(All Album Reviews by davis)
A synthesizer stone plops into the water, creating sonic ripples and signaling the aural dawn of a new musical day. A dazzling synthesizer Sun awakes the horizon, stretches and rises, gushing from the speakers like a large fountain of multicolored water being turned on. A lone guitar note sounds abruptly and lingers, inviting others to follow, scattering the landscape like electric flowers and shrubs sprouting and growing at a frantic pace. Psychedelic butterflies flutter here and there. Thus begins "Holohedron", the first song on The Hidden Step, the Ozric Tentacles’ last musical contribution to the 20th century.
To my knowledge, at this point, the Ozrics have not married their music to film soundtracks, which is quite ironic, since their sound almost BEGS to be put to film. They play psychedelic music, sound nothing like Pink Floyd, yet their music could score film as well as the Floyd’s did More and Obscured By Clouds. Many Ozric Tentacles’ songs are short aural films of their own.
The Ozrics’ foundation is an often galloping, sometimes sprinting, and always solid rhythm section. All around that are various other sounds including guitars and synthesizers (and whatever other instrumentation) that evoke the drizzling of big rain drops, swishing, swirling, fireworks-like sparkling, dancing dust, symphonic wailing, a wheezing manual air pump, birds howling in the distance, and electric nails shaking inside a tin can.
The closest the Ozrics get to sounding mainstream is during Pixel Dream, which could almost pass for 70’s radio-friendly prog, except that it is far too adventurous for the stifling confines of commercial radio(though Public radio or college stations are possibilities for airplay).
The last song, "Ta Khut", moves with a definite Indian flavor, beginning with subtle, exotic and soothing wind chimes and a gliding, belly-dancing flute. An Arabian guitar dances through the middle, and ethereal and glittering synths pick up when the guitar drifts into silence, until gradually all drift into silence as the CD reaches The End.