Kotebel - Structures

Year of Release: 1999
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:03:00

If there is one thing that Mexicans will never do, it's the following: "read instructions carefully." Noooo, we'd rather rush headlong into the matter at hand than have to lose precious moments of our lives by taking the time to actually analyze the information given us with the sole purpose of making our lives easier. And although I admit to not sharing several traits of spirit with my fellow compatriots, I do share that atavist quality of careful-reading-reticence, so that when I was reading the information accompanying Kotebel's Structures I ended up expecting a fusion of progressive rock and classical music, instead of what it was actually supposed to be: "progressive rock from a classical music perspective."

Now, if you think that my expectations and Kotebel's corporate statement are one and the same, congratulations, you've just joined the ranks of the reading-disabled and get to go have a beer with me if we ever meet (the beers are on you, of course!). Witty nonsense set aside, however, Structures is far from featuring any strong characteristics of classical music, being instead a manifestation of keyboard-led symphonic rock that is reminiscent of both The Enid and the more placid moments of Genesis and Steve Hackett. Of course, with me being a classical music freak that will blast Bach or Mahler in his car right after Coroner, and my expectations being clumsily erred, I didn't really like the album on first listen.

Of course, that wasn't exactly fair either, so my relative objectivity (a curious paradox that barely avoids the ugly status of being an oxymoron) was saved by my usual habit of listening to an album at least six or seven times before actually getting around to review it. That is when both the strengths and weaknesses of Kotebel's first effort came to light, and rather curiously divided by tracks, or structures, number five and six. But, honoring the tried and true cliché, I'm afraid bad news come first; which is not really my fault when you consider that they start the album as well.

Let's see, how to tackle this affair? Have you ever been to a restaurant in which a piano player is playing through some chord progressions that sound appropriate for non-disturbing elevator music and kind of linger in the back of your head while not really saying anything due to their lack of novelty? Well, that's pretty much how the first portion of Structures, namely up to the album's fifth track, comes across to the listener. Sure, the keyboards wiggle around here and there, the melodies aren't unpleasant at all, and there are some interesting bits lying around ("Structure 1" is actually kind of cool for the most part), but the corny keyboard effects and predictable harmonic structures don't really serve to entertain the listener remarkably, and my expectations in particular felt depressingly defeated.

But it ain't over till it's over, and Carlos Plaza Vegas brings the album right out of the ashes with "Structure 6," in which minor keys finally begin to be put to adequate use and the classical music perspective that characterized much of seventies' progressive rock finally shows up. Oh yes, patience is a virtue and it's certainly rewarding when one exerts it to wait and see if the initial promising flashes will eventually turn into full-fledged instrumentals, which they do by finally acquiring some unique, although partially retro at times, identity. It is then that a bit more energy is felt within Plaza's instrumentals, perhaps a result of the more dramatic approach that is brought to the foreground. At any rate, it is then that the potential of Kotebel as a project starts to come out of its cocoon, and that the listener finally receives a stream of pleasant and gentle symphonic rock that nevertheless could be bettered in future efforts. According to my interpretation of the album's booklet, the convergence of classical music and progressive rock should increase as new albums are released, and that will doubtlessly make it interesting to see what comes out of Kotebel in the next few years. In the meantime, however, most of the potential remains yet to be released, and a collection of pleasant, but not astounding, instrumentals remains.

Structure 1 (6:27) / Structure 2 (5:35) / Structure 3 (8:00) / Structure 4 (4:05) / Structure 5 (11:14) / Structure 6 (7:02) / Structure 7 (6:40)

Carlos Plaza Vegas - keyboards, programming

Guest musicians:

Omar Acosta - flute
Carlos Franco - ethnic percussion
Adriana Plaza - tambourine

Structures (1999)
Mysticae Visiones (2001)
Fragments Of Light (2003)
Omphalos (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin ES

Added: November 17th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.kotebel.com
Hits: 1427
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]