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2013 End of Year Critics' Lists
The Village Voice
2013 TOP 100
Fireworks Magazine-UK

(Nicky Baldran)
Global Progressive Rock Poll
Top 100 2013

Best Releases of 2013
Radio Rock-Rome

Best Albums of 2013
Prog Sphere

Editors' Choice
Wild Thing Magazine - Greece

Top 20 Albums of 2013
Aural Moon
Best of 2013-Readers Choice
Psychedelia Music Magazine

Top 15 Albums of 2013
La Filiere Progressive
-Canada

Best of 2013
Sea of Tranquility-U.S.
Top 10 Songs of 2013
("Finale/Arise!/Great Kingdom")
Progulator - U.S.
Top 20 Progressive Albums 2013
Douban China

Top 10
Progwereld

Best of 2013
Descubre La Caja de Pandora-Spain

Best Keyboard Solo
TPE-"The Golden King"
Progulator-U.S.
Listeners' Choice for Top 20 CDs
International Prog Rock Show-Canada
Top 10 Albums for 2013
Dutch Progressive Rock Pages
(Alex Torres)
20 Best Albums 2013
Profil - Canada
The Best of Progressive Rock 2013
Cerca De La Orilla-Mexico
Best Music of 2013 (No. 2)
Wild Thing Magazine-Greece


Album of the Month
ProgPlanet - Denmark





TRACK LIST
1. Overture-Our Great Kingdom
2. The Prophecy of the Seer
3. The Golden King
4. Captive Days
5. The Queen of Sorrow
6. Save Yourself
7. Make a Plan-Golden Swords
8. The Battle
9. Great Day
10. Finale-Arise!-Great Kingdom


Total playing time 72:14

$11.99
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Includes all booklet artwork and liner notes; mp3 (320kbps) file format

$8.99



 

The Tale of the Golden King is a 72-minute concept presented in 10 gapless tracks. The concept is based on medieval sleeping hero and mountain king legends.

Like previous albums by The Psychedelic Ensemble, the music blends symphonic rock and other progressive rock genres. The Tale of the Golden King introduces new colors to the usual sonic palette of The Psychedelic Ensemble with the inclusion of orchestra and lead and backing vocals by Ann Caren.

Fans of The Psychedelic Ensemble will surely want to add to their collection
The Tale of the Golden King, the most ambitious TPE album to date.






about the making of The Tale of the Golden King CD.

Click here to listen





Artwork by Yimin Li
(All images ©
2013 Yimin Li)

















10 of 10
Gert Hulshof


Some four years ago now I did my first review of a Psychedelic Ensemble album, at that time his debut album. If you do not know The Psychedelic Ensemble yet, TPE is a one man band - a musician extraordinaire. Four years ago I started my review with: "If you are looking for a band or music that is in a league of its own, go out and find yourself the music of The Psychedelic Ensemble. This band, or better still one man show, really rocks the house”.

Since then there have been two further albums and now a third, TPE's fourth all together. Once again a concept work of high level and superior class, I know some of you will now put aside the review because of all the bombastic words that I have started with. Your choice all together as long as you do try and give TPE's Golden King a spin to at least confirm to yourself you do not like it.

I do like the album - you probably noticed that from my words already. Again I can say that TPE surprised me with this album, so much so that I dare to state that he has really outdone himself and compiled, composed, produced and arranged an even better work than its predecessors. Some of the arrangements have a familiarity to them, stating the original sound that TPE has created with his music.

Multi-instrumentalists, or musicians of creative mind producing music all by themselves are a strange breed I guess, not allowing anyone to interfere with their works, at least not within the arrangements and production. At times they seek help from others to create just that piece of music that they hear in their mind. For the Golden King, TPE has made use of a real orchestra, albeit a chamber orchestra, but nevertheless an orchestra of real instruments and not one conjured from his synthesizers.

Also a female voice is used for the vocal parts of the Queen in "The Queen of Sorrow". The voice and timbre of this vocalist has a resemblance to Annie Haslam of Renaissance fame. Introducing the chamber orchestra and female vocal adds a new dimension to the music on this album.

Words fail to describe the intensity and beauty of this musical extravaganza. You could call the concept a 'rock opera' but in my eyes this does little justice to what this musical experience really is. At times rocking, then going into the smoother works of neo progressive, a little psychedelia here and there, but to my eyes most of the time an eclectic work of art made by a creative mind extraordinaire.

Yes I know I use a lot of Superlatives in this review once again but I cannot help feeling that way. Each track is literally full of creativity with lots of different instruments used, too many to mention in a review. Once again I am overwhelmed by the creativity, but most of all by the sheer unlimited musical talents, of TPE.

The album comes nicely packaged with a short introductory tale on the inside of the booklet along with all the lyrics so you can read along with the songs as they progress.

To conclude, I can only state to all of you once again, try this album - you will not be disappointed. But one remark also needs to be made; take your time, you will need it. Listen but listen closely, not once but...you'll be as overwhelmed as I am.


SPAIN
20 out of 10 Stars
Jose Luis Martinez (Translated by Emily Everett)

The anonymous multi-instrumental group, “The Psychedelic Ensemble,” recently released its fourth album of pure symphonic conceptual rock, in which all the themes tie together to create an assemblage of coherent narratives.  The new album, full of dramatic spirit, is loaded with progressive ideas not only in its structure but also in its depth.  Its spectacular and magnificent compositions, developed from a melodic and dynamic feeling, are full of the heaviest and most legendary symphonic rock references.  What’s more, touches of religious and classical renaissance arrangements, epic vocals, exquisite and highly technical performances built on long instrumental progressions, spirited keyboard solos, skillfully played electric guitars, attractive traditional instruments not only enrich the music being expressed but also, like never before, portray an epic poem of an infinite genre of possibilities.

It’s just that the music, in an illustrious and intelligent way, knows how to construct themes from melody and musical drama to produce symphonic rock of the highest quality.  Perhaps we have before us one of the greatest composers since the 1970s that, on top of everything, does not blush at any moment because of his approach to progressive rock of authentic and traditional academic taste.

We are allowed to depart from a sensationalist concept that not only serves as a pretext for an instrumental exposition of supreme magnitude that flows from a perfect narrative that is both of sensitive and technical execution that transports us to a world of unsuspected labyrinths where abrupt musical landscapes rule, diabolical technical rhythms continuously break the compasses of musical developments in the most tasteful way, but we are also afforded, more than anything, a great intelligence that sustains the gorgeous and beautiful compositions of this fabulous piece of work.  Without realizing it, we have entered a time machine, and it has transported us to that long-lost nostalgic era of musicians that told us stories.  We are before tales from the Renaissance or the times of Rick Wakeman, Le Orme, Pink Floyd, ELP, Jehtro Tull, or PFM that seem to have been forgotten, but from a modern and new perspective that, more than anything, accentuates the longing and hope of such a dismissed genre.  There are a lot of progressive musicians that shield themselves behind a cinematographic sound to recreate sonorous spaces that guide their music, but The Psychedelic Ensemble does not need such excuses to show a raw and authentic progressive sound in which their music is worth exactly what it is:  emotion, sensibility, virtuosity, tenderness, delirium, enthusiasm, and, on top of everything, heart.

I listen, astonished, to one of the greatest instrumentalist and one of the greatest publications of our time and I smile admiringly at the splendid and flawless music.  Wonderful work, that, I feel, could never be forgotten.  An indisputable genius.  Twenty over ten.


Denmark
5/5
Tonney Larsen


Finally I get to hear this much talked about ensemble, which actually and most impressively is a one man band and this multi talented artist/musician has chosen to be anonymous. All very intriguing, mysterious and really the stuff legends are built upon! Already at first listen I was blown away by the sheer brilliance, the grandeur and excellence this magnum work offers. I actually couldn't believe my ears, this is what real prog/symphonic prog is all about, old school prog renewed, refined and fresh blood infused. Think early Renaissance, early Yes, slight ELP, then add chamber orchestra, invited guest on superb female vocal, great compositions and excellent musical delivery and you are almost there !! I promise you are in for a very special treat. I haven't heard such excellence/brilliance in a very long time. The superb arrangements, musical brilliance, beauty and complex time signatures just oozes and floats from this masterpiece. So there is hope after all, real prog is not dead and believe you me this is the real deal!! Let me explain, many new bands claims to be (crossover/blend/hints and allegations to) prog music, I guess it is due to the renewed popularity of prog these years, but a certain tag is not always valid, is it? This however is genuine progmusic in the retro/old school super class. If you don't like this album, I dare say you are not a real prog fan! There is not a dull moment on this album (despite its duration of 72 minutes plus) it absolutely brims with fantastic tunes, brilliant musical ideas, loads of keyboard play, fine vocals and great lead guitars, adding to the whole picture of symphonic prog, pompous rock, even cinematic sequences, folk and art rock combined, to mention just a few of the musical idioms herein! Highly recommended to every serious prog collector! Needless to say (even though I do) this one goes straight into my private collection! A fine release that will return to my cd-player ever so often. Thank you Psychedelic Ensemble, for this masterpiece!! Now someone please tell me who this musical genius is!


Lady Obscure Magazine, UK
4.5/5
Martin Hutchinson


I started reading at an early age and it was obvious from those formative years that heroic fantasy was going to be my genre of choice. I tried Michael Moorcock, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and other science fiction authors but, it was when turned the first page of The Hobbit and read novels by Terry Brooks, George R.R. Martin and Raymond E. Feist that my imagination took fire. My interest focused on heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery if you like and I really enjoy reading novels by the likes of Conn Iggulden, R.A. Salvatore and Bernard Cornwell, a solid base in history but with a liberal licence taken and drops of magic and mystery thrown in, perfect for me! So, it would seem a perfect fit for me to enjoy listening to progressive music that relates to these kinds of literary genres and novels, generally concept albums as the whole story would be seen as a concept in any case.

When I was asked to review The Tale of the Golden King by The Psychedelic Ensemble I was intrigued by the description of ‘a 72-minute concept presented in 10 gapless tracks. The concept is based on medieval sleeping hero and mountain king legends’. To me, this was progressive heaven, as you probably know, I’m a huge prog rock fan anyway but, to find an album that was based around fantasy legends, swords and sorcery et al was like nirvana to this reviewer. Before we get onto the review of the album, let us find out more about The Psychedelic Ensemble.

The Psychedelic Ensemble is actually a misnomer being, in reality, a one-man, multi-instrumental enigma. TPE (as we shall call him) 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 Golden King is the fourth solo album released under the moniker of The Psychedelic Ensemble. In 2009, Musea Records released the debut album, The Art of Madness, which received many nominations for various progressive rock awards, this was followed in 2010 by The Myth of Dying and, in 2011, by The Dream of the Magic Jongleur, both of which were garnered with extensive praise. For The Tale of the Golden King, TPE is joined, on certain tracks, by a full chamber orchestra conducted by Jonathan Roberts and featuring Amanda Smith Roberts as principal violinist and concertmaster. Furthermore, Ann Caren provides lead vocals for Queen of Sorrow and backing vocals elsewhere and Kurt Fowler is the cello soloist on Queen of Sorrow. As an aside, I have to mention the amazing artwork on the album booklet by Yimin Lee which is totally in key with the concept of the album and adds to the whole package.

As is the norm with most progressive rock epics nowadays, the album opener is an overture, Overture – Our Great Kingdom to be exact, and it is a huge behemoth of an opening song, the intro just builds up the intrigue with layer upon layer of intricate and spellbinding music before the superb vocal kicks in. I am dumbfounded that one person can produce this astonishingly complex mix of sound, keyboards swirling here, classic guitar soaring high and, in keeping with the concept, there is a definite mediaeval feel to proceedings, expertly emphasised by the clear as a bell organ sounds and harmonised vocal. The complex guitar notes and keyboards lead you on a fast paced, meandering journey away from the real world, superb from the first note until the last. There is a gentle  acoustic guitar and keyboard introduction to The Prophecy of the Seer- The Transformation of the King that leads in a vocal that is more focused on the narrative and telling a story. There are hints of Yes, Rick Wakeman and prog legends of the 70’s flying around with the intricate time changes and convoluted keyboard sections. Whilst being a concept album, each individual track is given its own chance to shine and this song goes heavy on the 70’s psychedelic keyboards and quick fire guitar runs to produce a sophisticated smorgasbord of musical delights.

The Golden King starts delicately with a delightful orchestral introduction, fans of modern progressive stalwarts Glass Hammer will be very much at home here. The music has a lilting quality to it, dancing on your aural receptors, before a vocal glides in with a delicate timbre, adding to the fantastical feeling that is all pervading. The vocals offer a narrative as the principle and secondary voices converse back and forth. There is an incredible lightness to the proceedings emphasised by the nuances of the songwriting and expert musical ability on show, another admirable part of the ever impressive whole. Captive Days takes the listener on an instrumental journey though the world of The Golden King giving, as it does, a feeling of movement, perhaps a journey.  The musical arrangement is a delight, the whole piece having an ethereal quality that, rather than making it feel like an interlude or break in the main composition, gives it a life all of its own.

Now to one of the masterpieces of the album, Queen of Sorrow is a quite breathtaking song, the angelic vocal of Ann Caren providing beauty and soul which gives this track a folk rock feel. The guitars, cello, flute and piano all take their place in the musical majesty on show. There is definite melancholy feel to the song, hinted at by the quality of the vocal and, especially in the low key, almost sinister section where the vocals become eerie whispers and the instruments take on an almost chaotic, distorted sound with staccato keyboards and guitars firing back and forth.  The superb orchestral backing to the final vocal section is bordering on genius, giving this song the finale that it deserves.

Save Yourself moves away from progressive rock to a very modern jazz feel, funky basslines and rat-a-tat drum beats backing an ululating vocal. The virtuoso keyboard playing is a fine touch and adds to the ultra smoothness of the groove and the catchy chorus. The music strays into fusion territory in places including some stylishly imagined jazz piano, a super-smooth insert into the continuing narrative. In a clever contrast, Make a Plan – Golden Swords takes on a laid back blues mantra with a cool blues guitar in combination with a sultry piano note. The keyboards take on a mind of their own but work well with the more intense vocal eventually performing an intense duet with the scorching licks from the guitar. A lot of that chaotic intensity finds itself flowing over into The Battle, a raging instrumental that evokes the chaos and disorder that happens in war. The time changes come thick and fast imbuing a feeling of discord and even anarchy. If I have one small criticism it could that, on these three tracks, there is a feeling of smugness and cleverness, of being abstract for abstract’s sake, only my opinion but, it does detract from the whole very slightly.

We return to the calm and harmonious theme that runs through the rest of the album with the heavily Yes influenced, Great Day. The acoustic and 12 string guitars glide in with an all encompassing feeling of serenity, ably aided and abetted by the serene synthesizer. The vocals are silky and polished hitting a higher range than elsewhere on the album and harmonising with great effect. There then follows a section of intense competition between the instruments as, one after the other, they come forth to burst into life with a brief solo before the song is lead out by a precisely harmonised choral section that harks back to the initial part of the track.

This fantastical concept is brought to a close by Finale – Arise! – Great kingdom, the recurring orchestral themes are brought back into play with increased grandeur and meaning. There then follows a dazzling, multi-layered vocal section with energetic, vivid instrumental interludes that, rather than detracting from the vocal sections, add subtle overlays and nuances to the overall sound. The frequent solo incursions are precise and delicate incisions in a complex piece of music that seeks to give an overview of what has gone before, a précis of the whole story in instrumental fashion, and the energy and enthusiasm are superbly judged. The finale is another excellent combination of the orchestral and vocal that comes to a flamboyant and grand close.

To be fair, The Psychedelic Ensemble has been hovering around the edges of my consciousness for a while and yet, I have never had the foresight to listen to any of their work, more fool me! The Tale of the Golden King is an epic piece of work in more ways than one, a superb, engrossing story told with amazing skill and musicianship. It is 72 minutes that just fly by, immersed in the music as you are and is not just a glorious piece of music but a complete listening experience that makes your life just that little bit better.



Matt DiGiordano

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 mystery 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 aggressive 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 myself I think I can safely say that this one will find its way among them as a memorable release of 2013.


Rating : 4.5 / 5
Richard Hawey
(Translated by Marc Fromm)

Casually, the anonymous author of this project moved on to his fourth album. We remember the first album of THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, "The Art of Madness," published in 2009. Then two other albums were released (2010 and 2011), all are of superior quality and are all concepts. The latest, "The Tale of the Golden King," which is also a concept of 72 minutes spread over 10 tracks, is a story that makes us move through time and takes us back to the middle ages .

The spectacular compositions are developed from a very acute sense of melody. They are full of references to  legendary symphonic rock . There are a few influences from classical music and also those from the Renaissance in the arrangements, with the addition of memorable and highly technical vocal performances. The vocals are inserted into long instrumental developments, full of solo keyboards and electric guitars that are played with ease. Also included is the appearance of The Psychedelic Ensemble Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Roberts and its traditional instruments enrich the music of "The Tale of the Golden King."  I wouldn't describe the album for you piece by piece, but I must tell you about some.  "Overture --Our Great Kingdom"-- sets the tone for what is to come, and this is a title that offers magnificent orchestration, and with the inclusion of  flute and guitar, creates an atmosphere. The vocals enter accompanied by synths and drums. " The Queen Of Sorrow " begins with acoustic guitar and a sound that approximates the time of knights and castles. The voice of ANN CAREN presents this melancholy melody. "The Battle" is an instrumental and, for those who know THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, is the trademark of the group. Guitar and keyboards, and in fact all instruments involved in the confrontation, go a little crazy and bring joy to the heart. "Great Day" brings a more sedate pace with the female vocals. Here you will recognize slight parallels with YES and the voice of Jon Anderson. The instrumental section gives us the impression of participating in the celebration after the victory.  "Finale - Arise! -Great Kingdom" ends the story with the longest piece, about 12 minutes. There is heavy orchestration early then the guitar emerges. The song begins with a festive atmosphere that is felt throughout the room. The sung parts come and go and contrast with up tempo instrumental explosions.

This album confirms the talent of the musician and anonymous protagonists that accompany this project. "The Tale of the Golden King" is unquestionably the most ambitious of all the band's discography. If you do not know THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, this album is, in my opinion, a great way to get acquainted with this group. I invite you to participate in this adventure of medieval times.



MAGAZINE--GREECE
 


Two years after The Dream of the Magic Jongleur (2011), that we ranked among the best records of that year, the mysterious American The Psychedelic Ensemble returns with his fourth album, The Tale of the Golden King.  The Tale of the Golden King is their most ambitious, rich regarding the orchestration and production, and more conceptually complete work.  The use of the word “work” is not coincidental – this is how the punk fanatics used to call the progressive achievements 35 years ago even if the post punk scene (besides a few exceptions) never succeeded to produce equally marvelous music and restricted itself in constructing “situations”.  Here we are dealing with  . . . a “work”.  As a matter of fact, the revival of prog is, of course, a reality since the 80’s but the pop and metal conventions and restrictions have always underlined it.  The Psychedelic Ensemble, however, has shown and continues to show that he doesn’t feel the need to “put water in their wine” and follow the conventions of our time.  He does what he really feels like doing, deep from his heart.

The Tale of the Golden King is a typical concept album.  The ten pieces, besides being played as parts of a complete musical work that lasts 72 minutes (a suite in terms of classical music) without pause, narrate linearly the episodes of a story of medieval imagination with sleeping kings, civilizations that are attacked by barbarian hordes and magical mountains that is given in the booklet of the record which also contains beautiful pictures and all the lyrics.  Musically we could talk of symphonic rock since, besides the usual guitars, keyboards, percussion bass, mandolin that one of the musicians who is hidden under the name TPE (and who insists on not revealing his name), there is in the project the sound of a regular string orchestra with 20 woodwinds.  Like the the previous albums the music is not experimental, everywhere there are echoes of the classical style of prog from from Genesis and the ELP and Caravan, but this time the timbral palette is much richer, while the female voice of Ann Caren next to TPE gives the project an ethereal and “polyphonic” dimension.

With The Psychedelic Ensemble one has the impression of the total revival of 70s art rock, that irrefutably have been, from the musical point of view, the peak of rock creativity and which, for those who haven’t experienced them, is mythical and for us who have experienced them as the Lost Earth of rock Blessedness.  Given that the calendar shows “2013”, if this is not by itself an achievement, what else is it?



Progressor (London)
!
Olav Bjornsen

Prolusion. The 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.

Analysis. One of the intriguing aspects about The Psychedelic Ensemble is that few know who the person creating and releasing this music is. He prefers to stay unknown for personal reasons, and so far he has mostly catered for all aspects of his productions by himself as well. This latest production does see the man behind this project expand his creative borders dramatically however, with a handful of guest musicians involved as well as employing an orchestra to record classical symphonic passages used throughout this CD. And as far as changes go, this one is all for the better as far as I can tell. Symphonic progressive rock of various kinds has been the chosen field of The Psychedelic Ensemble throughout, and on this occasion this is taken to a whole new level entirely. We do get plenty of the features we kind of expect from an album released under this moniker of course – swirling, flamboyant keyboards aplenty, majestic organ textures, dark and dampened guitars, and more often than not arrangements with a distinctly dramatic nature either as a dominant trait or as a more dampened undercurrent. Especially the keyboard arrangements are of a kind and nature that should make most avid fans of this brand of progressive rock salivate, richly layered, complex and quirky, often with a feeling that these could very well be rearranged to be performed by a full scale classical symphonic orchestra. The manner in which the classical symphonic recordings are utilized throughout this production adds a certain emphasis to that point of view in my opinion: The transitions between the classical and the rock based sequences are seamless, and there are moments where both of these aspects are tightly interwoven as well, and so tightly that separating one from the other when listening to these passages is a challenging task indeed. The stylistic palette utilized is a fairly broad one, too. And while The Psychedelic Ensemble never strays from the symphonic progressive rock territories, he does include a fair share of details from other genres, such as folk music tinged instrumental details, occasional psychedelic touches and quite a few instrumental details and movements with a distinctly jazz-oriented sound to them. As far as in-genre references go, I did note some tendencies towards Yes first and foremost. Not in any major way, but occasional details here and there struck me as familiar sounding in that specific context.

Conclusion. "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.




   
Drew Fisher

He's done it again, folks! TPE has created another masterpiece of progressive rock--this time a "prog rock drama" telling an original story synthesized from medieval sleeping hero and mountain king legends, The Tale of The Golden King. A benevolent, Arthurian-like king is rewarded by the gods by being turned into a gold statue with the attached promise to his sad reverent subjects: When the time comes your king will return. The Great King's disappearance results, of course, in the invasion of a greedy and oppressive lot, "The Henchmen." Fear and despair fall upon the citizens until finally a revolt is planned--with the ensuing battle, victory and celebration. The "return" of The Great King, however, is not as one would expect, which is the clever twist in this allegory for a new age. Musically, TPE has surpassed all previous work by not only expanding upon his multi- layered, multi-instrumental wizardry but also by exploring a broader variety of musical genres . . . Also, TPE has expanded his horizons by incorporating orchestration in the form of The Psychedelic Ensemble Orchestra and guest vocalists, including the crystalline voice of Ann Caren for female leads and background vocals. And, as usual, the artwork of TPE's CD and booklet are breathtaking.

1. "Overture - Our Great Kingdom" (7:22) Opening with a Gong, a background note held by some Gregorian monks, and a wooden flute, and oboe, you just know this is going to be epic . . . I've never heard any artist or band so clever and masterful at this multi-multi-instrument solo-weaving . . . (8/10)

2. "The Prophecy of The Seer - The Transformation of The King" (6:04) begins with a kind of midnight lull, a gentler, calmer feel to the music--as a messenger is presented to The King. At the one minute mark a RICHIE HAVENS-like voice enters as The Seer--and awesome and majestic is that voice! This whole section is quite magical and sophisticated . . . The break-neck speed and awesome guitar and synth soloing of the fourth minute are big highlights of this one. It's a very ELP-sounding section. Awesome! At 4:40 an eerie church organ provides background to the proclamation of The Gods as, all the while, the band of subjects tries to intersperse with some of its themes as if to convey a sense of normalcy, while actually expressing denial and an unwillingness to hear the prophecy and "curse." Great theater. Awesome song! (10/10)

3. "The Golden King" (9:24) opens with a return to orchestral presentation while TPE instruments singly interject themes and voices. As the song takes full form around 2:15, an absolutely gorgeous and infectious melody and vocal presentation is opened and developed?all occurring with a full and very intricate weave of endlessly soloing multi- instruments dancing and sparring in the background. Awesome bass lines throughout this one, too. Incredible guitar solo initiated at the five minute mark, which is then masterfully tied into the main themes before decaying into a gorgeous piano-based section before returning to the main vocal theme. At 7:45 the 'rock' sounds and themes of the song stop, making way for a gorgeous orchestral section, led by a beautiful flute solo. Gradually the orchestra builds around the flute's melody, crescendoing as an electric guitar caps off the celebration of this theme. This song is definitely the high point, musically, of the album for me. (10/10)

4. "Captive Days" (4:12) is an instrumental that begins with a wonderful almost-pensive medieval sound and feel. . . Pianos, brushed drums, big orchestral accents. The congas and fretless bass rising to the forefront in the third minute are a nice touch. (9/10)

5. "The Queen of Sorrow" (8:22) opens with a solo lute before piano, acoustic guitar, distant drums and some orchestral background break out to support the crystalline and angelic if melancholy voice of the Queen of Sorrow, the wonderful Ann Caren. The syncopated background piano chord play is a highlight for me in this song. At 3:45 there is a shift in the music to a kind of clandestine, hidden and very eerie section in which odd Arabian horn-like instruments flit and float around behind The Queen's almost-whispered, fear-filled vocal. The ensuing instrumental solo section is very Keith Emerson/ELP-like. Cool! At the six minute mark the piano play, Queen's vocal and background vocal mix is extraordinary. Devolving with support of cello into the final 100 seconds of orchestral supported medieval sounds while The Queen once more states her case. (9/10)

6. "Save Yourself" (6:10) opens with some mood-setting sound eerie sounds-like we're in the catacombs beneath Paris. The music enters with some jazzy popping, fretless bass and jazz-styled drumming. Great vocal melody is supported by some synths, organ, and twangy electric guitar. Great section! Great organ sound and solo at the two minute mark. This is so fun! The follow-up guitar solo is also vintage early 70s jazz fusion guitar--like Steve Khan or Larry Coryell. The bass solo shortly after the four-minute mark once again reminds me of what a bass virtuoso is TPE. Electric piano and fuzzy guitar finish the soloing as we get back to the story with this excellent vocal and haunting melody. (10/10)

7. "Make A Plan?Golden Swords" (7:10) opens with a bluesy feel: electric guitar filling a large-room sound and a kind of blues-styled vocal intro. Soon the usual cast of synth characters noodle their way in, though organ, bluesy piano, and fuzz guitar seem to be the constant sounds threading this weave. . .  (7/10)

8. "The Battle" (4:16) is an instrumental that uses some interesting sound and rhythmical constructs to convey the march into and conflict--there is a definite sense of confidence and insistence conveyed through this music. And with many underlying and tangential sounds strings moving around, behind and from within the main music, it has the very cool effect of evoking the minor skirmishes that invariably occur within and at the edges of a battle. The ghost-like synth floating background is also an ingenious tool which serves to convey the fog-like precariousness of the conflict and the tide-like ebb and flow of the potential outcome. (10/10)

9. "This Great Day" (7:35) opens with some relaxing pastoral acoustic guitar play--joined shortly by a strumming 12-string and a flute-synth. The Queen's voice enters with a melody that harkens back to Jon Anderson's classic solo "Your Move" section near the beginning of "I've Seen All Good People." As a matter of fact, the entire first two minutes is quite strong in its evocation of YES: "Your Move," "Wond'rous Stories," Wakeman. Then a very cool electric guitar solo takes over, bridging out way to music with a kind of celebratory mood. Here some multi-level, rondo-like vocal harmonies are used to great effect--as is the continued use to the kind of country twang-and-delayed electric guitar. Synths, piano, and guitars go into a kind of collective game of hot potato--each taking turns to burst forth a brief solo. The song finishes with a brief return to the opening YES theme with a collective harmonized chorus, "Yesterday is gone, it's through, The past has flown away. All you thought and all you knew, Have turned the other way. This Great Day!" (9/10)

10. "Finale - Arise! - Great Kingdon" (11:39) opens with "celebrate the dawn"-like music as presented by The Psychedelic Ensemble Orchestra. Beautiful recapitulating weave of the album's themes. With the third minute comes a modified reprise of the "Great Day" mixed with the medieval instrumentation of "Captive Days." The singing is quite celebratory--apparently the prophecy has been fulfilled-not in the expected form of the King arising from the dead/gold-preserved form, but, rather, the Kingdom has arisen--using the very gold of the statue of the Great King to forge their weapons of rebellion and victory. This song is replete with layers of recapitulated themes and instrumental ejaculates all morphing in a seemingly constant and unending mobius strip weave. Cool if perhaps a bit drawn out. (9/10)

If I've ever had any complaints with TPE's music it would be in the drum sound (particularly one tom-tom that is often used over-exuberantly a la Keith Moon), the drumming style (snares and toms used to mirror exactly the flash-speeded keyboard and guitar soloists) and the vocals. With The Tale of The Golden King both have been improved wonderfully. The drumming employs a greater variety of drumming sounds (and is mixed further back into the middle of the soundscapes) and nice mix of styles (brushes and jazz styles, to be exact), and less frenetic tom-tomming. The vocals have been improved with the use of other vocalists (particularly the wonderful voices of the Richie Havens-like "C. Francis" and The Queen of Sorrow, Ann Caren) and through the use of much more intricately layered and dispersed background and harmony vocals. I am also quite pleased to hear a broader spectrum of musical influences and sound styles: the increased use of piano and the jazzier rhythm sections are employed quite nicely, and, of course, the presence of The Psychedelic Ensemble Orchestra is a wonderful and quite welcome addition. (More, please!) . . .

I really enjoyed experiencing the greater variety of musical styles and vocal and instrumental choices (including those of the wonderful Ann Caren and of TPE orchestra) used in this album. It's always quite ambitious to undertake A) a concept album and B) one which tries to tell an epic or mythological tale--especially if this tale is trying to convey a social-political message. I wonder if the Great King is a metaphor for American Democracy or one of The United States' iconic Presidents (Washington? Lincoln? Kennedy? The hyped- and hoped- for Barack Obama?). Is the tale presenting the theory of possibilities for a society's potential to realize its release and freedom from bondage and darkness through taking the power of democracy back into our own hands and fighting as a people, tooth and nail, with the golden essence of that democratic ideal--that we might realize that the true power of our democratic ideal was not in the idolized word and fear-inducing and disempowering form our government but in the action of our own hearts and hands? I wonder.

TPE's unique multi-layered multi-instrumental sonic weave and sophisticated composition skill always make for a listening experience that I HIGHLY recommend for all music and prog lovers. The music TPE creates is fascinating, creative, and intricately worked--and masterfully performed. Check it out!

Another masterpiece of music that is difficult to compare and categorize and yet awe-some to behold.



9 of 10
Raphael Päbst


I'm in an orchestra? I am an orchestra!

THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE is the name of a single musician who, despite the name of the project, has played, recorded, and composed an album single-handedly for the fourth time. All alone? No, because this time he has brought support from a singer and an orchestra that make "The Tale Of The Golden King" a bombastic experience for the fan of the sound of prog and art rock.

In keeping with the fantasy concept and supported by the sweeping orchestration, the album develops parallels to classic film soundtracks that are only strengthened by the fact that there are no real song transitions. Thus the listener from the first note dives into the world of the Golden King in which acoustic guitars, virtuoso keyboard and charming folk melodies rule while the title's hero stews in the dungeon. From the first note it is clear that the orchestration is extremely successful and goes far beyond what one hears in most cases in this style. The individual classical instruments are used competently, and receive all the space to unfold and are not wasted as just harmony-supporting strings, but act more like guitar riffs played with their own timbres. THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE understands his craft, also one hears keyboard and guitar duels, which create another cornerstone of the album. Here friends of straight Heavy Metal may be quickly bored, but they probably do not listen often to orchestral art rock. The diverse styles of music are played here skillfully and varied, sometimes one hears jazz elements, then again blues, before they all burst into a neo-classical soloing.

We repeatedly see the various main themes of the album, which are not only presented in their main songs, but alluded to again and again. For example, the theme of the title track ["The Golden King"] you have already heard presented before the actual song appears, and that emerges time and again in the later stages. Thus, one of the highlights of the album is the title track, the other title, 'Queen Of Sorrow', lets guest vocalist Ann Caren play out all her charm.

The result is deeply emotional . . . distorted guitars are almost exclusively used for solos, extensive acoustic passages through many of the pieces ensure a fantastic folk atmosphere.

But even without the intertwining and playfulness in the songwriting and musical implementation "The Tale Of The Golden King" consistently captivates, and is a beautiful album, in whose depths there is always something new to discover.


4.5/5
Jon Neudorf

The magic started in 2009 with the release of The Art Of Madness and continued with The Myth Of Dying (2010) and The Dream Of The Magic Jongleur (2011). All three are excellent with each successive release adding to the artists considerable repertoire of outstanding musicianship and fine song craft. Fast forward to 2013 and TPE's new album The Tale of the Golden King.

The Tale of the Golden King just might be TPE's best album yet. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, TPE is essentially one musician who prefers to remain anonymous. There is the occasional guest on vocals as well as the TPE orchestra. His previous albums are conceptually based and that trend continues here. The concept involves a magical kingdom and it's great king who is transformed into gold and the kingdom laid to ruin. A time of darkness descends over the land until one day the kingdom arises once again. The music meshes beautifully with the lyrics and concept, making for an absorbing and intriguing listen. This is complex stuff and the music often careens in different directions but never at the expense of the wonderful melodies found throughout the disc.

The CD begins with "Overture – Our Great Kingdom". The moody section at the start carries a darker motif. One gets the feeling the music will burst forth as the orchestral instrumentation continues onward. A myriad of instruments join in, including pretty acoustic guitar and intricate synth work. The melody is one those that you want to hear again and again. Eventually the intensity level increases as organ, synths and frenetic guitar passages take hold, almost reminding me of the Yes classic Relayer. This leads directly into the second track "The Prophecy of the Seer – The Transformation of the King" where delicious acoustic guitar and synth work ensues. Yes and ELP fans will love the intense orchestral moments and as the electric guitar took on more bite, my mind wandered back to those glorious '70s prog rock epics that we all know and love. "The Golden King" starts in an orchestral vein with a myriad of instruments making for a breathtaking intro. The softer tranquil moments will make fans of the Moody Blues happy before the music gets heavier turning into a full blown prog rock epic. "Captive Days" is one of two songs under five minutes, the other being the frenetically intense instrumental "The Battle". The former has a somber feel, with splashes of piano, synths and other orchestral flourishes. The synthesizer work is particularly spellbinding.

Other moments of excellence include the wistful "The Queen of Sorrow" with sublime lead vocals courtesy of Ann Caren. I really dig how TPE injects heavier organ and guitar parts into the mellower acoustic framework. The album ends with the equally satisfying "Finale – Arise – Great Kingdom". Melodies and themes are revisited closing the album in grand fashion. The other tunes not mentioned are also superb with not a duff track in the bunch.

The Psychedelic Ensemble is able to weave rich sonic tapestries of complexity and melody like few others can at the moment. To put it simply, The Tale of the Golden King is one of the best modern symphonic progressive rock albums I have heard in a very long time. This is without question an outstanding work of art that needs to be in every progressive rock collection.



4 of 4

Progressive Area-Canada

In the purest tradition of concepts albums of large-scale, "epic" proportion, we arrived at this year-end album from The Psychedelic Ensemble, which is a project of several musicians who have collaborated in this grand sonic fresco. As the name of the group suggests, The Psychedelic Ensemble produces a music that returns to what many regard as the golden age of rock: the dawn of the progressive music and to its first glorious years. The main musician, a multi-instrumentalist, as well as all the other musicians (with a few exceptions) prefer anonymity so that their musical project can be taken directly and without being associated with a person who may or may not be well known ... "The Tale Of A Golden King", packed full of dramatic spirit, is in charge of  "progressive" climates, not only in its structure but also in its depth. The compositions are spectacular and grandiose, and developed from a melodic and dynamic feel, and full of the heaviest and the most mythical of references to symphonic rock.This collection of songs will be appreciated in a dreamlike vein, this new PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE album is full of dramatic spirit. There is also a certain mysticism and great references to symphonic rock, but that seems appropriate in this type of album. In addition, arrangements in a renaissance tone presented by superb female or male voice (the fact that they are not mentioned thus prevents me from telling you who they are) are perfect and the technique of using long instrumental sections is masterful. Long dialogues with keyboard and other synths (ubiquitous and full of absolute lyricism) are fiery allies to devastating and skillfully played guitars, and give a fascinating side to this work of the highest caliber, depicting the long epic poem, all that makes this album a major attraction that will satisfy the most jaded of us. I can not conclude without mentioning that the keyboardist is an absolute virtuoso. Listening to this great disc there is little doubt that the future looks bright.


Pierluigi Daglio
- Rome, Italy

The fourth studio album by The Psychedelic Ensemble, a solo project of a talented musician who wishes to remain anonymous, but who stands strongly at the center of the progressive scene in 2013 with this interesting album titled "The Tale of the Golden King" much appreciated by both audiences and critics alike. The atmosphere of this one-man band lies within an area that ranges from symphonic progressive rock to the classic styles, with occasional incursions into jazz fusion. The four discs are all concept albums that move seamlessly between one song and another and seek to address true musical journeys into uncharted territories. In particular, in this fourth album, you will enter into a mythical and magical realm…Truly impressive about the work is the compositional arrangements on this disc…The multifaceted style, sometimes simple, sometimes symphonic tracks, the variety of compositions, solos and combinations of the various instruments will strike music connoisseurs and music lovers, especially the so-called educated, symphonic, progressive listeners. A great album with eclectic musical solutions and much to hear in one breath that will surprise the audience. One of the best records of the year in the area of new progressive music.


 HIGHLANDS MAGAZINE
17 of 20

Jean -Pierre Schricke - France

. . . We still do not know who is behind this project, only that it is an American, in his the fifties, and he has been in the business for a very long time . But the main thing is the music . . . already his fourth album. The Dream of the Magic Jongleur, his previous record chronicled in our columns, dates back to 2011.

THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE is back with The Tale of the Golden King, a refined and lengthy album accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Another concept album, this time drawing its source from the middle ages, oh what a fascinating and mysterious period. The CD begins with a sensational introduction where we are immediately plunged into the medieval era, only the flaming electric guitar comes from our time embedded in multiple synthesizers and Hammond organ, and the voice of our mysterious storyteller.

The truth is, it is quite dramatic, with a taste of well-pronounced YES and even the electric guitar style of STEVE HOWE. An acoustic guitar on synthesized background followed by a cavalcade of electric guitar introduced the opening of "The Golden King", accompanied by the symphonic orchestra with 2 piccolos, 2 flutes , clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets , trombone, cello, bass , the whole being conducted by JONATHAN ROBERTS. "The Golden Kin"g is a masterpiece of mastery with acoustic guitars, its strings, cello, synthesizers, the voice of our unknown being supported and accompanied by vocals from ANN CAREN. There is a great electric guitar solo, the end from the large orchestra and flute, dazzling.

Another high point, "The Queen Of Sorrow", with ANN CAREN singing the role of the queen, displays a graceful voice. It has also made ​​an important contribution to the creative process of the album by being more choral.

"Save Yourself" highlights a talented bass with a jazzy funk style . This is also the whole title is in the jazz movement, in short, here's a one-man band , a kind of MIKE OLDFIELD. The Battle sounds like an epic ELP … with debauchery guitar, organ and orchestral fury.

The ANN [Caren] voice is back on "Great Day", pure YES or PFM. Returning forces on the last track the 12 ' Finale titled - "Arise - Great Kingdom" concludes the album in a mix of influences between the medieval and progressive …. The Tale of the Golden King is a gold album by a goldsmith, 72 minutes of musical success. ... A tour is in preparation, will it be hidden? Add a beautiful cover produced by YIMIN LI .




Nik Brückner - Germany

Wonderful album! Quite wonderful album! …this man is a seasoned composer, who knows what he's doing: it is obvious that he knows well the genre of musical and operetta, all right, and opera. . .



Rob Barnett

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.




Warthur-Prog Reviewer

. . . 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.



12 of 15
Thoralf Koß

A miracle has happened! A miracle has happened again!

The mysterious and exceptional talent behind THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE, an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and songwriter, strikes again. This time with the story of the "Golden King ", which, like the three previous albums, again wrapped in a concept, is rich and very demanding, illustrated with the help of YIMIN LI. And just as in the past four years and three albums, the progressive music is is again awesome, more awesome than what the FLOWER KINGS or SPOCK 'S BEARD are producing nowadays. And always just when you think retro prog is playing itself out, then out of nowhere appears a new album from THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE and turns it at 70 minutes!

The musical jack of all trades, "Mr. Anonymous " puts the venerable prog - gods of PINK FLOYD on YES to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER in a modern style and breathes new life into our memories of " Meddle ",  " The Gates Of Delirium" and " Brain Salad Surgery "  . . .

. . . our solo multi -wonder instrumentalist gets  help from many professional string players who bring a fresh new element to the music . Exactly the ingredients that could be the newest album by CHRIS, but we are surprised to find it is the exceptional neo-progressive  work of the anonymous U.S. prog-musician.

Then there are the many refined vocals from "The Tale Of The Golden King." For example, "The Prophecy Of The Seer " is like a combination of floydian "Great Gig In The Sky" , "Pictures" of ELP and TANGENT. No wonder, since the story behind this song and the entire album is the struggle of the great king and his golden kingdom when threatened and despite all his wealth, and is  just as exciting as the music.

Medieval sounds are in this release, of course. After the threatening beginning in " Overture - Our Great Kingdom" with strings, acoustic guitars that give way to electric guitars and keyboard bombast plus clear YES connections, the story really begins to gain momentum and move towards the big battle. Woodwinds and brass indicate this (battle), as well as the driving percussion rhythms. The captivating vocals of ANN CAREN, who somewhere inherited ANNIE HASLAM'S vocal cords,as convincingly demonstrated in "The Queen Of Sorrow " and " Great Day ", even set a RENAISSANCE feel and makes this CD not only fun but deserving of respect.

The influence of musical ideas of primarily YES  permeate the entire album. But also flutes and horns, which rise in " The Golden King" to a classical symphony with strings, giving the music an extraordinary appeal. " Save Yourself " then surprises us with a heavy psychedelic broadside, which is reminiscent of very early Pink Floyd .  And after the great battle is over, we find the "Great Day", which sounds like RENAISSANCE with RICK WAKEMAN on keyboards .

In the three -part "Finale " it seems like we are listening to a "MikeOldfield goes classic" album, . . .

. . . a stunning retro-prog album full of secrets.

CONCLUSION: Welcome to the house of the King, who only through the exceptional progressive rock of The Psychedelic Ensemble reaches his true power and glory!



Siggy Zielinski

. . . The prog fan will get from "The Tale" the whole range of what defines traditional progressive rock . . . Symphonic and epic moments meet dense and tight compositions, showing TPE as an accomplished musician . . . In my humble opinion TPE's  "The Tale" is an impressive traditional prog-rock opus that should satisfy all fans of this kind of music.



Robert Sargent

At last . . . waiting for this piece of art . . . and [it] arrived . . . this masterpiece at last.  So beautiful and complex compositions . . . so well recorded . . . with great instruments and performance . . .


Metal Magazine-Germany
7 of 10
Florian Schorg


The band's name is misleading, because behind THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE lies only a single, anonymous musician. This is all the more remarkable , as the music on " The Tale Of The Golden King " equally playful as complex is set in scenes while demonstrating every impeccable technical skills on every single instrument.

Granted, in the orchestral passages , the artist has brought help from the outside. Fortunately, the symphonic elements are not in thick, highly viscous mass of kitsch but used very targeted and drown the music . So THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE proves the right instinct to leave despite an average length of more than seven minutes pleasingly compact sounding and always transparent structured pieces to their full advantage .

The album is intended as a work of art and hits accordingly smoothly through the piece . . .  you can still mentally be completely absorbed in the music and henceforth dream while listening to "The Tale Of The Golden King" . . .

An extremely pleasant addition turns out to be the guest vocals by Ann Caren, who twice sings a female lead vocal in addition to scattered backing vocals over the entire disk. "The Queen Of Sorrow " thereby becoming the ballad-like tip of the disc, and in the second half once again clear drama and suspense. Especially in the three-part final piece THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE still pulls out all the stops and brings an all-around pleasant listening experience to an amazing degree. . .




Cool concept and approach for a progressive rock album by The Psychedelic Ensemble! "The Tale of the Golden King" provides an adrenaline rush as this U.S. band merge medieval music and cultural influences with their exciting sound . . .

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