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Ozric Tentacles - Waterfall Cities CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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5 stars Waterfall cities is an album that belongs to the future because the musicians use tecnological support in the most compositions. This could be bad to fanatics of progressive in addition of techno music features for the album but the Ozrics achieve a magic disc with very armonic sounds that carry on in a trip inside the natural environments getting a lot of sense as ocurr in songs as Aura borealis or the same Waterfall city.
Report this review (#5494)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Apparently there was something happening at Snapper Records that didn't please the band, so they left the label, and started their own Stretchy Records label (and had American distribution through the ill-fated Phoenix Rising label). "Waterfall Cities" was their first on their new label. This album, while not bad, falls in that wankfest, where they seemed more obsessed with plastering it with as many silly electronic effects as possible. I think the reason for that was the band was trying to obtain new equipment, making the recording process a little more difficult. In fact, the first two cuts, "Coily" and "Xingu" seems to drag on a bit more than needs to, and "Xingu" is full of those annoying electronic effects the band needed to lay off. "Waterfall City", luckily is a vast improvement, and they go in to lengthy jams and a techno experiment. "Cha'i" finds the band exploring Chinese styles, and also adding a truly funky synth bass. "Sultana Detrii" finds the band exploring reggae for the first time since "Erpland"'s "Iscence", but they also move into other stuff too. Not the best OZRICS album, but at least I can say I never heard a bad OZRIC album either. "Waterfall Cities" is basically for the fans. To me, their following effort, "The Hidden Step" is quite an improvement, so if you want to hear more recent stuff from them, start there before you come here.
Report this review (#5495)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Enjoy the trip

My experience to date with Ozric Tentacles albums is that when you've heard one, you've heard them all. This is not intended as an overt criticism, it's just that they appear to have one style, and stick to it.

Everything is entirely instrumental, not a whisper of a vocal. The tracks are all lengthy structured improvisations. The music comes across as a melting pot of Tangerine Dream, Rick Wakeman, and Porcupine Tree. Guitar and keyboards swap lead responsibilities, with occasional alternative instrument thrown in such as on the percussion dominated oriental influenced "Ch'ai".

The music is generally well performed but quite "trippy". When "Ed" decides to have a quick run up and down his fret-board, the sound is almost rock guitar, but generally is a much more ambient plinky plinky (for want of a better expression ) landscape which is painted on the majority of the tracks.

A pleasant album, but not by any means essential.

Report this review (#5497)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you're a fan of the Ozrics, you pretty much know what to expect: swirling keyboards, jammy guitar, throbbing bass and exotic drumming. This album, as in all their albums, contain all of what I mentioned. And that's the problem. Whereas their early work has a raw, explosiveness to it, "Waterfall Cities" is more polished. Where it should soar into the statosphere, ('Spiralmind') it peter's out, when it should take you to that exotic far eastern land and immerse you into its culture, ('Ch'ai?') it drops you off into Epcot,and when it should send you into outer space and beyond, ('Aura Borealis') it takes you about as far as the moon. I'm not saying it's a bad album. It is certainly not! But for long time fans, its more of the same, and a tad boring to boot. For first time listeners, this may be something completely fantastic, but for me, I'd rather throw on "Erpland", or "Strangetude". Now those two are bliss!
Report this review (#70897)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not by any means my favorite from these guys (That would be Jurassic Shift), but a good album none the less.

Ozric Tentacles created a unique sound by fusing straight up hard rock, heavy metal and devilish keyboards. The only real problem is that the sound doesn't change much. And when I say it doesn't change much, I MEAN it. This isn't always a bad thing. The only problem is, if you hate one song, you'll probably hate all the others too.

Coily has to be my favorite song on here, just because of it's bombastic-ness. All the others are pretty good, except for Sultana Detrii, which I really just don't care for.

All in all, a darn good Ozric album. It seems good on the first few listens, but after awhile you'll see there are many of theirs better than this one.

3.5 Stars.

Report this review (#92949)
Posted Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Psychedelic Yet Earthly...

It seems a complaint many people have against the Ozrics is that they don't change much from album to album. I merely have three of their records: Strangeitude, Waterfall Cities, and Spirals in Hyperspace. All of these are very good in their own right, but what people say is true; the Ozrics really haven't progressed much sonically. But because they are a band so refined in their perticular style--adventurous, high- energy, often trance-reminiscent psychedelia--it really isn't something I can detract too much from a specific album rating. Sure, if we could apply a rating to the band as a whole, regarding progression and stylistic experimentation, the Ozrics would definitely not score very high. You may be thinking, and you would be in the right doing so, that because of the relatively little amount of progression throughout this band's none-too- small catelog there may not be much need to get more than a few records from them. I follow this line of thinking, but I'm a big fan of their music even considering their catelog, so I'm probably going to continue on and get more of their highly-regarded albums. But until you find out whether or not the Ozrics are your cup of tea, just check out some of their better albums.

Speaking of the Ozric Tentacles's better albums, I find Waterfall Cities to be the best of the batch that I have my hands on at the moment. Can I say why? I suppose it's the album where all of what I hold valuable in the Ozric's music comes to frutition. Strangeitude and Spirals in Hyperspace are both highly enjoyable, but this album just has more of what appeals to my ears: shimmering keyboard and ambient soundscapes, a driving but not overly "funky" rhythm section, guitar lines with a focus, and usage of ethnic and unfamiliar instrumentation that seems natural and fitting rather than forced. These create a fun, relaxing trip, not so much the "floating through space" sort of psychedelic trips, but rather more like a drive through a foreign, tropical paradise. I picture this as the soundtrack to that vacation i may take one day. It keeps mu spirits up in this mid-winter....

Well, being that the Ozric Tentacles's discography is seen as rather monotonous (in a good way, if that can be imagined), this will probably be my only review for an album by the band. I don't really feel like coaxing out a review that I couldn't properly expand upon, so here's my final say on the band: you can hardly go wrong with Ozric Tentacles if you're a fan of psychedelic, space music, or perhaps even jam and new age. They may not advance much in style from album to album, but the style they maintain is comforting and pleasurable. Waterfall Cities is their best album, but I'd wager you can't go wrong with just about any choice.


Report this review (#107907)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK. Lemme preface this review by addressing one of the main critisisms that the Ozrics are tagged with: that basically, if you've heard one Ozrics album, you've heard them all. I will not even attempt to counter this arguement: this is a band that throughout its career has done one thing (and in my opinion has done extremely well). Over the 20+ year career of this band the basic sound has not changed much: Hot bass and drum grooves coupled with burbling keyboard effects topped off by tasty electric guitar licks. No arguement here, as a super huge fan of this band I would be the first to agree that they are essentially a one trick pony.

That being said, as a fan (and as someone who owns everything (well...mostly everything) this band has ever done), certain albums stand out. This is one for me. I don't know what it is about this album, but it is one that I find myself continually drawn to.

For the uninitiated, I would have to say that this, Jurassic Shift, or Erpland would make a great starting point, simply because after hearing all of the material, those are my faves. And to be honest, the title track of this one is probably my favorite track of all time by this band.

So basically here's the recommendation: If the idea of the Grateful Dead crossed with techno music appeals to you, man, you've simply gotta check these guys out. For prog fans who are more into lyrics (of which there are none) or classic prog structure...pick any one of the albums...if you dont dig it, look no further, you'll not find much difference.

But as a huge fan who regularly enjoys almost everything these guys have ever released, I gotta recommend this one.

For fans of the Dead, Gong, Steve Hillage, Krautrock, great grooves, or hallucinogens...I think there's something you'll take away from this one.

Report this review (#114308)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars As someone who's followed the band since the late 80s ...You guessed it ... fab bass grooves, synth bubbles, intense rythmic percussion, and Ed's wailing guitar. Jon's Flute completes the sound that is The Ozric Tentacles.

But this album has a very distinct feel. Instantly recognisable. The changes are smooth. The rhythms are intricate and subtle. There is a very positive upbeat vibe. There seems to be a greater synth influence throughout.

Coily has that middle eastern element laced through it and then ends with quite an agressive feel (almost Prodigy like). Quite unusual for OT and stands out here. Xingu. I love this. Great bass line. This and Kick Muck are real favourites. The live version on Pyramidion is even better. Waterfall City retains the upbeat positive feel of the album. Ch'ai experiements with more eastern rhythms and sounds, but it is anchored in the OT sound with Ed's guitar.

Spiralmind hits the classic OT sound. Fabulous bass sound from Zia. Aura Borealis rounds of the album with a beautiful ambient soundscape.

It's odd that when I'm asked to recommend an Ozrics album I'll go for Pungent Effulgent, Erpsongs, Strangetude, Spiced Doubt or Jurrasic Shift, and yet I find myself listening to this one again and again.

I reckon this one should be in your prog collection but not a masterpiece

Report this review (#120622)
Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been following the band since "Erpland", and I would have to say this is everything Ozric Tentacles set out to achieve at this point in their career. Somehow, they've actually managed to create their own genre and perfect "prog.reggae" on this album, and have made "techo" sound earthy, not unlike many of The Orb releases. Just listen to the title track and "Spiralmind". I have to say they've created their own genre of music with the aforementioned tracks. Because of that, this gets 5 stars. The rest of the album is regular Ozric Tentacles fare we've own to grown to love. Recommended after "Waterfall Cities"...would have to be their mid-'90s masterpiece "Arborescence".
Report this review (#134180)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ozric Tentacles take psychedelic rock to unfathomable heights with Waterfall Cities. They deftly mix reggae grooves into progressive rock, and move techno above dance music into the peaks of psychedelic fusion mastery. Though all Ozrics albums contain funky bass grooves, eclectic ethnic influences, rocking electric guitar solos, and some of the most spectacular synthesizer playing ever recorded, this album features some of their best songs. The album opens with Coily, a spectacular piece which displays the spectacular synthesizer landscape, stunning rhythm section, and eastern flute and acoustic guitar that make the Ozrics great all prior to the track's terrific rock guitar laden finale. Though the entire disk is spectacular, another standout is the title track, which in the course of an arguably to short 11 minutes, serves up some unbelievably tasty synthesizer riffs in what might happen if Robert Fripp and David Gilmore ran a rave.
Report this review (#168953)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I quite liked their previous studio release (Curious Corn). It was one of their most diversified album (which is again not very difficult) and apparently, the Tentacles decided to pursue on the same good and inspired mood.

Not that this album is a masterpiece but at least one can listen to it without being knocked out by the same and repetitive stuff as they have produced for the majority of their recordings (though present here with Xingu).

The band is mixing some interesting spacey flavours with Oriental music during the opening track, which hopefully is only one of the good numbers on this recording. As I have already written in previous OT reviews, each time that the band did this mix, it was one of the best song from the album. Coily might well be another of these ones.

This album has a definite Far Eastern sound. But I have to admit that I prefer this than to listen to these spacey and reggae combo on almost each album. So? Let's welcome Ch'ai, even if I can't really say that it is an outstanding number but Ed Wynne is displaying a very good guitar break.

The title track is again very good, but only during the first part which features another splendid guitar work, all combined with some fine and spacey sounds. Unfortunately, the mood changes after six minutes and the song is switching to a more standard OT song.

The band is again playing on the conservative side during the lengthy Spiralmind which reminds me too much lots of previous releases. There is as well the inevitable reggae party, but to be honest, Sultana Detrii is maybe one of their best of this type. The beat catches up nicely at times, and the guitar is again rather pleasant. A fine spacey-reggae.

This album is better than the average OT ones. Three stars.

Report this review (#185461)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is for me one of their best albums to the date...all the experience of the band are on this album. Ozric tentacles is a hard band to define,their play some of jazz music,new age,electronic music,reggae music,ambient,experimental,african music,japanese music,psycho,and obviulsy rock music..and in fact,they are a very progressive have to understand their music,you need to have pacient and the music will flow into your mind,and when is there you will have a Real Trip. This albums offer a lot of space music, the keyboards are the pinnacle of this album, and some nice acoustic guitars.

This album deserves Five stars only for this two songs:

Waterfall City And spiralmind... they are an amazing of the best songs that this band have ever Are you ready for the long trip??

Nice work of the ozrics. 4.5 stars rounded to 5 !!

five star songs 3- waterfall city - 5- spiralmind - 6 sultana deltri - 7 aura borealis.

four star songs - 1- Coily- 2- Xingu- 4- Chŕi

Report this review (#200246)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars Although definitely not a bad album, "Waterfall Cities" is for me a low point in the Ozric's catalogue. All the song's groovy bass lines, organic sounding synth, and (occasionally) ripping guitar doesn't muster the same energy or enthusiasm as with many of their other albums.

Although all Ozric albums are similar, I feel that "Waterfall Cities" emphasis on synth-led, repetitive melodies and effects "sploosh", "tinkle", "plinke", and "shpiral" without much effect. A few moments come across as sounding downright goofy, and go on for too long, almost like they're just vamping until Ed comes up with something to play on his guitar. However, it's when he actually plays that this album's real problem becomes apparent-- not in his playing (Ed Wyne is phenomenal), but in its production. Every song sounds like my stereo's treble is turned up too high (I checked, it isn't), which gives the guitar a "tinny" sound that fails to capture much emotion or attention.

Still, the Ozrics are so good that there are a few standout tracks, especially the title song, which makes "Waterfall Cities" worth buying for fans of the band. These few gems show the album's sonic depth and style; however, most will find their other albums more satisfying.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#241792)
Posted Sunday, September 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Waterfall cities is certainly not the best introduction for Ozric beginners. But for those who are considerably familiar with the Ozric opus, Waterfall Cities can be treated as one of their best - a real masterpiece. Of course, first listening won't give you that impression. Especially the introductory Coily, which suggests lack of orientation and electronic hypertrophy. But that is just a dummy. Coily is a perfect example of carefully structured song which has everything that OT music can offer: both rhythm and melody, strength and subtlety, raising temperature as the song moves towards its end. The same case is with the song Waterfall City. Many Ozric songs are regularly recognized by Ozric loyalists as real masterpieces only after months, even years of listening - they have their inner beauty, a hidden agenda I would call it. Spiralmind definitely doesn't fit into that category - I personally don't go on a longer trip without it. Highly intoxicating, pure metaphysics of rock. It resembles Jurassic Shift (the song), Curious Corn (the song again), Oakum, Spacebass and those Ozric dainties which represent a complete musical and intellectual journey, making you think that music is really some special dimension of being. Waterfall Cities - brilliant and inspiring.
Report this review (#244139)
Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow! This is probably, in my opinion, the band's finest album, it seems like all their best moments are included in this wonderful record, so extremely underrated, while other Ozric Tentacles are a little overrated (Arborescence in primis). Even though it's not a five star album, it still gets 4.5. The style is always classical OT, but the main difference from all the other albums is that this one is much more refined in the composition, the songwriting is much better, the general production is impressive. Also, "Waterfall Cities" contains some of the coolest moments of the band, like in the songs "Xingu", the title track, and the final impressive "Aurora Borealis". But even all the other songs.

Everything starts with "Coily" probably the least effective song in the album. The effects are pretty cool, the melody is eccentric enough, overall it's a fine song. "Xingu" is possibly my favorite OT song.It contains some of the coolest effects, rarely you will find pieces like this in a Ozric Tentacles album. Catchy in some moments, kind of minimalistic in others, heavy, thanks only to the very strong keyboards, especially in the intro. A fantastic song. The title track is another masterpiece. Eleven minutes of pure heaven, a song that you should definitely listen to. Here we find one of the band's best performances, and all the musicians work in harmony, so perfect that I can't even imagine doing something like that with my band. "Ch'ai" is a oriental sounding based track, interesting in many points, however sometimes (rarely) it might bore. It might. "Spiralmind" is one of those tracks that makes you feel like your going inside another dimension, another universe. A masterpiece, perfect if you want to relax, with some new age kind of music. "Sultana Detrii" is another very relaxing song, really worth the listen if you ask me. We have, like in other song of the album and he band in general, some dub elements, combined with psych rock, new age, and electronic. My favorite part of this song is around the middle, where everything stops, except the amazing sound of tropical forest animals combined with two simple but very effective chords played with the synth. A great song. "Aurora Borealis" is a completely new idea for the band. It is more and ambient song, but a lot more enlivened. There aren't too many drums, making the atmosphere even more relaxed. Although some moments are pretty "heavy", thanks to the use of the synth, in the middle part especially. A great closer, possibly the band's best one.

As a conclusion, I must say that this album sadly isn't loved enough, it is so full of impressive moments and great atmospheres, that many times are even better than the ones we found in "Curious Corn". Buy it, you won't regret it: this must be the best collection of OT songs ever.

Report this review (#283231)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my favorite Ozrics-album. The period 1993-1999 produced the best albums of this band. I like it when the band jams, but I like it better when things are more structured.

The Ozrics line up Wynne/Egan/Seaweed/Rad/Geelani is really tight and very skilled. Here Ed already experiments with more electronic music, like on Spiralmind wich features drummachines and sequenced bass, reminiscent of Nodens Ictus (a spin off featuring Ed Wynne, Joie Hinton and Merv Pepler).

The overall sound/production is superb and the songs really stick in your head. Great melodies and a wide variety of styles; arabian, fusion, rock, dub, etc. This album really takes the listener to other worlds, and that's what spacerock is all about.

Report this review (#409724)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars These guys put out consistantly good records and this 1999 release is no exception. This wouldn't make my top five by them but there's just too much here to give it less than 4 stars.

"Coily" is a top three for me and my favourite. I love the energy when it kicks in.The guitar starts to solo after 2 minutes. So good. Some great sounding bass too. Flute before 5 minutes. It turns quite intense late to end it. "Xingu" has a great beat but I find the synths that come and go a little annoying. Good song though. "Waterfall City" is another top three for me. Synths pulse quickly as the guitar joins in followed by a heavy beat. The guitar is lighting it up after 4 minutes. It settles back some around 6 minutes.This section is really good too. Check out the sound after 9 1/2 minutes ! "Ch'ai ?" has these intricate sounds and it's Eastern sounding. Nice bass / drum section that follows. Guitar 3 minutes in.

"Spiralmind" is the other top three.This is spacey with a light beat. Nice chunky bass joins in too. It picks up 8 minutes in and the guitar starts to rip it up. "Sultana Detrii" has these background synths that create a lot of atmosphere as drums then bass join in. Relaxed guitar 2 minutes in. A Reggae vibe here. Flute 3 1/2 minutes in followed by nature sounds before 5 minutes.Guitar and a fuller sound after 6 minutes then it settles back some again. "Aura Borealis" opens with atmosphere and an intricate beat as keys join in. It's building. Keys are back 3 1/2 minutes in followed by synths. A relaxing tune.

A low 4 stars for me but another winner from THE OZRICS.

Report this review (#428680)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Ozrics clearly went the extra mile for their first album on their new label, set up by the band themselves after their departure from Snapper. As well as being somewhat more diverse in sound than many preceding albums, the disc boasts the best production they'd enjoyed for some time and had some really compelling compositions. The opening Coily has an unusually heavy, intense and dark atmosphere for the Ozrics, whilst the pulsing, electronic dance music influences that have always hovered around in the background really come to the fore on other tracks such as Xingu.

On the whole, this is a decent-quality Ozrics album and stands as proof positive that despite their reputation for simply making the same album over and over again, the Ozrics could still occasionally make that album sound fresh and new. Still, at the same time it doesn't quite stand out as a top-flight album like the run of classics from Pungent Effulgent to Jurassic Shift.

Report this review (#636557)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Cosmic Wonder of the Ozrics.

Ozric Tentacles are trippy psych instrumental wizards that dominate the acid fuelled 90s musical landscape with some of the most outlandish compositions. This release, their 13th studio album continues to explore and experiment with a diversity of musical styles founded in Eastern mystical flavours and techno rave heartbeat rhythms. The time signatures are off the map driven by mindbending bass and speed percussion. The band consist of Ed Wynne a legend on guitars, synths, and tendril manipulations; Seaweed on synths, whoopz, fizzles; Zia Geelani on bass, snapiness; John Egan on flutes, twirlings; and Rad on drum poundings.

A highlight of the album is the jumpy 'Coily' with blitzkrieg explosions of flute and mesmirising percussive shapes. It bounces all over the place leading to the flute solo and Oriental guitar hyper picking. The techno synths pounce in later and are joined by spacey guitar phrases.

'Xingu' opens with a phased fuzz guitar that blazes brightly and then a percussive figure locks in with swirls of keyboard and an Eastern theme. The sax sound that chimes in later is a dreamscape of ambience.

'Waterfall City' is a lengthy piece featuring pulsating synths that hook into an unusual pattern and are followed up with guitar embellishments. Droplets of synth fall on the palette of sequenced synths and then a transcendent lead guitar breaks through. This is more bordering on extreme electro rave dance music with a heavy serrated edge. The lead work is astonishing, almost improvised and the sound breaks into a dreamier ambience with those lightning fast drums keeping time.

'Ch'ai?' has an Arabic flavour with sounds of harp and odd instrumentation made on a synth. Agreeable tech bass and drums come in later and a higher pitch on the main theme. The lead break is killer and some of the best work from Ed Wynne.

'Spiralmind' is a spaced out piece with synth swells, chunky funkadelic bass and sporadic percussion. Beginning as melodic trance music, this literally spirals wildly out of control, with drum outbursts, lashings of guitar picking and a dollop of melting synth for good measure. The silver threads of ambience are overshadowed by un-restrained lead guitar squeals and pipes of pan synth. It is absorbing and tight musical dexterity, and must rate highly in the catalogue of the Ozric's extensive oeuvre.

'Sultana Detrii' is a symphonic piece drenched with synths and a steady beat. The feel is akin to Reggae but more relaxed with a ton of flute and the sounds of nature. The reverberation of guitar is effective and the spacious synths that flow lucidly. This is one of the beautiful passages of music on this release. 'Aura Borealis' has an odd time signature with soft drums glazed over with celestial synths and ribbons of spacey effects generating an interstellar atmosphere. If I were to watch an Aura Borealis this music should fit perfectly. It is uplifting and filled with cosmic wonder.

The album is a prime example of the psychedelic power and spaced up experimentalism of Ozric Tentacles. It would be followed up by at least 6 more albums and of course the underground following would continue and grow. The band are definitely one of the more accomplished in terms of instrumental modern psychedelica and mesmirising space rock.

Report this review (#774792)
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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