CD: 1998 Monster
The CD is awesome with liner notes, bonus tracks, and from the master tapes.
LP: 1974 Atman
CD: 2005 EM Records (Japan)
For years, this rarity was mislabeled as being on the relatively common Annuit Coeptis label (most known for US issues of German bands like Ramses and Bullfrog). The reality is the original private LP displays a dollar bill which, of course, leaves the Latin phrase intact. Though it didn't sell well in its day, most of the original pressings were preserved. The only CD is the Japanese pressing from a decade ago. At first I thought it might be a bootleg, but it was confirmed legit, and the label has no history of pirating. It's a straight jewel case reissue with good sound, and no other extras. My guess is permission was granted via e-mail.
CD: 1994 Mellow (Italy)
The CD is a straight reissue with good sound and nice historical liner notes. You really have to be a vinyl-only junkie to not want the CD for this title.
CD: 1998 Musea (France)
Note back cover of the original (scan #2). There are two pressings, and the one with 1877-1977 100 year seal is the true original. The Musea CD is excellent with detailed liner notes and photos. The sound is pretty muddy, but that's the source, and not much you can do about that I'm afraid. I didn't realize, until researching this entry, that another CD came out in Portugal at the same time as the Musea release. The newest version from 2007 comes in a digi-pak with 2 bonus tracks.
There are no reissues, however there was a time when the band was selling homemade CD-R copies, but we don't technically count those. There's some debate on the date and title of this release. The copyright date on the original LP is 1980. However there are two typed inserts (with my copy anyway - and I reprinted them below this review). One is dated 1.1981 and the other 1.1.981, so we'll presume bad editing on the latter... So the evidence is there that the album wasn't released until 1981, though I'm personally a fan of copyright dates. Depends on the discography site and their rules eh? Based on these inserts, it's pretty clear to me, that the 3.7K title that has recently been appended this album is in reality the catalog number, not the album title. This becomes even more evident once you realize their second album While You're Asleep has 4.6K as a catalog number.
----Here are the two inserts included:
Insert #1 (dated 1.1.981) says:
"Cosmic Debris Biographical Information
Cosmic Debris was founded in 1977 as an experimental synthesizer ensemble. From their first performance at the Friends Jazz Festival in July 1977, Cosmic Debris has constantly strived to bring subtlety, elegance and control to live electronic music. Cosmic Debris has expanded beyond strict electronic electronic horizons. In 1979, the ensemble performed in the fusion jazz format. Growing out of that format, Richard Bugg (founder of the Debris) and Joel Young (percussionist with the fusion jazz edition), have gone on to incorporate elements from all musical areas. "We present the listener with a choice of ever changing perception of reality". The Cosmic Debris can be heard on Non Compos Mentis Records number 3.7k"
--- It should be noted that the above was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors which I attempted to fix (not that I'm an English ace or anything, but jeesh!)
Insert #2 (dated 1.1981) says:
"In their debut album for Non Compos Mentis, Cosmic Debris (Richard Bugg, Shawn Phillips, and Joel Young), have managed to fuse the control available to modern electronic musicians, with the freedom of expression that typifies contemporary music. The result is a true meta-language that express the positive power of emotion and mind. An intelligent sound that aggressively fuses pulsating undercurrents of raw power with an intricate interplay of sonorities."
--- This one needed little editing. But who the heck knows what it means?
LP: 1980 Non Compos Mentis
LP: 1985 Black Dragon (France)
CD: 2001 Dragonheart (Italy)
Originals come in a single sleeve but with 2 LP's, one of those a 45 RPM EP. The photo above only shows one vinyl, but it captured the essence of the release best IMO. The High Roller reissues can be owned in a variety of colored vinyls, and are stored in a traditional gatefold. Whereas the LP was more common 15 years ago, finding the CD was a bear only until very recent (coinciding with Manilla Road being more popular now than ever). The first CD to market, from the parent, was also the first to integrate the EP into the regular track order, something that all reissues have done since. The digi-pak Dragonheart release comes with full lyrics, but is otherwise a straight reissue. The Golden Core CD features 3 additional bonus tracks that I haven't heard.
The predecessor group to Cos was Classroom, who contribute 4 tracks to the Musea CD. These compositions are clearly more indebted to jazz, but are certainly the same type of band in a non rock setting.
CD: 1990 Musea (France)
A few interesting items of note about this album's release. The original Plus album (first photo) comes in a fine gatefold cover and apparently sold out in 2 weeks, just as the label was going bankrupt (a day late and a dollar short apparently?). Shortly thereafter the better funded IBC came along with a single sleeve second press, and this is the more common one you will see (though hardly any supply in original form). The Musea CD reissue liner notes confirms that the Plus edition from 1974, with the red and yellow stripes, is indeed the original LP issue. Despite this fact, they went ahead with the IBC photo cover. Furthering the confusion, the Musea CD omits 'Karbok', apparently a more commercial effort, because of bandleader Daniel Schell's objection to it. However, as a bonus, the CD adds 4 tracks from Classroom (discussed below in the Notes). The Belle Antique CD uses the original Plus cover, but the Musea CD as the source (incl. Classroom), making that an entirely frustrating release (while no doubt leaving off Musea's excellent liner notes). It appears, finally, that the Wah Wah release gets the original LP correct (but no Classroom tracks), also with the permission of Schell, who now apparently has gotten over his objections to 'Karbok'. Surprisingly I could not find this one track online, so technically I haven't heard the original album in full! I didn't realize that until researching/reviewing this entry - 25 years after first purchasing the CD. Crazy stuff.
LP: 1977 Spiegelei
CD: 2007 EMI
The EMI CD is superb, with great sound, excellent liner notes, and two bonus tracks, though the latter isn't necessary from a music perspective.
CD: 2003 Eclectic
Original LPs are very rare and expensive. The Eclectic CD is fantastic with informative liner notes, and a raft full of bonus tracks.
LP: 1974 Zebra (Germany)
No legit reissues have surfaced, though of course there's at least one pirate out there, if not more slithering about.
LP: 1985 Little Misters
Apparently the inserts feature different colors for each other. As you can see this copy is orange. My personal copy is blue, and a friend reports a green insert.
Personally I had no idea any of this was going on in the 1980s. Even though I had plugged myself into the various mail order catalogs of the day, most notably England's Lotus Records, I must've looked past these items that were for sale. Or not, I'm not entirely sure. "Erpland" was my introduction to the band, and I bought the LP as it had just been newly released in 1990. I quickly snapped up the prior "Pungent Effulgent" as well on LP (Demi Monde). To my ears, Ozric Tentacles is a very easy band to get into. In fact, to this day, when someone wants to hear a few notes from "something in your collection", I'll pull out Ozric. It never fails to satisfy the guest. Sure, I could also pull out Magma's Mekanik, and have everyone screaming from the room. And for the rare person who doesn't go screaming, I begin to worry about the safety of my family. Anyway.... Ozric Tentacles has an instantly likable sound, that also happens to rock hard. Of course it must be stated that Ozric didn't create the wheel. To say they were heavily influenced by Hillage era Gong would be an understatement. But what Ozric did do successfully is to distill certain elements of that sound, perhaps the most popular ones for many a Gong fan, and take it in different and exciting directions.
Some 20 years on from "Erpland", nothing has changed, and Ozric has well over a dozen more studio and live releases. This has been the most common criticism of Ozric Tentacles. That there has been no progression, no experimentation with other sounds, instrumentation and ideas. The term "Ozricitis" was born and now applies to other bands who follow a similar path. But it's not entirely fair either, as each album, when heard on its own, does possess a unique quality. It's just a tight window frame that they operate in, that's all. The key with listening to Ozric Tentacles is to not listen to many of their albums at once. Take one in, absorb it over time, wait a few weeks or months, and then do the same with a different album. It does alter the way you hear the band. The irony in saying all of this is that "Erpland" is Ozric Tentacles' most diverse album. And is probably the ideal place to start.
If I were to recommend one track from this album, and perhaps recommend one track from their entire discography, it would the album's opener 'Eternal Wheel'. It has all the elements of a great Ozric composition - the psychedelic ambiance, the trippy progressions and the ferocious guitar lead climaxes.
LP: 1990 Dovetail
CD: 1990 Dovetail
LP: 1975 Polydor
CD: 2004 Polydor (Japan)
Australian originals are housed in a wonderful glossy gatefold cover, and is by far the most desirable copy. All the other country releases feature an annoying blue border and are single sleeves (though the French is a FOC I believe). As for CD's, the Japan office has been incredibly busy. Given the number of presses from there, it's quite apparent this album is hugely popular in Japan. I just recently sourced the Musea CD on the cheap, and much to my disappointment, there are no liner notes, or any other bonus either. The Belle Antique release contains one bonus track.
CD: 2012 Esoteric
Like Horizons, The Going's Easy is housed in a fine gatefold cover. The Esoteric CD is of the usual fine quality and features full liner notes, with 2 bonus tracks, one coming from a nice single. As stated with the Horizon entry, I would avoid the See For Miles reissue, though in this case, you will at least receive the full The Going's Easy album (but not Horizons).
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