CD review for fAZE 3 magazine ASSEMBLY released 1993 -Ken Watson Kinesis Inc. (KDCD 1010) 1430 Wisp Ct. Hanover, MD 21076 USA Tel/Fax: 410-551-8081 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.kinesiscd.com This review has not been an easy one due to the diversity of music graffiti Ken Watson has left on each track. I heard very well rendered Happy The Man in "Next X". The compositions a tight, intricate, clean and executed with perfection at times mirroring HTM in uncanny precision. "Skeletons in Armor" is a blending of Bruford, Pekka Pohjola, HTM and Yes. Watson's guitar stylings bring to mind a crisper Al DiMeola staccato leaning towards Steve Howe and dancing around in Stan Whitaker's phrasings. Unfortunately, the title cut, "Assembly Parts 1-5" was a let down. I cannot slight the excellent musicianship but as a whole the patchy piece was too "all over the place". Peaslee, Hyman, Bohansson, early analog, dorky-dweeb, dated, Moogish keyboard parts drove me up the wall. Guitar, bass and percussion work were each exemplary. The compositions were perhaps too crammed together without a place for my brain to latch onto. The next fast-paced track, "Yuppie Jazz" is again very dated sounding. It sounded like the theme song to some foreign game show at times. West German electronics, analogish, moogy meanderings of the Bohansson-like noodlings or Pekka Pohjola on speed in a heavy 70's "avant-garde" nostalgia mode plagued this piece. At least the outro was cool. From here on out to the last second this CD is PAR EXCELLENCE!! "Beating Swords Into Plowshares" was a great ride down the Return To Forever, HTM, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, Al DiMeola's first solo album, memory lane. I was in nostalgia/inspiration nirvana. This is what progressive rock is to be hailed for as the gem of the 70's! A drum cadence carries you off into splendor and daydream. "Elroy's Poem" is very, very Al DiMeola yet better in the eerie twists and turns of the Far East's musical flavorings and there is Pekka Pohjola sensitivities in composition through out. Acoustic guitar with electric guitar interwoven is wondrous the way Watson arranges it all. I heard Steve Morse's web of pluckings sail by in guitar voicings and skillful playing by Watson.In strolls some funky Billy Preston keys laced with guitar attacks again and again. Layered mosaics of various guitar and steady bass, drums, and incessant keys build to a Birds of Fire type finish. The later recorded, previously unreleased tracks, "Prelude to Beating Swords Into Plowshares", "Next X Part 2" and "Barking at the Moon" are definitely Watson but have a darker, moody, mature, well-aged wine taste to them. Pekka Pohjola is there, DiMeola/Whitaker riffs, and more HTM. In "Next X Part 2" there is evidence of the influence of Kit Watkins' early solo efforts, especially the Labyrinth years. However, I prefer Watson's works here as it retains the excellent guitar that was missing after HTM disbanded. The tempo change-ups and the otherworldly carousel feel of HTM is strong in "Next X Part 2". Pekka Pohjola's "Risto" from the Space Waltz release drifts in towards the end of "Next X Part 2". I believe Ken Watson has successfully created a piece here that is where HTM was headed before their demise. What one can't forget and I emphasize is this is Ken Watson, 95% written by him alone!! Bravo! The last track, "Barking at the Moon" is a guitarist's playground meshing the best of any of the great axemen out there into Watson's imaginative, riff-fest, with that Steve Morse/Joe Satriani/Randy Rhoads powertrain on overdrive. This piece is just plain 75 miles an hour across the Great Plains fun!! More power to ya Ken on that upcoming release. If you are a progrock lover in any degree you need to have this in your collection. File it right beside Happy The Man. -John W. Patterson
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"Next X Part 2" excerpt
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