Kotebel - Fragments Of Light

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4509 AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:17:00

Kotebel's Fragments Of Light is composer Carlos Plaza's third release. It is mainly a symphonic progressive rock release with classical overtones - which might seem to some to be redundant... Those overtones come by way of the lyrical flute playing by Omar Acosta, the operatic vocals of Carolina Prieto, and multi-movement compositional style of Plaza. The progressive rock part comes in with the parpy, tart keyboards of Plaza, the driving percussion and bass of... well, that's Plaza, too. The sometimes searing guitar playing is from César Garcia Forero (who provides bass, keys and percussion on three instrumental interludes). Many of Plaza keyboard tones are more piano-like, such as on the sonorous, beautiful "Espejos/Mirrors"... which leads naturally to the suite that closes the album, Plaza's lovely piano solo "Children Suite." But then, I love to hear solo piano releases (this is like getting a double album, though the suite is collectively only about 12-minutes).

Now, you might think that a mix of rock and classical would bring comparisons to ELP or Yes, depending on which classical aspect you focus on. Nope, though there were some keyboard flourishes that made me think of Wakeman a bit, and well, it's not a solid, absolute no, as I'll point out in a moment. Mainly Kotebel's sound is more Italian than British sounding - the throaty, mid-tempo rocker "El Quimerista II" is a bit middle-eastern, however. "Part I" (track 3) of this three part piece, all written by Forero, is acoustic guitar with subtle percussion - it may even be Forero using the guitar body as percussion, as the tone is right; this piece, "Part II" (track 6) is electric guitar, bass and drums; and "Part III" (track 9) is guitar and breathy, spacey keys... sparse, a just a few seconds shy of not going anywhere (it ends before that point is reached). "Identidad Legal/Legal Identity" is a highly rhythmic, more angular piece, bringing to mind (here's the reference) Emerson, and at various points, especially at the end, those final notes of "Karn Evil 9" (the famous section that gets all the radio play, of course). It also has a rather a jazz fusiony aspect to it to begin with, certainly in the bubbling guitar phrases that lie beneath the keyboard effects and the drums.

One of the pieces that appealed to me most was the dark, languid "Memoria / Memory." There is just such a relaxed, yet mysterious, feel to this track - it's not drowsy relaxed, but... just relaxed. And yet full of depth with lots of atmosphere. It comes in stark contrast to the more chaotic passages of the opening piece "Hades" and the fifth track "Fuego/Fire." Each have their pastoral passages, but are otherwise busy. This latter piece is one that appealed to me the least - at least certain sections, as I'm not entirely fond of Juan Olmos' vocals here. They are reminiscent of... Daniel Gildenlöw actually, whom I like, but just not quite enough to be on par. Now, whereas I would rate Prieto a 10 in the vocals department - lovely, lovely voice - Olmos is around 7.5 or 8. So we aren't talking awful or unlistenable, just... I would have been happier with them a tweak or two better. And maybe I'm just being a little too hyper-critical. He also does some spoken word here on "Fuego," the words just discernable, giving the piece an eerie feeling. (I had my closed while listening, getting drawn in, and for one brief second I had a moment of panic ... I don't know what thought came to me (it flitted away immediately), but it was brought about by, and underscored by, the music... so I mean that kind of eerie).

While much of "Hades" seems too busy in its arrangement (well, it's hot down there and it keeps you jumping, right?), Kotebel settle nicely into a more measured and assured pace for the rest of the album. And I must say the more lyrical passages are my favorites - simply beautiful. Definitely an album for folks who love music period. Recommended.

Hades (11:59) / Identidad Legal/Legal Identity (3:40) / El Quimerista I (2:36) / Memoria/Memory (7:46) / Fuego/Fire (14:54) / El Quimerista II (5:10) / Espejos/Mirrors (7:51) / Trozos De Luz/Fragments of Light (3:11) / El Quimerista III (2:21) / Children Suite (11:59): I. En El Parque/In The Playground (1:01) / II. La Siesta (1:21) / III. El Papagayo/The Kite (1:04) / IV. Contemplando Las Estrellas/Gazing At The Stars (1:37) / V. El Bachacalabo (1:22) / VI. A Trav?s Del Espejo/Through The Looking Glass (1:50) / VII. Cuentos Del Bosque/Forest Tales (1:29) / VIII. Fantasia - Finale (2:15)

Omar Acosta - flute
C?sar Garcia Forero - guitars; bass, keyboards, percussion (3, 6, 9)
Juan Olmos - voices (5)
Carlos Plaza - keyboards, bass, drums
Carolina Prieto - voices (ex. 5)

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

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin ES

Added: January 1st 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.kotebel.com
Hits: 1040
Language: english


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