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Kenny Mitchell - Voyager CD (album) cover


Kenny Mitchell

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Kenny Mitchell resides in Newcastle, UK and produces music entirely on his own talents.A first taste of his value was launched in November 2012 with the EP ''Excerpts from Jane Eyre'', which showed a cinematic approach to rock music.Two months later his prog background came on surface.Mitchell's first actual full-length album saw the light via bandcamp, entitled ''Voyager''.The man recorded all instruments on his own and, more impressively, he was also responsible for all the graphic design, artwork and photo work of the CD.

The content of this effort prooves Mitchell's high ambitions, as the album consists of two long tracks, over 25 minutes each, of instrumental, dreamy and well-crafted Progressive Rock with evident hints from the 70's and bombastic nuances from the modern era.As a result, these pieces come as a combination of old-school acoustic lines and symphonic keyboard work with heavier guitar segments and spacey, layered synthesizers to deliver multi-inspired progressive music.Detected influences include PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, PORCUPINE TREE and even MIKE OLDFIELD.Basic elements of ''Voyager'' are the ethereal piano lines, the hard psych-influenced guitar riffing, the cinematic, almost MARILLION-esque electric solos and the bucolic acoustic underlines, while a variety of synth-based soundscapes is always around, not to mention the few occasions of organ-flavored parts.Powerful passages, vintage touches, symphonic overtones and a somewhat folky attitude are reasonable after-effects of Mitchell's diverse musicianship.Full of shifting tempos and climates, ''Voyager'' offer textures, that can be either dramatic and passionate or more laid-back with a lovely spaciness.Be sure to face some pretty solid and dense prog material at the very end.

Fundamental Progressive Rock of nice quality, summing up a great effort by this man.Atmospheric, challenging and tight music, wrapped up in two 25-min. packs of sheer beauty.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#1086638)
Posted Saturday, December 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars UK composer and musician Kenny MITCHELL is one of many artists who seemingly have come out of nowhere the last few years, and I suspect that a combination of affordable recording possibilities, time at hand and means to distribute your music yourself without a steep cost have fueled many such ventures, although I don't know if that's the situation in this particular case. Even so, Mitchell ventured forth with an EP in 2012, two full length albums followed in 2013, of which "Voyager" is the second, and a third album is just about to be released at the time of writing.

In the realm of DIY artists, UK composer and musician Kenny Mitchell has made himself a compelling creation with "Voyager". A production that does suffer a bit from being the work of a one man band, but containing two compelling pieces of instrumental progressive rock that should find favor amongst fans of bands like Pink Floyd in particular, and recommended to those amongst them who enjoy the more accessible parts of that band's repertoire. Especially if they don't mind music with somewhat more of a lo-fi production.

Report this review (#1104058)
Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kenny Mitchell describes himself as "an independent rock musician who was born and raised in Glasgow and is now based in the North East of England. He currently has four album releases, all of which can be found on his Bandcamp page. This review is for his 2013 album release "Voyager"

At slightly over 50 minutes, this album contains only two instrumental tracks, each of which runs at slightly over 25 minutes.

Entitled simply Voyager Part 1 and Voyager Part 2, both tracks follow roughly the same compositional format with each track providing an epic scope of richly textured and somewhat retro styled melodic progressive rock. In many places the album is something of a blend of Pink Floyd meets Camel, but also has elements of Rush, Yes and 1970s Genesis/Steve Hackett.

Mr Mitchell plays all the instruments on this album himself and is an obviously talented and clever individual, engineering the recording work and producing the album completely on his own, even down to the cover design and album artwork. Acoustic and electric guitars as well as fretted and fretless bass are featured throughout. Lushly textured retro keyboard and synth sounds as well as acoustic piano are also well represented on the album

Acoustic guitar passages - in both 12 and 6 string mode - are fairly prominent during the course of the entire album, along with a diverse variety of electric guitar passages in which Mitchell quite obviously tips his hat to a number of his own guitar heroes and influences with some fairly tasteful and soaring lead guitar work liberally sprinkled throughout.

Each track has been divided up into titled sections which blend seamlessly into one another and provide a landscape of occasionally recurring themes which help to provide structure and continuity throughout. The album winds up as it begins, using the same 12 string guitar idea as is used in the opening and is quite fittingly subtitled "The end is the beginning"

Some people may find the length of these tracks a little difficult to deal with as it's always something of a tall order and a fairly big ask to make the listener commit to actually sitting down for 25 minutes just to listen to one track - or 50 minutes for the whole 2 track album - but, if like me you love long epics such as 'Hemispheres' , 'Close to the Edge", 'Suppers Ready' , 'The Revealing Science of God' , or more recently "A change of Seasons" and "Octavarium" then you will surely enjoy this album. I recommend it highly for your collection.

Report this review (#1135982)
Posted Sunday, February 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Crossover prog is probably a suitable description for this music, but there are many parts of the album which could also be described as symphonic prog, with some massive sounding keyboards to compliment the excellent guitar work. It's also a nice mix of retro and modern, but with most of the emphasis on retro.

In terms of composition the music is much more Pink Floyd than something like present day Dream Theater, and likewise, most of the guitar work is very much more Gilmour than Petrucci. There is also some Steve Howe in there, particularly on the 12 string work, much of which could easily pass for something on a Yes album.

The CD has 2 album tracks of 25 minutes each and a short bonus track which is described as a 7 string guitar demo version out-take of one of the sections from the 2nd main album track (Voyager Pt 2).

The bonus track is a bit heavier than the other work on the album, maybe due to the 7 string guitar...?

The album is entirely instrumental : no vocals.

Overall this guys music is very easy on the ears. He uses a lot of good guitar and keyboard sounds and there are a couple of quite big solos which are executed without any going over the top type flashiness. To my mind that seems to be a bit of a trap for a lot of musicians these days - to be as flashy and as fast as possible, and it's often at the expense of melodic quality that this is achieved : not so here. Kenny Mitchell, with his Gilmour-esqe style is clearly a man who considers the melody to be way more important than the speed at which it's played and to my mind that's a good thing. Having said all that though, he shows that he can do the faster widdling stuff too, and demonstrates it quite well near the end of the album.

I bought this on the strength of a couple of excerpts I heard on Soundcloud and I don't regret the purchase. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their prog with a slightly lighter, more delicate touch and would call it good value for the few pennies it will cost you. It's a very beautiful and compelling piece of work.

Report this review (#1136218)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Instrumental music has always been a bit of a tricky subject with a lot of people. It's quite a specialised little sub division of the prog genre I guess, having a little niche all of it's own, and you've really got to be pretty good at it to be able to get by. As a relative newcomer to that niche, this chap is in some pretty fine company, and he shows himself to be more than worthy of the honour with this album

"Voyager" has a run time of just over 50 minutes and consists of only 2 tracks : Part 1 and Part 2. That might be a bit unimaginative for some people, but then lots of artists name their tracks in such a manner, and for this particular album I think it's an adequate system of track nomenclature.

The music itself is at times brooding with a sense of imminence, and at times soaring and majestic with some powerful guitar work. At other times gentle and delicate, and it occasionally blasts you with that classic prog style wall of sound where everything seems to be happening at full throttle. From singing lead guitar moments through to quieter, more atmospheric passages led by some beautiful keyboard and synth sounds, many of which are reminiscent of something Jean Michel Jarre might have done on Oxygene or Equinox, including some odd little wackier synth sounds thrown in for effect. It all works and there is plenty in here for the listener to discover.

If I had to make a comparison of what this is like I might struggle a bit as there are a few influences to choose from, but at a push I might say that it's kind of like the day when Pink Floyd met Deep Purple (lots of Hammond Organ sounds you see, especially in part 2) but with a bit of Yes and Barclay James Harvest thrown in for good measure as well as the aforementioned French Dude.

After a couple of listens I get the impression that guitar is this artists main instrument as that's what the majority of the solos are given over to, but he's a pretty good keyboard player too, although he tends to use the keys more for backing and effect with only occasional solo work there.

In conclusion I have to say that I find this album pretty refreshing and full of good ideas, and I'll be watching closely to see what he comes up with next.

Report this review (#1137194)
Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Having recently reviewed Kenny's last two albums, of course the time is now right to go back to what is his best-selling work, 2013's 'Voyager'. It contains just two "songs" of 25 minutes in length, along with a small demo track at the end. Kenny provides all the instrumentation himself, and what is fascinating is the way he can bring in Floydian keyboards and Gilmour style guitar, or he can be driving the bass to create something which is pulsing and dramatic. It is the contrast between the different styles that makes this such an interesting album, as while crossover prog is a great way of describing it, sometimes it can be very symphonic, and it would be possible to edit sections out that would make the listener feel that they were listening to something from 'Animals' era Floyd.

Although generally the production is very good indeed, and wonderfully sympathetic to the sounds being created, it is very much let down when it comes to the way the drums have been treated. For me the album actually works best when there are no drums at all, as while there are times when the drums are fine, there are plenty of others where they distract from what it quite a powerful piece of work. When the keyboards are providing a backdrop, the bassline is being slid up and down, the rhythm guitar provides the crunch, and there is an overdriven guitar solo, then that is when this album works best for me. I've only come across Kenny fairly recently, and he is yet another musician worth investigating. Don't believe me? Check out his albums on Bandcamp and see what I mean.

Report this review (#2077474)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018 | Review Permalink

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