All transmissions received from the distant galaxy of Ozric Tentacles are welcome, and this one is no exception. The debut release from Silas & Saski features a trio of delights brought to life by Ozrics’ keyboard man Silas Wynne together with Saskia Maxwell as they intrepidly set out to discover the secrets of the universe. Let’s see how they get on…
Recorded in transit between the planets Colorado, Cornwall and Somerset, the music fits easily into the Ozric’s brand of spaciness, but with Saskia’s ethereal vocals giving it another dimension, and often an almost spiritual feel. There are other Ozric overlaps too, with early members of the band Tom Brooks and Paul Hankin providing synth bubbles and conga slaps respectively, alongside a mighty guitar solo from Mr Ozric himself (and Silas’ dad) Ed Wynne on In Reverse.
Silas contributes the bulk of the sounds, from synths, guitars, fretless bass and percussion, with Saskia’s acoustic guitar, the result being a fresh and multi-dimensional soundscape within which the vocals can freely float. And what lovely vocals they are, hauntingly beautiful and a captivating addition to the Ozric’s recipe.
This is a song-based project, but from the off atmospherics are a key feature. Birdsong and a swirl of ethereal synths open Magic of Words, chiming harmonics introducing Saskia’s gorgeous vocal, the echo adding to the mystery. There’s an otherworldly folk edge as things gradually begin to build. The setting is delicious and the words do indeed have a magical quality. It’s an optimistic opening, Silas adding sheets of distorted guitar leading into a well-realised solo and it all ends in whirling keys. Very nice.
In Reverse follows on in the same vein as the first track, giving a nice consistency, but this soon morphs into the loping dub reggae that regularly features in Ozrics’ music. Saskia’s voice gives a welcome new spin and overall there’s a much more relaxed vibe and plenty of space in the arrangement, which opens out in the vocals before Ed’s soaring solo swoops, dives and spirals through the clouds. The vocal works a treat here, Saskia having the range to pull it off, and there’s more reggae as the blissed-out loveliness heads for a relaxing finish.
More deft deployment of Saskia’s vocal skills colours the opening of Power of Three as she dances through the melody. The song develops with more edge and distorted guitar before a chugging synth section, bubbly synths and ethereal vocals, Eastern keyboard lines playing against the guitar while the melody changes again, Saskia once more the star. It’s a good mix that holds the attention well.
Overall it’s relaxing and cleansing stuff, and I found it a real tonic in troubled times, boding well for the forthcoming album, Entertaining Possibilities. The duo were due to be supporting the Ozrics on their UK tour about now, but with this being postponed for obvious reasons, hopefully dates will be rescheduled.
01. Magic of Words (5:10)
02. In Reverse (8:03)
03. Power of Three (6:19)
Total Time – 19:32
Saskia Maxwell – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Angels, Artwork
Silas Neptune – Synth, Lead Guitar, Bass, Gliss
Ed Wynne – Guitar Solo (on In Reverse)
Tom Brooks – Synth Bubbles (all tracks)
Paul Hankin – Conga Slaps (on Magic of Words)
Record Label: Erpsongs
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 1st May 2020