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Reviews

Kit Watkins — Kinetic Vapors
(Linden Music LM 2014, 1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-10-01

Kinetic Vapors Cover art Perhaps because of his classical training or his background in the rock world, Kit Watkins' music tends to have a real sense of purpose and direction when approached from the progressive rock perspective. Despite being creations mostly of programs, synths, and samples, the music on this disc brims with energy and color, elaborate textures and subtle shadings, and completely eschews the cheesy 'obviously programmed' feel that plagues so many electronic artists. This disc, like his 1982 Frames of Mind, has two very distinct and different sides (well, maybe not quite as distinct as FoM) and could almost be thought of as two separate works sharing the same album. The first half of Kinetic Vapors truly lives up to the name, filled with percussives and polyrhythms, yet never overstated. "Seduction Coil" opens the program with mutant sounding voices over exotic percussive samples, with floating flutes and synth tying everything together, occasionally reminding of "Elements" from FoM. "Gay Spirit" takes a more gentle approach, with a more distinct and uplifting melody building intensity over it's duration. "Cyborg Whistler" combines almost poppy rhythm structures with unusual and unpredictable melodies. With "Suspended," the disc moves to a more subtle and impressionistic mode, where it remains for the remaining three tracks — here ethereal multi-keys build pastel like images shrouded in fog, rich in texture, while flute and percussion offer structure and melody. Overall, the album has a nice flow, with the tension tending to decrease over its duration, a perfect one for winding down without nodding off. Recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 5, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Kit Watkins

 

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