Ok, where do I begin? This is a monumental release! Yeah, I like that even though it feels somewhat understated. Hmmmm, all right lets start with a bit of background info; Omnia Opera first appear in the mid-Eighties new psychedelic boom that spawned venues like The Deptford Crypt and big one-off festivals like Acid Daze and watched Ozric Tentacles shoot to fame. A little later Delerium Records start and release albums by various underground and free festival artists in a second summer of love type vibe. Omnia Opera release two albums for the label their space/acid/punk/prog sound being one highlights. And then silence… the Omnias disappeared into the mists of time and people like me were left clutching their old copies of Red Shift with a wistful look in our eyes. Then bam, in 2008 it seemed that the Opera would return again and many were pleased. We now only had to wait for some new material…And here it is, housed in some of the most lovely packaging I’ve seen for a CD in a long time, a double album slice, a full 18 tracks of Omnia goodness for the good people of planet earth. “Destroyer of Worlds” kicks things off with big heavy bass riffage from which swirling synths and Tangerine Dream-style Mellotron choirs appear. The track sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Robert E Howard story; it’s like a large heavy dose of space doom and kicks you straight into the album. “Second Skin” has flying chords and reveals Omnia at their most psychedelic and a great counterpoint to the opener as we lift off in a Hawkwind way into the cosmos. Sensual synth burblings and Roger Waters-esque bass drives “Genus of Angels,” a track that wouldn’t have be out of place on A Saucerful of Secrets, its stillness shouting to the stars. “Nothing is Ordinary” has a haunting flute opener that helps it drift nicely from “Genus.” When the chords hit in the track jaunts along and has the same uplifting feel as only mid-seventies Gong were capable of. When the middle keyboard part hits in you can almost imagine yourself at the top of Glastonbury Tor shouting into the wind, amazingly beautiful. “Supernova’s” keyboards and bass bristle along, while its gliss guitar takes it into a different realm. If this were a movie soundtrack it would be where the ship hyperspace and time is suspended.
Tribal drumming announces “Liquid Underground” which shifts in to space rock staccato chords that build in to a big riff – this could have been played at the ’84 Stonehenge festival without feeling out of place….in fact was it played there? I kind of remember it but then I also remember the pixies talking to me. “Umbilical” is lush Jonas Reinhardt chords and sequencer that lets you contemplate the vastness of space before it kicks into the punky bass riff of “Pictures on the News,” a track that rants about oppression which stomps in a Here and Now way and is an excellent closer to the first CD.Right time for a cup of tea……..Ok I’m back now. Disc two……..Echoed footsteps prelude “Gateway” that lead into sonic swells that shift into a Ozrics style guitar riff of “The Malgi” before the track lifts into its major chord and drifting vocal sequence which sounds heavenly, music to trip out too on a summer evening when the sun is just setting. “There is a Field” knocks on the door of Pink Floyd in ’68, finds he’s not there and moves in air vertically until it finds a new home somewhere near Edgar Froese. Phased guitar introduces “Mr Sludge,” a Gong/Hillage style tune that also has a touch of the Dukes of Stratosphere in its strange paranoid acid state of mind. “Clouds Gather” has an ominous vocal mantra drone that leaves you somewhere hanging in the sky while sounds move in and out as if in a dream.
“Big Brother” is a space rock stomper, that, I would imagine sounds fantastic live. Its big, heavy and very spacey and even has a nihilistic space rant and has something Robert Calvert about it. “Corridor of Crows” is an ambient piece that has a similar feel to Brian Eno’s “Thursday Afternoon.” “Under the Sun” is all apocalyptic choirs over a vocal that tells of the world and man’s tragedy as humanity carries on making the same mistakes again and offers a way of escape; this rises to a big chorus as the track builds forward momentum. “It Was the Time When….” is an ambient acid pause before gentle guitars herald “Leaning Backwards,” the album’s final track. When the bass and drums and keyboards join in we are in pure mid-Seventies Floyd period-sounding bliss. Synths swoop and you can feel yourself exhale into the cold cosmic night as you are taken on a flight beyond the stars.
This is a truly wonderful and mesmerizing album, every track works well with the next to give a breadth and range to stop it becoming bogged down in sameness. I’m now just wondering how long we will have to wait for the follow up. It takes you on a musical excursion to both inner and outer space. But of course you will know all of this because you will already have been spinning this amazing album……What? The Stonehenge pixie says you haven’t got this yet! Go and order it today and your life will become one long magical dream which you won’t regret.