Omnia Opera - Beyond the Tenth. 1986 private cassette.
Omnia Opera - Celebrate for Change. 1987 private cassette.
Omniasphere - Surfing the Zuvuya. 1990 private cassette.
Omnia Opera - s/t. 1993 Delerium.
Omnia Opera - Red Shift. 1997 Delerium.
Omnia - Seeking the Elusive. 1997 private cassette.
Omnia Opera – Nothing is Ordinary. 2011 Umbilical
The first 3 albums (and Omnia) are all being featured on my sister site the CDRWL, as they have yet to see a reissue. Omnia Opera can best be described as a heavier and more in-yer-face variation of the classic UK festival space rock sound. About the only band I can think of that rocks harder than Ozric Tentacles in this genre. The first two cassettes listed here are very similar to the CDs, and in fact some feature reworked versions.
The Omniasphere is also quite good, perhaps a bit more geared towards the electronica crowd. I haven't heard the Omnia album (it barely gets a mention on their webpage - thus living up its album title).
As an aside, if you're a fan of Omnia Opera, you may also want to seek out the Blim cassettes, which we also hope to see on CD someday!
For my tastes, the best Omnia Opera album to date is their debut CD on Delirium. In Omnia Opera, we get a glimpse into the possible scenario of what would Ozric Tentacles have sounded like had they used Hawkwind as a blueprint rather than Hillage era Gong. Omnia Opera is a seriously heavy bunch, with over-distorted riffing guitars leading the charge. But they're also quite cosmic, with early Pink Floyd style build ups, wordless voices, psychedelic ambient guitars - and finally ferocious climaxes with wild fuzz guitar soloing similar to Ed Wynne and crew. Best tracks are 'The Awakening' and 'Each Day', but every track is a winner.
Other than Ozric Tentacles, Omnia Opera remains my second favorite UK space rock band from the 1980s and beyond. Yea, true, I'm pretty much a fanboy with this group.
"Red Shift": What separated Omnia Opera from the others of the scene (and it should be noted the band themselves state they weren't really part of the movement much at all) is they were one of the very few, if not the only one, to actually be heavier than the Ozrics. Omnia Opera were an aggressive bunch with thrashing guitars in the Hawkwind style, mixed with the ripping solos that Ed Wynne and crew are also noted for. While their debut received generally positive reviews, "Red Shift" was generally panned. In retrospect, their sophomore followup is no less worthy of recognition. Where some of the dissatisfaction came from, I’m sure, is the inclusion of techno elements, which many felt was the direction that killed the festival movement itself. Delerium Records seemed to almost insist every band on their roster at least incorporate some bits of electronica into their albums (Note: Omnia Opera has exonerated the label, stating they had nothing to do with Omnia Opera’s choice of utilizing techno). Now I personally see the rejection of "Red Shift" as more of an audience’s turning-the-back on the new electronica styles being force fed to them, verse an actual objective viewpoint of the album itself. I suggest everyone who has a fondness for this style to give it one more listen.
I wrote the above paragraph about four years ago on my former website. And I have to say, on a fresh listen this week, that the album continues to age better. There is no other way to say it: It kicks ass. Listen to 'Fly and Burn' which illustrates my point.
My friend Spyros (Spacefreak) writes: ""Red Shift" indeed aged better. Upon release I shelved it upon first listen, however I am regularly spinning it the last two years.
OMNIA OPERA were heavier because they were closer to the punk scene (and punks populated Stonehenge free festival during the mid 80ies) than the space hippie tribe. Their very first recorded contribution (a sped-up version of "Space Bastard") saw the light on an anarcho punk cassette compilation issued in benefit of the Derby Sabotage Hunters fund.
I don't think that it was Goa psychedelic trance (subgenre of techno popular at the free festival gigs) that killed the free festival scene. Both EAT STATIC and ASTRALASIA had a wide acceptance among their parent bands audiences. In my opinion it was the Criminal Justice Bill that put an end to free festivals, gatherings and outdoor parties, that ended that particular British scene."
Nothing is Ordinary moved to UMR