Ozric Tentacles main-frood Ed Wynne – for it is he – makes an album entitled Tumbling Through the Floativerse. No one is remotely surprised.
It is in no way detrimental to say that the album sounds in large part as you would expect it to, and this is both amazing and a thing of great comfort. The fact that Ed can do what he does, sound like nobody else and continue to astound in the same way time after time speaks volumes for his position in the otherworld of ‘Out There’ sounds, and if there were any justice he would have his name on a plaque somewhere, probably attached to a building made of incandescent jelly, which would be highly appropriate.
As we all tumble through the floativerse together, at the mercy of whatever subliminal megafauna we each personally subscribe to, Ed creates a fitting soundtrack, as he has done for forty-odd (in some cases VERY odd) years.
If you haven’t heard anything Ozrics-related by now, you super-probably should, and this is a fine place to start; it does everything I would want and expect and still astonishes with its bravado and joie de vivre. To misuse an old adage, “I’ll have some of whatever he’s on,” but I honestly don’t think I’d last five minutes.
Here, Ed is joined by one Gre Vanderloo, aka Gracerooms, Ed being a long-time friend and admirer of the Dutchman’s work having “always enjoyed the synth orientated musical worlds he creates”, the album also featuring appearances from Ozrics’ synth player (and Wynne offspring) Silas Neptune and Gracerooms bassist Paul Klaessen. As Gre says, “I think it’s not an Ozric album and not a Gracerooms album, and yet somehow both”, all housed in a lovely painting from Valerie Fangman.
It’s like being sucked upwards through a spiralling psychedelic plughole in the sky (or ‘vortex’ as I believe science nerds would have it) whilst riding a purple unicorn. I expect. Ed describes the ‘Floativerse’ as “a place where you might escape gravity for a moment”, and that is certainly the feel of what we get here: weightless momentum in unspecified directions. As ever, the blend of acid rock, dub, reggae, ethnic sounds, atmospheric electronics and jazziness is strong, a trippy soundscape that takes in progressive rock, psychedelia and dance music.
The expanded band sound is noticeable and very welcome here, Gre spinning waves of sound within which Ed’s guitar dances and weaves, soaring starwards on the motion driven by the rhythm section. The last few years have seen the Ozrics performing in a stripped down Electronic version, which is stunningly good in itself, but I’m looking forward to Ed taking a full Ozrics band out to shimmer above the road with Gong for a few weeks from 16th November. Christmas is certainly coming early this year as live is where this music properly comes to life, opening a hyperspace gateway to alternative dimensions.
Bring it on!
For this release, we start with the glimmering Oilyvoice, a fine opener that gets the juices flowing as Ed launches beyond the stratosphere. There’s real drive as slinky synths wheel around in classic Ozrics mode. Seen the Sun stretches past eleven mind-altering minutes as the pace eases for some focused toe-tapping relaxation, mild intensity returning with Ed’s flowing solos before a slide into an easy dub lilt. The band are tight and this music is very easy to enjoy.
The mood turns to spacey introspection for Magnetophoria burbling synths over a busy rhythm, Ed rising from the ocean of sound like a jumping electric salmon. There’s a more industrial cosmic sheen to Pelmonauts while the Floating Plates sound like they’re being spun across the flowing sands of a Saturnian desert to a Jamaican soundtrack. Synths solo majestically and there’s much oddness in the hydrogen-rich atmosphere with some beautifully pitched high-energy picking from Ed. As for Infinity Curtains, I really want some but they’re constantly sold out on Amazon, which is understandable. Finally, we’re brought back home as Starseeds float down to the enriched soil from which new universes can grow, Ed’s guitar basking in the magnitude.
This is a lovely addition to the Ozric universe and will certainly encourage me to investigate more of Gre’s work. His synth work does indeed create their own worlds and speaks well for what his Gracerooms output might offer. The core duo work very well together and it’s a beautifully varied set that doesn’t stretch the already expansive envelope too far. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something like this again in the future, and I’d love to hear it.
[You can find the full list of forthcoming dates for Ozric Tentacles and Gong HERE.]
01. Oilyvoice (6:27)
02. Seen the Sun (11:41)
03. Magnetophoria (5:50)
04. Pelmonauts (6:38)
05. Floating Plates (7:13)
06. Infinity Curtains (6:20)
07. Starseeds (9:17)
Total Time – 54:26
Ed Wynne – Guitar, Synthesisers
Gre Vanderloo – Synthesisers, Effects
Silas Neptune – Synthesisers
Paul Klaessen – Bass