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Kit Watkins — The Unseen
(mp3.com 33914, 2000, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2000-10-01

The Unseen Cover art

It’s been a while since Watkins’ last one, but well worth the wait. Now that the keyboardist / composer has discovered MP3.com, he promises there will be lots more to come. On this release, the focus is more on melodic and rhythmic patterns as opposed to highly structured pieces, giving much of the album a more trance-like quality, though generally steering very clear of purely floating ambient realms. While he excels in a number of areas — as evidenced in his larger body of work (now somewhere around 14 solo albums and collaborations since his days with Happy the Man and Camel), he has chosen in this case to focus in on one area offering a number of pieces that work together well in this context. By comparison to his earlier work, much of the material here weighs in somewhere between In Time on one hand and Azure or Beauty Drifting on the other, the busy rhythmic content of pieces like “Veil of Cool” and the twelve-minute “Kaleidoscopes” recalling the former, and numbers like “Climbing Circles,” “In the Wake of the Unseen,” and “Realm 1” recalling the more serene and pastoral moments of the latter two. Some definite ethnic influences, mostly via percussive technique (programmed / sampled, but in many cases sounds so real it’s scary) can be heard on several tracks, with the eight-minute “Logarhythm” being the standout. The opener, “Morning Mothra,” and closer, “Evening Mothra,” deserve special note, both gently shimmering and reflective melodic pieces sans-percussion that are perhaps two of his best pieces ever. Highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Kit Watkins


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