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Ozric Tentacles - Live at Pongmasters Ball 2002 CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.24 | 57 ratings

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4 stars If I have never seen Pain of Salvation "Be" live DVD or PFM+Pagani "Live at Piazza Del Campo", I would have rated this DVD under masterpiece category as this live performance is truly excellent, delivering wonderful composition flawlessly. This is my first experience watching Ozric live through a video. I know that most albums of the band are excellent but I never imagined how they perform it on stage as I have always heard various sound effects that I thought could only be made in studio. But this live performance proves that they can make it on stage! As you may can see that in the CD audio version I rate this album a masterpiece (five stars), it tells you everything about the music then. All musicians contribute excellently: guitar work by Ed Wynne, bass line by Zia Geelani, keyboard and effects by Seaweed as well as dynamic drumming (reminds me to DREAM THEATER's Portnoy) by Schoo. Flute takes some parts of the music but not positioned as soloist like we've always heard in any FOCUS or JETHRO TULL albums. I think the flute parts should be elevated somehow in their next composition.

Here is some snapshots of the show .

"Oddentity" opens the show with audience crowd (as in typical live recording) followed by Seaweed's keyboard sound followed with drum, bass, guitar and keyboard play together in fast tempo. John Egan takes as front man position where most of the time he stands at middle front of the stage. At John's right side are Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards) and Seaweed (keyboards). At the back with raised floor is Schoo who sits at his drum stools. And Zia (bass) at John's left side. The music is dominated by rocking electric guitar by Ed Wynne. What a great rocking part here; the guitar work is really stunning, accentuated by weird (but nice!) keyboard effects. At approx minute 3:15 there is a musical break where the drum and bass line stop and only keyboard effects, flute and some guitar effects. It sets the atmosphere for the next part of the music when drum enters the scene followed by dazzling bass line. The music turns to a little bit slower tempo with the kind like BILLY COBAM's "Stratus" style with dominant bass line. This second part is really nice. Various instrument solos are performed here: keyboard effects, woodwind trumpet (in my country, we call it "tarumpet penca" used to be played in REOG PONOROGO - our traditional acts). Throughout this track, the drumming work by Schoo is really dynamic.

The scene moves into "Erpland" which is the band's classic performed in a very energetic way with an upbeat tempo. This track sounds like a jazz-rock fusion music with frequent tempo changes but still maintaining the characteristic of Ozric's music: sound effects and keyboard sounds. The electric guitar solo in the middle of the track is really excellent. Some transition segments are performed dynamically and smoothly. The band then brings us to a musical break through a mellow track. Well, at least the opening part of "Oakum" is relatively mellow with exploration of keyboard sounds. Having been satisfied with the nice keyboard work the music gradually rise to a faster tempo and finally . it's rocking again! (Yeah . it happens approx at the last half of the track). This is the strong point of the band: able to create musical orgasm to the listeners through the exploration of sounds even though, sometimes, the background music is repetitive. The fourth track "Myriapod" is performed in a bit of progressive metal vein. Some transitions using fast beats in the vein of prog metal music happen throughout the span of this track with frequent tempo changes.

My favorite Ozric track "Pixel Dream" is performed dynamically in this live version. What makes this track fascinating to me is the magnificent guitar work accompanied by great bass line and dynamic drum work. Composition-wise this track is really great. The music flow nicely from guitar-driven to keyboard-driven in some transitions and goes back and forth with these two instruments. Schoo plays energetically with his drum and most of the parts he plays have accentuated the music especially during transitions. "Pyramidion" is a long track with repetitive music rhythm (especially bass line). However, the wild use of sound effects and great lead guitar work and keyboard solo have made this track dynamic.

"Saucers" starts with excellent acoustic guitar work followed with jazz-rock fusion music and sound effects. Acoustic guitar plays lead melody. Thin solo keyboard appears in eastern music style before it finally demonstrates sound effects. Compared to other tracks, this one is probably less spacey at the beginning. Electrical guitar finally takes solo part in the middle of the track with excellent bass line and keyboard work and provide spacey elements at the end of the track. With ""Sploosh", Schoo performs repetitive drum work at the beginning part but it changes in the middle especially when electric guitar solo takes its part. It's an uplifting track with relatively minimum tempo changes.

"Takhut" starts mellow with John's brilliantly pan pipe (woodwind) work in a middle-east style. It reminds me to Gong Shamal music even though the two are different in composition. It then followed by electric guitar sound in the vein of Alex Lifeson of Rush. This guitar work reminds me to "The Spirit of Radio" intro. This live album includes "The Throbbe" that features flute sound after relatively long keyboard intro. Great drumming and keyboard sound effects (as usual) accentuated by flute-work. Lead guitar does its role in the middle of the track.

The crowd seem like very enthusiastic with the live performance as they dance along with the show. The only problem with this live set is the stage act of the musicians. Only John Egan that moves frequently on stage but it's funny that he does not play his flute quite often. So, what is he doing? As a dancer? It's a bit funny. Another thing is that his flute (when he plays occasionally) does not sound quite obvious and overwhelmed by other instruments sounds.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Overall rating is 4 out of 5. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 4/5 |


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