Kit Watkins — The Gathering, Set 1
(Earth Mantra earman045, 2001/2008, DL)
Kit Watkins — The Gathering, Set 2
(Earth Mantra earman046, 2001/2008, CD)
Kit Watkins — Music for the End
(Earth Mantra earman062, 2001/2008, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01
Fans of Happy the Man, beware. These three live CDs are more in the realm of ambient space music than progressive rock. Taken together, they document the musical happenings on the night of March 10, 2001, at a festival called The Gathering (two sets), and then afterwards on the radio show called Star’s End. All in all, this is just short of three hours worth of music. Watkins performs solo with an array of synthesizer modules, percussion, an electronic wind instrument, and probably some other things not mentioned in the credits or shown in the pictures. With the percussion, it wouldn’t be fair to call the music entirely ambient, at least not for the two Gathering discs. There are many different techniques involved here, but “The Aftermath of Neglect” from the first set serves as a good example. It starts with a shimmering wash of quiet sound, then works into some flutters on some sort of hand drum. There must be a looping of that, since it continues while a serene melody on the electronic wind instrument starts over the top and the percussion continues. This goes on for twelve minutes, working through a few slight changes in mood: the drum drops out, the EWI backs off for a bit of background wash, and so on. Other times, a pattern will be set up on a piano-like sound and then looped for the EWI. Many of the chord progressions (yes, there are some chord progressions) have a distinctive Watkins sound, moving in ways that will sound familiar (though not in a specific way) to those who know his previous work.
Music for the End is much more atmospheric, with no percussion aside from some cricket noises. I would say only a serious fan would want to have all three of these. My favorite is Set 1, but not by a long shot – they’re pretty similar. Alternately you could go to mp3.com and sample tracks, and buy just the ones you want.
Related artist(s): Kit Watkins
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more