Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Some great bands can just go right past you if you're not paying attention, and by being a little too far out-of-it you might miss one that you actually need at those “special” private times.
Sky Cries Mary out of Seattle – a swirling techno-psychedelic rock band of sky-scaling intention – have always been a particular favourite when time seems to stretch and liquid sound comes from the speakers.
And Britain's long-running all-instrumental, techno-psychedelic masters Ozric Tentacles fall into much the same category, although often require a little more physical participation once their beats kick in.
For people over 40, Ozric Tentacles can sound like a Steve Hillage album on 45rpm, and for those too young to get that reference just think of them as rave music with brainy guitar solos as well as a brain-bending beat.
OT have been going for almost 30 years, have had – like Sky Cries Mary – a revolving door membership policy around founder Ed Wynne, they don't release singles, are big on the neo-hippie and rave festival circuits, and their music exists somewhere between trance prog-rock and frantic E-influenced dancing beneath a mirror ball.
Somewhere between acid-fed Deadhead and electro-disco perhaps, but with swirly guitar bits and influences from Indian and Middle Eastern music as much as Manchester baggie bands of the 80s and 90s.
OT offer a lot to like for many different persuasions and given their long history – and twentysomething albums – you'd think they'd be hard to overlook, but they have made little if any impact in this country.
So it's time to catch up with them because their new album Paper Monkeys opens with two electro-dancefloor tracks (Attack of the Killer Vapours, Lemon Kush) then settles into an astral trip of guitars and synths for the six-plus minutes of Flying Machines (which is best appreciated on headphones).
Knurl with its angular rhythmic patterns and quasi-sitar passage between the synth-rock is the least successful piece here because it just feels unfocused, but once Lost in the Sky and the title track establish themselves it's time to strap yourself in for something approaching jazz-rock fusion as imagined in a strobe-light nightclub on Mos Eisley (and not that hokey cantina).
Ozric Tentacles aren't for everyone and if prog isn't your thing then you should listen elsewhere.
But there is frequently something quite gripping about their meltdown of old school acid trip, sonic space flight and electro-techno which really can open up inner worlds while you are dancing like a loon – or are slumped out at a “special” private moment saying, “Oh, maaaaan” to no one in particular.
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