Ozric Tentacles

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Ozric Tentacles
Ozric Tentacles live in Zagreb in 2004.jpg
Ozric Tentacles live in Zagreb, 2004
Background information
Origin Somerset, England
Genres Psychedelic rock, space rock, progressive rock, electronic rock, neo-psychedelia
Years active1983–present
LabelsDovetail, Snapper, Stretchy, Magna Carta, Madfish
Associated acts Eat Static, Nodens Ictus, Here & Now, Invisible System
Website ozrics.com
Members Ed Wynne
Brandi Wynne
Silas Neptune
Balázs Szende

Ozric Tentacles is an English instrumental rock band, whose music incorporates elements from a diverse range of genres, including psychedelic rock, progressive rock, space rock, jazz fusion, electronic music, dub music, world music, and ambient music. Formed in Somerset in 1983, the band has released over 30 albums selling over a million copies worldwide despite never having signed to a major recording label. [1] Throughout many line-up changes over the years, co-founder and guitarist Ed Wynne has remained the only original member of the band. [2] The band is now credited as one of the major influences of the UK festival scene's re-emergence, becoming particularly associated with the Glastonbury Festival and their handmade series of cassette releases, mostly sold at gigs and through a fan club.

Contents

History

The Cassette Years: 1983–1989

Ozric Tentacles formed at the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1983, where the brothers Ed and Roly Wynne, along with drummer Nick "Tig" Van Gelder, bassist Eddie Myer and keyboardist Joie Hinton, performed as a group originally known as Bolshem People. After playing a six-hour jam session, the group was asked the name of their band, to which Ed Wynne replied, "Ozric Tentacles". The name being one of the suggestions given in a humorous conversation about possible names for alien breakfast cereal, [3] hence the references to breakfast cereal in several album titles and covers. [4] According to Wynne, "'Ozric' is an old Viking name meaning 'divine energy', and 'tentacles' is a silly word to put on the end." [5] The music scene in early-mid 1980s England allowed the band to make use of the re-emergence of free festivals to spread their music. Underground attention for their style of psychedelic rock – which makes prominent use of synthesizers, guitars, and samplers – allowed the band to surge. Notoriety spread mostly through the circulation of bootleg cassettes in the early years, which were welcomed by the band.

Ed Wynne has remained the only original member of the band. EdWynne7 (cropped).jpg
Ed Wynne has remained the only original member of the band.

Gigs were often spontaneous during this period, for the lineup of the Ozrics was fluid. Shows often consisted of whoever was available to perform that night due to the large number of people within the band. Granted there was power available, the band would often perform for a long time, sometimes until sunrise. It was not uncommon for members of the Ozrics to contribute to other musical collaborations. This practice has stayed with the band since its origination, and has allowed many members to come and go. In 1984, the first major lineup change occurred when second guitarist, Gavin Griffiths, left the band to form The Ulluators with fellow member Joie on keyboards. [4]

The following year saw the first official cassette release of Erpsongs, which originally did not have track titles. This was possibly due to the album being a collection of songs recorded over three years. The next release, Tantric Obstacles, was released the same year and was intended to be more of an album. These early recordings were sometimes consisting solely of Ed Wynne playing the guitars, bass, and synths. All were recorded on a TEAC 4-track reel-to-reel at their attic studio in Rushmere, a converted farmhouse on Wimbledon Common in London.[ citation needed ] Some tracks on the cassette albums are performed with a drum machine, due to the studio lacking the necessary soundproofing. [6] As a result of two official releases, the band's popularity began to rise. This led to fans sending in blank cassettes with the intent of them being filled with live or unreleased music. The Ozrics obliged. Eventually, the demand became too much for an independent band to manage. This resulted in the third release, Live Ethereal Cereal, being a live compilation album of concerts between 1985 and 1986.

The band's sound began to adopt a wider repertoire of music towards the end of 1986. This is especially illustrated on the fourth cassette release, There is Nothing. Songs now began to highlight a space rock vibe, with flavors of reggae. This, Wynne says, was not intended, but was the result of seeing the band Here & Now perform live. [7] The addition of more world music (through sampling and performing) was the result of Joie Hinton traveling to India and Ed traveling to Thailand. [8] There is also a noticeable rise in quality on the 1986 release of There is Nothing, due to the purchase of a new 8-track tape machine. This allowed for more synth overdubbing and real drum tracks.

More lineup changes than ever before occurred around this time, most notably the addition of the front-man, "Jumping" John Egan and the departure of keyboardist Tom Brooks in 1987. This created a sonic gap for Ed Wynne to fill. Coincidentally, earlier in the year, Ed was busy writing "chill-out music" with his side-project Nodens Ictus, so the idea of improving his own synth skills inspired him. Despite more changes and collaborations, they managed to release Sliding Gliding Worlds in 1988, shortly before drummer Tig Velder departed from the band and was replaced with 21-year-old Merv Pepler. 1989 saw the last cassette release by the band with The Bits Between the Bits, which was a collection of unreleased recordings between 1985 and 1989. This was a filler album while the band was preparing for its first vinyl release the same year.

Dovetail Records: 1989–present

In 1989, the band started their own label, Dovetail Records, with its first release, Pungent Effulgent . The album was originally released on vinyl, but saw a CD release the following year. The band also began to receive commercial recognition around this time. Most notably, the performance with the singer-songwriter Donovan at the Glastonbury Festival on 18 June 1989. This was followed by Erpland in 1990, a double album. [6] Next year the band reached their first No. 1 recognition in the UK Indie Chart with their single "Sploosh!" from Strangeitude . In approximately 1992, the band decided to create their own recording studio to cut down on the costs of recording an album. [9] The studio, coined "The Mill", was refurbished from an old water mill.

By 1993, Jurassic Shift album reached the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart and No. 1 in the UK Indie Chart, spending a total of three months in the charts. [10]

The band has gone through myriad line-up changes, with Ed Wynne being the only constant presence since the beginning. In early years, many members left to pursue similar musical projects. Nevertheless, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the band has released albums with a prolific rate, continues to tour extensively and has maintained its identity and trademark sound. The band is famous for their live performances, in which they have long taken an audiovisual approach with elaborate lighting and projections. Currently, the band features Ed Wynne with his wife Brandi on bass guitar, their son Silas Neptune on keyboards and Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende on drums and percussion.

In June 2012, the Wynnes' house in Colorado was destroyed by wild fires that had ravaged the area for over a week. The band was on tour at the time. Archived material was destroyed, as was their studio and some instruments. After the fire, the band sought help from fans to help rebuild the archive. [11]

The band intends to tour in 2021 as Ozric Electronic, across venues in the UK, with members Ed Wynne and Silas Neptune. [12]

Musical style

Brandi Wynne joined the band in 2004. BrandiWynne.jpg
Brandi Wynne joined the band in 2004.

The music of Ozric Tentacles is a combination of driving basslines, keyboards and intricate guitar work, with a sound strongly influenced by Steve Hillage and Gong. [13] [14] Many of the songs incorporate unusual time signatures and Eastern-influenced modes. Furthermore, the band often uses complex arrangements, which include changes in time signature, key and tempo over the course of the track. The arrangements also take influence from funk, jazz fusion, dub, reggae and ambient music. These features are frequently mixed with electronic elements, including densely layered arpeggiated synthesizers, pads, synth basslines, effects and programmed drumbeats. Ozric Tentacles also use a wide range of instruments in their performances. In addition to regular rock band instruments, woodwinds, ethnic percussion, koto, saz and sitar have appeared throughout their music.

According to a number of interviews over the years, the band doesn't listen to music as much as they write and record music. [6] [15]

The vast majority of their songs are instrumentals. In Ed Wynne's words, this is because, "I've never really liked vocals. Words always get in the way, make everything too specific. Our music is more about creating moods and giving the listener the chance to get whatever they want out of it. Music is better than singing." [15] Minor exceptions to this would be "Dissolution" off of Pungent Effulgent and "Iscense" from the album Erpland . The band's spare use of vocals came primarily when Jumping John Egan was a member. Occasionally during live gigs, he would write poetry and shout it during the song. [6]

Discography

Early cassette-only albums

The first six cassette-only albums were self-released before the band began recording and releasing material on CD under the label. These first six albums were released in 1993 as a CD box-set called Vitamin Enhanced. The albums were later re-released as a series of three double-disc packages, followed by a remastered reissue of the original box in 2014. In 2015, the albums were released as remastered double-LPs.

Studio albums

Live albums

Compilation albums

Remixes album

Singles and EPs

In addition to the official releases, there are known to exist numerous other obscure or rare recordings from the band's many studio sessions. In the early days, the band even invited fans to send them blank cassettes, which they filled with tracks and returned.

Band members

Current

Former

  • Roly Wynne – bass (1983–1992)
  • Joie "Ozrooniculator" Hinton – keyboards, samples, synthesizer (1983–1994)
  • Nick "Tig" Van Gelder – drums (1983–1988)
  • Eddie Myer – bass (1983–1984)
  • Tom "Zorch" Brooks – keyboards (1983–1987)
  • Gavin Griffiths – guitar (1983–1984)
  • Merv Pepler – drums, percussion (1989–1994)
  • Marcus "Carcus" Diess – ethnic percussion (1988–1990, 1993)
  • Generator John – drums, percussion (1989–1993)
  • "Jumping" John Egan – flute (1987–2005)
  • Zia Geelani – bass (1992–2004)
  • Steve Everitt – bass, keyboards (1993)
  • Conrad "Rads" Prince – drums, percussion (1994–2001)
  • Christopher "Seaweed" Lenox-Smith – keyboards, synthesizer (1994–2003)
  • Johnny Morgan – drums (2000)
  • Stuart "Stu" Fisher – drums, percussion (2000–2004)
  • Paul Godfrey – bass (2003–2004)
  • Steve Hillage – guitar (2004)
  • Harry Waters – keyboards (2004)
  • Matt "Metro" Shmigelsky – drums (2004–2005)
  • Greyum May – bass (2004–2005, 2006)
  • Vinny Shillito – Bass (1990–1992, 2006–2012)
  • Alan "Haggis" Haggarty – bass (2005)
  • Paul Chousmer – keyboards (2006)
  • Oliver Seagle – drums (2006–2013)
  • Roy Brosh – drums (2009)
  • Paul Hankin – percussion (1985–1991, 2013–2015)

Additional information

Miscellaneous

The AV-400 MHz NMR machine of the chemistry department of The University of Warwick (UK) is nicknamed "Ozric" in honour of the band allegedly by NMR expert and Ozric Tentacles fan Jon Rourke. [17]

Related Research Articles

<i>Pungent Effulgent</i> 1989 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Pungent Effulgent is the debut studio album by British psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles. Released in 1989 to wide acclaim, it followed the many cassette-only albums they released in the 1980s.

Nodens Ictus are a British electronic music band formed in 1986 as a spinoff of British psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles.

Eat Static is an electronic music project from Frome, Somerset, England formed in 1989 by Merv Pepler and Joie Hinton. Hinton left the group in February 2008 after 18 years to spend more time with his family.

<i>Strangeitude</i> 1991 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Strangeitude is the third studio album by British band Ozric Tentacles. It was released in 1991 on Dovetail Records and re-released in 1998 by Snapper Music.

<i>Afterswish</i> 1992 compilation album by Ozric Tentacles

Afterswish is a compilation album by Ozric Tentacles, released in 1992 on Dovetail Records. It is a compilation of tracks from their early cassette releases, featuring also three new tracks.

<i>The Floors Too Far Away</i> 2006 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

The Floor's Too Far Away, is the eleventh studio album by Ozric Tentacles.

<i>Erpland</i> 1990 album by British band Ozric Tentacles

Erpland is the second studio album by British psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles. It was originally released on 25 June 1990 on Dovetail Records, with a digitally remastered CD/DVD release on 6 February 2017 through Snapper Music's Madfish label.

<i>Arborescence</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Arborescence is the fifth studio album by English band Ozric Tentacles. It was released in 1994 on Dovetail Records. The album was rereleased in 1999 on Snapper Music, this time with sleeve notes by Andy Garibaldi. It is the last album to feature drummer Merv Pepler and keyboardist Joie Hinton as full-time bandmembers, who left to form Eat Static, until the live album Sunrise Festival in 2008.

<i>Live Underslunky</i> 1992 live album by Ozric Tentacles

Live Underslunky is a live album by the Ozric Tentacles. The album was originally released in 1992 on Dovetail Records, and it has been re-released in 2003 by Snapper Music.

<i>Swirly Termination</i> 2000 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Swirly Termination is a compilation album by British band Ozric Tentacles. Though released in 2000 this record contains songs made as early as 1992. The reason for this is that the band had to deliver one more album to their record company, Snapper Music, before parting ways, and thus came up with some previously unreleased material.

<i>Spirals in Hyperspace</i> 2004 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Spirals in Hyperspace is the tenth studio album by English band Ozric Tentacles. It was released in 2004 on Magna Carta Records.

<i>Become the Other</i> 1995 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Become The Other is the sixth studio album by English band Ozric Tentacles. It was released in 1995, and is the first release from the band after Merv Pepler and Joie Hinton left to form Eat Static. They were replaced by Rad and Seaweed, respectively.

<i>Jurassic Shift</i> 1993 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Jurassic Shift is the fourth studio album by English band Ozric Tentacles. It was first released in 1993 on the band's own label on Dovetail Records. In 1998 a re-release came from Snapper Music, with one additional track. The album was released yet again in 2004, this time paired with Erpland in Snapper Music's Recall 2CD series. 2008 saw a remastered two CD/DVD set with extra tracks and live performances, plus a 24-page booklet.

<i>Spice Doubt</i> 1998 live album by Ozric Tentacles

Spice Doubt is a live album by English band Ozric Tentacles. Released in 1998, it is the soundtrack of the band's live webcast in the summer of that year. The Special plastic bag around the cd contains oil and 2 plastic fish floating inside.

<i>Sunrise Festival</i> 2008 live album by Ozric Tentacles

Sunrise Festival, released in 2008, was a live album from the Ozric Tentacles, recorded 1 June 2007 at the Sunrise Celebration Festival, Somerset, England. This recording marks the return of Merv Pepler and Joie Hinton to the band, who had left in 1995 to form Eat Static. The second disc is a DVD containing a bonus track "The Throbbe" following "Erpland."

<i>The Yumyum Tree</i> 2009 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

The Yumyum Tree is the twelfth studio album by the English band Ozric Tentacles, released on 27 April 2009. It is inspired by Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky.

Ed Wynne English guitarist and keyboardist

Edward Wynne is an English guitarist and keyboardist best known as a founding member, principal composer and the only constant member of psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles.

<i>Paper Monkeys</i> 2011 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Paper Monkeys is the thireenth studio album by English psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles, released on 10 October 2011 by Snapper Music.

<i>Technicians of the Sacred</i> (album) 2015 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Technicians of the Sacred is the fourteenth studio album by English progressive rock band Ozric Tentacles, released on 11 May 2015 by Snapper Music's Madfish label. The album is the band's first double length album since Erpland.

<i>Space for the Earth</i> 2020 studio album by Ozric Tentacles

Space for the Earth is the fifteenth studio album by English progressive and psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles. The album was released on 9 October 2020 through the Kscope label. Written, recorded and produced by frontman Ed Wynne in his Blue Bubble studio in Scotland, the album features his son Silas Neptune on keyboards and Balázs Szende on drums, as well as several additional musicians many of which are former Ozric Tentacles members. The album was officially announced on 22 July 2020 followed by the release of the single "Humboldt Currant".

References

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  11. "High Park Fire". Ozrics.proboards.com. p. 2. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  12. Clarke, Paul (22 November 2020). "Psych legends Ozric Tentacles to play a series of online shows". Louder Than War. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  13. "PEPPERMINT IGUANA ozric tentacles interview". Peppermintiguana.co.uk. 21 June 1984. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
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  15. 1 2 "Article '93 -Jurassic Shift". Ozrics.elementfx.com. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  16. "Review of the album Armi d'istruzione di massa". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
  17. "NMR equipment named for instrumental rock group". Warwick.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.