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Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys album cover
3.46 | 132 ratings | 11 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Attack of the Vapours (5:22)
2. Lemon Kush (6:15)
3. Flying Machines (6:26)
4. Knurl (6:08)
5. Lost in the Sky (7:20)
6. Paper Monkeys (7:17)
7. Plowm (7:52)
8. The Will of the Wisps (10:42)
9. Air City (3:53)

Total Time 61:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Ed Wynne / guitar, synth, programming, co-producer
- Silas Wynne / keyboards, synth, sampler
- Brandi Wynne / bass, co-producer
- Ollie Seagle / drums & V-Drums, percussion

- Kyle / percussion (1)

Releases information

2LP Madfish ‎- SMALP979 (2011, Europe)

CD Mad Fish ‎- SMACD979 (2011, Europe)

Thanks to petersen88 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy OZRIC TENTACLES Paper Monkeys Music

OZRIC TENTACLES Paper Monkeys ratings distribution

(132 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

OZRIC TENTACLES Paper Monkeys reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by J-Man
3 stars With their origins dating back to the early eighties, England's Ozric Tentacles have garnered a reputation as one of progressive rock's most unique psychedelic acts. Their one-of-a-kind mix of trippy psychedelic aesthetics, electronic instrumentation, fusion-inspired compositions, and spaced-out atmospheres has also earned them a fairly large group of followers and a relevant place in the modern progressive scene. Like them or not, Ozric Tentacles are an unignorable force in the modern experimental music world, and Paper Monkeys further secures their spot as a band worthy of your attention. Though I've only sporadically listened to previous Ozric Tentacles albums, I like what I hear on Paper Monkeys and it will only be a matter of time before I more thoroughly investigate their music.

On Paper Monkeys you'll find an upbeat, psychedelic, electronic-fused brand of instrumental space rock that's pretty similar to what the band did on 2009's The Yumyum Tree. The music here is characterized by spacey synth tones, funky basslines, jazzy drumming, and lots of quirky psychedelic aesthetics. For anyone even mildly acquainted with Ozric Tentacles (especially their more recent efforts), Paper Monkeys shouldn't come as a terrible shock. What we have here is the band doing what they do best - delivering music that's atmospheric and soothing, yet still complex and fun to listen to. All of the tunes here are pretty solid, with songs like "Knurl" (I love the sitar on this track), "Lost in the Sky", the title track, and "Will of the Wisps" standing out as highlights. The musicianship is seldom too demanding, but it's always professional and well-played. Ed Wynne's fretwork is especially impressive - that man simply knows how to play with soul and spot-on precision, and that's exactly what I look for from a great guitarist. The production took a little while for me to get used to on Paper Monkeys, but the somewhat electronic sound did eventually grow on me to the point where I consider this a perfect fit for the compositions on this album.

Paper Monkeys may not be a drop-dead gorgeous masterpiece, but it's a very solid observation to add to Ozric Tentacles' canon. I really have had a pleasure experiencing this album, and even though it occasionally fades into background music, I still have a difficult time calling Paper Monkeys anything less than a successful effort. I'd say Paper Monkeys is well deserving of a solid 3.5 stars, as well as a warm recommendation. Fans of the band, as well as psychedelic rock in general, will definitely want to put this one on their wishlists.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here is an instrumental album to shove on at a late hour and just sit back, headphones attached, your brain sandwiched in between, and just let yourself be immersed in sonic psychedelic bliss. I have no idea where one track ends and another begins because it just flows so beautifully along. At times the music is techno fast tempo and features electric guitar and effects. At other times there is an ambience of sweet keyboards and electro percussion with deep bass resonances that envelop the ear canals.

I am no stranger to what the Ozrics are capable of having heard many times their early material such as Erpland, Jurassic Shift, Waterfall Cities, The Spiral Galaxy one, The Arborescence one and that more recent The Yum Tum Tree. In every case the music is a dynamic journey into sensory sound; evoking strong images and emotions every time. There is always a psychedelic spaciness and at times I hear smidgens of Kraftwerk, Hawkwind, and The Ovals. However Ozrics have their own sound and it is a bright multi layered form of space rock without the vocals.

This latest album Paper Monkeys, is certainly a well performed piece of uplifting music, there is not a bad moment on it. Having said that I feel that it is not as creative or memorable as some of the compositions on Erpland or Jurassic Shift. I am always blown away by the inventiveness on those gems and this latest effort really misses the mark. It is nice to sit under the warm rays of Attack Of The Vapours or Will Of The Wisps and the final track Air City is really a master work, but for me the album as a whole does not measure up to the excellent standard I have heard before from Ozric Tentacles.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Ozric Tentacles have been mixing proggy psychedelic instrumental rock with world elements, electronics and modern dance influences for almost 30 years now, with `Erpland', `Jurassic Shift' and `Waterfall Cities' being their most artistically successful and musically defining albums - to my ears anyway! In between those albums are a stack of accomplished and high-quality releases, but it's only every few albums where the band seems to take a big step forward and push themselves in a new and exciting direction. After a few decent but by-the-numbers releases in a row, I'd secretly hoped `Paper Monkeys' was going to be the `next big one' for them. Instead, we get a very accomplished but also very typical Ozrics album, with a handful of terrific pieces and a bunch of decent ones.

`Attack Of The Vapours' gets things off to a great start. After a noisy tribal-drum assault with Ed Wynne's wailing electric guitar, the track falls into an addictive programmed drum n' bass workout full of floating synths. It's pretty straightforward, without the usual Ozrics schizophrenic approach, instead being surprisingly focused and to-the-point. One of my more favourite recent Ozrics tracks!

Shimmering electric piano, relentless bass and a soaring melodic electric guitar melody/solo weave through `Lost In The Sky'. The synth melody diversions and gurgling keys throughout are very pleasing, as well as the final keyboard solo from Silas Wynne, plus there's lots of furious drumming from Ollie Seagle too. Very uplifting, and sure to put you in a great mood.

The kicking title track is like a classic riff-heavy older Ozrics track with a very shredding electric solo running through most of the piece, busy drums, repetitive maddening bass and a quirky synth heavy middle section! Heaps of energy on what will probably be the favourite track on the album for many fans.

The first half of the ten-minute `The Will Of The Wisps' has a subtle and breezy Ash-Ra influence, as gentle percussion and electronics float along on clouds of musical bliss. A groovier second half with more commanding drums, heavier electronics and noisy guitars changes the mood to something a little more tense. In many ways, it's the most subtle thing on the album, yet it makes the biggest impression.

The rest of the album is made up of a number of worthwhile but typical Ozric workouts. There's lots of positivity on the bouncy `Lemon Kush', with liquid bass from Brandi (wished it was mixed just a little louder!), good mix of programmed and busy live drum-work, plus lovely glissando and a killer funky guitar solo from Ed. Shimmering synth waves and middle eastern guitar sounds throughout `Flying Machines', I love the thunderstorm behind the Tangerine Dream-like synthscape in the middle, while the very alien atmosphere joined with ethnic acoustic guitar and tribal drumbeats is highly intoxicating. `Knurl' begins with gorgeous deep and thick bass, but soon joined by a catchy dubby synth melody that drifts through most of the track, giving it a very light and airy feel. A ragged electric guitar solo in the middle and plenty of varied drumming throughout. `Plowm' sets up the opening few seconds as a drifting Ash-Ra piece before heavy programmed drums, funky bass and harsh guitar solos invade the track. The shimmering and phasing synth melodies throughout are very tasteful, too. The album ends on the short but sweet `Air City' that has an almost thoughtful and reflective tone, sounding like something from one of the Pierre Moerlin `Gong' albums with it's use of xylophone.

Although full of the usual colourful swirling synth solos, spacey electric guitar solos and grooving bass, much of the music itself feels a little like the band are just going through the same motions that they've been going through on all their albums since 2004's `Spirals In Hyperspace'. There's still an over-reliance on programming, especially with the beats, although this album seems to feature the most live drum-work for many albums, which gives the music a punchier and livelier sound. Admittedly the album has plenty of addictive arrangements and frequently catchy melodies, and if someone were to hear the Ozrics for the first time with `Paper Monkeys', I think they'd find endless exciting ideas and interesting sounds on it. For established fans, it's more a case of being `another fine quality Ozrics album' to throw on the shelf next to their other ones, without the real magic that makes their best albums stand out. Meanwhile, we'll keep waiting for that `next big one' the band surely still have in them.

Nice cover, too, that looks especially striking and clever on the vinyl release!

Review by obiter
3 stars OK so I'm a fan converted after seeing the Ozrics in the late 80s while at university in England (after being played some tapes by a mate I've been hooked ... thanks Seb). For the uninitiated Ozrics are THE spacerock band bar none. For me they define the genre.

How does this compare with the classic sound?

Lemon Kush: more upbeat, trendier, maybe dancier. Flying Machines has plenty of Ed Wynne's riffs that would grace if not embarrass the more self-aggrandizing lead metal guitarists. Plowm (not pwned) is perhaps the most typically Ozrics track.

Lost in the Sky has a dreamy swirling nature, mixing throbbing bass with genuine edgy lead guitars and somehow having psychedelic keyboards. Classic Ozrics. Excellent. Nothing new but, hey, if it ain't broke.

So for the Ozrics aficionados why add this one to our expanding collection? Simples: The Will of the Wisps. Worth the purchase on it's own (and now with the wonders of the interweb thingy you can get it on its own): dreamy (one of the great bass lines .. wafting keyboards, bubbles, delicately mixed acoustic, then about 5 mins in "the change": simply picks up, changes the rhythm, bass line changes, muted guitar; by 7 mins in it's grooving in such a mesmeric way that it's almost impossible not to start moving to the music. By 10 mins the Borg is in control: resistance is futile: Ozrics at their very very best.

Is the album essential: nah, not by a long shot. But every progger should have The Will of the Wisps.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars As I'm eagerly waiting for their new release Technicians of the Sacred, I will review Paper Monkeys, which is their previous offering, and as of typing, still their latest release. Since November 2008, the band had relocated to Colorado, Brandi is American, originally from North Dakota. They hoped this new location will help them concentrate on the North American market. Paper Monkeys was the first since the move, with Ed, Brandi and son Silas (I assume from Ed's previous marriage from Sarah), and American drummer Ollie Seagle. However, the High Park fire in 2012 destroyed their home, and since that time it's unknown where they're staying.

Well, it's another Ozric CD, and while I find the CD enjoyable, it really didn't bring much new to the table that you hadn't already heard before, but then if you like the sound, then there shouldn't be any reason you shouldn't pick up the CD. I found the monkey sounds rather amusing, courtesy of a Brazilian instrument called a cuica, which looks like a little handheld drum with a rod attached to the drumskin that you use a rag to rub the rod to create these squeaky sounds, or in this case, monkey sounds. Another one features the sound of lightning, and given the area of Colorado the Wynnes were living at the time, I wouldn't doubt it was real lightning (they lived in a remote rural location outside of Fort Collins, and I wouldn't doubt if lightning caused the High Park fire). Aside from that, it's the usual guitar/synth dominated space rock you've come to know for all these years. They have never made a bad album, although there are times they did overstretch it a bit (The Floor's Too Far Away, for example, features some totally amazing material, but would have been better if it were cut a bit short, and I felt the same about The Yum Yum Tree). Not to mention there are always Ozric releases I'd have to be more in the mood than others to listen, like Waterfall Cities (I do like it, but a bit on the techno side). I own both the CD and the LP of Paper Monkeys, and this is one of the rare cases where the CD had superior packaging, because it included a fold-out booklet depicting a Graniteware cup, a bunch of monkeys, and photos of the band in their home studio. The LP didn't have that, because it would have been too much of a hassle to fold the booklet back had it been LP-sized. I can't give it a five star rating, because it's a bit of a "been there, done that" type of album, but since I still love what they do, four stars it is.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Paper Monkeys fits right in alongside the Ozirc Tentacle's massively consistent, enjoyable, and successful pattern for great instrumental rock. I enjoy everything Ed Wynn and company produce, even if we're mostly hearing variations of the same cosmic, swirly, energetic, throbbing, swoshing, rip-roaring song. The writing is nuanced and deeply textured, the players are on top of their game, and the overall effect is essential.

If you're not an Ozric fan this is a perfectly acceptable place to start. It's an enjoyable album that will drift in and out of the background, providing a variety of moods and tones and grooves to enjoy. If you are a fan, you may find Paper Monkeys to have a bit more attitude and swagger than the typically Ozric release. That's me stretching for a way to describe Paper Monkeys in a way that I haven't used on other Ozric albums.

This is a great album, but because it's just another star in the Ozric's hyperspace, it's a 3-star album. If you've never enjoyed an Ozric album, then check this one, and their other works out right away! It's an instrumental treat.

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

Review by Warthur
4 stars In this incarnation, Ozric Tentacles are essentially the Wynne family plus a drummer, but far from being short on ideas Paper Monkeys ends up being one of the most varied Ozric Tentacles albums in a long time, with sounds ranging from the psybient styles of later releases to throwback space rock workouts. The variety is welcome in a band where for stretches it felt like every album (or, indeed, every track) was a riff on the same general idea; to be fair, it was a pretty good idea, but finding Ed Wynne and collaborators continuing to expand their horizons here gives reason to hope for the project's long-term future.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ed & family's sixth studio album release of the 21st Century.

1. "Attack of the Vapours" (5:22) like STEVE HILLAGE with rock beat, frenetic Indian-like percussion, and conversing synth cats! Definitely one of Ed's most speedy and computer-roboticized pieces. (8.75/10)

2. "Lemon Kush" (6:15) a bit of a rocker that conjures up concepts like OT doing mock ups or mix-medleys of old rock classics (here The Who's "Eminence Front" with Alan Parsons Project's "I Robot" and Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme"). It's hard to imagine that all of these tracks were played at these breakneck speeds; might they have been computer-sped up for the final mixes? Very interesting. (8.875/10)

3. "Flying Machines" (6:26) some Petri Walli/Jimi Hendrix-like guitar shredding dispersed over one of the simpler rhythm tracks and song constructs I've heard from OT in a while. (8.66667/10)

4. "Knurl" (6:08) I know this one was built around Brandi Wynne's gorgeous TONY LEVIN-like bass line. How much fun would it be to be in the studio when these guys go through their vast array of tried and true sounds and styles of world and traditional music sounds and styles in order to find which combination and permutation "fits" best with the current construct they're working on. This one has no certain traditon for its source and so must justifiably be labelled a "mutt," "mélamge," or "hybrid." It is, however, a bit of a lame duck in terms of taking space where originality could stand tall. (8.666667/10)

5. "Lost in the Sky" (7:20) I know it must be terribly difficult to constantly have to try to reinvent one's sound, style, or library of sound from album to album--especially over a 25-year span--but to borrow not one but two signature sounds from one song ("Stretchy") for a new song is inexcusable. Perhaps this was a period where fans were clamoring for more of the old (I know it was before the fire that destroyed all of their equipment). (13.125/15)

6. "Paper Monkeys" (7:17) opens like a classic heavy rock song from the 1970s--like something by Ted Nugent or even Jeff Beck (especially in the bass and drum rhythm section); very rock lead guitar-led and -oriented. Not only are they reaching back for old riffs and sounds to build their songs upon, they're actually going beyond their usual psychedelic and space rock sources. Too straightforward and one-dimensional. A lot of people will like this one for yet another hyperspeed journey. (13/15)

7. "Plowm" (7:52) interesting synth sequence to open. Deep funky bass-led band jumps right in within 30 seconds, setting up a nice weave over which Ed's searing lead guitar and multiple synth sounds take turns injecting their perspectives, short-lived or not. Different upper-register e-guitar strumming around the three-minute mark followed by bridge to alto pan flute-like synth solo. Nice low-end, well-spaced guitar chords in the fifth minute before they turn into one of Ed's fiery flanged Todd Rundgren-like solos. It's quite a nice solo; too bad it's stuck way back there in the garden. (I love Todd's lead sound.) Finally something that feels a little fresh. A top three song for me. (13.5/15)

8. "The Will of the Wisps" (10:42) What?! Dreamy, spacey? An all-synth weave (before the militaristic drumming rises to the fore)? A little Andreas Vollenweider here? Another "too bad" cuz Ollie Seagle's drumming is actually rather remarkable. I actually enjoy this kind of "world space music" quite a lot--and do not miss the guitar or funky bass; it's always fun for me to see/hear what a whole room of computer keyboard players can weave together. The Balinese "will 'o' wisp" voices in the sixth minute are cool, but I have to admit that the guitar track introduced disappoints me-- even though it's just Jan Akkerman-like rhythm work. Another wave of Balinese voices and we switch into the domineering presence of the full wah-blues guitar. Fortunately, he doesn't go off into a full-blown testosterone-fueled solo until well into the tenth minute. (George Thorogood!) Despite the let-down of the final three minutes, this is another top three song for me. (18.25/20)

9. "Air City" (3:53) sounds like a percussionist's happy variation of Jan Akkerman's classic, "Skydancer." My other top three song. (8.875/10)

Total Time 61:15

This is the most computer-manipulated music I've ever heard from the OT crew--which begs the question: Can this music actually be performed live by non-robotic human musicians? Also, is the overwhelming dominance of breakneck-speed songs on this album indicative of any issues within the band? (Like impatience, time limits, or amphetamine use?)

B/four stars; overall, this is an album of solid it, at times, familiar Ozrics songs with just enough fresh ideas to make it an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you're already a fan.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It's a family affair this time with band leader Ed Wynne (gtr & synths) wife Brandi (bass) and now son Silas (synths) jamming together on this hour-long exploration of space/prog rock. Given its their 28th LP we shouldn't expect too many surprises and there aren't any. It's the unique blend of ... (read more)

Report this review (#607352) | Posted by BigAl65 | Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album continues much in the same vein as the previous release, "The Yum Yum Tree". In truth this is less of a band these days and more of an Ed Wynne solo project, with less playing by a group than some of the earlier releases from the classic Ozrics period (basically the 90's). But the ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#550945) | Posted by GilesBrigand | Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So, It's been only five days since I got 'Paper Monkeys'...yeah, just five days (this, my CD, may even be the first official copy ever) and my mind's already ventured into Erpland! Just when you thought these guys couldn't make music even more overwhelming, insane and passional...then they give y ... (read more)

Report this review (#541199) | Posted by Autumnmaker | Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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