Ozric Tentacles - "The Floors too far Away"
(Magna Carta MA9085-2)
From Aural Innovations #34 (August 2006)
Ed Wynne is back with his latest Ozric Tentacles CD. You used to refer to Ozric Tentacles as a band but not anymore. This aspect of the group does not exist anymore. Ozrics used to be a psychedelic rock band but are now a psychedelic-electronic music outfit. That does not mean that Ed, who plays everything except a few small parts played by guests, is not still creative. Far from it. Ed has honed his studio skills to such an extent he can quite easily create music all alone now. Anyway, what do we have? The CD begins with Bolshem, a track the band played on the last tour. This is one of the 5 tracks which feature real drums (Metro) and Brandi plays bass. It begins with forest sounds and a drone before the lush stuff floats in and the track kicks into gear with a synth arpeggio and finally the drums and bass and guitar. Unfortunately, it lasts for only 2 minutes and never really develops into a band song. Armchair Journey is next features Metro (he gets some co-writing credits as well). He is joined by Merv (old Ozrics drummer and member of Eat Static) on percussion. This track starts very new agey and dreamy and takes almost up to 3 minutes before it takes off. Lots of spacey goings on and then master Ed lets it rip on the guitar but only for 45 seconds and then there is no guitar. Like most of the tracks on the CD this is synthesizer driven music and not guitar rock as it used to be. Guitars are played here and there but not continuously on any track. It fades out into dream world again. Jellylips is next and Ed plays all the instruments except some bubbles from ex-Ozrics member Tom Brooks. This is for sure the coolest track on the CD and a very high energy techno-electro creation with a funky groove. Extremely cool stuff. This one blows me away over and over again. The guitar solo is totally spacey and mixed all around the soundscape. This track needs a 5.1 remix by Merv and Joie! Vedavox changes things completely and is a beautiful eastern inspired track with all instruments played by Ed.
Now the songs start to get longer. Spacebase is 9½ minutes and features Ed, Brandi and Tom. It starts slowly with a quite cool deep bass line. Ed plays the drums on this track (real or programmed??). This track is quite close to something from the early 90's era Ozrics in some ways. The bass line is very cool and the way Ed wraps the synths around the line is very interesting. Wish he would play more guitar. Disdots is another song that many might be familiar with from the last tour as they played this one as well. It begins with some cool synths before Metro kicks in on the drums. Someone called Forest plays the bass on this track and Brandi on Space Tendrils. Ed plays a very spaced out and psychedelic solo at the beginning before the guitar disappears and the track becomes only bass, drums and synthesizers. Yes... he comes back in for another round of soloing before fading into the background amongst the synths and birds. This track has an amazing sound mix. Etherclock is on for the next 8 minutes and features Ed on everything and Tom on bubs. It is built upon a synth bass line but Ed plays a lot of guitar on this track, probably the most of any of the songs. It is a pity that this track has thin programmed drumming as Metro could have kicked some ass on this one. Around the 5 minute track it really kicks into space rock orbit briefly before spacing out again and not really going anywhere. This part should have gone on much longer... oh well. Splat! is the next track and is 9 minutes and features Ed and Metro with Brandi providing stuff (joints???). This is a very electronic techno programmed track that when it builds up has an amazing psychedelic sound, especially when the guitar kicks in at 4½ minutes and it really rocks out at the end. Ping ends the CD and Ed plays the fretless bass and all the instruments. This features some really fantastic acoustic guitar to accompany the cool bass line. A great track. Well, that is it. 60 minutes of electronic space music with a bit of rock in it. Enjoy until the next one.
For more information you can visit the Ozric Tentacles web site at: http://www.geocities.com/ozrictentacles_web.
Visit the Magna Carta web site at: http://www.magnacarta.net.
Reviewed by Scott Heller