Ozric Tentacles

Arborescence

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Ozric Tentacles carries its mainly instrumental version of the Gong experience forward to new heights with 1994's Arborescence. Instrumental prowess abounds. Ed's guitar can best be described with two adjectives: swirling and Hillage-esque. Drummer Merv and bassist Zia lay down odd-meter rhythms with confidence and energy, and the way they mutate some of these long grooves is one of the most entertaining things about this record. In fact, this is one of the things that Ozric Tentacles does best in general: creating legitimate, memorable song structures out of very little purely melodic material. On only a few occasions on Arborescence does the band provide the listener with some sort of melodic hook, with one notable occasion being the Arabic-themed melody to "Al-Salooq." Rather, they prefer to insinuate grooves under your skin while guitars, flutes, and synthesizers dance gleefully around the rhythms. It is ambient music crossbred with alien dance music, and it is marvelous stuff. If any complaint can be mustered against this record or Ozric Tentacles in general, it can be said that some of the drum patterns become a bit tired and repetitive. One tom-tom fill in particular really must have the love of Merv, because he uses it every four bars (this is admittedly hyperbole, but not as much as you might think). The Gong nods also may be a bit too obvious for some but, to those who don't mind, the OT experience is a trippy one indeed. Spicy, evocative, and hypnotic, Arborescence is an unpredictably joyous record.

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