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KOTEBEL

Symphonic Prog • Spain


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Kotebel biography
Due to the peculiar characteristics and influences, Spanish Prog bands are hard to describe inside the parameters of one Progressive Rock sub-genre, well get ready because KOTEBEL is even harder, at the first listen of any of their albums you notice that the main structure is basically Classical (In a broad sense) and Symphonic but you find many other different atmospheres one over the other as a collage, but specially a Prog Fusion touch provided by the piano and Synthesized violin.

KOTEBEL was formed in Madrid (1999) by the Venezuelan pianist and composer Carlos Plaza using a different approach than most Symphonic bands that start in Rock and add Classical influences, Plaza started with Classical music and added a great variety of different sounds, influences, atmospheres and flavors, creating a spectacular ensemble that sounds better with every release.

Being that he's a classically trained musician that loves the late Romantic/Modern Classical it0's easy to find influences tat start with Rachmaninoff and end with Ravel or Debussy and in the Prog universe Carlos Acosta is a confessed fan of Tony Banks, but in the music of KOTEBEL you can find much more.

Almost immediately after the foundation of this project, KOTEBEL self release the album "Structures" a wonderful and imaginative voyage that starts in Classical Music and reaches Symphonic Rock but every time I listen it I can feel an evident JEAN-LUC PONTY influence from the era of Aurora and a hint of STEVE HACKETT..

After releasing "Structures" it was obvious for Carlos Acosta that the project was out of his hands, it had grown so much that it deserved to take the form of a stable band more than an album based project with specific musicians to complement him and a label to work with them so in the year 2000 KOTEBEL signs with Musea Records.

In December 2001 KOTEBEL releases their second CD called "Mysticae Visiones" which sounds closer To soft Symphonic in the vein of CAMEL but with a strong ENID and Fusion influence plus a touch of Minimalism.

KOTEBEL'S third release "Fragments of Light" was released in September 2003 and now we're in great trouble, describing it is almost an epic adventure because the music gets richer with every release, to the usual, CAMEL, THE ENID; HACETT and GENESIS influences we must add the usual Fusion and a very complex blend of Spanish Flamenco and Moorish sounds creating something that exceeds every possible description, surely i...
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Buy KOTEBEL Music


Concerto For Piano And Electric EnsembleConcerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Musea 2012
Audio CD$22.99
OuroborosOuroboros
Carlos Plaza Vegas 2011
Audio CD$15.99
StructuresStructures
Tritono 2010
Audio CD$5.99
$2.00 (used)
Mysticae VisionesMysticae Visiones
Import
Musea 2001
Audio CD$9.75
$500.00 (used)
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KOTEBEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KOTEBEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 19 ratings
Structures
1999
2.96 | 39 ratings
Mysticae Visiones
2002
2.94 | 33 ratings
Fragments Of Light
2003
3.94 | 69 ratings
Omphalos
2006
3.93 | 100 ratings
Ouroboros
2009
4.05 | 178 ratings
Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
2012

KOTEBEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Prog-Résiste
2014

KOTEBEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KOTEBEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KOTEBEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KOTEBEL Reviews


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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator

3 stars Kotobel's Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble is a fierce and elegant trip into progressive territory. While the piano is given the sufficient number of moments to justify this as a piano concerto, the prog band definitely does not just hang out in the back. The arrangements are at times pulverizingly heavy and aggressive (in the prog sense, not the 'metal sense) and at times mesmerizingly gorgeous. One thing that immediately caught my attention was the very in your face approach of the album in the way drums, bass, and dissonance are used to create an effect. Kotobel tends to lean a bit towards the dark side of prog, but includes a variety of influences, including both jazzy and avant-garde moments. This is a recording that doesn't leave you behind or allow you to daydream as you listen. Carlos Plaza Vega's composition does not only solicit your attention, it demands it.

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 Fragments Of Light  by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.94 | 33 ratings

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Fragments Of Light
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Third album by the Spanish Classical-influenced combo comes by the name ''Fragments of light'' and, while this one does not feature any significant line-up changes (only cellist Franscisco Ochando is absent compared to the previous album), it does contain some slight upgrades in the composing department.For the first time guitarist Cesar Garcia Forero participated as an arranger of some of the presented pieces, while this one marks also Kotebel's junior attempt on including lyrics in the music, all of them are based on poems of Nathalye Engelke.The album was released in September 2003 on Musea.

Again Carlos Plaza and his teammates were able to produce highly symphonic music, which comes even closer to the Progressive Rock aesthetics due to the typical guitar/bass/drums/keyboards instrumentation plus Acosta's intense flute work.The electric textures are seriously upgraded and the very complex keyboard parts appear more frequently, while the band retains its sense of atmospheric, melodic soundscapes throughout this work.Again THE ENID might be the most proper comparison, but the bulk of electric guitars have a STEVE HACKETT-like vibe, the angular synth movements and the operatic female voices come in the vein of QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE plus the acoustic orientations and the passionate flute work recall RAIMUNDO RODULFO's efforts.The long arrangements are absolutely great, full of CAMEL-esque flute themes, Classical-drenched piano interludes, big symphonic keyboards and occasional guitar bursts, switching from elaborate textures to dramatic, instrumental music.The addition of lyrics, choirs and narration make this effort more compact and coherent, while the discreet folky underlines are still present.My only complaint comes from the long ''Children suite'', which sounds pretty academic, practically a piano solo piece performed by Carlos Plaza, which I doubt it has anything to offer to a Prog Rock fan, apart from some minutes of sensitive, piano-based echoes.

Nice work of pure Symphonic Rock.Well-crafted arrangements with both complicated and atmospheric flavors, a more balanced sound compared to the previous albums but also a rather needless addition at the very end of the album.Recommended.

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 Mysticae Visiones by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.96 | 39 ratings

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Mysticae Visiones
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars At this early point of Kotebel's career Carlos Plaza always shook a bit the line-up of his project.For the second recording of Kotebel Plaza was helped, besides Acosta and Garcia, by Carolina Prieto on choirs and cellist Franscisco Ochando.The group had already signed a contract with the French label Musea and in 2002 ''Mysticae Visiones'' saw the light.

The compositions of Plaza become even more ambitious and daring with this work.It consists of only two tracks, the eponymous one clocking at almost 36 minutes (!), divided in twelve movements.Stylistically though not much has changed.This epic suite by Kotebel evokes the sound of THE ENID at their most Classical-inspired parts with sporadic use of guitars and flute but an extreme one of various keyboards and piano.This long structure contains tons of piano interludes, synth-driven solos and symphonic keyboards, creating both grandiose and more atmospheric soundscapes.But it is a fact that the best of it comes out when Plaza and his collaborators are in full mode, producing melodic yet demanding Symphonic Rock, while when the flutes are also in use there is even a light Canterbury flavor dominating the listening.There are also some cosmic operatic vocals by Prieto and nice cello passages here and there, while there are also moments where Kotebel's music has a slightly jazzy approach.Some long and nervous synth-drenched parts with a questionable sound are my only complaint about this composition.The second track ''The river'', about 15 minutes long, is actually more of the same, though somesort of ethnic influences are more than apparent at the opening moments.This is actually a more balanced effort by Plaza, who combines Classical, Progressive and Ethnic Music inspirations in the same track with comfort.''The River'' has a Progressive Rock feel all the way through with little references to pure Classical Music, as guitars, bass and flutes are used more often, its atmosphere is quite grandiose as expected, but the lack of some striking melodies prooves to be a rather negative factor.

No question, Plaza and Kotebel seem at this point to be the next big thing regarding the Symphonic Rock genre.Rich, atmospheric and well-composed instrumental symphonic textures are again the basic rules for ''Mysticae Visiones''.A must-have for fans of THE ENID, a good introduction to Kotebel's music for the rest.

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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by waghler

5 stars The first thing I have to say about Kotebel´s last release is that is my favourite album from 2012. The concerto, regarding composition, is as complex as the finest classical music pieces and is by far superior to 99% of the prog we can find these days (i'm trying to be objective and I state that not because I love these guys, but because every item in the Concerto is interrelated and is very progressive in itself, growing and developing each musical idea). I really don't understand why we can't see that in the prog world more often, it would be great to see how ideas are unified in groups that proudly release "conceptual albums", being the lyrics the only dragline. I really think this album is a labour of love and , in fact, I think it must be a present from Carlos Plaza to his daugther, because is so full of details, complexity and "keyboardness" that is the only thing it crosses my mind. I have to acknowledge that the rest of the album is not as complex, detailed and awesome as the Concerto, but it is done on purpose, because Carlos Plaza wanted to slow down the emotions at the end of the CD. I recommend this album strongly, I discovered them in "The European Pesperctive" radio programme and it got stuck in my mind since then. One of my favs from all time, at the same level of the classics!!!!

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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble' - Kotebel (7/10)

Classical music has been an integral part of progressive rock since its inception, not to mention one of its greatest influences. For a band like Spanish veterans Kotebel, a "Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble" is not such a far stretch, despite the surprise and shock this artistic shift seems to have instilled in their fans. Although Kotebel are best known for the virtuosic skill of their flutist and Carolina Prieto's vibrant vocal skill, "Concerto" has neither, instead opting to reinvent the band's sound anew. The result is surely impressive, although some aspects most loved about Kotebel seem to have been lost in the transformation.

Although I've certainly never known enough about this band to write a doctoral thesis regarding their contributions to the progressive rock sphere, I have known enough to respect what they have done, and also to know that "Concerto" is a bigger departure than I would have expected from this approach. As far as the 'classical music' angle is concerned, Kotebel do not tread into the sort of full-blown orchestration that one might expect from a symphony, nor do they actually use many classically-oriented instruments. Instead, as the title suggests, things are built around the piano, an instrument that Kotebel have never used so profusely before. Although the handful of songs that follow the main course pursue more eclectic ends, the forty-odd minute epic is a keyboard tour-de-force, with other instruments performing a supportive role. Adriana Engelke is the most important part of this concerto, and while the electric guitar occasionally gets a chance to pull off a solo, a listener had better get used to having the piano in charge. From a compositional viewpoint, Kotebel skirts the border between classical bombast and jazz chords, with the occasional jump into avant-garde dissonance. There are constant shifts in tempo and mood, and the music is performed brilliantly to boot. Engelke is a gifted pianist, and though the production does not capture the full resonance I would hope for in a grand piano, there are no major complaints regarding how this ambitious effort has been executed in the studio.

Kotebel have certainly accomplished something quite complex and in-depth, although I cannot help but feel something meaningful is missing from their melting pot. Specifically, it is the sense of melody that has suffered the band's ambition. Of course, Kotebel have always been about this more composition-oriented prog rock, but "Concerto" runs the risk of becoming monotonous, despite its brilliant writing and arrangement. The interplay between instruments and work with harmonies is excellent, but there is not a moment- not even on the song-based second half- that instantly stands out as being memorable. "Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble" does bear fruit to a listener with enough patience to see it through, but it would have been nice to hear some recurring themes, or hooks involved in it, not so much that they lose the class and sophistication of such an ambitious project, but enough to keep the music engaging without begging a listener to sit intently and focus on every note.

"Concerto" won't appeal to all listeners despite its ambition and complexity, but patient listeners will reap the rewards that come with several listens.

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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars I fell in love with Kotebel with 2006's Omphalos (one of my Top Ten favorite albums of the Naughties). At that time the band had, IMHO, the finest female vocalist in modern prog music (Carolina Prieto) and arguably the greatest flutest ever in prog history (Omar Acosta). By 2009, with the recording and release of Ouroboros they both had left the band (or, perhaps, they were not asked back). Thus my expectations for Ouroboros were quite low and were, accordingly, duly rewarded. (The music just couldn't draw me in.) Now for 2012's Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble I was willing to give them another chance; I figured that six years is long enough for such creative and virtuosic artists to compose something fresh and mature. And how right I was! This is an amazing album of melodic jazz-rock constructed within classical symphonic structures. The pianist, Adriana, daughter of band founder Carlos Plaza Vega, while no Hiromi, stands quite strongly with the rest of the band and within the setting of the four-movement 43-minute Concerto does quite well both leading the ensemble as well as supporting it in an orchestral way. In song after song drums, bass, electronic keyboards, and a great variety of guitars (pleasantly, a lot of wonderful acoustic guitar playing) together weave the fabric of wonderful music. At times I find myself reminded of ELP, King Crimson, Return to Forever, Weather Report, SBB, Nil, and After Crying.

While I absolutely love the "Concerto," the "Hippogriff" series takes one on a very nice journey. Part 1 takes off at top speed--to the point of reckless abandon in which the players often feel as thought they are just on the edge of losing control, losing their coherence. Then "The Dance of Shiva" and "Part 2" carry one into more tranquil, visual sonic soundscapes using lots of synths and space to tell their story.

The finale, "The Infant," establishes itself kind of slowly with a piano sound/melody/feel similar to early TOTO. The rhythm section eventually informs the listener that this is no TOTO (fine group that they were) but a much more classically-oriented band. But, wait! The jazzy sax seems to draw us back into a more cinematic place. Crossing genres so seemlessly, effortlessly is what makes this album, IMO, a sure fire masterpiece of progressive rock music. Well done Kotebel! This will be a tough album to beat for 2012 Album of the Year!

P.S. Just curious: Does anyone know where Carolina Prieto and Omar Acosta are now?

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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though its title may indicate that we're dealing with a cross between classical music and Kotebel's usual style of instrumental progressive rock, Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble is much more than what you may initially expect. Rather than tacking classically influenced piano sections onto their already solid sound, Kotebel manages to masterfully integrate this new dimension into their approach in a coherent and delightful manner. Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble sounds very much like a Kotebel album in almost every way - those who enjoyed the zany avant-garde madness and lush symphonic soundscapes on albums like 2009's Ouroboros should not expect anything radically different this time around. Rather, Kotebel expanded even further upon their already eclectic sound, resulting in an excellent example of a band that manages to successfully evolve while still staying true to their core sound.

Kotebel is a Spanish progressive rock band, and although they've only been brought to my attention recently, I've taken quite a liking to their unique approach to modern prog. Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble is a fully instrumental album that, for the most part, stays true to the progressive rock pioneers of the seventies' - with that said, however, Kotebel blends the ideas of so many old school prog bands into one coherent mix that they sound totally unique. Acts like Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Frank Zappa, Renaissance, Le Orme, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson are referenced quite a bit throughout the course of this lengthy observation, but Kotebel never sounds particularly like any other single band. They are their own beast, and on Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble this is more true than ever before. Adding in numerous classical piano bits over their intriguing mix of symphonic prog, avant-garde, and jazz fusion makes for one hell of a listen in my opinion!

This is simply a stunning tour-de-force of impeccable musicianship, clever arrangements, and well-composed instrumental progressive rock, and I'd highly recommend that all fans of eclectic prog check out Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble. Although it will probably take a few listens to sink in due to the decidedly inaccessible nature of these lengthy and complex compositions, the gorgeous melodies and stunning displays of high-quality musicianship make this album well-worth the price of admission. If you haven't listened to Kotebel yet, Concerto For Piano and Electric Ensemble is not a bad place to start!

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 Mysticae Visiones by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.96 | 39 ratings

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Mysticae Visiones
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I really understand why this band (band? At least with this album is just a one man project: multi instrumentist Carlos Plaza) has got so much praise in here. They are spanish, but really, they could be from anywhere. There is nothing overtly spanish here. Symphonic prog with heavy orchestration and choir, but that´s about it. Two long compositions, very classical, but without much cohesion or continuity. It sounds a lot like a serie of small pieces put together to sound like a long track. Obvious King Crimson influences on some parts, ELP keys on others. The River, the second epic is a little better, and has some real nice flutes on it plus a few good guitar parts. It has a little more flow (pun intended) and it´s way more interesting than the title track, specially the last segment. Still, not quite convincing as a whole. But if this project follow this direction, I guess they might have a chance. I´m curious to hear Kotebel´s follow ups.

Overall production is good.

Final rating: 2.5 stars.

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 Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 178 ratings

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Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars The title of that cd left me worry because of his first part. I said, is Kotebel are becoming a classical band? But when i listened to samples, i was relieved that it's still the same band, only that they added piano to their sound. Their music is a kind of fusion sound that mix together prog, avant-garde, classical and jazz. All the compositions are top notch with complex parts, but not difficult to get the grip on. The songs are well developed in a very interesting atmosphere, and a attention to the quality of the arrangements and the production are clear on this cd. All instruments including xylophone and saxophone create some beautiful sounds with the rest of the usual rock instruments.

I was touched specifically with " Dance of Shiva" , who starts with techno effects and change in a beautiful atmosphere of a kind of soundtrack, peaceful and intense song coming from a Sergio Leone movie. The use of xylophone and chants are lifting the melody to a higher level.

This is a instant classic cd for me that already enjoy instrumental music, this band don't stop to amaze me with the quality of their music.

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 Structures by KOTEBEL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.05 | 19 ratings

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Structures
Kotebel Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars The debut album from this Spanish band.

At this stage, it was far more a composer from Venezuela + hired hands than a proper band. Together, they cobbled together this album. An album that is surprisingly acoustic and not the synths and keyboards aural assault I had expected. There is a lot of flutes and piano on this album. The music is pretty pastoral and understated. This is not what I expected.

The quality is not good though. The problem is the lack of any good melody lines and pieces of music here. The musicians does their best job with what they have got, but the end result is a dull album which gives the listener not much to work with. The music is quickly forgotten and in the muzak category. This album is by no means a turkey. But neither does it take off for the skies either. Check out their more recent albums instead of this one.

2 stars

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