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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.

Customer Reviews

A lush sonic treasure.

If you are new to The Ozrics, I envy you. To those who are familiar with this wonderful band, fear not: this album is a brilliant and welcomed return to form after 2009's banal "Yum Yum Tree". Every positive dimesion their music of days past has offered shines through here in good measure and balance, start to finish. The cohesion is warm and solid; tight, yet relaxed. The sounds: haunting and ethereal, gnostic and fractal and infinite; the instrumentation is fantastically well spoken through the dense and numerous layers of sound present throughout. This is The Ozrics at their best...music at its best. Even when compared with such diverse and well-orchestrated albums as "Waterfall Cities", "Erpland", and "Jurassic Shift", this release outperforms with more vigor and vitality than I (admittedly) thought this band possessed anymore. A serendipitous acquisition for the curious newcomer...an essential artwork for the well-informed.

Quite Erptacular

On "Paper Monkeys", the Ozrics do a great job of exploring some new grounds, sounds and spaces, while still delivering the sonic language the is the Ozric Tentacles. This outing feels more cohesive and like a full band of musicians playing and writing together, which is a welcome return to form and something that has been missing on the past few albums.
Considering this is somewhere near their 20th album (and who knows how many line-up changes), it is impressive to hear them banging out complex, layered and all together psychedelic music. The production quality on "Paper Monkeys" is also great as well, and lends itself well to the breadth of sounds they explore.
The 2nd half of the album is stronger in my opinion, with tracks like "Plowm" and "Will of the Wisps" really showing the Ozrics full colors.
I've been following and listening to the Ozric Tentacles since 1993, and while this doesn't come close to hitting the level of their 90's work, this is still a beautiful album and is a joy to sink into. I think this will please most Ozrics fans, and people who want something trippy, and rocky, and spacey and electronic, would be smart to check this out.

hell yeah!

Have you ever been shot out of a cannon into hyper space while tripping on acid? this is the closest you'll get.

Biography

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...
Full Bio
Paper Monkeys, Ozric Tentacles
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