps the whole thing feeling fresh and new still.

''Iscence''. Truly amazing. I love this track alot. A very reggae feel to it all, with the whole 'bubble' effect being reached for and ultimately acheived through use of keyboards no doubt. Very, very cheery soothing stuff that oddly enough reminds me of the Andreas Vollenweider album DOWN TO THE MOON. And, what's that? Is John SINGING? Well, while I still may not be able to make out what he is saying, he actually has a fine voice, and I wish he would have sang again, but it wasn't meant to be. Finally the synth effects give a very 'starry', 'sparkling' mood to it all, making this track very dream-like. Great, great stuff; truly terrific.

''A Gift of Wings'' Is the epic on the album as far as I am concerned, the flawless Ozric Tentacles track. Just fantastic absolutely from beginning to end. Even when the distant crowd chanting takes place, it is pleasant to listen to. I don't want to really go into much detail with this one, because it may spoil all of the great surprises. No, scratch that-- it WILL spoil them! So I will kindly let you the listener listen to it with fresh ears and minds and without any certain expectation so you can judge for yourself just what you think of it. I don't know for sure, for I have not even begun to scratch the surface of ther Ozric's catelogue yet, but this could quite honestly be a possible frontrunner for best Ozric Tentacles song ever to be recorded. It's just so majetic and epic, and the majorety of it is simply effects and synthesizers. Brilliant.

So in the end, this is the best Ozric Tentacles ablum that I ahve heard SO FAR, and because of the fact that it has such a huge effect on me and I liked it so well, I would recommend this to be the one to turn your friends on to their music with. There is just so much here to love, that even its shortcoming cannot keep it from getting high marks from me. Not immaculate, but perty durn close! A four out of five.

Happy listening.

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Send comments to JLocke (BETA) | Report this review (#164786)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first OT album I heard, and it would become the standard for which I would compare other albums by the band. I'm still making my way through their catalog, but this one is still my fav. I've often heard these guys comparde to PORCUPINE TREE, but OT has no lyrics, and their music sprawls on a little more. I think a better comparison is to You-era Gong and Fish Rishing-era Steve Hillage, of which, OT seems to borrow from quite a deal. The bonus here, however, is that you won't have to sit through all the tripped out nonsense you find in GONG. Great music for meditation, sex, or work. Not so great for being completely blown away, as their music is derivative.

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Send comments to kabright (BETA) | Report this review (#171649)
Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The previous release of the band was his first album published by a record label. Before, they produced several cassettes type of work which were pretty much dispensable, all sounding too much of the same;

I would have thought that Ozric Tentacles would follow-up on their good "Pungent Effulgent" effort and build up more consistently. But I was wrong.

This "Erpland" effort is nothing else than a long repetition of their early days albums (with the same mistakes like the dreadful "Iscence" and its reggae-oriented mood).

No inspiration, no fun, no great atmosphere, no nothing actually. Just an addition of some spacey improvised tracks with little texture. Here and there the rhythm is catching up (you know, like "Hawkwind"), but there is little to remember on this album.

It is some kind of a disappointment since the band showed some improvement with "Pungent". But they just repeated their previous mistakes as far as I'm concerned. It is not a bad album but it lacks totally of great tracks. Although the opening number "Eternal Wheel" might be the closest to this concept.

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182417)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My entry point into the Ozric's galaxy was with the spacy Erpland, and while in retrospect it is easily surpassed by some of their other works-- its combination of deeply etheric and aggressive world/psychedelic/jam rock/electronica continues to make a big impression.

The opener alone will hook most listeners, with a smart mixture of delicate and varied textures and grooves which gradually swell into a ripping guitar solo by the masterful Ed Wynne. Instantly accessible, and enjoyable, Erpland takes the listener on journey across the world-- from misty jungles to bustling market places-- with deft proficiency and often exciting grooves. As the whole, the music can drift into the background, but the listener will often be pulled back in from time to time and dazzled by its occasional intensity.

While sometimes criticized for its repetitiveness, I feel that the combination of pulsing, world trance and occasional moment of guitar-rock outburst makes for the most perfect sort of versatile listen: with Erpland one can drift off into the ether or positively shred with guitar/keyboard energy.

Highly recommended, but not the group's best!

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#216398)
Posted Sunday, May 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars If there's one way to sum up the Ozrics it would be that they're just entirely pleasant: colourful melodies, bright sounds, clean licks you could eat off; all served at a relentless and exciting dance groove. That's what they have on offer and that is why you should shove them in your CD player when doing the dishes or cleaning the house.

If you want one album from them I would recommend this Erpland. If you'd like two, you could choose the 2CD package with Jurassic Shift. If you would really feel like getting more then two, then ... Ehm, why should you unless you have similar addictive impulses as I have? They're all very similar, only a bit (or a lot) less exciting then this one.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#241906)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars These guys don't change much from album to album. Their sound is a blend of space rock, hard rock, "world music", New Age, techno and reggae. The techno and reggae influences are stronger on later albums. I haven't heard all of their albums but Erpland is my favourite of the ones I have heard.

"Eternal Wheel" is both the first song I heard from Ozrics and still my favourite song of theirs. The whole album is fairly consistent, but this song stands head and shoulders above the rest. I absolutely love the parts with ethereal synths with some good melodic bass playing. Things start to pick up about halfway with bubbling synths and an increase in tempo. Then a great bluesy guitar solo. It gets mellower with flute near the end.

"Sunscape" starts with acoustic guitar. Some flute and tabla. Great melodic guitar lines. Over halfway there is bass and some whistling sounds. "Mysticum Arabicola" is a song you can listen to here on PA. It starts with cut-up vocal sounds. Then a plucked string/percussive like sequencer pattern for most of the song. There is a Turkish string instrument. Later the sounds of people laughing and singing. Then a Turkish wind instrument(I have no idea what these instruments are really called). After a Mid-East sounding synth solo. Sound of water then a flute solo. Then a guitar solo. Later some percussion.

The title track begins with weird vocal sounds. Then uptempo playing with sound effects. Later some great bass. The tempo then picks up with a guitar solo. Tempo increases with a trippy synth solo. Goes back to the uptempo part at the beginning. "Valley Of A Thousand Thoughts" is mostly percussion. The sound of a loon throughout the whole song. Halfway through there is some Middle-Eastern type singing. "Snakepit" has a bass line similar to Gong's "Master Builder". Turkish string instrument. The bass drops out and there is some synth. Bass comes back with a guitar solo.

"Iscence" is a reggae song that actually has some singing/lyrics. In the middle is a great melodic sequencer part. "A Gift Of Wings" starts with New Age synths. Then percussion. Later some guitar. Halfway through some tribal singing and a bass line on synth. Later Turkish string instrument with flute. A guitar solo then some drums and more bass synth. Flute to end it.

One of the best and most consistent albums from Ozric Tentacles. A great place to start with these guys. There wasn't a whole lot of music as interesting as this coming out in 1990. Not the most original sounding music on Earth, but they blend their influences together very well. A well deserved 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#333802)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
darkshade
COLLABORATOR
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars This album is a trip. From rockin' fusion-esque tracks, to world music prog to spacey other-worldly sounds, this album has it all. It's a very unique experience listening to an Ozric Tentacles album. This is their 2nd album, and easily one of the best ones, if not the best. I feel most Ozrics album Ive heard are at least 4 stars, with a few being 3 stars, but only a couple are 5 star albums; and this is one of them.

Listening to this album is like entering another world in another universe. I feel like I am on some kind of psychedelic drug listening to this music. There is nothing here that will necessarily scare you away if you were on some "enhancements", everything is just cool-trippy and fun. I really like the mix of rock, fusion and world music, something the band would move away from in their 2000s albums for more electronic influence. But these older Ozric Tentacles albums are some real interesting works. I always get nostalgic for a time and place Ive never been to, that is how colorful and mesmerizing this album is. It's hard to really describe the music beyond what Ive already said, so do yourself a favor. If you have even the slightest interest in trippy music mixed with funky grooves and world music, and really awesome sounding keyboards and ripping guitar work, get Erpland. You will not be disappointed.

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Send comments to darkshade (BETA) | Report this review (#412604)
Posted Tuesday, March 08, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Ozrics followed up Pungent Effulgent with this packed CD (or a double album for those getting the vinyl) of music which presents their cleanest and most well-produced sound yet. Though there isn't an enormous musical advance over their preceding releases - here's the Hawkwind and Gong influences, there's the Middle Eastern music, and over there's the reggae vibe right on cue - the album stands out both in terms of providing excellent value for money in terms of the amount of material here and in having truly excellent sound quality. All this makes the album a fairly good starting point for any exploration of the Ozrics' unique sonic world.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#600822)
Posted Sunday, January 01, 2012 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I've heard something about the Ozrics along the lines of, ''if you've heard one Ozrics album, you've heard them all''. I can't quite rush to that judgment after only hearing two, this (ERPLAND) and JURASSIC SHIFT. Somehow, both got tied into a 2-for-1 CD package even though they're not directed connected chronologically.

Think of a hybrid of the YOU album from Gong, dance/house/club music of the early '90s, various Mid-Eastern references and a pinch of New Wave, and that's ERPLAND in a nutshell. The Arabic sounds of ''Mysticum Arabicola'' are pretty splendid and the opening synth of ''Eternal Wheel'' are the ideas that stand out here.

The problem here is that the diversity of the sound is both here and not here. Each track has a little perk to make it a bit different from the previous one, but the entire album just blends together in one psychedelic swirl. ERPLAND gets forgettable and repetitive mainly due to the amount of content here. ''The Throbbe'' and ''Cracker Blocks'' almost sound like tiny segues that just got extended into songs.

In short, ERPLAND is nice enough, but the band just went crazy recording tracks to the point where there's just too many. JURASSIC SHIFT sounds like the Ozric Tentacles sound done right.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#818073)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Erpland is my first excursion into this wonderful,unique little band, and I must say i'm impressed.These guys clearly have a spacey thing going, but I hesitate to compare them to Pink Floyd at all since they are so different.

Firstly, much of this album is uptempo, and seems to be very rhythmically driven with the guitars and keyboards simply taking up a more supportive role. This is only helped by the flawless production which really brings the volume of the drums and bass to the forefront where they should be. The spacey atmosphere is all over this album, not to mention that they also implore some Eastern music into the mix at times to create a rather eclectic and interesting mix.

The first half of the album is very strong, containing some truly atmospheric moments filled with energy. 'Eternal Wheel' and 'Tidal Convergence' are especially strong. 'Mysticum Arabicola' is very interesting, if only for the almost video game-sounding melodies.

I will admit I was not quite as excited with the second half. There is a certain lack of energy, but more so the Eastern influences and oddities just start to get to me.

Overall, I would say this exhibits a flawless combination of atmosphere and energy. Unfortunately, it is a bit overlong and inconsistent for me to consider it a masterpiece.

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#921253)
Posted Friday, March 01, 2013 | Review Permalink

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