Ozric Tentacles

The Floor’s Too Far Away | Magna Carta
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 11, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
COSMIC VOYAGES: Ozric Tentacles
This is one of the best tickets to intra-cranial space travel since the heyday of Yes and Tangerine Dream. Twenty years into their career, British prog-rockers Ozric Tentacles have made a masterpiece of mood and melody that’s a throwback to the genre’s golden era of the early 1970s and also rhythmic enough to fit into the contemporary music scene, with a blend of programmed percussion and organic drumming that splits the difference between trip-hop and chill-room electronica. These nine songs are also carefully mixed, with panning and the placement of sounds in the audio spectrum used to play psycho-acoustic mind games. Dig “Armchair Journey,” a little cosmic voyage that lives up to its name as it surges and fades through a continuum of shifting dynamics, allowing melodies to swell to the fore whenever the pulse of the trip slows. For “Jellylips,” leader and composer Ed Wynne slips off keyboards for a while to plug in an electric guitar and wail, laying a scalding single-note lead over percolating layers of beats. At times Wynne knowingly drops into self-parody: the farting keyboard melody line of “Splat!” swipes at prog-rock’s history of seriousness before leaping into guitar heroics. Yet his compositional intelligence keeps a number of rhythmic and melodic ideas burbling at once, so there’s always something new beckoning the ear.
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