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Kinetic Element


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Kinetic Element was originally formed to perform keyboardist and vocalist Mike Visaggio's music form his solo album Starship Universe, released in 2006. Things, however, took a turn and they liked the idea of playing together as a band and along with playing covers of classic rock and prog-rock songs, they have been playing their own original material. Some of it already released as a promo ep, The Powered By Light Suite in 2008. In 2009, the band self-released Powered By Light

In 2008 I got to hear Kinetic Element's demo ep, The Powered By Light Suite, and though production-wise, there was a lot left to be desired, the music on it was enough to make me anticipate their future release. It came in the form of Powered By Light, self-released in 2009. As was the case for the ep, here too ELP serves as a major point of reference, as are Yes, Genesis and Procol Harum to a smaller extent. The tunes are very accessible and melodic. All the songs are written and composed by Mike Visaggio except for one, the instrumental Meditation, composed by guitarist Todd Russell.

There is a sense of hope prevailing in the songs, which I feel in both the tone of the music itself and is also evident from the lyrics. They speak of trying to overcome obstacles, believing in oneself and not fearing them. I for one am not thrilled with these type of lyrics, but then again, they are not that much "in the way" of enjoying the music for me. I do appreciate the way Mike Visaggio sings them and adapts them to the rhythm (take for instance The Ascent). However, at times I wish a more rasp and crude voice would take the lead or join in to add another element to the sound. Mike also serves us some beautiful and hooking keyboards work. The keyboards are at the forefront the majority of the time and set the tone of the music as well as the pace at times. However, the rest of the band are more than able at backing (and even leading or soloing ? check the guitar solo in Now And Forever) and accompanying, giving the songs the volume and breadth they require to sound properly (although at times I'd appreciate less use of cymbals). Peace Of Mind, Peace Of Heart showcases a beautiful interplay of guitar and keyboards and a well done development of a theme and side theme. I'd recommend this to fans of "symphonic-prog" and the above mentioned bands. This is not an essential album, but it contains some good and appealing songs .

Report this review (#264678)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On the other hand, this one has really got me, as strict opposite to previous "Landmarq" (also Neo Prog) album. Repeating various synth/keyboards (this kind) sounds on Riding in Time, as changing of moods, nice graduation of songs (even about half-real and not so much existent, it drags me up). But speaking generally, this is album as whole is great connection between advantages of Neo Prog and Classical Music (mostly in terms of keyboards/guitar elements, just hear guitar in The Ascent, is it reminding you 19th century now ?). And songs follows and songs pleases and we all are happy. Or are we not ? Why shouldn't we be, when only bad thing here I can imagine is that in this variety of synth types used here, one or two I don't like too much (this brass sounding one for example). Tracks are poetic and there's strong feeling of soaring (common, 12 minutes ballad about beautifulness? that's great, isn't it ?). OK, there's some not so thorough stuff in Meditation, but we can't expect much from a song with this name, can we ? Nevermind, it's not a bad song, it just doesn't fit. Like spring, sticking out of couch.

5(-), but what' the most important thing, it attracted me all the time (OK, except Medic (T)ation

Report this review (#267514)
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kinetic Element's "Powered By Light" is led by a variety of symphonic keyboard sounds and solos, carried forward by optimistically busy bass lines, punctuated by effective drumming and enhanced with spicy electric guitar leads.

The album kicks immediately into gear on "Riding in Time". Although an initial keyboard riff is reminiscent of 1970's Pink Floyd, it isn't long until we are in ELP/Genesis territory. Mike Visaggio intones in a manner not entirely unlike American singer Jim Morrison as he croons "When do I live? The future is now!" Soon thereafter he launches into a brief soliloquy about reaching out and grabbing hold of absolute truth. A brief harpsichord interlude transitions us into a piano solo that is almost rag-time in its approach. A pastoral section ensues as we once again hear crooning words of encouragement.

The Jim Morrison comparison may not be a fair one. After all, Visaggio hits his high notes with more clarity and conviction than the front-man for the Doors did. And his lyrics certainly focus upon words of hope and encouragement rather than apocalyptic images of sex and death. Even so, there is a certain vibe created whenever a musical visionary croons rock lyrics in such an American tone that I find the comparison irresistible nonetheless.

Other highlight tracks include "Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart", an upbeat rock anthem so uplifting that it almost sounds hymn-like in its phrasing, "Meditations", a quietly reflective guitar- led song that sets the stage for the album's 16+ minute mini-epic "Reconciliation".

This is a good debut prog album, earning a solid 3 star recommendation. Check it out!

Report this review (#282124)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh !!! How is good find in present times a band to make a sound such as KINETIC ELEMENT !!! A band which get again the real spirit of rock in the progressive music !!! I realy think to be important the tireleess study of musical theory ; the scales and their moods, the harmonics intervals, the change of the rhythmic beats....But I also think wich music is more than just this things. The music is above all - inspiration !!! In "Powered by Light" you can find all of that elements. The music is in the same time complex and simple. Complex due to the blend of various musical styles and simple because of the manner used to develop the melodies and musical landscapes (which depend almost totally from inspiration). The influences are diverses - SYMPHONIC PROG (Genesis, Yes , EL&P etc..), SPACE PROG ( Eloy, Pink Floyd , etc...), HARD PROG ( Deep Purple) etc... Highlights to tracks 3 ( with a jazz prog overture and main theme ) track 4 (with a very beautifull initial ballad wich lead the music to a very nervous midle section and returns to the ballad for the conclusion) track 6 ( with a wave movement wich change to a Hard/Symphonic Prog with great intercalated solos and fantastic vocals). Obviously my rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#282197)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Another great discovery I found here on PA. Itīs hard to believe this band is actually from the USA since their sound is deeply rooted in the european tradition of 70īs classic symphonic prog, specially from the UK. And even harder to believe this is only their debut! The level of maturity of this group in terms of performance, songwriting and production is astonishing. Even if most of the stuff was product of vocalist/keyboardist Mike Visaggioīs hands and mind (I heard Powered By Light was sopposed to be released as a solo album), credit must be given to the extraordinaire band members as well. This is, after all, a team work.

Like most symphonic prog albums, Powered By Light charmed me from the start, but not much. It was only after several spins that I was finally hooked and begun to notice all the songs subtle and wonderful details. Those guys really did their homework, for itīs easy to see they have the right influences (ELP, Yes, Genesis, among others, plus some jazz stuff here and there to spice it up) and still they come up with something totally of their own. Every song is a winner and the arrangements are very tasteful. Every musician plays its part at the right moment, resulting a very harmonic sound. They all are skillful but they play for the music, not for showing off.

Itīs ok that Powered By Light is not perfect. Meditation is a five minute acoustic guitar instrumental that clearly does not fit in here, but it doesnīt spoil the overall impact of the album. Highlights are of course the general use of delightful analogic sounding Keyboards that reproduce such vintage instruments like the Hammond organ and the mellotron. As a singer Mike Visaggio may not be not as gifted as on the keys, but what he lacks in range he more than compensates with feeling and conviction. Besides, he does not try to reach notes he is not capable of making his vocal lines very pleasant and emotional. The guitar parts are also very good and creative. The rhythm section is strong and versatile. To top it all, every tracks is simply excellent (all right! meditation is an exception, but it is not bad either). Production is right on the mark, very well done.

Conclusion: an excellent start for this band. I was tempted to give it a five star rating, but I believe that since Powered Bu Light is their first, they will probably try to better this one and I rather wait till I have more of their work to give a fair view of their potential. Anyway, this is a remarkable achievement and Iīm giving it 4,5 stars. I recommended it to anyone who enjoys high caliber symphonic prog rock with lost of fine melodies.

Report this review (#283383)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very positive statement by Kinetic Element in a release that is full of the "light" side of progressive rock of the 70's (mainly), resting heavily on the prog giants of the symphonic movement such as ELP, Yes and Genesis. Lush keyboards border between Neo and symphonic and there is a general aura of optimism that will please the traditional prog rock fans. The "dark" side is utterly missing and that might influence your view on the album or not bother you at all.

Several jazzy moments in the vein of The Tangent and Beardfish are deviations and similar is the tribute paid to IQ (especially on the closing highlight). Long album but with enough composition and quality work to support it, "Powered by Light" is a debut that many bands would like to have. With more work on the personal expression and character of the band, and the progressive untying of knots with the long-distant past, the next album might make the step that this has not.

Symphonic/neo prog rock fans will enjoy this thoroughly, especially if you like long compositions that flow very well with one another.

Best moments: Riding in Time, See the Children. Least interesting: Meditation

3.5 stars and very warmly recommended

Report this review (#1066498)
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kinetic Element from USA is a good unknown band conducted by Mike Visaggio- keyboardist formed around 2006. The only one album released so far is Powered by light from 2009. Well, the music is quite good and even great in places, symphonic prog with lots of twists and turns, long pieces, the perfect example is the opening Riding in time, a well written tune with lot to offer, inspired keyboards- guitars duels, as the rest of the pieces I might say. Not very much to add, but those who like bands like Spocks Beard, The Tangent or the old school like Genesis or ELP, can easy give this band a try they worth it. To me a solid 3 stars maybe 3,5 in some parts, a good one for sure. Very nice art work, gatefold.

Report this review (#1254562)
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kinetic Element is a four piece formation from the USA that was founded in 2006 in order to support Mike Visaggio's solo CD entitled Starship Universe, released in 2006. The band performed at several festivals, did a lot of gigs and was the support-act of progrock bands like Circa, IZZ and Nektar. Their repertoire contained Mike's album plus classic rock and prog covers and new material, this led to the release of Kinetic Element's debut CD Powered By Light in 2009.

Listening to the music on this album I quickly come to the conclusion that the music is "a vintage keyboard fan's wet dream"! Apart from the instrumental Meditation with beautiful work on the acoustic guitar (rhythm, solo and overdubs), all other six tracks are loaded with bombastic Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer. Along glorious violin ? and choir-Mellotron, swinging Grand piano and some delicate harpsichord (Rinding In Time). The music delivers a lot of shifting moods.

Fluent rhythms with bombastic keyboards and harder-edged guitar in Riding In Time, The Ascent and Now And Forever.

Wonderful build-ups with compelling final parts in the long tracks Peace Of Mind, Peace Of Heart (mindblowing howling guitar with choir-Mellotron in the end) and Reconciliation (exciting interplay between powerful electric guitar and sparkling Grand piano).

The final composition See The Children evokes 76-77 Genesis and contains many interesting musical ideas.

First volume pedal guitar with violin-Mellotron and heavy propulsive guitar with a Hammond organ solo.

This is followed by a jaw dropping conclusion featuring moving guitar with violin-Mellotron.

Then a fat Minimoog synthesizer solo with propulsive guitar and drums.

And finally a blend of Hammond organ, choir-Mellotron and fiery electric guitar, wow!

If you like Seventies Progrock (ELP, Yes, Genesis) with the focus on vintage keyboards (like Triumvirat and early Le Orme), this is an album to check out. And I read that in 2015 this band finally released a highly acclaimed successor entitled Travelog.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Report this review (#1948235)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars One of the issues of being known as a reviewer, plus also taking some years out of the scene to concentrate on collating some books, is that material can build up. In the end I decided to keep up to date with the most recent material and delve into the older material when I had time. Due to multiple reasons neither of these approaches have worked, and I now find myself in a position where I still have albums to review which were sent to me years ago as well as being somewhat behind on the more recent albums (although I have committed to reviewing every single album ever sent to me). One way of slowly dealing with this is that when I am sent an album by a band, and I have yet to review the old one, then I do both at once. That is what has happened here, as I am pretty sure keyboard player/singer Mike Visaggio sent this to me nearly 7 years ago but given I have recently received the new live release, I dug this out of the vaults and put it into the pile, which led me to discover this is a real delight and I definitely should have played it sooner!

This was the debut album from the quartet, released in 2009, and as well as Mike features Todd Russell (guitars), Tony D'Amato (bass) and Michael Murray (drums, backing vocals). There have been quite a few changes in the band over the years since then, and only Mike and Michael are still involved. I have no idea why there was a six-year gap between this and the second album, 'Travelog', but during that period a decision was made for Mike to drop lead vocals and concentrate on keyboards, which to my mind is a shame as vocally he is very strong indeed. This album is built around the keyboards, and I found myself having internal debates as to whether this section or that sounded more like Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, as his use of Mellotron is reminiscent of both. There are times when the music does sounds as if could have come from the Seventies, that is mostly due to the keyboard sounds being deployed, and for the most part this is a very modern sounding album indeed. The keyboards and use of piano are indeed evocative of Procol Harum, yet there are also plenty of others when it is more like 3 or a fresher Flower Kings.

Melodic and incredibly accessible, this is progressive music which has much in common with classical in the way some of the keyboard string arrangements are set, and one can imagine songs such as "Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart" having a major live presence, building from an emotional keyboard-led vocal into something far funkier and more dynamic. Overall, this is an incredibly polished and enjoyable progressive rock album which just gets better the more it is played.

Report this review (#2528315)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2021 | Review Permalink

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