Field of View
(2019 - self release - USA)
A beautiful beginning to this escape from his ambient projects, bringing back more of his earlier sound. Kit Watkins starts the recording off with a cover of Camel's (Peter Bardens) 'Spirit of the Water' (which was off their 1976 'Moonmadness' album). May I state that this is even better than the original, with Kit singing the vocals. Mellow heaven for sure.
Coming down from this surprise nostalgia (remember that Watkins was once the keyboardist for Camel), the listener is given six other compositions. In agreement with the mood set by the first tune, the following tracks savor the same gentle airy and peaceful feeling. 'Legato Paramecium' is all instrumental. 'Life After Truth' has musical voice with an almost Perigeo (Italian jazz fusion outfit) feel, along with some hints of Paul Winter Consort or Rob Mounsey's Flying Monkey Orchestra, in its ethnic beauty. The multi part voicing is glorious.
Happy The Man fans may be thrilled or on the fence, depending on their age, as Watkins has grown too. But if someone is looking for classic Happy The Man, you best go back to the first two releases of that said band and enjoy. This album blends a solid world influence with what we bought and loved back in the 1970's and beyond. A time when jazz and progressive music, along with the rock and folk world were coming together in a joyful way. In short, this music is filled with celebration and spirit. The musicians are: Kit Watkins (vocals, keys, bass, wind synthesizer, percussion), Forrest Young (drums & percussion -tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8), Bill Smith (assorted percussion - tracks 2, 4), and Greg Moreau (ebow guitar - track 4).
An album of gentle and classic focused bliss. The last cut (title track 'Field of View') brings to mind a pleasant drift of Fripp & Eno 'Evening Star'. Age may have mellowed Kit but this resonance has wings and the place it puts the listener is welcome relief from our dysfunctional world. A polished gem, full of life and warmth. A perfect blend of intimate plunge and pathos.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 15 - 2020