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Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Ozric Tentacles The Hidden Step album cover
3.91 | 177 ratings | 13 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Holohedron (5:49)
2. The Hidden Step (7:47)
3. Ashlandi Bol (6:04)
4. AraManu (5:59)
5. Pixel Dream (6:21)
6. Tight Spin (8:45)
7. Ta Khut (7:05)

Total Time 47:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Ed Wynne / guitar, synths, sampler
- Christopher Lenox-Smith / synths
- John Egan / flute
- Zia Geelani / bass
- Conrad Prince / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Ed & Sarah Webb

LP Pancromatic ‎- PLP2002-2 (2014, Norway)

CD Stretchy Records ‎- Stretchycd3 (2000, UK)
CD Mad Fish ‎- SDPCD153 (2009, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy OZRIC TENTACLES The Hidden Step Music

OZRIC TENTACLES The Hidden Step ratings distribution

(177 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

OZRIC TENTACLES The Hidden Step reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
5 stars I have two complaints leveled at this CD: it sounds bit too digital compared to their previous albums, and the wonderful psychedelic Blim cover artwork isn't to be found, in place of crappy computer artwork. But despite that, the band entered the new millenium with another fantastic CD. I thought this was an improvement over "Waterfall Cities", not so much the wankfest that plagued that previous CD, and having the band get back to business. It's also more guitar-oriented as well. The album opens up with "Holohedron", which finds the band doing some intense jamming. The title track finds the band starting off in techno-land, before they go out of control with guitars and keyboards, before the Arborescence-like ambient experiment at the end that just blows me away! Then there's a couple exercises in Middle Eastern styles with "Ashlandi Bol" and "Aramanu", often reminescent of "Erpland". "Pixel Dream" harkens back to their earlier cassette-era material, but with much better production. "Tight Spin" is by far their most techno-oriented piece, almost going a bit too far in techno for my liking. "Ta Khut" is basically an ambient experiment, with Egyptian styles.

Great to see the band making great music, it's too bad that drummer Rad was starting to have emotional problems that caused him to leave the band early in 2001, but still "The Hidden Step" was an excellent way for Rad to finish his time in the band.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I love the Middle Eastern theme in some music and OT give it their all on Hidden Step. It is a good album but not up there with most of their other albums. It kind of loses it's way at times or I stop listening. Same difference I guess! The title track and ' Pixel Dream' probably the highlights. Pretty good mainstream Ozric fare.
Review by 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.

Review by obiter
4 stars What a fabulous effort from the greatest space rockers out there.

Ed's guitar dominates the opening track, Holohedron. This guy could be a heavy metal legend , but luckily he is firmly in the prog fold. Seaweed clams us with his melodious tones before Holoheron progresses towards a full-on dance mania track. But, as always with OT, Ed's guitar sets the sound apart from the normal dance theme.

The title track opens with a synth line and Zia's unmistakable pulsing bass. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm an Ozric or a Zia fan. I just love that bass. As ever Ed provides guitar which for the uninitiated is reminiscent of Satriani or Vai: but neither of those guitar maestros has teh privilege of breaking down to Rad and Zia pumping out such an intense rhythm. Summer song might be close though.

Zia moves up a gear in Ashlandi Bol. Superb playing. A mellow, middle eastern feel. Rad, is as ever excellent. No thatdoesn't do justice to the track: rad's drumming is superb and Zia's playing is almost beyond criticism.

Aramanu is by far and away for me the most disappointing element of this otherwise excellent album. yes, there are interesting sounds and pieces aournd but the track is too repettive for me.

Pixel Dream is a decent track but reminds me too much of a standard Satriani track (except the guitar playing and the drums and bass are all better). Nevertheles if this track had been on surfing with the alien it would not have seemed out of place.

The gem of the album for me is Tight Spin. A fairly standard synth/dance opening moves into a very sweet Zia and Rad groove. Seaweed is stil maintaining the theme. Fabulously trippy. The bas and drums are so ridiculously tight and rythmical that it almost defies description. yes this is verging on the edge of prog and dance. it's a difficult call: is it still prog?

Oh yes, and then some.

Come all ye unbelievers and drink at the fountain of spacerock. Dare to indulge the rhythm: dabble with the dance and indulge youself. Ed, plays clasical (this is not Steve Hackett: be warned): enjoy.

Ta Khut opens with a middle eastern/north african sound (although for me it is reminiscent of following a goatherd up a mountain pass near Thermopylae a few years ago). The track remains meloow. Beautiful sweeping synth near the end reminds me of parts of Olias of Sunhillow.

Excellent 4.5 stars

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars It is a euphemism to say that most Ozric Tentacles are all of the same vein. There were hardly great musical experiences or discovery throughout their many albums. At least this is how I feel.

Now, About these Hidden Steps.

I have to admit that the band incorporated some new sounds in here. Don't worry about the repetitiveness: you'll still get it. On top of this, the band is investigating on several tracks some dreadful house beats which are rather out of place IMO.

It might be OK if they would have limit this experience to Holohedron, but apparently they hadn't enough of this musical genre which I can't stand at all. The worse being experienced during the uninspired title track. The listener will get some breathe with Ashlandi Bol and its Oriental sound, but the core beat is still house oriented.

The first good track of this album is the cool Aramanu. Again these fine Oriental textures are featured and the whole track sounds quite hypnotic. Six good minutes of music, finally!

Fortunately, the following Pixel Dream is a more traditional and spacey OT song. The beat has nicely caught up and there is a great guitar work from Ed during this song. It is by far my favourite of this album.

The long Tight Spin is a mix of techno and more conventional space music. While the latter is easily digested, I have to say that the former is hard to swallow. Ozric Tentacles had the good idea to close this album with another good song in the form of Ta Khut. Again these Oriental influences which can be heard on several of their albums and which are usually the best tracks. It is again almost the case.

Half of this album is good and half is pretty much insignificant. Two stars is the bill.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars The Ozrics take a trip to Egypt with the "Hidden Step", performing a fantastic set of spacey jams mixing their trademark style with a heavy dose of ethnic effects and flavor. For fans of the Ozrics or those seeking a fun instrumental/electronic music, "The Hidden Step" does not disappoint.

The album starts in true Ozric fasion, with groovy psychedelia giving way to Ed Wyne's outstanding guitar work. If anything will make you an Ozric fan, it's this song's depth and variety-- it goes from ambient, to eletronica, to hard rock, to trance and back again effortlessly. Great stuff.

The next few tracks break the Ozric mold somewhat, emphasizing a departure into ambient, effects, and sample-driven songs. From here on in most songs feature at least a little bit of that middle-eastern flavor, using sounds taken from a market place or, such as the excellent song "Tight Spin", Wyne's use of ethnic acoustic guitar. The balance between upbeat and mellow tunes is perfect. The album closes on a somber, mystical note, completing what is a fantastic journey and one of the band's most varied and interesting offers yet.

Recommended, especially for those new to the group or genre!

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For their ninth proper album, `The Hidden Step' would be a kind of final moment before the digital programming began to consume the sound of the Ozric Tentacles more fully, a direction that especially began to emerge on their superb previous album `Waterfall Cities'. If anything, `The Hidden Step' from 2000 took a step back again from being constantly dominated by the electronics, and in addition to their expected colourful psychedelic space-rock fused with ethnic sounds, it included ambient, new-age and even symphonic elements that had rarely been employed by the group on much of their previous discs.

Opener `Holohedron' is an instant showcase of founding Ozrics member Ed Wynne's wailing Joe Satriani-ish electric guitar tearing through trickles of rising/falling electronics, subtle pulsing bass and low-key programmed beats. The propulsive title- track `The Hidden Step' keeps up the momentum, Zia's rumbling relentless bass and Rad's skittering drumming racing behind a range of Seaweed's gurgling and contemplative electronics. But it's `Ashlandi Bol' that proves to be a real diversion for the band, a dramatic and ravishing Eastern-themed synth piece permeated with mystery, where a majestic symphonic theme twists and turns seductively as wisps of John Egan's flute twirl around and glissando guitar eerily cries from the ether before a frantic and fiery acoustic finale. `AraManu' is a low-key and drifting ambient piece that still offers strong musical themes with the lightest of delicate programming and carefully groaning electronics, the littlest of New Age traces to its dusty desert atmosphere and very subdued acoustic moments.

Side two's `Pixel Dream' instantly brings back the liveliness powered by bouncing hypnotic bass and snappy drumming, and there's real moments of happiness in the constantly joyous electric guitar bursts and lightly uplifting synth noodling before it breaks down into a funky electronic jam in the final moments. `Tight Spin' is a chill-out of cool slinking beats and the lightest of electric piano shimmers with fizzy effects that slowly grows into a dangerous and wild electronic meltdown with harder dance beats pounding behind deranged acoustic guitar shambling. The band then bravely closes on a final impossibly subtle ambient piece, `Ta Khut', mixing mellow and mystical synth caresses weaving throughout Middle Eastern/Gong `Shamal'-era meditative intrigue with woodwinds, chimes and placid acoustic guitars.

Rad and Zia left the group after this album, and the classic string of consistently great Ozrics albums somewhat ended here, despite all of their albums since holding terrific moments. But `The Hidden Step' boasted strong compositions, sleek production and cool playing, and it definitely helps that this one was a welcome single vinyl length meaning it stayed punchy and oddly focused for such an eclectic group. It offers some fascinating musical diversions that make this particular album from them stand out in their discography, and it's a fine send off to the departing drummer and bass player from the best era of the Ozric Tentacles.

Four and a half stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Working in a touch more trance and psybient influences whilst still sticking to the usual Ozrics format, The Hidden Step finds the Tentacles continuing the process of gradually evolving their sound. Don't let the shift in the art style on the cover fool you - this is very much business as usual for the group, though if you're into them that's probably a plus. One could have accused the band of continually remaking the same album - but if you compare this to, say, Erpland it quickly becomes apparent that over the 1990s they undertook a slow, gradual process of developing their sound further.

Between this and Swirly Termination - an abandoned project released without the band's consent by their old label - this probably has the edge when it comes to the two Ozrics studio album releases of 2000.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I usually don't buy digital downloads, but when I was gifted an iTunes gift card, I "picked up" this and Flower Kings' Banks of Eden for $15 total. I wasn't really expecting much from this album... I mainly got it because it was cheap. Well good thing I decided on this and not something else, ... (read more)

Report this review (#837096) | Posted by Apollo2112 | Friday, October 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A black cat standing heroically in front of a night-scape of the Pyramids, not really my thing, but I don't do drugs. No seriously. This is one of Ozric's most over rated albums. The incessant trance and the booming bass (or synthesizer really) make for the most groovy prog album that I've ever ... (read more)

Report this review (#372890) | Posted by Ktulu4997 | Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was thinking that this album was bad, and now I feel very sorry for that thought, I never look in detail, and recently I have started to listen this amazing work, and all that I can say and recommend is: you need to hear this stuff if you don't you are losing a large part of the progressive roc ... (read more)

Report this review (#261370) | Posted by JgX 5 | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a step further in the direction marked by "Become the Other" album, a true experiment blending dub and organic techno sounds with a rock group and ethnic instruments. This is pure sonic psychedelia. Obviously, this album shows more sophisticated lines than the previous line-up, for exa ... (read more)

Report this review (#60268) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album in my opinion is the best album that ozric tentacles have ever made.It has everything that you want from a modern psychedelic band.Yes i have to admit that they explore different music areas.You can find influences from techno ,trance , psychedelic rock and there are some tribal / j ... (read more)

Report this review (#47209) | Posted by Angeldust | Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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