OZRIC TENTACLES — Swirly Termination (review)

OZRIC TENTACLES — Swirly Termination album cover Album · 2000 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
M.Neumann
To paraphrase an old Japanese proverb: You are a fool if you do not own an Ozric Tentacles album...but you are a worse fool if you own two.

Well, more fool me is all I can say, and I'm sure a lot of likeminded fans would agree. It's true that most Ozric albums are more or less interchangeable, each one shuffling the same combination of vigorous cosmic ragas and throbbing space-dub soundscapes. But the formula allows plenty of room for invention, and after almost a quarter-century (and counting) it can still be a fresh and invigorating experience.

The final Ozric album of the last Millennium is fairly representative, despite the lingering cloud of mystery around it. Was the album really a haphazard compilation of incomplete older recordings, released without the band's permission? The Snapper Music CD lists no production credits, and includes no details about the musicians or instrumentation. The band itself apparently never promoted the finished product, and doesn't acknowledge the CD on their official web site.

Too bad, because it contains some quintessential space jams, beginning with the punchy opener "Steep" (one of the band's strongest and yet most economical rockers) and continuing to the somewhat meandering but often compelling 12-minute cosmic improvisation of "Voy Mandala". Other highlights include the pulse-pounding adrenalin rush of "Kick 98" (a dynamic update of "Kick Muck", from their 1990 debut LP "Pungent Effulgent"), and what may be the ultimate Ozric Tentacles trip, the aptly titled "Space Out": a minor classic of Eastern influenced guitar and synth psychedelia.

The album is only 45-minutes long, a bit stingy for digital music. And the lack of any official endorsement reduces it to a dwarf star in the larger Ozric universe. But if nothing else it's certainly a worthwhile primer for newcomers, and a windfall to all those dedicated fools who wouldn't ever think to stop at a single album.
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