Kotebel: Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble

Forward-looking classical, a la española.

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This Spanish band are a decade into a career that has seen them evolve from a one-man studio project into a fully fledged, multi-limbed symphonic prog squadron. They’ve firmly established themselves as standard bearers for their country’s scene, and while a lesser band would soak up the plaudits and smugly ease off the accelerator, Concerto For Piano And Electric Ensemble proves that Carlos Plaza and company remain driven to challenge themselves.

Dominated by its four-part title track, the band’s sixth album is a sustained exercise in labyrinthine indulgence. It’s a wholly instrumental, highly evocative journey through territory first explored by King Crimson, Yes and Genesis, but rendered shiny and new by some stunning collective performances.

The opening Adagio Maestoso contains more ideas within its 12 minutes than most retro prog bands have on an entire album. The interplay between Plaza’s keyboards, Carlos Vivas’s nimble percussion and Jaime Summers’ rock solid bass drives everything irresistibly.

The lack of a human voice makes for an aimless listen at times, but there is some real musical magic here.