Exposé Online banner

Ozric Tentacles — Erpland
(Snapper Music SMMCD554, 1990/1998, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-04-12

Erpland Cover art

I return to Erpland fairly frequently if only to do a quick check after listening to the nth new title by the band to see if they had always sounded like this. Because it's a somewhat widespread opinion that Ozric Tentacles tend to produce largely the same music, and while that's true to some extent there's some much bigger differences on subtler levels. I'd guess maybe it was the 90s where it seemed like the band became a little too self-aware of their sound to where it seemed their arsenal of squeaky, weird electronic sounds became more of a trademark than the clever engineering the sounds used to reflect, as if the band was almost kind of winking at the audience. You'd get the obligatory reggae track, the high energy numbers and then the more floaty pieces, but it got to the point where you could kind of expect all of them. But it never feels that way on Erpland, which was their second release after the half dozen original cassette lead-ups. When I listen to this it seems like a serious work with a real ear for a sweeping sense of dynamics across the entire album, it never feels like any of the songs are just going through the motions. There are many powerful highlights, the strong opener "Eternal Wheel" that doesn't for a second squirt out something unnecessarily silly, it just floats up and powerfully riffs away. There's "Sunscape," still one of my favorite pieces by the band, as it picks out variations on D minor weaving in some great synthesizer work. The amazing "Cracker Blocks," which to this day is one of the most original atmospheric space works, gloriously chromatic and beautiful. And of course the transcendent closer "A Gift of Wings," which reflects back to one of the band's biggest influences, Gong on their You album and manages to scale the same heights to the point where any separation just completely melts away. And to this day, even though the band has put out some other fine releases, they've never topped this one in its sheer scope and actual seriousness. It's a towering and essential space rock album that in many ways created a genre behind it. And one of the main reasons it is is because of the vast sense of diversity within its pieces, like a watercolor palette with a whole bunch of new, imaginary colors at play.


Filed under: Reissues, 1998 releases, 1990 recordings

Related artist(s): Ozric Tentacles

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Chris Squire - Swiss Choir – Chris Squire's second solo album since 1975's classic Fish out of Water is actually the third Christmas album from a Yes alumnus... In tow is ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett who contributes...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues