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Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Ozric Tentacles Tantric Obstacles album cover
3.23 | 96 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Og-Ha-Be (4:41)
2. Shards of Ice (3:53)
3. Sniffing Dog (6:31)
4. Music to Gargle At (3:29)
5. Ethereal Cereal (2:15)
6. Atmosphear (4:32)
7. Ullular Gate (4:25)
8. Tentacles of Erpmind (0:34)
9. Trees of Eternity (7:26)
10. Mescalito (4:04)
11. Odhamshaw Style (1:53)
12. Become the Otter (4:59)
13. Gnuthlia (5:25)
14. Sorry Style (3:46)
15. The Aum Shuffle (3:06)

Total Time: 60:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Ed Wynne / guitar
- Joie Hinton / synthesizers
- Tom Brooks / synthesizers
- Roly Wynne / bass
- Tig (Nick van Gelder) / drums
- Paul Hankin / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Blim

MC A Real Kavoom - ARC9 (1985, UK)
MC Self-released - OT2 (1985, UK)
MC Dovetail Records - OT2 (1985, UK)

2xLP Madfish ‎- SMALP1040 (2015, Europe) Remastered

CD Dovetail Records - DOVE OT2 (1993, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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OZRIC TENTACLES Tantric Obstacles ratings distribution

(96 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

OZRIC TENTACLES Tantric Obstacles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
4 stars It's hard to believe what a different world OZRIC TENTACLES was back in 1985. Flutist John Egan was not even in the band yet. Future members, such as drummer Rad were barely in their teens at that time (and Rad replacement, Schoo aka Stuart Fisher was around 10 years old then). A future member of Jamiroquai by the name of Nick Van Gelder (Tig) was the drummer. They had two keyboardists, one being Joie Hinton (who stayed with the band until 1994), and Tom Brookes (who left not too long after this album, only to reappear as a guest on "Erpland"), and guitarist Ed Wynne's brother Roly was the bassist. Also the band was basically in their infancy and released their second cassette, "Tantric Obstacles" in 1985, the same year as "Erpsongs". Quite an accompilshment, since each cassette at that time equaled to a double LP's worth of material. This isn't some cassette released on some label, this was a band doing all by themselves, bought a batch of 90 minute blank tapes, get someone by the name of Blim to do the cover artwork, and photocopy all this stuff. Apparently there was some more fancy artwork for the cassette that never made it to the Dovetail CD reissue (or the more recent CD reissue on Snapper/Recall that also packaged "Erpsongs"). During this time, the band totally forgot to write down song titles, so the song titles you know from these early cassette releases came through the Dovetail reissue (that were sold either as part of the "Vitamin Enhanced" box set or separately, or the songs that were lucky to make it prior on their 1991 compilation "Afterswish").

The music is a notch above "Erpsongs". For one thing, the band seemed to be able to correct their mistakes. Still they're a bit inexperienced with the mixing, so often the drums end up too loud and the bass is a bit buried. The music has improved as well. Songs such as "Shards of Ice", "Sniffing Dog", "Atmosphear", "Ullular Gate" and "Trees of Eternity" prove. Plenty of VCS-3 like synth bubbles and tons of great analog synth sounds (which is a bit odd given this was the ever digitized year known as 1985 where everyone else was toying with Yamaha DX-7s and similar stuff), plus Ed's tradmark wild guitar. You'll notice a mostly lack of an ethnic sound, just one excursion in to reggae with "Sorry Style", but you won't find any Asian or Middle Eastern styles here (probably because John was not present).

Though stuffed with great material, this is basically a historical item and might not be the best place to start for newcomers, but it's still very worthwhile.

Review by obiter
2 stars At the outset, the quality of the recording is not up to the standard of the later albums (Pungent Effulgent onwards) as a result the impact of the typical Ozric sound is greatly reduced.

The opening bass riff in Og-Ha-Be reminds me a lot of Call the Police by Thin Lizzy (Shades of Blue Orphanage), but there the similarity ends. The song is revealed in all its glory in Live Underslunky. There is a much rawer (and badly recorded) version in Live Etheral Cereal. Shards of Ice introduces the scintillating synths. This song does have a very short 80s almost Duran Duran like section. During these phases the bass sounds more like modern romantics Japan than the driving grooves assocaited with Ozric. Sniffing dog opens like a rock n roll number before quickly stepping back into a more mellow synth passage. The rock n roll theme returns. This woud have been one of my least favourite Ozrics songs but in the later sections Ed Wynne finds a haunting and beautiful guitar sound: simple delayed chords completely changing the mood and then a vibrant guitar solo lifts the mood. Music to Gargle At is an odd short piece of drum machine and samples (water & pipes). Etheral Cereal is another synth track. If a very repetitive sound is your bag then this is for you. It's as if the song started and ended in the middle. There is however a suggestion of an ethnic sound in this track: augur of things to come. Atmosphear is a stronger guitar orientated track.The guitar harmonics of intro is reminiscent of The Fish. The background (synth & bass) is unmistakably Ozric but the playing reminds me of mellow Satriani. Ulllar Gate has the first hint of the pseudo middle eastern sound that characterises some of the later albums (such as Pyramidion). Tentacles of Erpmind is a short piece of samples. Trees of Eternity opens with a slow heavily delayed guitar riff. There is a breakdown to a flowing bass riff with synth, samples and then guitar overlaying. There just doesn't seem to a major direction or theme to the song, and maybe this comment applies generally to the album. It does not seem to come together as coherent unit. Mescalito again has drum machines providing the rhythm: the resultant sound lacks substance. Oddhamshaw is a short reggae track with wait for it, heavily delayed guitar with a very 80s bass sound (is that chorus?). Become the Otter kicks off with a boppy driving rhythm: classic Ozric. The sound mix is poor. The synth dominates the recording, in the background the drums and bass are kicking out that beat: it's just a pitty that they are mixed so low. Gnuthlia opens with ethnic drums. Then a tinny drum machine takes over. The drums programming has a dance (almost strying into jungle) feel in parts. There appears to belittle direction until Ed's guitar comes in in the last third but it. Sorry Style is another reggae number.

Tantric Obstacles has a number of precursors for later albums, but the poor recording, prevalence of the drum machine for a band which is usually so rhythmical engaging relegates this to2 stars: interesting for Ozric fans (like me for whom it is a must have).

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The companion work of Erpsongs available now on a double CD release (at a decent price on Amazon) offers about the same musical experience.

You can play these works almost at random without noticing any big difference. These space sounds were already invented and sound pretty much outdated and most of the tracks seem to be unfinished like Shards Of Ice.

When listening to this eponymous work, one has to bear in mind that very little technical support was available to the band and you can hear this. The production is quite weak and song writing quite minimalist. Bass is too invading on the majority of the tracks.

A long and spacey jam combined with some harder passages (Sniffing Dog) are without any doubt borrowed to Hawkwind and should therefore please the ones who appreciate them. But I wrote almost the same about Erpsongs. This instrumental music doesn't offer the same variety as Hawkwind did and is rather dull when you seriously pay attention to it.

It is alright when you play it when driving for instance but no more. It should only be attractive to devoted space-rock jamming even if the Floydian Trees of Eternity is above average. The band is even repeating the same reggae-oriented mood during Odham Shaw Style as well as during Sorry Style. Press next. The upbeat Become The Otter is another decent track to be honest.

Still, as a whole two stars is my rating.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Rating Ozric Tentacles albums is extremely difficult. The band have pursued a consistent sound over the course of their career, varying it organically and slowly rather than taking great departures, and sometimes it's hard to distinguish them.

However, the jump from Erpsongs, their debut cassette release, to Tantric Obstacles, their second release, is perhaps the biggest musical leap they have made between one release and the next; the only real competitor is between The Bits Between the Bits (their final cassette album) and Pungent Effulgent (their first LP), and even then that's less to do with musical style and more to do with the production values. On Tantric Obstacles, the Tentacles offer a much more coherent and cohesive blueprint for their future space rock sound than the more diverse and unfocused Eprsongs was able to muster.

Past releases of this have had shaky sound - given that the original is a taped home demo, no wonder - but the most recent round of remasters has done a great job of teasing out the finer features of this early Ozrics landmark.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars TANTRIC OBSTACLES is the second release of the six home made cassette only releases that OZRIC TENTACLES put out out in the 80s before their full-fledged album debuted in 1989. This is the second of 1985 and pretty much continues down the same path as the debut "Erpsongs" which showed the band debut its unique combo of space rock, psychedelia with electronic trance inducing embellishments. The band's style reminds me a lot of a spacier and all instrumental take on what the Grateful Dead were known for as a jam band. There is the usual mix of straight on rock riffing, reggae, ethnic drumming patterns and electronic techno.

Although on this second release we get an album much like the first, on this one there is less emphasis on the Tangerine Dream Moog and VCS-3 synth sounds and more attention to a more aggressive guitar riffing and faster tempos. These albums were completely done by the band and it sounds like it. It was all analog of course and not mixed very well as the drums seem to be over-emphasized, the synths subdued and the guitars erupting in various loudness factors. Personally i don't find this one as good as the debut and nowhere as good as the later official releases but as with all OZRIC TENTACLE releases, it is consistent by offering up an hour of space rock tracks laced with different rhythms and musical textures that result in a decent release. As with the other five cassette-only releases TANTRIC OBSTACLES can be found remastered in the box set "Vitamin Enhanced."

Latest members reviews

4 stars I need to make a remark: this excellent prog band from UK was unknown to me until I put my hands on this album. After some hearings, I can make a review: first of all, the music is quite complex, but very catchy, speaking in the field of progressive rock music. These guys real ... (read more)

Report this review (#1649314) | Posted by Sachis | Saturday, November 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tantric Obstacles is my favourite Ozric cassette release. While lacking the ethnical sound it later developed it still has a lot of memorable pieces like the great synth-driven 'Shards of Ice' and IMO the best song of the album - 'Sniffing Dog'. Ed really show that he was a great guitarist eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#44839) | Posted by ENAY | Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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