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The Floor's Too Far Away for Ozric Tentacles

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For a long time, Ozric Tentacles has been a cult favorite, delighting fans everywhere with their feverish space jams. During the Nineties, the band received attention from grunge and metal scenes for their searing guitar virtuosity.

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OZRIC TENTACLES: The Floor's Too Far Away (CD on Magna Carta Records)

This release from 2006 features 60 minutes of blazing space rock.

With this release, Ed Wynne seems to be handling most of the instrumentation with help from Brandi Wynne on bass and spacelines, Metro on drums, and Tom Brooks on bubs. Merv Pepler (ex-Ozric and now acting as Eat Static) plays percussion on one track.

Synthesizer bubbles gurgle and froth, generating a lavish aura of trippy demeanor. And then comes the guitar, crashing into the mix with an unbridled frenzy, belting out riffs at hyperspeed. There are more electronics, swimming to survive in the churning pool of those cybernetic bubbles. Oh, there's a bassline buried in there somewhere, hard to discern over the riotous guitar pyrotechnics. And percussion: drums battering away with lunatic fury, producing tempos of dynamic scope and even a few subtle tempos relegated to mid-range perspective.

There's an abundance of nimble electronics and quirky effects, but the guitar is the mainline act here. Everything else exists purely as window dressing to support the guitar. Which isn't a deficiency. Wynne's a tremendous guitarist. He's capable of power chords strong enough to crumble concrete; he's adept with delicate string usage too, crafting subliminal threads so crisp that they could penetrate ice without breaking the surface. It takes more than fast fingers and a decent ax to generate music like this, however. It takes talent and a dedication to the creative application of that acumen; and Wynne is hardly lacking in these traits.

Let's be honest--while the guitar is the headline attraction, the rest of the instruments are necessary and integral. Stunning guitarwork is pretty sparse if it stands alone. But phase that remarkable guitar in with some slippery electronics and pulse-pounding percussion, and you have music that opens eyes and attracts the uninitiated.

Compositionally, Ozric Tentacles has always striven to achieve trance level euphoria, whether it be with stratospheric guitar solos of dazzling brilliance, or the tight union of instruments into fervent jams that would make Jerry Garcia's head spin. They rarely fail to accomplish this ecstatic ambition, and this release is no exception. You'll marvel at the mesmerizing pinnacles of rapturous sound, you'll swoon over the exhausting velocity achieved by the tunes, you'll be awestruck by the liquid quality expressed by music that is so thoroughly molten.

Itunes downloads of this release (and the band's "Spirals in Hyperspace" album) comes with a bonus track: an Eat Static remix of Ozric's "Chewier" track (from that "Spirals" LP). Clocking in at almost 9 minutes long, this piece infuses the track's original bouncy fire with inventive electro variations and a bevy of high velocity rhythms. The blazing guitar peaks are filtered through loops that actually increase the riffs' vigor and sparkle. A blindly skillful fusion of trippy space rock and speed-freak techno.

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