10. It’s a Hup Ho World – Ozric Tentacles

This is where we get philosophical. Is it a song if it doesn’t have any words? Your author says probably. And it’s my site, my rules, as has previously been established.

I first saw Ozric Tentacles at what was then an actual polytechnic, it was that long ago. The night was a triple bill of Ozric Tentacles, Senser and Eat Static. A clumsy bunch of teenagers, we were probably too young to be there, and up way past our collective bedtimes. But a blast was had by all: I remember the walls visibly shaking when Kick Muck kicked in.

Senser also took the roof off the place, previewing material from their forthcoming debut LP Stacked Up, along with long-time Senser setlist mainstays including covers of Beastie Boys’ Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun, Dead Kennedys’ California Über Alles and Public Enemy’s Channel Zero.

It’s a Hup Ho World is a somewhat different mood: the signature Tentacular space rock guitar is there, but it’s a gentler, more ambient side of it, backed with tremolo-driven synths, exotic, pseudo-ethnic jangles, and obligatory seaside sound effects. It’s all very new age indeed, but a pleasing listen. Is this the genesis of ASMR? You decide.

If we’re in the era of polytechnics, then we’re also in the era of cassettes. The first six Ozrics albums were self-released solely on that venerable medium, and available only via mail order or at the merch stand—typically manned by Blim, Ozrics’ long-term artist-in-residence.

Countless studio and live albums followed, many of them even available on CD. In 2003, Jurassic Shift actually reached no. 11 in the UK album charts, presumably to the collective bewilderment of all onlookers—staunch Ozrics fans and hapless chart-pop aficianados alike. That its packaging was made entirely from hemp may or may not have had some influence in the matter.

In a pleasing turn of events, Ozric Tentacles are still recording and touring to this day. 2023 sees a further series of double-header shows with the legendary Gong.

Of course, of the lineup from 1992, only virtuoso guitarist Ed Wynne remains, but it was always Ed’s band anyway. Ozrics are very much a family affair these days, with Ed’s son Silas on all the electronic noisy bits, and Mrs. Brandi Wynne on bass, all accompanied by a revolving drumstool that would do Spın̈al Tap proud.

Either way, Threehundredsongs will be there, perhaps even wearing my decades-old badges from last time around. Do come and say hello.

As for today’s playlist, there’s obviously a lot of Ozrics, Senser and Gong, plus an Eat Static collaboration with Gong progenitor Steve Hillage. Silas & Saski is Ed’s son Silas and his pal. Their unique combination of space rock, English choral chamber music and reggae seems about right.

Artist: Ozric Tentacles
Album: Sliding Gliding Worlds
Writer: Ed Wynne
Producer: Unknown. Probably Ed Wynne
Released: 1988; Independent

One thought on “10. It’s a Hup Ho World – Ozric Tentacles

  1. Sean

    I love your early encounter story with the Ozrics!
    And you picked a great tune from an old album. I saw them in 1994 when they first toured America and it was life-changing. Thanks for your memory.


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