Ozric Tentacles

Spirals in Hyperspace

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Spirals in Hyperspace completes the movement initiated since Ozric Tentacles' comeback: the group is now the sole creature of Ed Wynne, who handles guitar, keyboards, and beat programming. Old travelers like Seaweed, John Egan, Schoo, and even Steve Hillage lend a hand on two or three cuts each, but the group has definitely moved from a fierce live unit to a more clinical studio project -- and it can be heard on this album. The sleek production doesn't hide a high level of predictability and a certain coldness in the execution. Still, Spirals in Hyperspace is a good late-vintage Ozric opus. In fact, anyone would refute all of the above upon listening to the hard-driving opener, "Chewier": fast-paced and exciting, it sounds like something out of Erpland but with a harder, Magna Carta-trademarked edge. It's also an exception: the track features Schoo on real drums, Seaweed, Egan, and Brandi Wynne on glide bass -- the closest to a group effort you'll witness on this album. "Oakum" and "Zoemetra" come close, though, both in terms of extra personnel and genuine drive -- the latter in particular features some great light-speed drumming and a typical Middle Eastern melody. The other pieces fall in the "lukewarm" category, occasionally veering toward clichéd ambient trance. "Toka Tola" and the title track stand out as particularly potent cuts, but Ozric Tentacles' back catalog is filled with similar tunes. In short, Spirals in Hyperspace has its moments and is a satisfying album in itself, but if you look at the group's long discography, it shows a certain level of fatigue.

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