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Ozric Tentacles - The YumYum Tree CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.53 | 191 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars A foursome that includes Brandi as well as newcomers Vinny Shillito and Roy Brosh on bass and drums, respectively.

1. "Magick Valley" (6:42) some very weird, non-musical synth noises sounding like an alien race of animals who possess language opens this for about a minute. When the musical part enters and congeals into full form it is a kind of house/dance version of electronically-rendered Middle Eastern sounds and melody styles. It sounds very much like some of the music I might have heard in one of the Lebanese restaurants I used to love in my graduate school years in East Lansing, Michigan. Synths are definitely the domineering thread-producers of this weave--even when Ed picks up his guitar it is so effected that it almost sounds like it, too, is a synth. (8.875/10)

2. "Oddweird" (6:14) right musicianship in a very rock-sounding style and sound. The usual exotic and tropical sounds manage to make their way into the song, of course, and the dominant bass lines and additional percussion instruments used sound near Jamaican/Caribbean--and then there is the koto in the fifth. I'm still listening for the kitchen sink. Just a transcontinental, transcultural stew that satisfies a lot of rock "needs." (8.75/10)

3. "Mooncalf" (7:41) strong bass, drum, and percussion play is not quite enough to launch this mutt of styles and sounds into the heavens. (13.33333/15)

4. "Oolong, Oolong" (5:54) nice laid-back jungle groove that supports some very pleasant solos. That first guitar slash and burn is top notch--and I love the way the rhythm section gives way to the spacemospherics and hypnotic synth strokes in that third minute. The amazing synth solo in the fourth minutes makes me now question whether or not that initial solo in the second minute was a guitar or not! (It was, but the sound duplication from the synth is astounding!) A song that really sits well with me from all perspectives: a new OT masterpiece! (9.75/10)

5. "Yum Yum Tree" (9:08) jungle noises bleeding over from the previous song are augmented by an odd synth tuned percussive, odd muted bass, and percussionist's cymbal play. This interplay of odd, andro-fabricated sounds goes on well into the third minute before new sounds are added to the weave. Then we cut back to just multi-percussives and the "talking drum" synth for a good spell before everybody else joins back in so that Ed can add his speedy flangy guitar solo to the background scenery. (This is the exact effects settings used by Todd Rundgren on the 1974 Utopia and Todd albums--especially for "The Last Ride.") I'm so glad the bass gets some lead time (in the seventh minute) where he is nicely paired with the xylophone. Not a big fan of the raunchy rock electric guitar strumming that comes next, but, luckily, it's short-lived, yielding to synth and multiple tuned percussion instruments weaving a cool semi- Gamelan (17.75/20)

6. "Plant Music" (5:28) I'm not as big of a fan of these STIVE HILLAGE driving rock songs that Ed produces. The sounds incorporated in the song--cameos and integrally--become the feature that you have to look for while the rhythm section just keeps motoring down the Autobahn. (8.666667/10)

7. "Nakuru" (5:38) Cool effected-saxophone sound being produced from some kind of MIDI-ed instrument is played like a blues saxophone solo over some gentle spacemospheric synth, percussion, and JACO PASTORIUS-like bass play. The music actually sounds like a cross between WEATHER REPORT and AL DI MEOLA's 1983 album Scenario. Nice! (8.875/10)

8. "San Pedro" (6:21) an actual chord progression coming from an electric piano-sounding keyboard! You never know how odd this phenomenon is in an OT song until it happens! Despite this foundational anomaly, the song once again creates a delivery mechanism for odd instrumental sounds (and some awesome percussion play) to make their presence known. (8.75/10)

Total Time 53:06

The weird thing about my reaction to the music on this album is how much I enjoyed the percussion parts--especially when multiple tracks were playing with and between each other. The other thing I notice as I near my completion of the OT discography is how there seem to be some "default programs" that OT uses to get songs started, rhythm section formulae that have become stable staples over which to build songs. The unfortunate part of this is that the rest of the instrumental performances on these particular songs become more of an exercise in exhausting mathematical permutations and combinations of surplus/adjunct sounds: while the synth and effects engineering can be highly creative, the overall songs end up existing while lacking in any core originality or freshness.

B/four stars; a very solid and respectable, if not totally refreshing display of Ozric talent and creativity--but also containing more songs founded in patterns and styles that sound "rote" or "default" for the band. I suppose after 18 studio albums in 25 years there is bound to be a little repetition and borrowing. At least this album has far less ideas borrowed from other bands' music than some of OT's other albums.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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