Exposé Online banner

Kit Watkins — Holographic Tapestries
(Linden Music LM 2023, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1995-07-01:

Holographic Tapestries Cover art Since his days with Happy The Man and Camel, Watkins' solo career has been anything but a predictable journey, venturing into ambient soundscapes, soothing impressionistic sorties, programmed experimental pop, classical piano covers, and much more. The two most typical styles found in his work might be thought of as atmospheric keyboard-driven instrumental pop, and a refined impressionistic neo-classical... or as Kit refers to them in his liner notes: The overtly rhythmic, and the introspective. This latest album — all 74 minutes of it, delivers plenty of both, and perhaps contains some of his most refined compositions to date. Interestingly enough, the tracks are arranged into two 'programs' — the odd numbered tracks, which comprise mostly the introspective neo-classical based pieces, and the even numbered tracks, which are the more rhythmic pop based numbers. To listen to the entire album beginning to end, every piece of the puzzle fits together perfectly into a smooth continuum. But if the odd and even numbered tracks are taken separately, the effect is like listening to two completely different albums. Watkins plays all instruments — generally keyboard based synths, sequencers and samplers, some flute and guitar. The drum sequencers, which might usually tend to annoy this listener, are (I must admit!) extremely well programmed, and are used sparingly enough to not overwhelm. Overall, from my perspective this is Kit's best effort since Azure, yet by comparison it's far more accessible and less dreamy, and stylistically comparable to his more recent efforts. In addition, Watkins has included some short poems and computer generated art in the booklet that correspond to some of the tunes. Overall, this is a very solid effort that I'm sure most will enjoy — and if there is anyone who isn't familiar with Watkins' solo material by now, this is probably a good album with which to make that acquaintance.

by Mike McLatchey, 1995-07-01:

Kit Watkins' newest effort is one of those CDs created so that the tracks can be played in different orders. Watkins suggests besides playing it all the way through you can also program your player to "Set 1" and "Set 2" separately by programming either the odd or even tracks. The "Set 1" tracks are supposedly more introspective, the "Set 2"s are more rhythmically inclined. Watkins has long proven his genius and musical diversity over a long string of albums. Tapestries is another finely crafted album with many of the tracks composed with Happy the Man in mind. These tracks remind one of the more reflective moments of that group and fit here nicely. I like the way it flows as an album better than splitting the 75 minutes into sets. Both sets have tracks close in style to their opposite sets and while set 1 is generally more mellow and ambient, there are tracks that are more rhythmic. The same can be said (although vice versa) of set 2. Watkins has an obvious talent for making the synthetic sound warm and human. His influences range far and wide, from classical to ambient and progressive rock to pop. However he fuses these, it's always done originally and dynamically, full of vitality and effervescence. Another great and different album — keep them coming, Kit.

by Mike Grimes, 1995-07-01:

Watkins' latest effort is an interesting one. The album is divided into two sets. The odd numbered tracks are "introspective" in style with little or no rhythm section, and keyboards are primarily responsible for all the tones. The even numbered tracks are the more "rhythmic" tracks. They tend to have bass, drums, and other instruments and, you got it, a more rhythmic feel. Curiously, much of the percussion has a distinctly Latin feel to it. I don't really remember his previous albums as sounding that way. Watkins is certainly a great keyboard player. Beginning with his work in Happy the Man, Watkins has continually created interesting and unique sounding compositions and is a master at eliciting different moods. His chord progressions and voicings are all his own. However, two aspects of many of his prior solo recordings have bothered me a little. The use of drum machines on some tracks hasn't really sounded that great. And some of the tracks have been a little too New Agey for my tastes. On Holographic Tapestries he avoids these two issues for the most part. While he clearly uses some programmed drums, they generally have a quite realistic and natural sound. As for the second point, while some tracks are surely ambient in nature, they don't have a typical New Age sound to them. He mentions that some of tracks on the album were written with Happy the Man in mind (Will that reunion ever happen?), and those tracks really do sound appropriate in that context. You can easily picture HtM performing those selected pieces, and they would sound great too! The recording quality of the entire album is very clean and clear. There's even some cool guitar work — especially the melody lines on "The Traveler." Fans of HtM, Camel, and most keyboard players will almost certainly appreciate this album. Now Kit, let's hear those HtM-intended songs with the entire band. They would sound great! Please?

Filed under: New releases , Issue 7 , 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Kit Watkins

More info

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

High Wheel - 1910 & Remember the Colours – High Wheel is a relatively new German outfit with two albums solidly in the neo-progressive vein. While both are private releases, the band would fit very comfortably on the SI label as the music is...  (1996) » Read more

O Terço - Criaturas da Noite & Casa Encantada – O Terço are a Brazilian rock group that I've always found to be overrated. They suffer from being unclassifiable, and therefore, like many bands are given the label "progressive"...  (1995) » Read more

GPS - Window to the Soul – As with any neo-prog superstars poised to take over the world, again, the production here is slick and smooth. Knobs tweaked and script at the ready, this one is heading for the stratosphere, of the...  (2007) » Read more

José Luis Fernández Ledesma Q. - Motivos para Perdere – Ledesma may be known by some already for his recent duet recording with Alquimia called Dead Tongues, and as a member of Nirgal Vallis during the 80s. Now he's back with an opus that, like the...  (1997) » Read more

Metaphor - Starfooted – Starfooted is the debut album by Metaphor, and it’s a winner. Not content with a simple collection of songs, Metaphor enters the field with that staple of progressive rock pretentiousness, the...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues