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Ozric Tentacles

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Ozric Tentacles Waterfall Cities album cover
3.86 | 202 ratings | 20 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Coily (7:19)
2. Xingu (7:27)
3. Waterfall City (11:03)
4. Ch'ai? (5:03)
5. Spiralmind (11:40)
6. Sultana Detrii (9:17)
7. Aura Borealis (5:40)

Total Time: 57:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Ed Wynne / guitar, synth
- Christopher Lenox-Smith / synth
- John Egan / flute
- Zia Geelani / bass
- Conrad Prince / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Blim

2xLP Pancromatic - PLP2001 (2000, Norway)

CD Stretchy Records STRETCHY CD 1 (1999, UK)
CD Phoenix Rising - 2005 (1999, US)
CD Original Masters - SMMCD640 (2002, UK)
CD Snapper Classics/Mad Fish - SDPCD154 (2004, UK)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy OZRIC TENTACLES Waterfall Cities Music

OZRIC TENTACLES Waterfall Cities ratings distribution

(202 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

OZRIC TENTACLES Waterfall Cities reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
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.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by NJprogfan
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!
Review by obiter
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

Review by Gooner
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".
Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by 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

Review by EatThatPhonebook
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Warthur
4 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. It doesn't quite stand out as a top-flight album like the run of classics from Pungent Effulgent to Jurassic Shift, but it's certainly no embarrassment either.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ed and company close out the 20th Century with the Ozrics' 13th release of cosmic otherworldliness.

1. "Coily" (7:19) a nice driving effort by the bass and drums rhythm section is spoiled by one of my least favorite synth sounds (like a saw) and equally abrasive edge to the guitar sound of choice. Pleasing melodies seem to be far from the band's minds as they just plunge forward with more mathematical "Egyptian" lines and sounds (including John Egan's flute). While I appreciate the effort to try to "re-"create possible ancient musical sounds and melodies, I still think most humans appreciate something they can connect with more than things esoteric. (13/15)

2. "Xingu" (7:27) a much better opening with Ed's mesmerizing heavily-flanged guitar-sounding synth line winning me over from the start. The second line, however, is just a bit too weird, but then the Lebanese synth wash makes up for it. The soft and sustained synth lines over the steady rhythm track and intermittent quick-descending cartoon arpeggio in the second half is okay. (13.125/15) 3. "Waterfall City" (11:03) this is the kind of music that Ozrics is all about: space trekking at hyperspeeds, encountering weird creatures, systems, and phenomenon while cruising around the outer edges of ours and other universes. I love the "calm, peaceful" section in the sixth and seventh minutes as the starship continues to cruise at speeds just under the speed of light--which is then followed by an awesome frog belching Tiesto house rave section before finally closing out. My favorite song on the album. A great OT song! (18.75/20)

4. "Ch'ai?" (5:03) the title's Chinese reference is definitely in order for this song despite the similarity to some of Pat Metheny's music in the sound and rhythmic choices. I actually love the syncopated, stop-and-go nature of this track's flow--minus the funk-bass lines dominating the third minute. Ed's guitar seers in the fourth minute on a level that is both old and new despite the funk-Chinese stuff going on beneath. Then we're back to Charlie Chan soundtrack music for the final 80 seconds. Another top three song for me. (9/10)

5. "Spiralmind" (11:40) despite the presence of plenty of swirling, spiralling synths, this is the song that sounds most representative of an advanced civilization's urban waterfall problem (or blessing). The synth lines sounds a lot like something off of Jurassic Shift, but the bass and acoustic guitar play are more funk and world music oriented. Ed is so in tune with bassist Zia Geelani's extraordinary work here. Work like this makes the band worthy of comparisons to top notch jazz fusion bands like Al Di Meola-era RETURN TO FOREVER. My other top three song. (18.5/20)

6. "Sultana Detrii" (9:17) Just when the grooves of three great space/world songs in a row were starting to lull me into high flattery and lure me into mega-fandom, the band has to remind me that they always reserve one song per album to the praise of Jamaica's #1 export: man! the most boring and homogeneously type-cast musical style of all (yes, even more than Gregorian chant). Luckily, the band moves to Honduran and Gamelan edges to blend into (or even supplant) the Rastafarian tradition enough to win me back. (I am NOT a fan of Reggae music--and even less so of cocky pretenders and usurpers). (17.5/20)

7. "Aura Borealis" (5:40) a Korg Wave Station put to great use! Me likey! Around 2:20 the music goes more solo funk synth as drummer Conrad Prince continues to dance around his cymbals and hi-hat, but then synths start to multiple and branch out, filling the soundscape before taking time for some soloing and, eventually, slowing down and shutting down. Kind of cool! (8.875/10)

Total Time: 57:29

I've never heard how or why Ed Wynne and company found such a draw to Middle Eastern instrumental sounds and melody lines (maybe hanging out too much in falafel and tabouli restaurants) but it often gets a little old. I love the jungle sounds and "other worldly"spacier stuff better.

Their sound is great, their musicianship has never been better (especially from the bass department), and their unique formula has never been tighter. Perhaps that's why this album earns the fourth-highest ratings score of the ten OT albums I've reviewed.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of jazz-rock fused world space prog. Definitely one of the best OT albums that I've heard: the band is so polished! No wonder the Pongmasters Ball concert less than two years in the future is so revered. These guys are so in sync!

Latest members reviews

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 experiment ... (read more)

Report this review (#409724) | Posted by Kingsnake | Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 introd ... (read more)

Report this review (#244139) | Posted by Bilkaim | Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#200246) | Posted by JgX 5 | Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 influen ... (read more)

Report this review (#168953) | Posted by Quantum Tuba | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#114308) | Posted by Nipsey88 | Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#107907) | Posted by stonebeard | Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 sa ... (read more)

Report this review (#92949) | Posted by Leningrad | Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#5494) | Posted by Queno | Monday, March 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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