I first heard about Tentacles through the SubGenius Hour Of Slack, where Rev. Ivan Stang promotes independent, up-and-coming bands who create their own Slackful noises in search of bigger and better things.
I was browsing through the used music stores in Harvard Square back in 1999 (where I also came across Negativland's Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the numeral 2), and I was surprised to come across the CD Arborescence by Ozric Tentacles. Out of curiosity, I bought the disc and gave it a try.
This is a fun piece of work! The entire CD is instrumental (no lyrics), and it makes great background music for going online. It's full of great synthesizer music with a "cosmic" feeling, backed up by some rocking drums and fancy guitar work. It's certainly not "new age" stuff, and it's got a great a combination of cosmic psychedelia and kickin' rock. There's none of that repetitive thumpthump-thump stuff that you hear in techno-acid-house dance stuff. The third track, "Arborescence," has something of a "Greenpeace" feel to it, while "Dance of the Loomi" might well be at home on a dance floor…but I doubt you'll be hearing this stuff in the clubs at any time soon. That's a pity, because this is a fresh, energetic disc that's free of the cliches we see "dance hall" stuff.
This disc is like a modern-day symphony. Great stuff! Since then I've bought serveral of their CDs and learned that their early albums were imitations of Pink Floyd, before they evolved into their more fast-paced cosmic rock. The albums I find in my CD player most often from these guys are Jurassic Shift and Live Underslunky (a live album).
Praise to Reverend Ivan Stang for daring to showcase bands like Ozric Tentacles on the Hour of Slack! It's a refreshing change of pace from those radio stations that only play bands that made it to the Big Time.