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Review of LIGHT FROM THE PLEIADES - page 2


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"... After the opening track’s bomb burst, things more or less quiet down (relatively speaking). The second song, “Alcyone,” is ambient-ish and spacy. Whirly-gigging effects, cascading keyboard runs, and hushed chorals are counterpointed by minimal piano (another new wrinkle in the Kendle oeuvre). Rather than being new agey, I think this is closer to the middle songs on Michael Whalen’s Nightscenes (a classic spacemusic if there ever was one). “Maia” fades in with stardrive engine rumblings and retro synths slowly emerge from the background until a repeating series of moog notes begins playing a “space sonar” pattern. The pattern of notes eventually recedes for a while as Kendle brings other electronic elements into play, all of them evoking the feel of outer space. “Merope” features lots of sparkly sequenced tones as well as sweeping synth washes, burbling retro EM effects, and many different textures and spacy drifting keyboard sounds. The Berlin school comparison comes into sharpest focus on the hyper-energetic (but still low key owing to its overall softer volume) “Taygeta” with the fastest sequenced beats on the CD, definitely inviting comparison to ‘80s Tangerine Dream, et al. I also hear echoes of Todd Fletcher (Psychetropic), another contemporary artist who has an equally unique take on EM. I love the way this song pulses with energy and is ablaze with so many shimmering, twinkling, science-fictiony touches.

The spacemusic epic “Asterope (Night Sky Music)” is next and contains nary a rhythm anywhere - just layers of assorted flowing wafting keyboards as well as some well-done space/ambient guitar (played in a variety of styles). “Celaeno” closes the album, signaling a return to the more powerful drama of the opening track, but not quite as audacious. Multiple layers of sequenced retro synths dance over a bed of washes and alongside a beautiful flute melody (okay, finally, something that sounds like the Kevin Kendle I recognize). The feeling of joy and beauty in this last track is hard to convey in words but as the song builds in intensity with mellotron flutes, massed strings, and an unmistakable sense of urgency, it’s hard to not be swept up in the piece’s grandeur and power. Of course, the song does wind down as it reaches the end of its nine-minute duration, eventually morphing into just a faint echo of synths amidst the now characteristic warp engine rumbling that is heard during some track transitions.

I don’t know if Light from the Pleiades signals a new direction for Kevin Kendle’s music period or if it’s just that for this particular album he decided to introduce all these new elements and then will “come back to earth” so to speak. What I do know is that this is an amazing recording, coming almost seemingly from out of the blue. Whether the artist’s fans will embrace it to the degree I do, again, who can say. However, I have to think some spacemusic and, even possibly some Berlin music lovers, may discover them liking this - a lot! Regardless how this all plays out, Light from the Pleiades further cements my belief that Kevin Kendle simply can do no wrong, period. When compared to his previous body of work, all I can wonder is “What in the hell will he come up with next?” The CD earns…well, you can guess, right? HIGHEST recommendation!

Bill Binkelman
New Age Reporter


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