Skip to main content

Omnia Opera, England


 

Website
Samples


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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Corima, USA

News: The band are active, and playing some "CD new release" shows, some 8 months after the release. That's a good sign! I managed to get some notes down for the new album as well. See UMR link below.

Facebook Samples
Location: Los Angeles (formed in El Paso, Texas)

Overview: For my tastes, perhaps the best Zeuhl group since the glory days of Eskaton!

Unencumbered Music Reviews

Vespero, Russia

News: Vespero is still very active and have two new LP's out, or coming out soon, as part of their Liventure series. No word on a new studio album.
Website Samples Facebook
Location: Astrakhan

Overview: Vespero are a space rock band from Astrakhan, a city on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea in Southern Russia, near the border of Kazakhstan. So, in effect, miles from anything familiar. And yet there are few bands today - or perhaps none - that have captured the European spirit of space rock, Krautrock, and progressive rock like Vespero has. Their music is at once exotic, and yet familiar. Somewhere between Korai Orom, Ole Lukkoye, Hidria Spacefolk, 60's Pink Floyd, Can, Ash Ra Tempel, and a yet-to-be-identified group from Kazakhstan.

Unencumbered Music Reviews


Taipuva Luotisuora, Finland

Website
Samples
ProgArchives

Taipuva Luotisuora - Planetaariset Ilmanpainevyöhykkeet. 2004 (Demo)
Taipuva Luotisuora - I. 2005 Kaakao
Taipuva Luotisuora - II. 2006 Kaakao
Taipuva Luotisuora - IV. 2009 Kaakoa
Taipuva Luotisuora - 8. 2013 Kaakoa. CD + LP.

Taipuva Luotisuora are absolutely one of the best albums in the Ozric Tentacles genre. Perhaps second only to Hidria Spacefolk.

For their debut album, I had a little fun with the below review, which I wrote for Gnosis some 7 years ago:

Deep in the dark forests of Finlandia, where lurks the mysterious Hidria Spacefolk, hushed whispers abound of another pagan tribe nearby known as Taipuva Luotisuora. On one dark misty night we ventured carefully over, and while peeking through the leaves, we listened to the tribe perform their magical brew. A small, furry group, only numbering five, armed with guitar (electric and acoustic), bass (fuzz), drums, percussion, synthesizers galore (some even fuzzed like the Farfisa’s of previous civil…

Kenso, Japan

Website
Facebook

No new updates from Kenso since 2015.

Kenso - s/t. 1980 Pam (LP); 1995 Arcangelo (CD)
Kenso - II. 1982 Pam (LP); 1993 King (CD); 2002 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - s/t (aka III). 1985 Nexus (LP; CD); 2011 King (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Sparta. 1989 Crime (CD); 2009 Pathograph as Sparta Naked (CD)
Kenso - Yume No Oka. 1991 King; 2011 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Esoptron. 1999 King (CD); 1999 Musea (France CD)
Kenso - Ken-Son-Gu-Su. 2000 Pathograph (CD)
Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis. 2002 Nexus (CD); 2002 Vinyl Magic (Italy CD)
Kenso - Utsuroi Yuku Mono. 2006 King (CD)
Kenso - Uchi Naru Koe Ni Kaikiseyo. 2014 King (CD)

There are many other live and archival releases from the band, though I only own Ken-Son-Gu-Su. All the other entries above represent their studio albums. There's also a 14 CD box set on King that contains all their studio albums through 2012, as well as a handful of live recordings.

For a band with so many recordings, an…

Viima, Finland

News: There's been talk of a 3rd album for a few years now. The good news is the band has clearly been resuscitated and are playing live next Friday night at a local prog night in Turku! So hopefully they are back and ready to go.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Turku

Overview: Viima play a UK styled symphonic folk, but with Finnish female vocals. The second album featured male vocals and was more progressive rock oriented.

Reviews (click on album cover)

Puppet Show, USA

News: About once a year, Puppet Show pop onto Facebook to inform us that they're still around and determined to release new material. So if they'll do that, then I'll put up a band page. Why not? I'd likely buy any new album from them.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: San Jose, California

Overview: Puppet Show are band that combine the early 90s style of neo prog with that of classic mid 70s Genesis. A very fine group that have found a small niche in a crowded marketplace.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkeys. 2011 England

Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkeys. 2011 Madfish.

Ozric's best studio album in about a decade. Paper Monkeys seems more motivated than the last few efforts. Definitely more energy, and features some fine guitar rave-ups from Ed Wynne, similar in that way to The Floor's Too Far Away (another newer Ozric album that I'm quite fond of). Electronica continues to influence their sound - perhaps even more so than prior. There's no mistaking this is an Ozric Tentacles album, and it doesn't appear they're ever going to change the formula. But for what they do, this is one of the better ones.

The Cosmic Dead, Scotland

Website
Samples

The Cosmic Dead - s/t. 2011 cassette; 2012 Paradigms (USA); 2013 Cardinal Fuzz (LP)
The Cosmic Dead - The Exalted King. 2012 cassette; 2013 Cosmic Eye (Greece) (LP)

The Cosmic Dead are a Scottish quartet who've been around a couple of years, and whose raison d'etre is improvised space rock. The Cosmic Dead are yet another one of these new bands who seem to be content to issue their albums via download, along with the archaic cassette format (which, to be fair, does allow for 90 and 120 minute albums). They have 6 albums to date but only two are on the more durable and desirable formats like the LP and CD. So those are the only two I have listed. I have heard the first album prior, but it didn't leave a mark.

"The Exalted King" is a sprawling 2 LP set of droning keys, echoed guitars, and pounding rhythms. Hawkwind and the more cosmic moments of Amon Duul II are the obvious comparisons. This is music to turn the lights off, sit back / lay down, a…

Quaterna Requiem, Brazil

Website
Samples
ProgArchives

Quaterna Réquiem - Velha Gravura. 1990 Faunus (LP); 1992 Faunus (CD)
Quaterna Réquiem - Quasimodo. 1994 private
Quaterna Réquiem - Livre. 1999 private
Quaterna Réquiem - O Arquiteto. 2012 private

Quaterna Réquiem were one of the first bands of the late 1980s/early 90s progressive rock renaissance to review the works of the Mediterranean bands such as Quella Vecchia Locanda and Gotic, rather than the standard English "Big 3" of Genesis, Yes, and ELP. As such, their in-depth research of 1970's progressive rock adds a dimension sorely missing from most works of this time frame. Quaterna Réquiem performs a new interpretation of a much missed genre of music - what was once known as "Euro Rock". And the only thing keeping Quaterna Réquiem from classic "retro prog" status, that which is all the rage in 2000+, is the lack of analog keyboard instrumentation. But the compositions, skillful playing, and youthful exuberance ca…

Wobbler, Norway

Facebook
Samples


Wobbler - Hinterland. 2005 Laser's Edge (USA)
Wobbler - Afterglow. 2009 Termo CD; 2009 Pancromatic LP
Wobbler - Rites at Dawn. 2011 Termo CD; 2011 Pancromatic LP

"Hinterland". Not since Anglagard, did a band receive so much attention before their debut release. There were plenty of folks trumpeting its release ("pass the torch", bla bla bla ...) and, not unexpected, a full gathering to say Wobbler are really not all that amazing - overrated, over-hyped, over whatever. Since there isn't a single album that everyone agrees is great, this point / counterpoint is bound to happen in the virtual progressive rock town hall. Personally I don't think we can have enough bands like Wobbler. It's analog keyboard heaven. It has the flutes, the woody bass, the active drumming, the loud fat acid guitar leads, the great production. It's rhythmically complex. It's dynamic with real climaxes and releases. It's an open ended style of progre…