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OZRIC TENTACLES

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Ozric Tentacles picture
Ozric Tentacles biography
Founded in Somerset, England in 1983

OZRIC TENTACLES are simply put, legends of the UK underground. Inspired by a myriad of musical genres and musicians from Kraut-rockers KRAAN to guitar maestro Steve VAI, from ethnic Arabic to electronic techno, from HENDRIX to HILLAGE. OZRIC TENTACLES' music is a fusion of sounds, styles and genres that cannot be categorized nor plagiarized, such is its complexity.

The essence of the OZRIC TENTACLES remains essentially a free-willed musical unit oblivious to fashion trends and intent on exploring instrumental experimental music with an obsessive zeal. Formed in the early eighties, the Ozrics began life as a free-form psychedelic vehicle for jamming, attracting a dedicated fan-base at grassroots level by playing at all the free festivals to fans of space-rock, dub, psychedelia, and later on when the festivals had developed into raves, to fans of house and techno. Having then developed their own cottage industry - studio, label, tour bus, dedicated following - the Ozrics eventually achieved top ten album status in the UK with their 1993 album "Jurassic Shift". It was, and still is, an astonishing accomplishment for a band with no celebrity status, and no major record label backing.

To date, the band have released 20 albums, a vast body of music that is both complex and fascinating in its scope and vision. The new live double album, "Pongmasters Ball" was recorded at their sold-out show at London's Shepherds Bush Empire earlier this year. The DVD of this show will be released in September. OZRIC TENTACLES are: Ed WYNNE (guitar, keyboards) - John EGAN (flute, vocals) - PAZZA (bass) - SEAWEED(keyboards) - SCHOO (drums, percussion).

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Technicians Of The SacredTechnicians Of The Sacred
MADFISH 2017
$9.98
$29.11 (used)
The Yum Yum TreeThe Yum Yum Tree
MADFISH 2017
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PyramidionPyramidion
MADFISH 2018
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$7.27 (used)
Jurassic ShiftJurassic Shift
MADFISH 2018
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Erpland ( Cd & Dvd Set )Erpland ( Cd & Dvd Set )
MADFISH 2017
$11.40
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Pungent Effulgent ( 2 LP SET )Pungent Effulgent ( 2 LP SET )
MADFISH 2017
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$31.38 (used)
Live At The Pongmasters Ball (CD & DVD Set)Live At The Pongmasters Ball (CD & DVD Set)
MADFISH 2017
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StrangeitudeStrangeitude
MADFISH 2017
$8.81
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Curious Corn ( 2 LP )Curious Corn ( 2 LP )
MADFISH 2017
$21.16
$31.38 (used)
Paper Monkeys ( 2 LP Gatefold )Paper Monkeys ( 2 LP Gatefold )
MADFISH 2017
$22.93
$49.15 (used)
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OZRIC TENTACLES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OZRIC TENTACLES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 93 ratings
Erpsongs
1985
3.04 | 76 ratings
Tantric Obstacles
1985
3.53 | 81 ratings
There Is Nothing
1986
3.51 | 74 ratings
Sliding Gliding Worlds
1988
3.41 | 66 ratings
The Bits Between the Bits
1989
3.80 | 167 ratings
Pungent Effulgent
1989
4.02 | 279 ratings
Erpland
1990
3.90 | 216 ratings
Strangeitude
1991
4.09 | 402 ratings
Jurassic Shift
1993
3.90 | 193 ratings
Arborescence
1994
3.61 | 112 ratings
Become The Other
1995
3.91 | 158 ratings
Curious Corn
1997
3.80 | 160 ratings
Waterfall Cities
1999
3.93 | 139 ratings
The Hidden Step
2000
3.43 | 88 ratings
Swirly Termination
2000
3.74 | 155 ratings
Spirals In Hyperspace
2004
3.61 | 111 ratings
The Floor's Too Far Away
2006
3.57 | 150 ratings
The YumYum Tree
2009
3.36 | 105 ratings
Paper Monkeys
2011
3.85 | 190 ratings
Technicians Of The Sacred
2015

OZRIC TENTACLES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 38 ratings
Live Ethereal Cereal
1986
4.30 | 64 ratings
Live Underslunky
1992
4.07 | 32 ratings
Spice Doubt
1998
4.70 | 71 ratings
Live at the Pongmasters Ball
2002
4.31 | 47 ratings
Sunrise Festival
2008
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live At One World Frome Festival 1997
2011
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live At The Academy Manchester 1992
2011
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live In Oslo
2011
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live In Italy 2010
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The Academy Manchester 1992
2011
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live In Milan 2012
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Pordenone, Italy 2013
2013

OZRIC TENTACLES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.23 | 49 ratings
Live at Pongmasters Ball 2002
2002

OZRIC TENTACLES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 32 ratings
Afterswish
1992
3.78 | 19 ratings
Vitamin Enhanced
1994
1.97 | 18 ratings
Floating Seeds
1999
3.85 | 13 ratings
There is Nothing / Live Ethereal Cereal
2000
3.73 | 11 ratings
Bits Between The Bits/Sliding Gliding Worlds
2000
3.27 | 11 ratings
Tantric Obstacles/Erpsongs
2000
4.08 | 12 ratings
Pungent Effulgent / Strangeitude
2002
4.22 | 9 ratings
Aborescence/Become The Other
2003
3.80 | 10 ratings
Live Underslunky/Spice Doubt
2004
4.29 | 7 ratings
Curious Corn / Swirly Termination
2004
4.44 | 21 ratings
Erpland / Jurassic Shift
2004
4.04 | 18 ratings
Eternal Wheel (Best of)
2004
4.44 | 9 ratings
Waterfall Cities / Hidden Step*
2005
2.71 | 7 ratings
Pyramidion / Floating Seeds
2005

OZRIC TENTACLES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 5 ratings
Sploosh / Live Throbbe
1991
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ozric Tentacles
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wob Glass
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Oakum
2000
4.32 | 36 ratings
Pyramidion
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Eat Static Remix Ozric Tentacles: Chewier
2004

OZRIC TENTACLES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live Ethereal Cereal  by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Live, 1986
3.56 | 38 ratings

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Live Ethereal Cereal
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by thwok

4 stars According to the official band bio here, OT used to sell their music as cassette tapes (what's that?) at their shows. Thanks to their own abilities, we can all enjoy their terrific albums! In my opinion, Ozric Tentacles is a great band because of their musicianship and their clever combination of musical elements. It's not primarily because of their songwriting skills.

LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL definitely demonstrates their playing skills, even early in their career. I will admit to a bias. I think the band was at its best in the 1990a. There is a certain sameness to their output in recent years. I like the way this particular album balances shorter and longer songs, and a variety of songs,

LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL is a terrific first live album. The sound quality has been criticized on other websites. I think it's largely a matter of how important sound quality is in your opinion. I think the sound quality of LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL is perfectly acceptable. On the whole, this album is well worth the money for established fans of OT, or anyone with a strong interest in this kind of prog.

 Vitamin Enhanced by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
3.78 | 19 ratings

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Vitamin Enhanced
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars OZRIC TENTACLES spent the majority of the 80s playing small festivals and venues before they would find their first album 'Pungent Effulgent' on the Dovetail Records label which would lead them into on their way to find themselves as one of the most interesting underground psychedelic space rock bands of the 90s.

During this time the band released six recordings but only on cassette and were only sold at live venues making it quite difficult for anyone who wasn't there at the time to track down. Dovetail solved that problem by releasing all of those homemade albums on CD in the box set compilation VITAMIN ENHANCED in 1994.

As if the originals themselves weren't hard enough to find, the original pressing for VITAMIN ENHANCED was limited to a mere 5000 copies which sold out quickly as the band amassed more popular appeal. Not helping the matter was the fact of legal issues from Kellogg's who complained that the artwork resembled their brand of Corn Flakes packaging.

Because of all that, the plans for a repressing were scrapped but finally in 2013, in honor of the band's 30th anniversary, the Snapper Music label remastered the entire six albums which saw a release in January of 2014. Also included is a generous booklet filled with history and artwork from those early days. The CDs included are wrapped up in cardboard sleeves with their original artwork all snug together in a nice tripped out box.

While most of the early albums aren't exactly essential with only 'Live Essential Cereal' and 'Bits Between The Bits' receiving a four star status from yours truly, this is an impressive packaging design and an excellent way to get all the early albums in a one-stop shop in totally remastered form, thus a 4 star box set which includes mostly 3 star albums but the remastered versions add a little more star heft to my rating.

This box set includes: CD 1: Erpsongs (1984) CD 2: Tantric Obstacles (1985) CD 3: Live Ethereal Cereal (1986) CD 4: There Is Nothing (1987) CD 5: Sliding Gliding Worlds (1988) CD 6: Bits Between the Bits (1989)

 The Bits Between the Bits by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.41 | 66 ratings

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The Bits Between the Bits
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars OZRIC TENTACLES reached the end of the line for the 80s run of their cassette-only / available-only-at-concert days albums by the time they released their last album of this period THE BITS BETWEEN THE BITS (or 'The Purple One'). The band's popularity had started to expand by the end of 1986 which led to more money to buy new equipment. Starting with 'There Is Nothing,' the band began to experiment with more reggae and rock in their sound as well as adding new samples and with the purchase of a then swanky 8-track tape machine, the OZRICS were able to expand their overdubbing and percussive overdrive that sets their sixth album THE BITS BETWEEN THE BITS in another league above what came before. This album is in reality the leftover tracks from the other five cassette releases that came before but because of the extra attention paid to the recording process and the heightened use of percussion and Hawkwind-esque swirling synth action, this one ranks as my favorite of the early years.

Perhaps the material on this one isn't necessarily stronger than what came before. THE BITS has the same hypnotic grooviness and approach of taking layers of synthesized effects and taking you to cloud nine, however the more sophisticated technological advance in production was exactly the ticket to bring OZRIC TENTACLE's sound to a more professional level which is what would get them signed to Dovetail Records where they would soon release their first 'official' album 'Pungeant Effulgent.' What sets this one apart is a more thoughtful use of bass grooves, synthesizer mood building atmospheres and an extremely spacey mixing job. In many cases the sounds sort of 'bleed' together creating an electro-acoustic version of a hallucination. The tracks likewise are more diverse in their approach with a much more varied set of dynamics including more tempo changes, a wider range of timbres with influences from India and other Asian cultures as well as a sense of changing the guitar use up more.

I seem to be in the minority for liking this purple one of the early 'colored ones' the best but THE BITS BETWEEN THE BITS is exactly the type of music i always pictured OZRIC TENTACLES of delivering before i actually heard them. While the previous cassette-only releases were good in creating hypnotic effects to lull the listener into a placid state of bliss, they often sounded cheesy and cheap in the production department which is why out of the earliest albums i find 'Live Ethereal Cereal' to be the best representation of their early days. THE BITS takes all of that frenetic energy found on the live release and marries it to the excellent production opportunities of the studio and elevates it to a totally new level, one where all the influences that led to this point happily perform a matrimonial ceremony and exchange vows which allows everything to mix and meld so smoothly. In addition, the use of samples and odd intros and breaks adds a lot more surprises than the earlier stuff.

Like all of the early cassette-only years, THE BITS BETWEEN THE BITS is most easily found as a part of the entire early years collection in box set form titled 'Vitamin Enhanced' which while released in 1994 has been totally remastered. Although i can't compare this remastered album to the original, i have to say that the one i have is one of my favorite OZRIC albums period because it retains a lot of the early spirit with an enthusiastic flair for newbie technological experimentation.

 Sliding Gliding Worlds by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.51 | 74 ratings

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Sliding Gliding Worlds
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars SLIDING GLIDING WORDS is the fifth release that continued the free-cassette only releases of OZRIC TENTACLES during their 80s run as an up and coming psychedelic rock band of the ages before they would finally release a real first album titled 'Pungent Effulgent' in 1989. While very little sets apart these early releases as they are all a conglomeration of Hawkwind inspired space rock with the prog leanings, elements of jazz-fusion, electronica, dub and ambient sound effects, this one has a more chilled out vibe to it compared to the preceding albums that ranged from 'Erpsongs' to 'There Is Nothing.'

And once again, SLIDING GLIDING WOLRDS presents a fluid range of improvisational sounding pieces that continue the sampling and synthesizer attacks. OZRIC TENTACLES took two years to release this next cassette only hour long experience due to a lineup change where Tom Brooks left his keyboard post and was replaced by Ed Wynne which is possibly why this album sounds more relaxed with less heavy guitar outbursts and more of a cementing of a sound that would emerge in the 90s.

Really not much can be said about SLIDING GLIDING WORLDS that can't be applied to the entire 80s run of cassette-only releases. For the most part they are practically indistinguishable by the time they get to album number five as the beats, tempos and timbres are familiar territory however OZRIC TENTACLES still retains their very own distinct sound that they are slowly refining with more world music influences. As with the other early releases, i personally don't find SLIDING GLIDING WORLDS to be any more essential than any other of the era, however this if you are seeking out the raw early primeval material from the OZRICs then this one is as good as any other.

While the original is practically impossible to come across these days, as with all six of the cassette-only releases SLIDING GLIDING WORLDS was eventually released in 1994 by Dovetail Records on CD and today can be found digitally remastered and available in the 'Vitamin Enhanced' boxed set.

 Jurassic Shift by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.09 | 402 ratings

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Jurassic Shift
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Trippy-ish, but thin

Often considered the best Ozrics studio album, Jurassic Shift is at least enjoyable all the way through, and it is the studio album of theirs that I have listened to the most (hence this review). Like other Ozrics albums from this period, the music is instrumental and feels like it was recorded live in the studio. When they are at their best, they sound like (Daevid Allen's) Gong improvising live in the 1970s, which is why their live albums are generally their most musical, as they get to stretch out and improvise onstage. However, they emerged in the early 1990s during the early rave scene and their music is also clearly targeted to that audience. So, most of the tracks have a repetitive beat/lick set to a programmed bass line that are meant for getting people dancing, and musically these pieces are thin, they generally do not go anywhere. They might start or end with some interesting noises, and contain some interesting beats, but most of the pieces just repeat that beat or pattern for the entire song in one key and then end. I wish there were something additional to maintain interest, whether solos, melodies, vocals, changing time signatures, or key changes. Indeed, there are few real solos to speak of (a couple of the Gong-like tracks have short guitar or synth solo-like breaks, but they last maybe 15 or 20 seconds, and are not developed to their potential), and all but the title track is in a fairly straight 4/4 beat (the title track moves between 4/4 and 6/8). There are no vocals, which is fine, but that means there needs to be something else to add musicality to the repetitive beats. For the most part, this is done with textures made by synths, whether synth washes or sequencers, or the occassional flute-synth lines, but in most cases these can't make these tunes worth listening to more than once or twice for their own sake (although it makes a fine background music for parties). The best tracks on this album are the title track ("Jurassic Shift") and the closer ("Vita Voom") - those are the songs with some real guitar playing and sufficient improvisation, and good drumming, for continued listening. After this, the opener ("Sun Hair") is a nice tune with an interesting synth sequence that actually has chord changes, while second track ("Stretchy") has a memorable synth-based main theme, so both are enjoyable but nonetheless pretty thin. My version of the album has both the studio version and also a live version of "Feng Shui", which starts with nice flute notes, and has a quirky repeated dancehall (4/4) beat, but unfortunately no solos, just 10 minutes of synth noises over the same bass line. There is a cool acoustic guitar theme that reappears occasionally in the fourth track "Half Light in Thilla", but it is more like a tease, with the song fading out before anywhere realizing its potential. "Pteranodon" and "Train Oasis" are, again, enjoyable, but thin musically and too repetitive. On the whole, some nice background music for a house party, but really only two standout tracks. I give this album 6.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Strangeitude by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.90 | 216 ratings

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Strangeitude
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Essentially their third album (although there were six early cassette releases that shouldn't be overlooked!), 1991's `Strangeitude' saw British festival psych band the Ozric Tentacles introduce more fully an electronic sound, although in very different ways from the programmed later direction the band would move into in their more recent years. The band had briefly flirted with electronics on both the `official' debut `Pungent Effulgent' and the follow-up `Erpland', but here it was perfectly grafted to their colourful psychedelic jamming and exotic ethnic flavours, often in a very heavy and intense manner that would in many ways remain exclusive to this album.

Opener `White Rhino Tea' sees the band burn through a range of gutsy electric guitar-driven themes and chunky upfront bass all unexpectedly played with the sleek heavier aggression of Rush, and light tribal touches, ambient synth breaks, busy snapping drumming and whirring keyboard wig-outs are also worked in. `Sploosh!', released as a single at the time and something of a classic Ozrics track, has looped sounds of water effects dripping around pulsing trance-like electronic programming with harsher interludes almost serving as a reprising `chorus', the piece growing more intense and unhinged as it progresses. Full of ancient world mystery, ravishing Arabic-flavoured acoustic guitars weave between purring bass and spiralling synth ripples throughout `Saucers', but pay close attention to how effortlessly the piece glides into a scorching space-rock burst and further hypnotic electronic drift in the final minutes.

The first half of side two's `Strangeitude' unfolds as a meditative eastern-flavoured ambient float laced with just a hint of unease before distorting into a hard electronic drum n' bass-like breakdown with twitching treated vocals and strident drumming, even finding time to tease with wisps of psychedelic glissando-guitar bliss. `Bizarre Bazaar' is one of those frantic up-tempo pieces the band does so well that unleashes wild acoustic guitar flourishes backed by busy drumming, bouncing bass and darting flute with fiery electric guitar snarls. Album closer `Space Between Your Ears' is a seductively chilled reggae/dub groove with purring bass slinking through pools of mellow synth washes before raging to life with mangled fiery guitar histrionics and bashing drums, making it almost an early run for later pieces like `Feng Shui' off their next album.

If you've got the CD version, the disc ends with `Live Throbbe', sure enough a live recording that's more-or-less a stomping drone that fuses Deuter-like meditative flute with plodding heavy drumming, wild guitar soloing and rising/falling electronics.

`Strangeitude' is definitely one of the Ozric's tightest and most focused albums, that doesn't sacrifice the liveliness and energy the group is known for, and the use of particularly heavier electronics makes it real one-off in their discography. `Jurassic Shift', one of their most popular and artistically successful moments was just around the corner, but the Ozrics had already hit gold with this one (hmmm, as well as `Erpland' just before it!).

Four stars.

 The Hidden Step by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.93 | 139 ratings

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The Hidden Step
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

 Tantric Obstacles by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.04 | 76 ratings

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Tantric Obstacles
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sachis

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 really show there skills in instrumental music. The songs are various. Some of them are almost experimental, others are more close to prog rock. Nice guitar solos and synthesizers background atmospheric sounds. The rhythmic part is excellent. Hardly I can distinguish some favourite songs from it, so the album deserves to be listened from the first second to the last. IMO, Ozric Tentacles requires attention for any progressive rock lover and, this album at least, should be an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

4 stars!

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 190 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Technicians of the Sacred' - Ozric Tentacles (82/100)

For a band as longstanding as Ozric Tentacles, you would expect them to have had at least a handful of slip-ups over the years. And you would expect wrongly; though certain albums wax inspiration moreso than others, there's not one journey of theirs that isn't worth taking. Perhaps its because the Ozrics have managed to scope out a niche that assumes the most defining traits of space rock, all the while managing to sound completely unique while they're at it. I have said many times before that there's something purely addictive about Ozric Tentacles' sound. Their jams are filled with some of the best psychedelic ear candy around. When you pair that with their jaw-dropping musicianship, well, it's practically a match made in Shambhala.

Techncians of the Sacred is absolutely nothing new for Ozric Tentacles. It's intensely psychedelic-- almost overwhelmingly so. It teeters in the grey area where I'm unsure whether the songs are best described as loose compositions or focused jams. The tone is playful and alien. This is nothing Ozric Tentacles haven't done on albums prior, and in their case, that is exactly what I'd hope to hear on a new album. While some bands are rewarded by their own constant reinvention, this band is so deep within their own rabbit hole it would seem totally contrived if they tried to stir the pot, especially at this point in their career. While calling it a familiar experience probably isn't cause to be excited about Technicians of the Sacred by itself, the fact that they're still making new memorable material with those same strokes should act as testament to what a special band they really are.

Even amid the band's discography, Technicians of the Sacred holds a special place. It's easily their strongest album at least since Waterfall Cities in 1999, and though the band's past two albums-- 2009's The YumYum Tree and 2011's Paper Monkeys-- seemed to go a little too far with the electronic end at the expense of their energy, here they sound refreshed with a totally revived stamina. Considering it's an hour and a half long (their first 2Lp since Erpland in 1990) it's a small marvel they manage to hold a momentum half as well as they do here. Fans of the Ozrics should know well very what to expect. The tracks are generally built around tick grooves and a load of spacey effects to fill one's ears. Like a lot of their best work, you can tell these guys probably had a ton of fun piecing this album together. I hesitate to use the term 'loose' to describe their song structures, but suffice to say, they leave enough room for their atmosphere to breathe, no matter how fast or harrowing a given groove may be.

A lot of the most amazing parts of Technicians of the Sacred manifest themselves when the reins are tightened and the compositions take a more rigid form. While you can definitely tell some stretches were left up to magic and chance, Ozric Tentacles offer frequent reminders that this approach is never because they're trying to mask a lack of songwriting tact. The exotic "Epiphlioy" is easily the best example of Ed Wynne as an accomplished composer I have heard in a long time. The frantic acoustic guitar lick it's based around sounds intensely calculated, and the effect is only intensified when he plays around with and changes it up partways into the song. Other songs are memorable for other reasons. The best Ozric magic usually occurs when they find a great idea and latch onto it. So it would be with "Butterfly Garden" and quite a few others I've gladly remembered from the first listen onward.

It's been another impression I've had for some time that Ozric Tentacles really possess the chemistry and musicianship a band like Dream Theater wish they had. It's not just that they know how to dominate with their respective instruments. They know how to fuse their talents together. It is crazier still that Ozric Tentacles has developed into something of a family band in more recent years, with Ed Wynne's wife Brandi taking bass guitar and his son Silas manning the keyboard. While the main man is as impressive a guitarist as ever, it's always been the keyboards that have drawn me most to the band's sound. The same rings true on Technicians of the Sacred. With the kind of gorgeous sonic textures they emit in the music, I'm sure they could have still made enjoyable music with only marginal attention to depth or composition. It is all to Ozric Tentacles' credit that they've gone the extra mile and created an instrumental space rock album with depth to reward repeated listens.

It seems like a trivial criticism to make, but one of the same things that makes Technicians of the Sacred stand out in the band's career is the thing that may ultimately hold it back. While I don't think anything on this album is weak, the second half of the second disc definitely seems to slow down. Compared to the way the album started, "Smiling Potion" and "Rubbing Shoulders with the Absolute" feel kind of snoozy. The issue of the album's audacious length isn't made any better by the fact that Ozric Tentacles just kind of hang out the same wavelength throughout the album. Whether they're going soft, loud, fast or slow, the atmosphere is always one of quirky tranquility. Then again, would Technicians of the Sacred be such an enticing trip if the psychedelic atmosphere made room for sour vibes? I think not.

 Paper Monkeys by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.36 | 105 ratings

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Paper Monkeys
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

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

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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