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Paper Monkeys

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Album Review

Tangerine Dream have never been far from Ozric Tentacles' founder and only remaining original member Ed Wynne's influences, but on this 2011 release he all but re-creates that band's classic early-'70s vibe. Wynne and son Silas bring the bubbling synths, and even though wife Brandi is credited with bass and drummer Oli with percussion, the metronomic pulse of those instruments could easily be programmed on this hourlong exploration of space/prog rock. At this late stage, with nearly two dozen albums to their unusual name, you are either on board the Ozrics' spaceship of rhythmic, spacy electronica mixed with subtle worldbeat and psychedelic ramblings or you have decided to pass on this veteran U.K. outfit's trippy, eclectic mélange. For fans, this is another quality hour of instrumental music that doesn't push many envelopes of the Ozrics' established sound. Perhaps a few Tangerine Dream devotees can comfortably join the cult of Ozric lovers, but for the most part, Wynne and his three-piece play to their strengths without substantial deviation in direction or execution. Depending on your level of fandom, that either makes for a terrific, if perhaps not essential, set of music in the band's expansive catalog, or another disc that plays out pretty much like the batch that preceded it. The tracks hover around the seven-minute mark, with "The Will of the Wisps" clocking in at nearly 11 minutes. That's long enough to set a mood and ride a groove without wearing out the welcome. If you are unfamiliar with Ozric Tentacles, this is a perfect example of everything the band does well, a reasonable enough place to start your collection to get caught up in their mind-expanding groove. Wynne is a singular, perhaps unfairly under-recognized figure in British space rock, and although Ozric Tentacles may not be a household name, that hasn't stopped him from continuing the distinctive approach he originally concocted in 1983, and has since perfected on albums such as Paper Monkeys.


Formed: 1983

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A band from another time, Ozric Tentacles served as the bridge from '70s cosmic rock to the organic dance and festival culture that came back into fashion during the '90s. Formed in 1983 with a debt to jazz fusion as well as space rock, the band originally included guitarist Ed Wynne, drummer Nick Van Gelder, keyboard player Joie Hinton, bassist Roly Wynne (Ed's brother), and second guitarist Gavin Griffiths (who left the group in 1984). The Ozrics played in clubs around London, meanwhile releasing...
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Paper Monkeys, Ozric Tentacles
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