The Ozric Tentacles were formed in Somerset, England, in 1983. Since making their public debut at that year’s Stonehenge Free Festival, they have become the resident house band for the Glastonbury Festival, adding musical support to many artists and playing their own sets that can last up to six hours if nobody remembers to tell them to get off!
Led by Ed Wynne, the only constant member of the Ozrics, the band has had almost forty members over the years, many of whom come and go as the mood takes them. Steve Hillage was a member for a while.
In the early days, their music was sold on cassette tapes at their concerts, but the band has grown over the years. Ozric Tentacles now have their own recording studio, Blue Bubble, and Dovetail Records label. Amazing what a bunch of hippies can achieve.
The band’s name was made up on the spot after their first gig when a new fan asked them. While on a trip the previous day, the band had been discussing what aliens would eat for breakfast. Ozric Tentacles seemed appropriate for the space creatures, thus became their moniker and many of the band’s album titles have alien breakfast cereal references.
The Ozrics have sold over a million albums worldwide, with Space for the Earth released in 2020 becoming their 15th official studio album. They have also released countless live albums, both official and otherwise, plus compilations, remixes, etc. The Tentacles stretch far.
Ozric’s album titles are a delight in themselves. The Floor’s Too Far Away, Waterfall Cities, Pungent Effulgent, and Ethereal Cereal being amongst the favorites.
The Pattaya Nightclub scene is where you will hear a lot of Ozric’s music, mainly in the chill-out rooms. Or so my Grandpuppies tell me.
That is not to say the music is not thought bending to play at home, too. Plenty of people do and there is nothing wrong with them! Well, not much. Headphones on, gazing intently into space.
The Ozrics are almost exclusively an instrumental band, both influenced by and influencing. Their soundscapes blend Art Rock, Jazz, Psychedelic, Progressive, Space, Electronica, Dub, World, Ambient, and whatever any individual would like to call it.
The music is based around Ed Wynne’s electric guitars / keyboards, whilst other musicians contribute keyboards, woodwinds, and synthesizers. Drums are sometimes adopted but more often than not a drum machine is utilized. On this album, drums are played by a human being and are very forward in the mix.
Music pieces on the studio albums are usually about eight minutes long, but live, the gem of an idea can be stretched out to last a whole session.
Not that it’s ever boring, as the Ozrics tend to take you to a place the brain doesn’t usually go. Mind you, there has not been much development as the latest album could be played alongside their debut and there is not much difference after a forty-year span.
These days, their fans eagerly await a new Ozrics album, which can break into the top forty on mainstream charts.
The Ozrics also have many solo albums released by band members and offshoot bands. Here and Now, and Nodens Ictus are two fine examples showing their Ozrics templates.
The artwork for Ozric Tentacles albums, t-shirts, etc., has always been held of the highest importance and esteem. For many years this was done by a lady artist simply known as Blim (that Banksy has got a lot to answer for with all these secret identities. I’m all for Superheroes but …) with her trippy painting from Erpland, but more recently a girl under the name of Kitty has been supplying the art with her Space / Time Travel motifs.
The album covers give you something to gaze into while listening to the music. Turn the music off when the artwork starts staring back at you.
The Ozrics will be back on the concert and festival trips soon, going under the banner of Ozrics Electronica for live work but still flying under the Tentacles flag for studio work.
The Ozric Tentacles are hugely influential and will continue eternally like their brothers in space, Tangerine Dream.
Written by Mott The Dog from his trip to the Darkside of Pattaya