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Friday, July 1, 2011

Omnia Opera, England

Omnia Opera - Beyond the Tenth. 1986 private cassette
Omnia Opera - Celebrate for Change. 1987 private cassette
Omniasphere - Surfing the Zuvuya. 1990 private cassette
Omnia - Seeking the Elusive. 1997 private cassette

On the announcement of Omnia Opera's new album "Nothing is Ordinary" (to be released July 21), I felt this would be a good time to post about their rare cassettes and try to push along the reissues. And besides we're right in the midst of posting on the neglected UK space rock scene of the 1980s and early 90s, so the timing is perfect. I've delayed the posting of this entry for well over a year now, as the band has stated their intentions to reissue the first two albums. From their website: "Squalor studios is currently engaged on a project to digitally remaster the popular Omnia Opera early cassette albums: 'Beyond the Tenth' and 'Celebrate for Change'. A project that is long overdue for those whose originals have worn-out! The final decision as which record company to use has yet to be made but there are rumours that Voiceprint may be taking an active role in promotion and distribution."

As for the music, 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. See our Under the Radar entry for their second CD "Red Shift". And their debut CD is even better. The first two cassettes listed here are very similar to the CDs, and in fact some feature reworked versions.

No word on the Omniasphere or Omnia projects. I've heard the former, and it's quite good, perhaps a bit more geared towards the electronica crowd.


(August 3rd, 2015 update):  If there was ever a title more apropos than "Seeking the Elusive", I sure would like to know. But the AC has persevered and we now have finally heard this rarity! The AC notes "Very obscure cassette album by this post Omnia Opera group (it's basically the regular band lineup, just with a different drummer). A more stripped-down and guitar-oriented recording, with lots of thrashing, heavy Hawkwindian riffage and angsty vocals over a steadily pounding rhythm section, with the usual keyboards and spacey effects used only sparingly. All of the techno/electronica elements that had crept in on "Red Shift" are completely out the window here, and the songs tend to be a bit more concise, making for nothing but a full frontal assault. This one has seemingly been lost to history, and aside from a reworking of "Second Skin" on their comeback album "Nothing Is Ordinary", none of this material has ever appeared elsewhere." And really, while on the topic of Nothing is Ordinary, clearly this was the path Omnia Opera were heading even at this stage some 15 years prior. If you like the 1993 debut CD, then for certain Seeking the Elusive will be of great interest. Perhaps a bit rawer in sound quality, but compositionally very familiar.

And while I'm here, no further word on the first two cassette reissues. There was a lot of chatter about these when I first posted this page in the 2010/2011 time frame. But it's sadly fallen back off the radar. The band is still active (it appears they took 2014 completely off), so there's still hope for not only the reissues, but for a new album as well. Nothing is Ordinary was a fantastic comeback album!

Priority: 2

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! (And regular readers know by now that they indeed already have been reissued!)

Last update: August 3, 2015

1 comment:

spacefreak said...

OMNIASPHERE ia a must in my opinion, Tom. I've been longing for a CD of this, since ages.