Ozric Tentacles: Paper Monkeys (Madfish)

 |   |  1 min read

Ozric Tentacles: Knurl
Ozric Tentacles: Paper Monkeys (Madfish)

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.

Like the sound of this? Then check out these trips.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dictaphone Blues: On the Down and In (Blah-Lah-Lah)

Dictaphone Blues: On the Down and In (Blah-Lah-Lah)

If this year's New Zealand Music Month of May is anything like the last -- and there's no reason to think it will be otherwise -- then somewhere in excess of 50 albums will be released by local... > Read more

Crime and the City Solution: A History of Crime; Berlin 1987-1991 (Mute)

Crime and the City Solution: A History of Crime; Berlin 1987-1991 (Mute)

Subtitled An Introduction to Crime and the City Solution, this 16 track collection puts this dark and often demanding band -- mainman Simon Bonney pitching somewhere between Jim Morrison and Nick... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ed Knowles of the Checks

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ed Knowles of the Checks

Some people -- Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Liam Gallagher and so on -- seem born to front a band. They have some innate and intuitive understanding of their audience, how central they... > Read more

THE WORLD OF TINTIN. The timeless boy

THE WORLD OF TINTIN. The timeless boy

Age has not wearied him -- and nor can it. The little adventurer with a distinctive flick to his forelock, oddly unfashionable plus-fours and rarely a change of clothes, is frozen in time. As he... > Read more