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TALES OF POWER

Arabesque

Symphonic Prog


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Arabesque Tales of Power album cover
3.50 | 22 ratings | 10 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. An Epic: Krail Mountain (11:53)
2. Cobbler's Knob (10:42)
3. We (The Farmer Song) (7:42)
4. The Forgotten Pond (4:52)
5. As The Novelty Wears... (8:37)
6. Arcanum of Atlantis (10:37)
7. Except For Dreaming (12:06)

Total Time: 76:29

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- August Smarra / guitar, vocals
- Jim Renda / drums
- Tom Ketterer / bass
- RJ Ketterer / vibes, percussion
- Budd Kelly / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

Shroom Productions

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Allegro Corporation 1995
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ARABESQUE Tales of Power ratings distribution


3.50
(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
5%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ARABESQUE Tales of Power reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As a lover of progressive rock, it is always fulfilling when you get your hands on an old album from a band you had never heard of before and love the music... this is most certainly the case with 70's US based band ARABESQUE. This CD is really a collection of their early songs written between 1973 and 1978. Musically ARABESQUE draw musical influences from CAMEL, GENESIS and YES, but I must confess do carry their very own unique sound. Instrumentally these guys also dipped into the progressive rock bag of tricks with the addition of a number of unique toys... glockenspiel, bongos, e-bow, temple blocks and a host of cool analog keyboards (farfisa organ, mini-korg, Rhodes). Their songs are nice and long (all around 10 Mins) and are given lots of room to explore never sounding rushed or pushed.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#28263) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Altough I'm a proghead from 1975, I own a large collection and I write many reviews for this site, almost every week I discover progrock gems after reading the reviews on Prog Archives: Marsupilami, Red Sand, Rain, Indian Summer and... Arabesque, what a beautiful Seventies prog! The 7 compositions (most around 10 minutes) have a wonderful typical Seventies symphonic rock sound featuring compelling shifting moods, strong breaks and great soli on guitar and keyboards, fine assorted percussion (like Glockenspiel and temple blocks) and, last but not least, a good singer with a warm and distinctive voice. The music has echoes from early Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and Camel and often reminds me of the other great USA band Babylon (also Genesis-inspired) and some early psychedelic Floyd (Farfisa organ play). Despite this flood of references, Arabesque doesn't sound as a clone and manages to keep my attention for the whole CD, I'm delighted about this discovery!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#39223) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With a ripple of organ appeggios an epic unfolds. And the epic tale is not just that of Krall Mountain, but that of this Arabesque album itself. Recorded over a period of years (from 1973-1979) this decent set of songs remained in the vault for a quarter of a century, only seeing the light of day in 2002. Remarkably Tales Of Power is on par with, and in the odd case, even stronger than, many more acclaimed lost American albums that I've heard.

Lead vocalist Budd Kelly (who is also the keyboardist) has a narrative vocal style that seems clearly influenced by Peter Gabriel, although his vocal timbre is closer to that of Dave Cousins of The Strawbs. Indeed the opening track An Epic - Krall Mountain seems like a multi-dimensional audition for a place in Trespass-era Genesis, with Kelly throwing in a fair bit of Banksian organ. There are also some decent synth moments and a bit of an overly frenzied guitar solo from August Smarra.

Other highpoints include We (The Farmer's Song) which is simply, a great rock song. Sure the sound may not have much depth (remember that this music sat on the shelves for a couple of decades), but the flow of the music and the melodies of keyboards, guitar and lead vocals are excellent. There's also As The Novelty Wears, which is more of a jazz-rock piece with Kelly moving to the electric piano, and the closer Except The Dreaming which has a mock-horror opening (they go through great lengths to create that sterotypical Gothic feel), then a gentle folk passage, and then a high octane jam to conclude it all.

It's not all plain sailing though. Like numerous other 70s symphonic American acts, Arabesque occasionally seem a little overly influenced by Yes. Also some of the songs could have used some editing. The instrumental Cobbler's Knob is definitely overlong. When it starts off with a nice little synth solo, one expects great things. One does not expect to have to listen to a series of mediocre passages for nigh on 11 minutes with scarcely any variation to speak off as keys and guitar alternate lead. Believe me the vibe playing of R.J. Ketterer doesn't add enough ... particularly during the last 6 minutes when a single riff just goes on and on!

Thankfully the other instrumental The Forgotten Pond is better, with a more memorable melody although even at just under 5 minutes, it seems to repeat itself, and indeed starts sounding a bit too much like Cobbler's Knob! Arcanum Of Atlantis is pretty decent and some great synth leads, but by this time, everything is a little too familiar.

Indeed, I must admit that I used to be a little bit more enthusiatic about this record. It's still pretty good, but I would definitely go for the essential Kansas, Utopia, Yezda Urfa, Pavlov's Dog and Cathedral albums before seeking this one out. ... 58% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#75528) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Arabesque is a forgotten band from USA progressive movement from the '70's. The album Tales of power is released in 2002 but containing recordings from 1973 to 1978. When I first listen to this album I was kinda shocked how '70's they sound, didn't know that this pieces are originaly composed in the '70's. After digging in their history I found out that they coudn't manage to put on market the album in first place, and Shroom records trace the album and re released him in 2002. The music Arabesque playes is eleborate symphonic prog with excellent musicianship, long instrumental passages and brilliant interplay between guirat and keys. Over this instrumental arrangements the warm voice of August Smarra make this album worth investigate if you are in this kind of music. Sometimes they remind me of Genesis or Camel but not a copy , they have their own sound. All the pieces stands as good , not a weak moment. So a good album, deserve 3 stars for sure.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#207823) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 20, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars ARABESQUE were an American Prog band from Pittsburg (Go Steelers!) who were never able to get a record deal so they created their own music over the years in a basement with 4 track tape.This is a compilation of those songs which were created between 1973 and 1979. Unfortunately the sound quality isn't top notch but man the music sure is. It's sad really that a label didn't give these guys a chance to do it right because they were a very talented group.

"An Epic : Krail Mountain" was started in 1975 but not completed until the next year. Again recorded on 4 track tape so it doesn't exactly sound that great. Nature sounds early then music followed by vocals. Spoken words 2 minutes in then keyboards and drums start to lead before it settles again.Vocals are back before 4 minutes. An impressive instrumental section from after 5 minutes to before 10 1/2 minutes. "Cobbler's Knob" is an instrumental and a top three track for me.This was the last tune recorded in the basement in 1979. Percussion to start as sounds come and go. Some nice guitar before 1 1/2 minutes.The drums are prominant followed by chunky bass 4 1/2 minutes in.The guitar is ripping it up a minute later. "We (The Farmers Song)" is simply a good song that could have been a single if shortened. Catchy and meaningful with excellent vocals. A top three. "The Forgotten Pond" opens with intricate sounds that come and go then it picks up and gets fuller before 2 minutes.

"As Novelty Wears..." is sort of a shot at the music business who at the time were only interested in disco and pop music because they sold records.This is really all over the place.Tempo changes galore as in "in your face" music business (haha). Good song. "Arcanum Of Atlantis" is the other top three for me.The sound builds and the tempo picks up.Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. I like this one a lot. A nice long instrumental section on this one too. "Except For Dreaming" is the first original song they created but it was under a different name and it has been spruced up. I like when it turns dark and fairly powerful 7 minutes in.The tempo then picks back up with guitar. Nice.

A good album that more importantly allows us to get a glimpse at a talented band doing what they loved.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#383416) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Arabesque: Tales of Power [2002]

Rating: 7/10

Arabesque was a virtually unknown symphonic progressive rock band active during a lengthy period in the 70s. Having never received a recording contract, they made numerous house recordings that never saw the light of day until they were released as Tales of Power in 2002. After listening to the quality material presented on this album, I lament the fact that this band never got contemporary attention. Arabesque's music is straight-up symphonic prog heavily influenced by Genesis, Yes, and Camel. Keyboard/guitar interplay, extended instrumental passages, fantasy-themed lyrics, and general epicness abound here. The recording quality is quite sub-par, considering that these songs were recorded live in a basement on primitive equipment. This doesn't stop the compositions from being excellent, however.

"An Epic: Krail Mountain" begins with some Gabriel-esque vocals (including a spoken-word section). The intensity builds up during a lengthy instrumental section of keyboard/guitar interplay. "Cobbler's Knob" is a superb medieval-sounding instrumental. The guitar work is given more attention here, and there's lots of unorthodox percussion (vibes, vibraslap, etc.) spicing the track up. "We (The Farmer Song)" features a catchy main hook and an excellent chorus. The bass has a stronger presence here than before. "The Forgotten Pond" is by far the shortest track here, clocking in at less than five minutes. This is another strong instrumental, with some oriental-sounding vibraphone. "As the Novelty Wears?" has a strong neo vibe. The vocals and the "waka-waka" guitar give a different atmosphere than the rest of the tracks, but it's still very good. I especially like the moments of bluesy guitar. "Arcanum of Atlantis" is probably the weakest track here. The vocals sound a bit off-pitch and muddy. It's still a solid song, though, and the conclusion is fantastic. The closer "Except for Dreaming" is supremely epic. The last four-and-a-half minutes are intense and brilliant, with quick tribal-style drumming and seamless guitar/keyboard interaction.

As excellent as Tales of Power is, it does have a few problems. The first is the aforementioned poor sound quality. It isn't a major problem, and it's actually quite impressive that it sounds a good as does considering the low-quality equipment, but better production certainly would have improved things slightly. The second problem is a slight lack of band identity. Although this album is not derivate by any means, it's clear that the band were still trying to carve out a specific niche for themselves. These are small gripes, though. This album has almost everything a symphonic prog fan wants, and the democratic interplay between the band members is particularly impressive. I would like to thank the holy internet for allowing me to come across this minor gem.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#449255) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Latest members reviews

3 stars As Budd Kelly , former vox & keys of Arabesque has explained in his own review of this album, this is a collection of songs from 1974 to 1978. Which explains the variety of styles on this album. This is sadly the only album from this American band, not to be confused with an Austrian metal ... (read more)

Report this review (#228943) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Seeing as ARABESQUE hail from da' Burgh (Pittsburgh for the lehman) this would be my home town prog band (give or take a 30 miles) and I must say; they don't disappoint. Easily some of the best vocals from an American prog band (a voice with character!) and true to the British well balanced ins ... (read more)

Report this review (#207866) | Posted by manofmystery | Friday, March 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This isn't a review, just a note from Budd Kelly , former vox & keys of Arabesque. Since the release of Tales of Power by Rich Patz at Shroom , I've been really really appreciative of so many kind words about the music. Likewise I enjoy as well , the not so positive stuff too! It's all ... (read more)

Report this review (#89845) | Posted by | Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Nice underground progressive rock group from USA that plays a very nice style similar to early Yes and Genesis (musical arrangements, drumming and guitar playing with a folky edge), Finch (the instrumentals are fairly complex with guitar jams and great frenetic drumming and bass work) and Kans ... (read more)

Report this review (#28266) | Posted by dalt99 | Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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