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OZRIC TENTACLES

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Ozric Tentacles biography
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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Curious CornCurious Corn
Snapper Classics UK 2004
Audio CD$5.52
$30.00 (used)
Technicians Of The SacredTechnicians Of The Sacred
Madfish Records 2015
Audio CD$9.16
$8.10 (used)
Yumyum TreeYumyum Tree
Madfish Records UK 2013
Audio CD$6.48
$44.99 (used)
Jurassic ShiftJurassic Shift
Capitol 1993
Audio CD$6.50
$0.98 (used)
ErplandErpland
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$8.20
$11.06 (used)
Paper MonkeysPaper Monkeys
Madfish Records UK 2011
Audio CD$8.99
$9.13 (used)
Vitamin EnhancedVitamin Enhanced
Snapper UK 2014
Audio CD$44.68
$44.68 (used)
Swirly TerminationSwirly Termination
Madfish Records UK 2000
Audio CD$16.00
$11.68 (used)
Curious Corn: Swirly TerminationCurious Corn: Swirly Termination
Recall Records UK 2004
Audio CD$29.63
$24.99 (used)
Pungent EffulgentPungent Effulgent
Import
Dovetail Records
Audio CD$20.00 (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)

3.42 | 86 ratings
Erpsongs
1985
2.98 | 71 ratings
Tantric Obstacles
1985
3.55 | 70 ratings
There Is Nothing
1986
3.64 | 62 ratings
Sliding Gliding Worlds
1988
3.80 | 150 ratings
Pungent Effulgent
1989
3.28 | 56 ratings
The Bits Between the Bits
1989
4.03 | 258 ratings
Erpland
1990
3.91 | 189 ratings
Strangeitude
1991
4.13 | 370 ratings
Jurassic Shift
1993
3.91 | 178 ratings
Arborescence
1994
3.63 | 99 ratings
Become the Other
1995
3.95 | 143 ratings
Curious Corn
1997
3.80 | 144 ratings
Waterfall Cities
1999
3.96 | 125 ratings
The Hidden Step
2000
3.44 | 82 ratings
Swirly Termination
2000
3.73 | 145 ratings
Spirals In Hyperspace
2004
3.63 | 103 ratings
The Floor's Too Far Away
2006
3.60 | 140 ratings
The YumYum Tree
2009
3.37 | 99 ratings
Paper Monkeys
2011
3.91 | 168 ratings
Technicians Of The Sacred
2015

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

3.55 | 34 ratings
Live Ethereal Cereal
1986
4.32 | 58 ratings
Live Underslunky
1992
4.12 | 28 ratings
Spice Doubt
1998
4.75 | 62 ratings
Live at the Pongmasters Ball
2002
4.41 | 43 ratings
Sunrise Festival
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live At One World Frome Festival 1997
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The Academy Manchester 1992
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Oslo
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Italy 2010
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Milan 2012
2012

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

4.26 | 46 ratings
Live at Pongmasters Ball 2002
2002

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

3.61 | 30 ratings
Afterswish
1992
3.70 | 16 ratings
Vitamin Enhanced
1994
1.97 | 17 ratings
Floating Seeds
1999
4.00 | 12 ratings
There is Nothing / Live Ethereal Cereal
2000
3.90 | 10 ratings
Bits Between The Bits/Sliding Gliding Worlds
2000
3.31 | 10 ratings
Tantric Obstacles/Erpsongs
2000
4.09 | 11 ratings
Pungent Effulgent / Strangeitude
2002
4.25 | 8 ratings
Aborescence/Become The Other
2003
3.80 | 10 ratings
Live Underslunky/Spice Doubt
2004
4.33 | 6 ratings
Curious Corn / Swirly Termination
2004
4.45 | 20 ratings
Erpland / Jurassic Shift
2004
4.05 | 17 ratings
Eternal Wheel (Best of)
2004
4.50 | 8 ratings
Waterfall Cities / Hidden Step*
2005
2.67 | 6 ratings
Pyramidion / Floating Seeds
2005

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

3.31 | 4 ratings
Sploosh / Live Throbbe
1991
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ozric Tentacles
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wob Glass
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Oakum
2000
4.32 | 36 ratings
Pyramidion
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eat Static Remix Ozric Tentacles: Chewier
2004

OZRIC TENTACLES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 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
3.37 | 99 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

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

4 stars It's hard to believe that psychedelic space rockers the Ozric Tentacles are now thirty years and twenty studio discs (if you count those first six cassette releases) into their career! By the time of their terrific 1999 Album `Waterfall Cities', the band had begun evolving further than ever before in an electronic-driven direction, and it was a move that would affect their sound to this very day. But although the last few albums have hardly been poor (there seems to be some opinion that `The Hidden Step' from 2000 was their last truly great moment), there was a sense of repetition sinking into their music, perhaps even signs of a band just going through the motions a little, even though each album still had plenty of stand-out tracks throughout. But it's a welcome surprise to find that `Technicians of the Sacred' is their best release in many years, and this bold, confident and creatively inspired two disc musical statement has all the acoustic, electric, ethnic, world, ambient and psychedelic flavours expected of the band, as well as wholly embracing modern styles such as Goa and psy-trance to concoct a fascinating mix as always!

The title suggests that these two discs reflect the coming together of the technological modern and future age with the ancient, spiritual and meditative ways of old. Much of the first disc moves these cyber hippies the closest they've come to more purely electronic journeys, and there's definitely less histrionic guitar wailing than any other Ozrics album. Unsurprisingly, their soundworlds are constantly upbeat, spiritually blissful and still just a little schizophrenic!

As most Ozrics pieces end in a completely different place from where they begin, it's best to simply look at some standout moments instead of entire tracks. `The High Pass' is a pretty reliable Ozric opener that sounds exactly like you'd expect them to, all synth trickles and bubbling effects, pulsing beats and delirious electric guitar meltdowns. Tribal chants float around ripples of synths, a joyous trilling loop and slow-burning guitar in `Butterfly Garden', and `For Memory' holds blissful chiming guitar ruminations and gurgling beats. `Changala Masala' is a deep electronic psychedelic trance and world music race with slinking programmed bass and frantic guitar bursts (dig the manic throwback to their earlier track `Kick Muck' ever so briefly too!), after an almost oriental themed intro `Zingbong' morphs into one of those loopy reggae diversions that the band do so well, and `Switchback' delivers cascading and joyful synth melodies that could also get you dancing in between subtle moments of long ambient low-key stretches, and they even almost flirt with a kitschy J-Pop style in the opening!

Guitar is more prominent throughout the second disc, and in some ways represents the earlier era of the band more frequently. `Epiphiloy' harkens back to the dusty mystery and eastern bazaars of `Saucers' off `Strangeitude' where hypnotic acoustic guitar intertwines with gnarling synths, gongs, hand percussion, chimes and some biting heavier electric guitars to emerge as something of a modern classic from the Ozrics, and if the band can play it in a concert setting, it's sure to become a live favourite for many fans! Dream-like synth ambience glides through `The Unusual Village' with cutting little electric guitar spikes, and your mind grinds to halt with the lethargic and distorted groaning synths dropping mud-thick grooves on `Smiling Potion'. `Rubbing Shoulders with the Absolute' (now there's a title that electronic ambient musician Steve Roach likely wished he'd got to first!) has some lovely sedate and reflective moments due to glistening electric piano fingertips and washing Alpha Wave Movement-like synth caresses, and album closer `Zenlike Creatures' combines ethereal synth waves full of wonder and equally soaring and chilled guitars.

Even in the few less interesting moments, the album still sounds like addictive sonic ear candy all the way, and while it may not always hold their strongest or most memorable tunes, it's been a while since Ed Wynne and company have sounded not only so focused and determined to impress, but wanting to prove that they still have plenty of worthwhile music to offer and are more inspired than ever. `Technicians of the Sacred' is the Ozrics at their most vibrant, colourful and downright cool for some time, and it's great to have them back and finding their tentacled muse again!

Four stars - and bombard your senses by playing it louder for the best results! Who knows, it might even have you thinking it's one of the best and most addictive albums of the prog year!

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars This is an album that I liked immediately--for the familiarity of the sound that is so uniquely that of OZRIC TENTACLES--but that has taken me quite some time to get familiar with. That seems to be the problem with these modern artists who release 80-plus minute long albums (Dave Kerzer, Sanguine Hum, Barock Project, Nightwish, IOEarth, Sylvan, are a few of the others who have released long playing albums this year, so far.), it takes quite some effort to listen through and to thoroughly get to know them compared to a 45-minute long release. Anyway, the patience and time invested in getting to know Technicians of the Sacred has been well worth it. This has become my favorite Ozrics release since Jurassic Shift. While all the albums I've heard have been nice, none have really possessed that magic touch that compels me to return time and again. And, while the Ozrics sound, style, and magic is pretty generic (it is often difficult to distinguish individual tracks by title--this owning to the fact that they are an instrumental band), yet almost every song on Technicians has had a way to worm into my brain, to get me engaged and then to build, shift, add, twist and turn enough to keep me interested--and, often, smiling! These guys certainly have an unique way of creating sound combinations. I cannot think of anyone quite as eclectic and electronic as them and yet they are always grooving me with their bass and drum rhythm tracks. Always! Plus, their unusual combination of spacey, "Nature" electronic walls of sound with odd and unexpected world instruments never ceases to astound me. And these guys have been doing it for 30 years! BUT they have NEVER done it better than they have on this album. Hail Technicians of the Sacred! The stars have aligned in such a way that Ozric Tentacles have created a masterpiece (of their own genre of music)!

Favorite songs: 11. "Zenlike Creature" (9:54) (10/10); 9. "Smiling Potion" (7:12) (10/10); 3. "Far Memory" (7:12) (10/10) 4. "Changa Masala" (6:05) (10/10); 10. "Rubbing Shoulders with The Absolute" (8:36) (10/10); 8. "The Unusual Village" (6:21) (10/10); 7. "Epiphlioy" (11:50) (9/10); 2. "Butterfly Garden" (5:04) (9/10), and; 6. "Switchback" (10:13) (9/10).

This is an album that is hard to find flaw with as it is all pretty engaging and highly creative (even witty) stuff. 4.5 stars rated up for its unique style and high level of consistency. Check it out for yourself. You may be surprised!

 There Is Nothing  by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.55 | 70 ratings

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There Is Nothing
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars THERE IS NOTHING is the fourth cassette-only release from OZRIC TENTACLES in the 80s before they released their first official album "Pungent Effulgent" in 1989. After the excellent live album "Live Ethereal Cereal" the OZRICS returned to dish out another studio cassette recording shortly thereafter. This album pretty much continues the consistent sounds that every album before incorporated. The evolution of OZRIC TENTACLES has to be one of the most subtle and slow burners in all of music history because from the very first album to the latest, the differences are fewer than the similarities. Not to say there are no changes here though. There is a noticeable leap in production and mixing. The instruments blend together more effectively, the synths have more variety in not only sound but in volume control. There are also more ethnic influences creeping in as well.

The space rock retains a strong Hawkwind feel as usual but there is also a huge "Fish Rising" Steve Hillage feel as well. At times it is a bit too pronounced and the OZRICS feel like more of a tribute band than original. It wouldn't be an OZRIC TENTACLES early release if it didn't include some reggae, ambient synths, hypnotic percussion and echoing guitar riffs. This would also be the last release with drummer Tig (Nick van Gelder) who would be replaced by Merv Pepler. The music is consistent and the track "O-I" would be re-recorded and included on "Pungent Effulgent."

Personally except for the "Live Ethereal Cereal" release, i find these early offerings by the OZRICS a little monotonous and too similar in their style and song structures to warrant any true excitement. It should be remembered that this is space rock and not progressive compositions brimming with virtuosity. For what this band is offering is pleasant enough and well played and in the right mood can be quite satisfying. I tend to eschew these early releases for the most part because i find the later releases much more varied from this early stage. OZRIC TENTACLES albums tend to be quite lengthy affairs as well and at 72:06 this one is a bit too long. I can't say anything bad about this one, but at this point it does seem to evoke exactly the same reactions as the previous albums and coming right after the live album seems a little less energetic. Decent and pleasant but not much more.

As with all six of the cassette-only releases THERE IS NOTHING 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.

 Live Ethereal Cereal  by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Live, 1986
3.55 | 34 ratings

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Live Ethereal Cereal
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL (aka "The Yellow One") is the third cassette-only release from OZRIC TENTACLES in the 80s before their first official debut "Pungent Effulgent" came out in 1989. As the title implies this is a LIVE release and their first of which that showcased the band's diverse sound giving us insight into the shows that attracted them a loyal following during their 1985-86 performances mostly in Reading and Glastonbury, UK. Most of the material here is only available on this release.

It really hit me upon first listen how much better the songs are on this one than on the studio albums showing that OZRIC TENTACLES are indeed masters of the improvised jam and seem to provide studio albums only as teasers to what they were really known for with their ambitious and entrancing LIVE performances. The Hawkwind-esque space rock once again meets reggae, lysergic synthesizers and hypnotic echoing grooves and percussion. There is also a Steve Hillage tribute on "Aumriff" that borrows the classic guitar riff from the "Fish Rising" album.

I personally find LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL to be a more interesting listen than the first two studio albums. The energy and vitality of the band is on full display here. While the songs can range from aggressive to sensual and fluffy, the band play together in a tight and proficient manner and all members involved deliver the highest quality LIVE performances. Ed Wynne is noteworthy here as his guitar riffs are outstanding but it's Joie Hinton's space synth contributions set the whole thing on fire and into space as the drums, congas and bass lines deliver unrelenting rhythms. If you only get one of the early OZRIC TENTACLES albums then this would be a great start because it really exhibits everything the band is famous for at this stage of their career. Probably the only thing that is problematic on this one is the sound quality since these were recorded on primitive technology but even so all the instruments can be heard quite well and the remastered version cleans it up significantly, so not a problem for me at all.

Like all six of the cassette-only releases LIVE ETHEREAL CEREAL 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.

 Tantric Obstacles by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.98 | 71 ratings

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Tantric Obstacles
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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."

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band OZRIC TENTACLES are among the living legends of progressive rock, although I'm not quite sure if they would consider themselves to merit being described in such terms. With a career that kicked off 30 years ago and a prolific total production over the years, this is a firmly established band with a sizable fanbase at this point, and if my memory is correct they are one those bands that have established an audience that cross a great extent of stylistic borders along the way. "Technicians of the Sacred" is their latest studio production, and was released in May 2015 through the Snapper Music imprint Madfish.

As glorious as the past of the Ozrics is, the last ten years or so have seen the band dwindling down a bit, at least as far as recording new material goes. Of the 26 studio and live albums to their name, only five of those have been released over the past decade, including this latest album of theirs. I've also gotten the impression that their latest few studio albums haven't been quite up to the quality of their earlier material, and that there might have been some slight concerns about the band having more or less emptied their well of inspiration and creativity. Four years have gone since Ozric Tentacles released a studio album now, and it was something of a surprise, at least for me, that their latest one was a double feature. After giving this one an inspection it's also fairly clear to my mind why it was released as a double album however, as my impression is that this isn't a case of a double album produced merely to be able to put out all material made rather than selecting the best ones for a single CD, but rather that this is a double feature with subtle differences that makes these two CDs slightly different from one another.

The six cuts chosen for the first CD all share some characteristic features: They are dominated by keyboard and synthesizer textures, liberally flavored with electronic effects and the guitars are toned down both as providers of plucked details, riffs, textures and soloing runs. The songs are very much Ozrics sounding, with all manners of futuristic sounds, surging keyboards and playful effects that invokes thoughts of science fiction just as much as fantasy fiction, and the distinct warm bass groove is of course a feature. But these compositions are all what I'd describe as rather elegant in nature, fairly smooth as seen in the context of this band's history, and just a tad more toned down throughout. Space rock, or fantasy rock if you like, of high quality and with a liberal array of keyboards, synthesizers and electronic effects in the driver seat.

I experience the second disc as a somewhat different creation. The guitar is more prominent, some of the sounds used are more visible, more in contrast with the environment if you like, and many of them feature more distinct world music inspired details, and then of the kind that comes with associations towards Asia and the Middle East first and foremost. The most excellent Epiphlioy the most distinct case in point, and one of the reasons for why this piece of a clear album highlight for me. A creation that takes me back to some of the classic, fairly early albums by the Ozrics that one. Just about as potent is Smiling Potion, one of those tracks that opens with the use of some distinctly odd sounds, explore them for a bit and then starts developing into quite the moving, vibrant monster tune. A future live favorite if I ever heard one. The differences between the two CDs here are fairly subtle, and there is of course a chance that my mind is playing tricks on me. Still, my impression is that this second disc features more use of exotic sounds, more use of and room for the guitar and a slightly less use of keyboards and synthesizer dominated arrangements. What isn't a matter of doubt is that this an Ozrics Tentacles production however, not just in name but also in game. The trademark sounds, effects and arrangements of the Ozrics is instantly recognizable, the band sticking with sounds, effects, themes and arrangements tested and proven by time, and use their experience to assemble all elements into compelling material with a fresh spirit, vibrancy and nerve that I've found somewhat lacking in this band for the last few years.

While I wouldn't rate "Technicians of the Sacred" as among the all time greatest albums by Ozric Tentacles at this point, that is a call that is much too early to give for a new album by such a long-lasting and prolific band anyway, what I can state with some degree of certainty is that for me personally, this is a strong album. If it will grow on me as time goes by or of it will lessen in impact when it's no longer fresh and new is something time will have to tell. But as of right here and right now this is a double album I feel I can safely recommend for old time fans and curious newcomers to the band alike.

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars The cover sure looks encouraging, some guy going by the name of Natan "MantisMash" was responsible for the cover and it's very much an Ozric cover. This guy sure has Blim's spirit in the artwork, those similar psychedelic colors (lots of yellow, orange and blue). The title I'm certain came from a book published in 1968 by Jerome Rothenberg, which happens to be entitled Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia & Oceania, which is as the book describes: poetry from indigenous tribes from around the world. Meaning it's the kind of book you could imagine Ed Wynne would read and likely felt this would make a nice title for the new Ozric release. Turned out Ed stated the title had to do with Mayan astrology, he made no mention of the book, but I'd be surprised if he didn't get the title of "Techicians of the Sacred" from that book.

The Wynne family included a returning Paul Hankin as well as Hungarian drummer Balazs Szende, and let me tell you this one just blew me away. It's literally the best Ozric release I've heard in a very long time, and easily the best with Brandi. This album has a more grand and epic feel than Paper Monkeys, with a more spacy vibe, and in fact perhaps one of the spaciest Ozric albums I have ever heard! Paper Monkeys seemed more rock-oriented, this one tends more heavily on world music, lots of Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian gamelan) and Middle Eastern styles, and some reggae thrown in (as they sometimes do, but used to do more frequently in their early releases). Of course, you still get treated with synths and Ed's trademark guitar playing. Lots of reminders of the Ozric past, but on some of the songs they actually try something new, such as electronic percussion that sounds different ("Zingbong" has some of that percussion that sounded like Jean Michel Jarre used on "Equinoxe V" or "Oxygene IV"), new synth textures I've never heard on an Ozric album before (I just love that gliding synth on "Zingbong"), and a strange experimental piece with strange sounding violin on "The Unusual Village". There's also strange female tribal chants on "Butterfly Garden" and "Changa Masala" while the latter also includes a quote from "Kick Muck". "The High Pass" has this grand intro, but they really get rocking.

Either I'm losing my mind, or I'm some fanboy, but I really think this is their finest release since their glory days, in fact I rank it up there with their best material ever! I know Brandi is on here, and the stuff the Ozrics done with her on board has been frequently dismissed, but for me, the truly stands tall with the classic. And in hindsight, the stuff they've been doing since Spirals in Hyperspace has been a bit inconsistent (usually some ugly techno experiment), each of those releases still had great material. Plus I found Paper Monkeys surprisingly consistent, which I felt was a turn in the right direction. Technicians of the Sacred really exceeded all my expectations, this is truly a masterpiece, although many might not agree, it sure sounds like one to me! It's a masterpiece if it consistently reenters my CD player!

 Technicians Of The Sacred by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 168 ratings

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Technicians Of The Sacred
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Psychedelic roads for the electronic people.

As soon as I read a review of this Ozric Tentacles, 2015, "Technicians of the Sacred", referring to their use of electronic keyboards as their weapon of choice on this new release, well, it caught my attention.

O.T. is one of those always flexible and elastic bands that no matter what, always show their own musical language but always proposing new routes for it. Sometimes it works wonders others not, but nevertheless they dare to explore.

"Technicians of the Sacred" has, as told, a very close encounter with Prog/Electronics, as well as with Krautrock, Jazz/Fusion and Eclectic but also with more contemporary electronics or non-prog styles (Reggae, Trance, etc.)

It will not surprise me that many OT's or average prog audiophiles will miss the charm of this extreme fusion of electronics and styles with the less use of lead guitar in comparison to other releases.

Anyway, for those others I address, this record is a 2 cd explosion of freedom and creativity which expands in all directions with extreme craftmanship (as always), a sense of fun without being comic, and a restless hunger for other stylings and directions.

So expect a lot of influences which will rarely be associated with the O.T.s (Alan Parsons, Chick Corea, Neu!, Underworld and other unorthodox roots), as very refined contemporary electronics taken to the top without losing focus on the music composition or their own idiom and instrumentation.

****4 PA stars on the rise.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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