Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-10-01

Kinetic Vapors Cover artPerhaps 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

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Noodle Project - And Life Goes On... – I’m not above enjoying a good clone band. I quite enjoy a lot of them. And Black Noodle Project may not necessarily be a complete Pink Floyd clone, but in the world of clonedom, some of these songs...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues