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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ozric Tentacles

Spirals in Hyperspace

Review by Steve Alspach

Those veteran cosmic rockers are back! Celebrating their 20th anniversary of exploring rock's cosmos, the Ozrics are back with their 20th album. Anchored by mainstays Ed Wynne, John Egan, Seaweed, and with Schoo and Pazza on drums and bass respectively, this disc once again takes the listener to points unknown. Joining on this album is long-time exploratory guitarist Steve Hillage and Merv Pepler from Eat Static.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Chewier
This song is an excellent mix of techno and rock.
Spirals in Hyperspace
Close your eyes on this and you get the feeling of both spirals and swirls or zipping through space. The track has a soft jazzy feel to it, especially with the keyboards, but it gradually goes into a more direct rock mode where the Ozrics resort back to their standard 8-bar phrasing. Then they kick into double-time.
Slinky
This aptly named piece is a funk-tinged, rather low-level jam.
Toka Tola
A synthesizer starts this one off with about the closest thing these guys come to an actual riff. In some places this sounds a bit like Brand X-type fusion.
Plasmoid
This is the shortest of the tracks at 5:17. Ed Wynne gets off a short but fluid guitar solo, and "Plasmoid" gradually increases in speed towards its conclusion.
Oakum
The Ozrics do a bit of traveling on this, with styles varying from fusion to straight-out rock. Schoo's drumming is excellent on this and makes one wish that he playing was more prominent.
Akasha
or the first 2.30 "Akasha" skates along in 6/8 mode and has Tangerine Dream-like feel to it. The drum programming in this is impressive in its complexity.
Psychic Chasm
The song starts with an interesting bit of African drumming, but then turns into one of the more techno songs in the set.
Zoemetra
There is a distinct middle-eastern feel to this and John Egan's flute work is most prominent. There are also tinges of sitar and Indian-style hand drumming.
 
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