The Spanish avant-garde rock / progressive rock formation Kotebel is for me one of the most exciting progressive bands. The band just released their seventh studio album “Cosmology”. In fact it is their eighth release because last year the band released by highly demand of their fans a CD version of the live recordings of their 2013 concert at the Prog-Resiste festival. “Cosmology” is their first studio album since the release in 2012 of their acclaimed “Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble” album. The band's new album features, among other tracks, the “Cosmology Suite”. An ambitious work comprised of four pieces that represent different conceptions of the Cosmos. With special guest Omar Acosta the flute is returning into their musical palette.
Carlos Franco Vivas - drums, percussion; César Garcia Forero - electric and acoustic guitars; Jaime Pascual Summers - bass; Adriana Plaza Engelke - piano, keyboards; Carlos Plaza Vegas - keyboards
Very special guest: Omar Acosta - flute
The album opens with a piece called “Post Ignem”. Immediately you will be overwhelmed by the strong opening with broad keyboard carpets and the beautiful flute. After a short spacey part the band goes full throttle with complex rhythms, a jazz fusion like electric guitar and that already mentioned flute. But the music is diverse because the next minute you are listening to a beautiful melodic part with delicate piano, flute, acoustic guitar and lovely synth parts. And then the rhythm changes again and you are listening to top notch progressive rock with broad keyboard orchestrations. I love the returning of the flute in Kotebel's musical palette. Great opener!
The centerpiece of this album is the “Cosmology Suite” comprised of four pieces that represents different conceptions of the Cosmos. The first part “Geocentric Universe” stands for “Earth as center of the universe and God as an anthropomorphic entity”. The piece has an atmospheric opening, a soundscape with a synth, but soon the flute, piano and acoustic guitar are joining. Then slowly the tension of the music is building up. The flute plays an important role on this album. You can find lovely flute melodies and beautiful and delicate synth carpets in this track that are combined with jazzy and more complex parts. In the end there is also a nice electric guitar solo. There is so much going on in the music of Kotebel. The second part “Mechanical Universe” stands for “The Cosmos is a complex machine where parts interact with each other based on physical laws. God does not exist”. The piece opens with a industrial soundscapes but soon develops into a nice piece of progressive rock with classical and jazz influences. You can find some nice and soaring electric guitar parts and as always amazing piano and keyboards parts in this piece. Would love to give you some references but Kotebel's music is highly original and the band has an unique sound. The third part “Entangled Universe” stands for “Rather than isolated entities, we are actually all connected”. On top of the broad keyboard layers and rhythm section the flute and guitar are the main solo instruments. Later on also joined by the piano and synths. Special guest Omar Acosta impressed me by his lovely flute contributions, but this counts for the whole album. The forth and last part of the “Cosmology Suite” is called “Oneness” and stand for “Rather than connected we are really one. Like waves in the sea”. Love the waves of Mellotron and organ parts in this part. The second part of this track is very strong. Sometimes the guitar parts reminds me of the Dutch band Focus but with all the great keyboard stuff this is so much better. Well what can I say more, I am impressed, only for this ambitious “Cosmology Suite” all the open minded music lovers have to buy this remarkable album.
“Mishma's Dream” is one of the other tracks. It is an intriguing piece with great synth parts. You can find aggressive guitar parts and great drum parts in this composition. The music is a little bit hectic and sometimes overwhelming. At one point I had to think of the Portuguese band Tantra ... it is just an indication to draw the attention of the open minded progressive rock lover. After this powerful track the band slows down with the beautiful track “A Bao A Qu”. Beautiful synth melodies and delicate piano parts. Halfway the track the rhythm changes and the track becomes more up-tempo. You can enjoy some melodic electric guitars parts before the song slows down to it's end. Then we get the remastered version of a track that was issued in 2010 as part of the “Colossus Devine Comedy” project. It is called “Dante's Paradise Canto XXVIII”. You can find lovely Mellotron and some acoustic guitar parts in this song. You can hear that this piece is from a different time period, somehow it does not fit perfectly on this album ... however the last part is very strong, I just love the broad Mellotron strings and I am happy that the band included this track for the fans and collectors. Because if you like the music of Kotebel you will be eager to collect all their albums. You won't be disappointed. The last track of the album is entitled “Paradise Lost / Paraiso Perdido”. It is a beautiful classical piano part with an ambient atmosphere.
Wow this is the real progressive stuff. The Spanish Kotebel impressed me with this “Cosmology” album. This is top notch progressive rock with a lot of influences of classical music and jazz fusion. A band with an unique style. And the flute of special guest Omar Acosta perfectly fits into the music. Brings it to another level. At times the music can be a little complicated for the (mainstream) progressive rock music lover. But if you are open minded and open your heart to the music you will be rewarded with pure beauty and will be transported into a world of musical bliss. “Cosmology” is one of the best progressive rock albums I have heard so far this year. Do I have to say more?