Ozric Tentacles live in Zagreb, 2004
|Genres||Neo-psychedelia, space rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion, instrumental rock, electronica, psytrance, dub, world, livetronica|
|Labels||Dovetail, Snapper, Stretchy, Magna Carta, Madfish|
|Associated acts||Eat Static, Nodens Ictus, Here & Now, Invisible System|
Ozric Tentacles are an instrumental rock band from Somerset, England, whose music can loosely be described as psychedelic or space rock. Formed in 1983, the band has released 28 albums as of 2011, and became a cottage industry selling over a million albums worldwide despite never having major label backing. Throughout many line-up changes over the years, guitarist Ed Wynne has remained the only original member of the band.
A campfire at the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1983 witnessed the birth of Ozric Tentacles. It was there that composer and band leader Ed Wynne (guitar & keyboards), and brother Roly Wynne (bass), who were performing in a group known at the time as ‘Bolshem People’, along with drummer Nick 'Tig' Van Gelder (Jamiroquai), stumbled upon keyboardist Joie Hinton. After a session of warming their bones and discussing imaginary breakfast cereals, the group went to perform an impromptu late jam session. Over the course of what became an epic six hour performance, an audience member inquired as to the name of the band. Randomly thinking back to the group’s former conversation, visions of ridiculous mythical mueslis entered Ed’s mind, and consequently he replied; “Ozric Tentacles”. (…Good job too, since some of the previous alternatives had been “Desmond Whisps”, “Gilbert Chunks” and “Malcolm Segments”). From that very first jam session, a musical compatibility was evoked that has since been a trademark of the Ozric Tentacles. It is a signature blend of hippy aesthetics and raver electronics with spiraling guitars, textured waves of keyboards, midi, samplers, and super-groovy bass and drum rhythms. Before long the band was laughing in dismay, as requests came piling in from people who were looking for more music by “Ozric Tentacles”, or “The Ozrics”, (as they had become more commonly known). The band swiftly claimed their place as a staple of the UK's burgeoning festival scene, and are now credited as one of the influential musical linchpins of the scene's re-emergence, becoming particularly associated with the Glastonbury Festival, and their handmade series of cassette releases, sold at gigs and via a fan club.
In 1989 the band started their own label, Dovetail Records, its first release was Pungent Effulgent. This was followed by Erpland (1990), their classic double album. 1991 saw the band reach #1 in the UK Indie Chart, with their hit single "Sploosh!", from the Strangeitude LP. By 1993 the band's Jurassic Shift album reached the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart, and #1 in the UK Indie Chart, spending a total of three months in the charts.
The band have gone through myriad line-up changes, with Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards) being the only constant presence since the beginning. Many members left to pursue more electronic music spin-off acts, such as Eat Static, Nodens Ictus, Dubblehead, and Moksha. Nick Van Gelder (a.k.a. Tig), drummer for Jamiroquai during the Emergency on Planet Earth era was the original drummer of Ozric Tentacles, performing on the first six cassettes including Tantric Obstacles and Erpsongs. Nevertheless, the band maintained its identity and continued with this prolific rate of albums throughout the 1990s, and into the new millennium, and continues to tour extensively today. The band are famous for their live performances, and have long taken an audio-visual approach to live performance, with an integrated lighting and projections crew. The band has seen many rhythm section changes over the years. As of May 2013, the lineup featured Ed Wynne (guitarist) (guitar, synths), Brandi Wynne (bass, keyboards), Silas Neptune (synths, samples, saz), Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende, and Paul Hankin (Conga Paul) (Percussion).
In 2012, Ozric Tentacles released their latest studio album, Paper Monkeys, and toured the record in America in March 2012, moving into a six-week-long, an extensive European tour in April–May 2012.
In June 2012 their home 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 reached out to fans to help rebuild the archive.
Ozric music is a highly psychedelic mixture of driving basslines, keyboard and intricate guitar work, with a sound influenced by Steve Hillage and Gong. Many of the Ozrics' songs are in unusual time signatures and/or unusual Eastern-influenced modes. Furthermore, the band often features complex arrangements, which change time signature, key signature and tempo frequently in the course of a track, a well-known element present in progressive rock. There are also moments of straightforward funk-influenced grooves and strong influences from jazz fusion, dub/reggae and ambient music styles.
These features are mixed with electronic elements, including densely layered psytrance- and techno-influenced arpeggiated synthesizers, pads, synth basslines, effects and programmed drumbeats. There is also a strong influence from dub and ambient music, with many quiet relaxed tracks, that balance the frenetic, intense material.
The Ozrics also use a wide range of instruments in their performances. Electric and acoustic guitars, flutes, ethnic percussion, koto, saz, sitar and even sounds of digitally tweaked human voices appear throughout.
Early cassette-only albums
- Erpsongs (1984) DOVE OT1
- Tantric Obstacles (1985) DOVE OT2
- Live Ethereal Cereal (1986) DOVE OT3
- There Is Nothing (1987) DOVE OT4
- Sliding Gliding Worlds (1988) DOVE OT5
- The Bits Between the Bits (1985-9) DOVE OT6
- After these first six cassette-only albums, the band began recording and releasing material on CD. These first six albums were released in 1994 as a CD box-set called Vitamin Enhanced. The albums were later rereleased as a series of three double-disc packages, followed by a remastered reissue of the original box in 2014.
- Pungent Effulgent (Feb. 1989) DOVE CD2, DOVE LP2
- Erpland (Nov. 1990) DOVE CD1, DOVE LP1, DOVE MC1
- Strangeitude (Aug. 1991) DOVE CD3, DOVE LP3
- Afterswish (1992) DOVE CD4 (double-disc compilation of material from early cassette releases, with 3 previously unreleased tracks)
- Live Underslunky (Apr. 1992) DOVE CD5, DOVE LP5
- Jurassic Shift (1993) DOVE CD6, DOVE LP6
- Arborescence (1994) DOVE CD7
- Vitamin Enhanced (1994) DOVE BOX1 (CD box-set of the first six cassette-only releases) (see above)
- Become the Other (1995) DOVE CD8
- Curious Corn (1997)
- Spice Doubt (live) (1998) (album of the band's live webcast that summer)
- Waterfall Cities (1999)
- Floating Seeds Remixed (1999) (remix album, containing material from the band's other projects)
- The Hidden Step (2000)
- Swirly Termination (2000)
- Pyramidion (live EP) (2001)
- Live at the Pongmaster's Ball (2002) SPECIAL EDITION CD + live DVD
- Eternal Wheel (The Best Of) (2004) (double-disc compilation, consisting entirely of previously released material)
- Spirals in Hyperspace (2004)
- The Floor's Too Far Away (2006)
- Sunrise Festival (live) (2008)
- The Yumyum Tree (2009)
- Wasps & Moths (2010) <Not on label. (Self released)
- Paper Monkeys (2011)
- Introducing (2013; collection album)
- ”Sploosh” / ”Live Throbbe” (July 1991) DOVE ST3 (the only single the band has released: two tracks from the Strangeitude album)
- Oakum (2001)
In addition to the official releases, there are known to exist numerous other obscure / rare recordings from the band's many studio sessions. It was said in the early days, that the band even invited fans to send them blank cassettes, which they filled with tracks and returned.
- Ed Wynne - Original and Founder Band Member - guitar, keyboards, samples, koto, fretless bass, programming (1983–present)
- Brandi Wynne - bass, synthesizer (2004–present)
- Silas Wynne – keyboards, samples, saz (2009–present)
- Balázs Szende - drums (2012–present)
- Paul Hankin- Percussion (1983–present)
- Joie Hinton (a.k.a. Ozrooniculator) – keyboards, samples, synthesizer (1983–94, 2007)
- Roly Wynne - bass (1983–92)
- Nick van Gelder (a.k.a. Tig) - drums (1983–87)
- Tom Brooks (a.k.a. Zorch) - keyboards (1983–86)
- Gavin Griffiths - guitar (1983–84)
- Paul Hankin - percussion, congas (1985–91)
- Merv Pepler - drums, percussion (1988–94, 2004–09)
- Steve Everitt – bass, keyboards (1993)
- Marcus Ethnic (Marcus Carcus) - percussion (1988–90, 1993)
- Generator John - drums, percussion (1989–1993)
- John Egan (a.k.a. Jumping John) - flute (1989–2005)
- Zia Geelani - bass (1992–2004)
- Rad (Conrad Prince) - drums, percussion (1995–2000)
- Christopher "Seaweed" Lenox-Smith - keyboards, synthesizer (1995–2003)
- Johnny Morgan - Drums (2000) Pyramidion E.P and European Tour
- Stuart "Stu" Fisher (a.k.a. Schoo) - drums, percussion (2000-2004)
- Metro - drums (2004–2005)
- Alan Haggarty a.k.a. Haggis - bass (2005), Tour manager & FOH (1991-2005)
- Harry Waters - Keyboards (2004)
- Greyum May - Bass (2004–2005)
- Steve Hillage - guitar (2004, as a guest guitarist)
- Paul Godfrey - bass (2003-2004)
- Paul Chausmer - keyboards (2006)
- Vinny Shillito – bass (2006-2009)
- Roy Brosh – drums (2009)
- Ollie Seagle - drums (2006–2013)
Original bassist Roly Wynne, Ed's brother, was a major force in shaping the melodic rhythms at the heart of the Ozrics sound. Roly's later life had been plagued with difficulties until he committed suicide in 1999.
Seaweed (a.k.a. Christopher Lenox-Smith) was keyboard player for much of the 1990s. He was previously a member of the Thunderdogs (who toured with French circus troupe Archaos in the early 1990s) and Moksha.
Ex-Bassist Zia Geelani now makes dance music under the name ZubZub.
Ex-bass player Paul Godfrey is now the bass player in The Cellar Door Sound.
Johnny Morgan from Senser, Moke and Lodestar played drums in between Rad leaving and Schoo joining, for a European tour in 2000, and recorded drums for the title track on the Pyramidion E.P.
Paul Chousmer also plays with Another Green World, Webcore, Zuvuya, Astralasia
In popular culture
The AV-400 MHz NMR machine of the chemistry department of The University of Warwick (UK) is nicknamed "Ozric" in honor of the band. Allegedly by multinuclear NMR expert and Ozric Tentacles fan, Dr Jon Rourke.
- "Features and Interviews > Ozric Tentacles". Musoscribe.com. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Cleveland, Barry (1 February 2010). "Ed Wynne Raves On". Guitar Player. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 413. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "High Park Fire". Ozrics.proboards.com. p. 2. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "PEPPERMINT IGUANA ozric tentacles interview". Peppermintiguana.co.uk. 1984-06-21. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "Get Ready to ROCK! Interviews with Ed Wynne of progressive ambient rock band Ozric Tentacles". Getreadytorock.com. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "NMR equipment named for instrumental rock group". warwick.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ozric Tentacles.|
- Official Website
- Ozric Tentacles Fansite
- Interview in Sound on Sound magazine
- Ozric Tentacles in concert (54 CC-attribution-share-alike licensed photographs)
- Cognition Factor (2009) soundtrack. 'Sphere Wave's programmed and performed by Merv Pepler and Ed Wynne in the Cognition Factor movie.