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Psychedelic Ensemble, The: The Sunstone

Since The Psychedelic Ensemble has been making discs I have been reviewing them and each album has been a revelation in this world we call progressive rock. TPE is a one man ensemble with a little help from his friends. The players on his latest release The Sunstone are:

The Psychedelic Ensemble (electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano,
electric bass, percussion, mandolin, lead and backing vocals)
Ann Caren (lead and backing vocals)
C. Francis (backing vocals, falsetto and lead vocal on the introduction
to "Digging Up the Past")
Michael Wilk (Hammond B3 solo on "Digging Up the Past")
Davis Brooks (electric violin solo on "The Storm", violin and viola on "A
Hundred Years On" and "Sun Mad")
Kurt Fowler (cello on "A Hundred Years On" and "Sun Mad")

Each album TPE has released has an underlying concept and that trend continues with The Sunstone. According to Viking mythology, medieval mariners used crystals to navigate the seas. There may in fact be scientific evidence of their use but we will save that for another discussion. It is this myth upon which TPE spins yet another wonderful tale.

The first track "Prologue The Voyage" is an instrumental where TPE unleashes all his musical tricks creating an orchestral symphony of pure delight. When the guitar enters, a cacophony of sound builds into a resounding and dramatic climax.

Next up is the title track featuring blazing guitar and synth runs and layered harmony vocals. For those familiar with his music, you know what I'm talking about. His playing here is simply outstanding, bursting with energy and melodic intensity.

"The Siren's Spell" is one of the album's heaviest tunes featuring razor sharp guitar leads and sizzling synth solos to go along with the occasional Hammond outburst. This one has a darker tone and is followed by "The Storm", another heavy offering. The guitar and synthesizer rock just as hard and TPE's Hammond gets a justifiable workout. The electric violin throughout is an album highlight.

"A Hundred Years On" is a prog rock tour d force venturing from heavy prog to acoustic folk-like moments. This one reminded me a little of Jethro Tull at times as TPE's lead vocals carry a hint of Ian Anderson. Ann Caren also adds some angelic crooning meshing nicely with the song's more pastoral moments.

So, through the album's first five tracks the highlights are really too numerous to mention. This is one of those discs that will keep your head reeling all the while putting a smile on your face. I used to think music was dead in the water but thanks to artists like TPE nothing could be further from the truth. For that I am truly grateful.

Track Listing:
1. Prologue The Voyage
2. The Sunstone
3. The Siren's Spell
4. The Storm
5. A Hundred Years On
6. Sun Mad
7. Digging Up The Past
8. The Quake
9. Gaze
10. Endgame
11. Back To The Sea

Added: July 2nd 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1729
Language: english

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