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THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE

Neo-Prog • United States


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The Psychedelic Ensemble biography
With over 30 years experience in the music industry, the multi-instrumentalist known as THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE has garnered numerous awards including more than 20 ASCAP awards and many others. Having worked as a performer, composer, and arranger with many preeminent musicians worldwide, the artist has recently released five solo albums under the moniker of THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE.

In 2009, Musea Records released the debut album, "The Art of Madness". Nominated Best Debut Album at ProgAwards, the album reached top rankings on polls and charts worldwide. 2010 saw the release of "The Myth of Dying". Nominated Best Foreign Record and Best Production at ProgAwards, the album also reached top rankings on charts and polls around the globe coming in at No. 29 on the 2010 Global Progressive Rock Poll Top 100. In 2011 "The Dream of the Magic Jongleur" was released. A progressive rock album that combines symphonic prog and fusion styles. "The Dream of the Magic Jongleur" fuses a complex collection of songs with a beautiful collection of original artworks produced for the album. Nominated for Best Keyboard Performance (Album) and Best Keyboard Solo (The Riddle) by "The Proggies" awards, the album reached many critics' 2011 Top 10 lists including No. 1 (Alex Torres, Dutch Progressive Rock Page), No. 2 (Jon Neudorf, Sea of Tranquility), No. 3 (Gert Hulshof, Dutch Progressive Rock Page), Top 10 Progressive News Germany, Editors' Choice (Wild Thing magazine, Greece), No. 9 (ProgLog Afterglow), the Top 100 Global Progressive Rock Poll, and additional polls worldwide. In 2013 the fourth release appeared from THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, "The Tale of the Golden King". A 72-minute concept, THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE is joined on selected tracks by orchestra and vocalist Ann Caren. The album was included on over 20 Top and Best of 2013 polls and charts.

In 2015 comes the new release, "The Sunstone". The spellbinding 62-minute concept includes the return of vocalist Ann Caren and guest appearances from Michael Wilk of Steppenwolf and others.

The music of THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE combines progressive rock, symphonic rock, fusion, and classical styles. All five albums present complex concepts in gapless fashion. Each album is a musical journey through inventive terrains. The drama of each album unfolds in complex performances and compositions. While creating the effect of a large ensemble, the music is, in fact, performed entirely by the solo artist, "TPE".

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THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE discography


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THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 56 ratings
The Art of Madness
2009
3.62 | 82 ratings
The Myth of Dying
2010
3.99 | 122 ratings
The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur
2011
4.06 | 238 ratings
The Tale Of The Golden King
2013
4.02 | 84 ratings
The Sunstone
2015

THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

4.88 | 8 ratings
The Secrets Of Your Mind
2011
4.50 | 4 ratings
Undone
2012
3.50 | 2 ratings
Silent Sam
2012

THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Sunstone by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 84 ratings

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The Sunstone
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by giulia

3 stars Very difficult to do a review of this cd for many reasons. If I judge the music itself, it is a good or even very good album. The point I really do not like is that the artist is an anonymous, it means we don't who he is and we will never see him live. This is a big limit in my view of music. Is this cd just a studio production?.We know well that with the actual recording technology you can do almost everything. If you go to the limit you can get the computer playing instead of you. Techno music teach....The anchor of safety is the contact with the artist, the gig where he can prove who he is and show his skill. This point remove one start from my rating....Let's now speak about the music itself. Certainly the artist (if just one , more or what) is very smart. He pays a large tribute in the most emotional parts to Pink Floyd (in some part is almost copy-paste!). The voice is very avarage and it never achive any remarkable result.Good again to be smart enough and not push too hard the vocal part....it is very evident all through the album the over-recording technique. All instrument do not play together, but one by one and the mix is not always perfect. But do not forget thsi is not written to be performed in front of a public, so doen't matter how it is done.I have been negative enough, let see also the positive part.....certainly there is a good skill in the artist to ''shake'' the ingredients together and in some part the total sound is emotional and attractive. At the end it is a good product with all the limits I mentioned, but if you like artificial things, then it is good. I give 3 star even if it will probably merit 4, just for the ethical reasons I explained...

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 The Sunstone by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 84 ratings

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The Sunstone
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars What a appropriate name for this band, because they play music like a small ensemble that mixed things up with a rock attitude, a retro sound and classical embellishment. Also, a part from their symphonic approach, the band make some intrusion into the world of fusion, especially in the songs "The Storm" and "The Quake". We can hear female and male vocals throughout the album that is dominated by beautiful keyboards and piano textures that has some Wakeman and Emerson sound. The guitars still show some sparks with sharp accents. The vocals sometimes are reminiscent of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, but the music is more in the style of the band Yes. The music has a lot of classical structures and also the songs are developed with sometimes some beautiful soloing from the keyboards and the guitar, but those solos doesn't take the lead over the full orchestra ensemble. "Prologue" is a nice intro with his soundtrack movie feel. The next track "The Sunstone" put you right away in the heart of the music with some busy keyboards. "The Siren's Spell" has some unique guitar sound and the presence for the first time of the female vocals of Ann Caren. "The Storm" has some fast pace fusion music with violin not too far from a band like KBB. "Gaze" is my favorite track with some incredible musicianship with the Hammond and the bass. If the last albums of the band was a nice discovery for me, this one seems to be for now more satisfying. Highly recommended!

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 The Sunstone by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 84 ratings

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The Sunstone
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE The Sunstone

The mysteriously anonymous artist who chooses to let his projects attract their own merit without name associations under the title The Psychedelic Ensemble has released his fifth concept album in six years under the title, The Sunstone. Based upon legends and mythologies that have emerged from sea-faring cultures (mostly Viking) revolving around the mysterious navigational aid known as "the sunstone," the gifted and eminently skilled composer/performer behind The Psychedelic Ensemble once again draws from universal archetypes to offer entertainment and meaningful lessons to we, the people. Three things are particularly noticeable upon listening to this new TPE album that make it stand out as a bit different from previous releases. First is the way in which the presence of the orchestral and chamber instrumentations and arrangements are much more foundational and integral to the overall sound of The Sunstone's music--on virtually every song. This artist is above all quite accomplished as a composer and arranger of symphonic sounds and structures; TPE's song tapestries are always interesting and complex in a multi-layered way that is strikingly similar to symphonic structures from 'classical' music. The second thing that is noticeably evolved from previous TPE recordings (at least the previous two albums) is that the soloing weaves of multiple instruments that we've come to know and be awed by are somewhat tempered and not always delivered at such breakneck speed. It's as if TPE has let go of a desire to impress in lieu of allowing more emotional content to be delivered. I am still amazed by how he can create and perform these three-, four-, and sometimes five-instrument "duels." The third thing that I've found so noticeable is the way TPE has committed to sharing the lead vocal duties with his relatively new and quite talented female vocalist, Ann Caren. She is given lead opportunities in no less than three songs. And I hear more of Ann's own imprint on her vocal delivery than on her performances on The Tale of The Golden King. The fourth change--and, to these ears, the most significant improvement to the TPE sound--is the more 'real' or 'drum-like' sounds of the toms and snares used in the drum recording. I have always felt that the previous settings/tunings of these 'skins' were too tight, too plastic sounding.

1. "Prologue - The Voyage" (2:14) opens with a wonderful display of the potential of full orchestra to set a mood. By the time TPE's electric guitars and synthesizers join the party there is a wonderful feeling of excitement--and perhaps a little bit of Blade Runner or Harry Potter-ish foreboding. (10/10)

2. "The Sunstone" (5:32) Moving straight from the Prologue, "The Sunstone" enters familiar TPE territory in that the drums and magical weave of multiple stringed and keyed instruments present themselves with the immediate joinder of the soothing voice (multiply layered) of TPE. The vocals are nicely harmonized and kind held back within the instrumental mi--which sounds really fresh and demonstrates that restraint I mentioned above. Great TPE song! (9/10)

3. "The Siren's Spell" (4:17) opens with organ, synth and dirty distorted guitar setting the stage for Ann Caren's first vocal performance. Again, restraint rather than flamboyance seems to be the modus operandi here as Ann's vocal is never 'in your face' strong. The mid-section of soli is also much less flashy and feverous/high-pitched than we've come to respect--again to great effect. The song's acoustic guitar coaxed outro is very nice--and a perfect segue into the next song. (8/10)

4. "The Storm" (4:50) is an instrumental in which we see a return to a weave of more rapid-fire instrumental solo melody lines--though this time in the form of but two instruments--at least for the first 2:15. Then the Hammond organ gets a turn. Back to original two 'dirty' instruments, then electric violin to make it a threesome. Nice but could've used something . . . more. (8/10)

5. "A Hundred Years On" (8:04) opens with some gorgeous orchestral play--like watching a sunrise through music! After two minutes the song shifts into medieval acoustic folk with some acoustic guitars, harpsichord, double bass and drums while TPE sings. The fourth minute opens with a new feel--some great vocals and Hammond organ with full band and some chamber support. Really beautifully constructed song--with great effect! The final minute sees an awesome atmospheric section in support of Ann Caren's lovely voice. I love this one! One of my favorite TPE songs ever! I wish every band could afford the support of such a wide range of instrumentalists--and compose with the maturity and sophistication that TPE does! (10/10)

6. "Sun Mad" (6:59) is kind of a continuation of the previous song's storyline but it brings the pace and tone down a bit--allowing piano, jazzy lead guitar, emotional vocal, and orchestral support to come shining through. Such a brilliant weave of melody lines, start to finish! Awesome chord progressions and key changes. Great choice of instrument sounds. Quite a beautiful song. Definitely a favorite of mine. (10/10)

7. "Digging Up the Past" (5:45) At the 1:30 mark the song is established. I love the three or four bass melody lines interweaving at the bottom of the song with drums and Hammond organ. Hypnotic in a kind of TANGERINE DREAM way but amazingly mixed into a 60s blues- rock song. Awesome song! (9/10)

8. "The Quake" (5:42) opens with a kind of jazz fusion soup with some wonderful vocal inputs trying to steer the song onto its proper course. Once established, it becomes a very solid instrumental display of jazz fusion. The sound and instrument choices are definitely meant to capture the sounds and stylings of 1970s fusion. Like something from JAN HAMMER or electro-funkified STANLEY CLARKE, even a bit of WEATHER REPORT. Incredible song! (10/10)

9. "Gaze" (7:43) is a sensitive, emotional song constructed mostly of orchestral instruments in support of a wonderful vocal of Ann Caren. Synths and electric guitar enter in the third minute; drums, fretless bass, and Hammond organ in the fourth. I love the JEAN-LUC PONTY-like electric guitar arpeggios providing the glue to the song throughout the second half. Awesome bass play (including a brief solo) in the sixth minute traded with synths and guitars. My only criticism is of the fact that Ms. Caren's voice gets a little buried in the mix of the instrumental weave going on throughout the last two minutes. (9/10)

10. "Endgame" (4:07) features Ann Caren and TPE trading vocal duties in a conversant kind of way over an often rhythmic KIG CRIMSON like weave of arpeggios coming from multiple instruments. A very familiar sound from previous TPE releases. (8/10)

11. "Back to the Sea" (7:19) opens with ocean waves and a bit of a folk sound with acoustic guitar, mandolin, recorder weaving behind TPE's light IAN ANDERSON-like vocal. In the second minute Ann Caren takes over the lead vocal--this time with additional support of folk electric guitar and slide synth sounds giving it more of a Nashville sound. Light and upbeat though--kind of like a 60s Flower Child song of total optimism. The church organ opening the fourth minute, coupled with the chunky bass notes, gives the song more of a YES "Your Move" feel to it. Then the fifth minute sees a shift into more of an ominous tone with horn-synth taking lead over some minor key chords. At 6:00 we re-enter the sunlight and hope with the church organ--which then gives way to the original light folk feel and its instrumental support. The final minute sees the return to ominous and heavy as the soloists vie for supremacy and dominance. The song finishes with the dominant church organ and folk voice harmonies claiming the title. Definitely the most mood-complex and song on the album. Nice to end the album on a bit of a quieter if still dramatic note. (9/10)

TPE believes that this is his best release yet and I agree. The variation and maturity of presentation on The Sundstone coupled with the slight evolution of soundscapes and slight pullback from the previous tendency to be a bit over-dramatic puts this one ahead of his previous masterpieces, 2013's The Tale of the Golden King and even my previous personal favorite of his, 2011's The Dream of the Magic Jongleur.

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 The Tale Of The Golden King by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 238 ratings

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The Tale Of The Golden King
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Two years ago I was taken by surprise when I first became introduced to The Psychedelic Ensemble (TPE) through the album The Dream of the Magic Jongleur. Upon interviewing TPE I found out about his next album in the works which would feature not only all the goodness that this one man mytery exhibits, but would raise the stakes even more by including an orchestral ensemble. Needless to say the expectations were high and I'm glad to say that high expectations were met by the new release, The Tale of the Golden King.

What perhaps pleases most about The Tale of the Golden King is that it is basically everything we already love about TPE with bigger sounds, grander orchestration, and more nuanced writing. The record kicks it off with "Overture: Our Great King," a piece that demonstrates stunning arrangements from the start, offering mysterious moods, dueling guitars and keys, and some of the best narrative vocals ever by way of the "Enter all who with to hear the tale" segment which presents some fantastic church organ and bells before diving into a nicely executed fugue. "The Prophecy of the Seer" offers great dialogue between principle and secondary vocals, a sort of call and response if you will. Additionally, the instrumentation on this piece is a real gem, with loads of acoustic instruments that are subtle yet powerful. The dreamlike section about two thirds into the piece is absolutely killer as the church organ presents descending patterns flanked by fluttering chord changes while blasting you with bursts of aggressive keyboards; one of the coolest moments on the album from where I'm sitting, and that's saying a lot.

Those who heard the sample tracks on TPE's webpage should be well aware of the glory of "The Golden King" and "Queen of Sorrow," some of the absolute highlights of the album. The former shows TPE taking full advantage of the orchestra to lay down a beautiful intro followed by and an epic, almost cinematic, outro. In between we see all the melodic phrasing, weaving synthesizers, solid groove, and catchy vocal lines which have become trademarks of TPE, all presented on a superb level. "Queen of Sorrow" shows itself to be a stand out track as well, this time due to the gorgeous vocals of Ann Caren who demonstrates vocal, angelic beauty this a sense of power and melancholy worthy of the title "Queen of Sorrow." Musically speaking, this, like "The Golden King" stands out at the top of this album, taking full advantage of piano, acoustic guitars, cello, and horns to create a distinctive atmosphere, particularly in the uber eerie middle section in Ann's voice takes on a ghostly whisper which is highlighted by echoing strings and fading voices before diving into an agressive array of guitar and key solos. To cap it off, TPE leads us toward a final verse and chorus which opts for orchestral arrangements to back up the main vocal lines, providing a somber and majestic ending to one of the strongest pieces on the record. In a word: breathtaking.

While the middle section just described was most definitely the highlight of the album for me, the rest of the album continues in the tradition of strong tunes. "Save Yourself" and "Make a Plan" constitute a perfect complimentary duo both in terms of music and lyrics, with "Save Yourself" offering funky, jazzy basslines, solid groove, and one of the catchiest choruses around, while "Make a Plan" does it up nicely with some fine bluesy vocals and organ, and an eventual shift into a storm of scorching guitar and keyboard solos, more of which can be found on the rhythmic instrumental storm known as "The Battle."

The closing track, "Finale: Arise, Great Kingdom" is determined to give us a grandiose closing to this wonderful tale. After opening with a fantastic, album encompassing orchestral arrangement, TPE launches us into a multi-layered vocal arrangement that recalls Yes in the most wonderful of ways, with a nicely added pastoral touch. I must also say that as so often I feel with TPE's music, I am impressed by the delicacy of instrument treatments on this piece, both on the lighter vocal sections as well as those that might conventionally be called more busy; we simply get what seems like an infinite number of instruments coming and going, but never feeling forced or like they're just making an appearance for the sake of it. Furthermore, unlike many artists' albums which seek to make grand use of motifs by merely rehashing themes in the most banal ways throughout the album, this finale truly weaves together the best melodies of the album while finely portraying the spirit of the complete work. Finally, I must put in a plug for the solo sections on this piece, particularly the one that starts as we approach the seven minute mark; they're remarkable, and capitalize not only on the treatment of leads and phrasing themselves, but are skillfully supported by the entire arrangement. After hearing the climactic closing of "Finale," I marvel at a piece which so well captures the essence of The Tale of the Golden King and sits among the strongest of songs that I've heard all year.

Just in case I have to spell it out more clearly, The Golden King is a remarkable album that should grab up some great attention for The Psychedelic Ensemble. While the last album was good, this one really went all out, demanding many a thorough listen due to its complex arrangement, variety, and skillful performances. In reality, The Tale of the Golden King takes everything I love about TPE, crafts them to near perfection, and still manages to give you more. There have been a number of brilliant albums that have come out this year, and I suspect there's still a few more to come, but as for mysel

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 The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 122 ratings

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The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First off, who is this guy and why does he want to remain anonymous? The Dream of the Magic Jongleur seriously took me by surprise and knocked my socks off. Apparently this anonymous bard plays just about everything on the album, and it's all amazing. Ultra spacey synths everywhere, brilliant layers of vocal harmonies and intertwining keyboard and guitar leads and melodies make this album a fantastic listen. What we basically get here is an amazing blend of jazz fusion (reminds me very much of Return to Forever's first album) with northern European folk overtones joined together by hyper-spacey symphonic prog arrangements. All the notes and chord shifts count on this record. The leads are fantastic, the tone is gorgeous and the runs are fun and expressive. On songs such as the Overture, you get this great vocal like dialogue going on between keyboards and guitar leads, in a Borg Sex kind of way (for the Satriani fans out there). The vocals are fantastic (somehow recalling a bit of Jethro Tull?), making you enjoy the entire composition rather than skipping straight to the keyboard solos. For all the comparisons to other bands, I didn't feel like the album was a rip off in the least bit. This is just fantastic symphonic prog. Period.

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 The Tale Of The Golden King by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 238 ratings

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The Tale Of The Golden King
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars US project THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE appeared more or less out of thin air back in 2009, and has since then been an active contributor to the progressive rock universe, fairly steadily recording and releasing new material. "The Tale of the Golden King" is the fourth full length studio production to be released under this moniker, and was commercially available from the fall of 2013.

"The Tale of the Golden King" comes across as an impressive production through and through. Excellent compositions, excellent musicianship, superbly assembled and with a quality production to boot. While it may not hold a universal appeal, this album should most certainly be of interest to those with an affection for symphonic progressive rock, and then most of all to those who cherish music of that kind made with a high degree of sophistication. A truly superb production, and just about as close to perfection as you can get in my point of view.

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 The Myth of Dying by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 82 ratings

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The Myth of Dying
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For a second album the mysterious figure behind The Psychedelic Ensemble enters a deeply spiritual mood, dealing with the various theories regarding the afterlife, based on the different cultures and religions.The main figure around this concept is a young poet, who after his passing is destined to ''live'' many of the writings he had read, while he was still alive.According to the liner notes of the album the story around the concept is true (?).This whole capture by The Psychedelic Ensemble is divided in nine different sections in the independently released CD, entitled ''The myth of dying'', released in 2010.Another no-name guest artist has helped during the recordings on violin and strings.

After a very dissapointing debut, ''The myth of dying'' appears to be a great development, an album which enters the realms of PINK FLOYD-ian Neo Prog with both extended vocal and instrumental sections, characterized by deep melodies, atmospheric passages and naughty keyboard work with symphonic touches.While GENESIS and PINK FLOYD are the easily detected inspirations, some strongly keyboard-oriented pieces are certaily influenced by the likes of ELP, while a couple of shorter tracks around the middle contain surprising GENTLE GIANT and KING CRIMSON influences from the early-70's, with atonal vocal deliveries, complex keyboard themes, slow-paced, psychedelic guitar tones and even some sampled clavinet and Mellotron in the process.The bulk of this effort follows though an atmospheric, slightly symphonic style with electroacoustic textures and soaring synthesizers, surrounded by sensitive vocal parts and a good depth in the lyrical section.The long outro ''Canto IX: The truth of eternity'' seems to be a great farewell tribute by The Psychedelic Ensemble in Classic 70's Prog with both melodic and more Fusion-oriented exercises, based on impressive keyboard ideas, Classical influences, tricky instrumental runs and mellow PINK FLOYD-ian soundscapes with vocals in evidence and everchanging climates.Again the annoying programmed drums and a few pale keyobard segments are negative points, but this time some great music is around to reward the listener.

Propably the best place to start your experience with The Psychedelic Ensemble.Mostly smooth Neo/Symphonic Prog with an interesting concept, occasionally breaking into pretty complex keyboard-based Progressive Rock.Nice and warmly recommended album.

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 The Tale Of The Golden King by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 238 ratings

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The Tale Of The Golden King
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The Psychedelic Ensemble continues on its anonymous path, creating mystifying progressive rock that blurs the line between the two perennial boogeymen genres that seem often being at odds with another, a Symphonic prog base with occasional flickers of Neo. On one hand you have the gigantic synthesizer fireworks, trebly bass rumbles that recall the Squire, screaming organ flurries and breakneck speedy drum fills. On the other, lead vocals that harken back to more Gentle Giant- friendly themes, using a variety of male and female vocalists to huge effect. It's a New York kind of album, everything going on together and separately, various layers and absolute density, hectic, urban and totally overblown. TPE also throws in a full manned orchestra, thoroughly bombastic and hyperactive a la ELP. If there ever was a prog multi-genre buffet, TPE would be both the flag bearer and the torch carrier!

There is more soloing on the opening track, "Overture-Our Great Kingdom" than on many entire albums by other, less exuberant artists. Love it when American musicians get all stitched up with monarchy, kings, knights and damsels and such other regal accouterments. The story line parallels the classic King Midas story, a ruler with a golden touch that ultimately spells his doom. There is also some strong retro flashbacks to Wakeman's early albums (The 6 Wives of Henry VIII and Myths & Legends).

"The Prophecy of the Seer" provides a folk backdrop with pastoral acoustics, choir galore, whistling synthesizers that rekindle fond memories of Patrick Moraz and Manfred Mann. The contrasts between calm and hurricane are startling, again blurring the line between unbelievable technique and lush creativity. The acoustic guitar does a fluttering waltz between the Gentle Giant-like a capella vocal work, sensational lead vocals as well, all united within a strong melody. The rambling organ nods at the aggressive bass and they forge forward together in pummeling harmony. Screeching guitars only add zest to the fire as the sizzling synths erupt from the maelstrom. A sensational track, to say the least!

"The Golden King" twists, pirouettes and turns like some manic whirling dervish, lot of polyphonic sounds, multiple melodies colliding, interspaced with instrumental snippets that recall all the classic symphonic prog procedures. The Moraz-Mann synth bending is phenomenal, sonic butterflies that explode out of seemingly nowhere, in organized madness. There are obvious Yes tendencies in the details, some Genesis flavorings in the pastoral moments and even some ELP-like blowouts. Throw in The Enid-like big orchestrations as a finale and you get the idea!

On the short "Captive Days", the mood shifts into a more piano dominated etude, synths in pursuit as well as some colossal fretless bass and hard core drumming. Ann Caren's lovely voice adorns the velvety "Queen of Sorrows", a modern/medieval pop song if I ever heard one, buttered by some intricate instrumentation both acoustic and later, electric guitars being in fine form. String quartet, flutes, choir extracts and fortress echoes give the piece a prog sheen that impresses, as the maniacal synthesizers weave sophisticated patterns that bedevil and exalt. The lute-like shimmer is truly beguiling as Ann's vocal stresses her anguish even further.

The mood veers into jazzier terrain on the wispy "Save Yourself", bolstered by some exceptional organ work that recalls the legendary Brian Auger, smooth electric guitar in the Larry Coryell/Lee Ritenour mode and most of all, a nice wobbly bass solo that boggles the mind. What virtuosity! The piano and axe duel ferociously as if attending a classic Return to Forever blow out! Voices sounding like Kerry Minnear only add to the intense pleasure.

How about showing off some bluesy tendencies? "Make A Plan-Golden Swords" will take you into death-defying realms that has so many exit ramps, you forget what you are being driven in and as such, shows off the only TPE weakness that I keep detecting within all their albums, and that is a tendency to overdo and over-complicate the arrangements, verging too close to technical prowess displays (a personal pet peeve in prog and its Achilles heel in some cases). This tendency is sometimes brilliant and eagerly displayed on the bubbly "The Battle" which sounds a lot like ELP on speed. TPE does show off BUT here you really get the sense of a ferocious scuffle going on, bloodied synths slicing through the air, the bass chopping off limbs and the drums pummeling the walls like a battering ram, all combining to describe the confusion and despair of combat.

" The Great Day" returns to the classic Yes sound, the female voice recalling the elfin Anderson to the point of disbelief, pastoral quivering as the bright sunlit synths illuminate the arrangement , clanging Howe-like guitar licks (that country feel we all know), dizzying organ shuffles amid the trebly bass counterpoints and all is held together by Bruford-esque drumming. All that and yet it's the various voices that rule the roost, giving this a clear Fragile/CTTE/Going for the One feel.

The album ends with the aptly titled "The Finale-Arise", a cinemascope soundtrack-styled ending with dense orchestrations, encapsulating all the previous themes into one final hurrah. Frankly, this is a premise I am never too fond of, this reprise formula is never quite to my liking unless performed with unabashed insanity , like with Roxy Music's sublime "In Every dream Home a Heartache", throwing in a healthy dose of delirium! Unfortunately here, this kind of CV/résumé track just defeats the entire purpose. TPE could have kept this off an already very long album.

All in all, an entirely enjoyable release that will please prog fans of every stripe, which is perhaps the intended plan devised by the talented anonymous multi-instrumentalist behind the TPE. I personally would have preferred less Yes-isms and more atmospheric, less exuberant contributions. But that's just me.

4 Laurel wreathed Monarchs

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 The Tale Of The Golden King by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 238 ratings

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The Tale Of The Golden King
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I hadn't been too big on the last Psychedelic Ensemble album I'd heard - The Myth of Dying - but here on The Tale of the Golden King they show a vast level of musical growth and transformation. A concept album revolving around the story of a king transfigured into a golden statue, and how later generations in the kingdom make ingenious use of the statue to win a battle against tyrannous forces, the band manage to dip into the styles of a range of prog acts of the past. For instance, there's a really good Emerson, Lake and Palmer-styled bit there which reminds me of the best of Tarkus-era ELP, and a bit later on which sounds uncannily like Close to the Edge-era Yes.

The really neat thing they accomplish, though, is having the music of the album flows smoothly from section to section, so the dipping into the styles of past bands don't feel artificial or forced - they arise naturally from the direction of the overall composition, and so they feel much less gratuitous than they otherwise might. This puts the Ensemble well ahead of much of the retro- prog crowd, and it's excellent stuff.

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 The Tale Of The Golden King by PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 238 ratings

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The Tale Of The Golden King
The Psychedelic Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars Well - WELCOME ALL YE to THE CD of 2013, Yep - this has got to be the best release this year by a parsec or more I reckon. I have given this two spins and it's knocked the old skin off the prog rice pudding!! yep it most surely has! If you like your prog pudding richly sprinkled with moog runs and bombastic themes, then this is surely for you ! I will be definitely investing in the back catalogue after this masterpiece has tweaked my aural-synapses to the point of prog-ejaculation! It has bits reminiscent of yes (Sound Chaser off Relayer) and a bit of old yes off the "Yes Album" , but I am also reminded of ELP (the drumming is a bit Carl Palmer-ish) - Also - a bit of Greenslade in the keyboard/combos. Loads of sumptuous Moog and Hammond - really nice guitar licks, good strong themed lyrics which add to the overall pomposity of the piece. I think that this is not NEO-PROG but more Keyboard oriented Symphonic Prog or KOSP for short!! Just buy it people and SHARE the LOVE.

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