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Ozric Tentacles - Swirly Termination CD (album) cover

SWIRLY TERMINATION

Ozric Tentacles

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.47 | 94 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Terminate the Swirly mess from your collection

Some have written that this album was unfinished and abandoned by the group as they changed labels and the old label chose to release this against the band's wishes. I do not know if that's true but the album sure sounds unfinished and I would understand why the band would not be happy. It starts out pretty well but eventually succumbs to aimless fluff-psych wandering that was such a snore. At times the material will remind you very much of Djam Karet, Kingston Wall, or even Pulsar, but there's a difference. On the best albums by those groups (Devouring/KW2/Strands respectively) you will find great, highly inspired composition and dynamic interplay between musicians. You will feel that beyond the spacey sounds and far-out ambience there is great purpose that the band is working towards. No such lofty goals on "Swirly" where it often sounds like lost, emotionless musical flailing. It really does sound like there were outlines for some potentially good tracks here that were simply not brought to fruition, leaving much of the album less than compelling.

"Steep" starts out very cool with a fast-picked acoustic with some effect on it and awesome swampy bass. Half way through Ed tears into an electric solo with a feisty raw sound and you get excited that this is going to be great. Swirling synth sounds abound as they do all over this album, thus it appears aptly titled. Probably the best track. "Space Out" is a boatload of ambient noises and trippy keyboards creating some worthy headphone moments I suppose. About half way through the band has joined but does not take over, leaving the track as a sonic freak-out for the most part. "Pyoing" starts with a quick drum beat and a drubbing bass swimming through all manner of electronic gadgetry sounds. After the synths explore some very high pitched registers there is a scorching electric guitar solo that turns to rhythmic jamming. Quiet space soundscapes fill out the last minute or so. "Far Dreaming" features some soaring psych guitar leads in the early going over the murky bass and a fairly modest beat, the consistent keys/noises shimmering all around making things trippy. Some keys enter with an exotic sounding solo then things drop off into quiet with just light cymbals and bass. This goes on with nothing much else happening and it is around this time that you realize you're heard everything there is to hear, but the album is only half over. Perhaps an EP of the first 3-4 tracks would have been a better release. "Waldorfdub" continues what is becoming sort of a pointless exercise of rather inconsequential music. A repeating bass line with drums over which we get lots of gimmicky sound effects.pretty poor stuff here..repetitive with little of serious value. (Perhaps good stuff if you've got some good chemicals to go with it-I read a lad on another site say it was a great album to get high to, so perhaps that's my problem...too sober.) The drumming is very good but it's not enough to save it. "Kick 98" is very reminiscent of a Kingston Wall track with Petri-like guitars and muscular bass with the space noises of KW-3, but again, repetitive and luke warm stuff. "Yoy Mandala" begins in interesting fashion as "space-reggae" with a reggae rhythm and the Ozric space keys. Some wordless vocals fill in the background space. Two minutes in we get a guitar solo as the keys get louder. Things then drift into various exercises of the same rhythms with noises as I fight my hardest to stay awake and attentive. It gets more intense near the end as it works to pull you back in but by this point you really don't care anymore.

In its best moments "Swirly Termination" will feature a blast of great electric guitar or some interesting sound effect. But this is a mess of an album that will test your willingness to endure extended bouts of repetitive material with very little payoff. It is not the Ozric album to start with and should be consumed by the dedicated fan exclusively. The fabulous cover art is the best thing about this release. The Ozrics are a legendary band and I feel bad going two stars but I cannot call this "good." 2 . Fair with some good parts.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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