Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ozric Tentacles - Strangeitude (1991)

The name of the game here is "trippy." Ozric Tentacles are an instrumental space rock band that borrow heavily from Gong and Steve Hillage, but with a more modern sound (and frankly, a somewhat tighter group dynamic.)

I don't know any other albums of theirs, but I'm told that there's a bit of a "heard one, heard 'em all" feeling to them, not that that's necessarily a bad thing. The band does one thing and they do it very well, and that's to create spaced-out rock jams that will blast your brain stright into the stratosphere.

The tracks are largely groove oriented, and are comprised of a very pleasing blend of mellow flutes, bubbly synths and searing psych guitar. The bass and drums are also quite prominent and are essential to laying down the driving rhythms that give the songs their structure.

There is a good deal of world music influence, particularly from the Middle East. The track "Bizarre Bazaar" conjures up images of shifting desert sands, mirages and opium dens, while the seven minute title track features a long, slow buildup, leading into a furiously rocking finale. Simultaneously relaxing and energetic, the whole experience is very mind bending and will definitely put your head in a good place, if you're into that sort of thing.

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