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KINO

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Kino biography
Some super groups can almost be compared to an all-star game: a gathering of celebs not used to playing together though they welcome the event as a pleasant diversion from their respective routines, knowing full well no one takes them too seriously. This isn't exactly the case with the members of KINO, namely ARENA guitarist John Mitchell, MARILLION bassist Pete Trawavas, IT BITES keyboard player John Beck and PORCUPINE TREE drummer Chris Maitland. Indeed, they admit to fully intending to continue recording together as a group; an encouraging prospect if we are to believe their first album entitled "Picture".

The listener, however, shouldn't expect a progressive masterpiece or anything resembling, say, TRANSATLANTIC. To put it simply, "Picture" is a fine neo-prog album with a couple of progressive tracks on it. Full of catchy elements, the material is rather heavy but highly melodic with a strong pop vein, as most tracks conform to a verse/chorus structure. Ten short pieces (except the 9-minute opener) reward the listener with skilful guitar play, a steaming rhythm section, some quieter moments deftly handled by Beck's keyboards (whose input is probably what justifies the 'prog' moniker here) and decent vocals by ARENA's John Mitchell. A relatively unadventurous but altogether polished, well produced and entertaining CD to be enjoyed for what it is.

Hard-edged neo-prog buffs, particularly ARENA and Hogarth-era MARILLION fans are the ones most likely to appreciate this band.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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KINO discography


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KINO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.34 | 108 ratings
Picture
2005

KINO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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KINO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.11 | 9 ratings
Cutting Room Floor
2005

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KINO Reviews


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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Kino Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One-shot Neo Prog gathering, featuring members mostly of the British movement.John Mitchell, who appears on guitar and voices, is among the leaders of Arena, Pete Trewavas is the lifetime bassist of Marillion and Transatlantic, drummer Chris Maitland has been a close collaborator of Steven Wilson on early Porcupine Tree and his side-project Blackfield, while keyboardist John Beck was among the founding members of Art Pop/Progers It Bites and also a member of Karnataka.With a couple of guest singers they recorded their only album ''Picture'' at the Outhouse Studios in Reading, it was released in 2005 on Inside Out.

Kino played a safe Neo Prog with emphasis on melodies and quirky, catchy atmospheres with the guitar of Mitchell being the absolute highlight, at the very end they remind me of what JADIS were doing around the same time, moving some inches away from the classic British Neo Prog sound to find peace in rockier, guitar-driven compositions.But unlike Gary Chandler, who appeared a bit tired after all these years, Mitchell & co. marked a fresh, new collaboration with the aim to come-up with melodic and accesible compositions, which do not lack heaviness or more intricate instrumental parts.All tracks are pretty strong with passages including romantic tunes, modern rock aesthetics, some great riffs and also tons of interesting melodies.As usually with such kind of albums the material is rewarded by the ability of the musicians to come up with memorable themes and well-crafted musicianship and this team of veterans did a pretty nice work.The keyboards are balanced with some flashy lights and mainly some good background moods with a discreet grandiose sound, Mitchell's guitar work and voice are the driving forces and, needless to say, both are almost flawless, while the pieces are characterized by intense choruses, nice hooks and this old-styled Neo Prog feel with emphasis on the atmospheric creativity.

The same year Kino release an indendent collection of demos and live recordings, titled ''Cutting room floor'', which also meant to be the swan song of the band (even if It Bites' Bob Dalton replaced Chris Maitland at some point).A project to remember, accesible still challenging Neo Prog with striking tunes all over the place.Not for fans of ultra-complex music, still this comes strongly recommended, great little break between more adventurous listenings...3.5 stars.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by Richens

4 stars I have heard various tracks from this album over the last couple of years but had not heard the album in its entirety until last week, when I finally purchased a copy of it.

Being a lover of modern symphonic prog, strong melodies and production, this album hits the spot for me. There is definitely a pop-rock influence but it does have a strong prog flavour. It is disappointing that the group members didn't continue with the project as it is a very strong album that could have been developed very successfully I believe.

I believe this album is an excellent addition to any prog collection. The tracks are optimistic and up-beat and the vocals reflect the enjoyment the group members clearly had making this album. Musicianship is very strong and the production is excellent. Having listened to the album a few times now, it is still sounding very good; a sign of an album of hidden depths, in spite of the seemingly pop orientation. I would seriously recommend this album if, like me, you enjoy the music of Frost*, Moon Safari, Karmakanic, Dec Burke, Touchstone, Mystery, IQ or Neal Morse (to mention but a few!). It is no longer available from most of the suppliers I regularly use but you should be able to find it via Amazon. It's a worthwhile album and I would recommend it.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I discovered this album at the time of release while I was heading London for a ''Musical Box'' concert at the Royal Albert Hall together with my brother. Wen I was aware of the band members, there was no question that I would attend the gig at the London Astoria.

The guys were pretty enthusiasts on stage and needless to say that they are bloody skilled. Sometimes they sounded a bit hardish and John Mitchell might not be the best vocalist on earth, but the music they play is rather fresh yet accessible and very pleasant.

The highlight is of course the great opener: ''Losers Day Parade''. It holds a lot of what the neo-prog genre has to offer: a hard attack, great rhythmic, decent vocals (even if they remind me of the Marillion Mark II).

It is true to say that there are no great tunes available on this album. The experience of effectively see those guys was far much interesting than this studio work. It is easily understandable when you get them in front of your eyes. But the story is of course different when you ''only'' listen to their record which features the good (as I have already mentioned) and the worse (''Letting Go'').

Still, any neo-prog lover should be pleased with this work. There are fine melodies available, great guitar breaks of course (''Leave a Light On'') which are of course 200% neo prog oriented. To have seen this band turned into the prog related genre is an extreme surprise. I will definitely try and bring them into the genre they ought to be.

Apart of this discussion, it is true to say that there are some flaws in here. A song as ''Swimming in Women'' is just a filler IMO. And it is not the only one available. It should be difficult of course when you get a bunch of those guys together to raise the level of an album as high as each of them could have doe in their according band (with the exception of Marillion II of course).

It is obvious that when you are listening to such a good track as ''People'', the heresy of having this band catalogued as prog related is quite questionable, isn't it? Even if there are some average tracks as ''All You See''. Vocals overall remind me a lot of Ray Wilson ones on ''Calling All Stations'' and even if a track as ''Picture'' sounds popish, it holds some fine melodic lines and a catchy beat.

This album might well be a deception for some reviewers. Maybe that they were expecting too much of this band (or group of persons). Still, this work should please any neo-prog lover. Don't try to find the closest relation (Marillion Mark II, Arena, PT or It Bites) because it is a useless exercise.

This is just a good neo-prog album performed by skilled artists who wanted to have some fun playing together. Three stars.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Picture is the debut album from Kino. Kino isnīt your regular debut band though as the band consists of four more or less known prog rock musicians. According to the band Kino is not just a project for the members but a real band. Kino is made up of John Beck ( It Bites) on keyboards, John Mitchell ( Arena, The Urbane) on vocals and guitar, Chris Maitland ( Ex-Porcupine Tree) on Drums and Pete Trawavas ( Marillion, Transatlantic) on Bass. With a cast like this you would expect some high quality prog rock but even though the quality is definitely very high this is not very progressive. There are progressive tendencies in the music and a few songs that does travel in progressive territory.

The music is very commercial pop/rock with some progressive tendencies. It reminds me a bit about Jem Godfreyīs Frost but itīs not as progressive. The music has a warm sound and lots of layers of guitar and keyboards. The vocals are in focus most of the time though even though there are guitar solos and an occasional keyboard solo. The most progressive song is the first song Losers' Day Parade that with itīs 9 minutes of playing time is also the longest track on Picture. Losers' Day Parade shows what Kino is capable of and IMO itīs pretty impressive. I have always liked pop/ rock with a progressive edge and this is certainly that. The other songs are good too even though they are not as progressive or exciting as Losers' Day Parade. There are a few moments where I think the commercial pop ideas gets to be a little to much for someone like me ( Like the chorus in Leaving A Light On), but I actually enjoy almost every song on Picture. Itīs a very pleasant album. In that respect it reminds me a bit about Calling All Stations by Genesis even though there is a bit more punch in Kinoīs sound.

The musicianship is very good which isnīt a surprise if you know these musicians. I need to mention Chris Maitlandīs drumming as it is really great here on Picture. He has a very exciting playing style and just drives the music forward.

The production is modern and full. A really good sound for this kind of music.

This is a very professional sounding album and even though this might not be my prefered style, I enjoy listening to Picture once in a while. Iīll rate Picture 3 big stars and it could just as easily have been a four had this been a bit more progressive. If you want to encourage someone to listen to prog rock this would be a good way of introducing them to the more commercial side of the genre.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I bought this disk after I heard some promising things about it and because of the fact this "project" includes members like John Mitchell and Pete Trewavas. I'm always very curious about new projects with (some of) my favourite participants. But after I listened to it several times I found out this wasn't quite what I had hoped for.

In one of the forum topics this was compared with the Frost-project and that one came up to my expectations a lot more. One of the reasons for that is simply the contribution of John Mitchell. On the Frost album he shows his full potential (which I enjoyed optimally) but on this disk that is absent I'm afraid. Picture is a much more accessible album containing almost pop-like songs, on itself nice sounding but hardly truly progressive to me. I wonder if they did that intentionally or that it just turned out like this. Because the bandmembers are true proggers, so why ? Anyway I like (and expected) the more progressive sort of music but leaving that aside I will try to give this a fair review. The first track is immediately the highlight to me. It's the most progressive and versatile song of the album but at the same time that's actually disappointing because it's a good track but no more than that. So where leaves that the other ones ? The other songs are more or less of equal quality but in rating terms that's somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars (Losers day parade scores just about 4 for me). All you see and Holding On are the more ballad-like tracks though the second ends up as a much more energetic composition.

All in all not bad of course but not really what I'm looking for in progressive music. Even for neo-progressive standards this is minimal in that respect, probably the reason this band is categorized as prog related. The execution and production are ok so I will give it 3 stars (3,3).

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by StyLaZyn

5 stars I really don't unerstand the reviews here about this album. The only thing I can think is because the music is almost Pop. However, it is still Progressive, filled with great musician chops and odd time sigs. Is it so bad that the songs are really good. I mean very, very melodic. Excellent choruses that rival pop music. If any recent album meshes Neo-Prog and Pop flawlessly, this is it.

As far as the musicianship goes, everyone does an outstanding job. I have not been a big fan of Chris Maitland on drums, but track 05 "People" shows his talents as a great drummer. John Beck throughout the entire CD is a standout. I don't know much about his regular band, It Bites, but I think it's time I find out more! The vocals are also just excellent, start to finish. I think John Mitchell does a better job singing with Kino than any Arena release to date.

After listeneing to this album a number of times, I am wanting more from these guys. It is just great music through and through. It reminds me of a mesh between Kansas, Marillion, and RPWL.

It deserves the rating I'm giving it, 5/5, because I think it is a fine example of a "Superband" making excellent music.

Cheers!

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3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by FranMuzak

2 stars SO SAD

I was going to review some Porcupine Tree or/and Marillion albums but while searching for those cdīs i found this, and itīs funny because it has members of the bands i was looking for. I had almost forgotten that i have it because of the deception it was when i first heard it. That time, i listened to it a couple of times more to see if i could find something that made me appreciate it, but it didnīt happened, so i put it back on the rack. Today that i found it i decided to give it one more try, sometimes it happens that you hear something that you havenīt heard in a long time and your perspective changes, and you can even like what you didnīt. This was not the case. Unfurtunely i think i liked it less.

Iīm a big Marillion fan, i love PT, i like Arena a lot. What happened here? I really donīt know. Iīm not against all pop music, actually i like a lot of pop rock, Prog -raleted and not related too, but this is not what i expect from a talented line-up like this. The only thing that i found is a few nice guitar solos, some keyboard interesting moments, but thatīs it. I love the way John Mitchell plays guitar, but singing... iīm not sure... i would rather keep him away from the mic.

I think thereīs too much influence from John Beck and his band It Bites style,which by the way is not my cup of tea. Thereīs not much to say about Trewavas and Maitland as they didnīt bring anything remarkable to the music. I know thereīs people that enjoyed this recording, and thatīs fine, i respect all tastes and points of view, but this is just not for me. Sorry.

2 stars

Viva el Prog!

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3.34 | 108 ratings

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Review by Bungalow Bill

3 stars Grosses Kino

I've read all the talk about the "supergroup" KINO but I don't buy it. I don't think that KINO was meant to be a supergroup. From listening to it a few times now, I more and more get the feeling that it was meant to be only a side project, some kind of holiday from the confinements and restrictions of their respective home bands. You know, like," I have a song in my drawer but it doesn't fit with the sound of my band" kind of thing. So they took a break to record those songs. And I believe, from what I hear, that they had fun doing it. Unfortunately they credit all songs to KINO as a whole so we don't know who contributed which song.

But be warned, what you not get, IMO, is a very progressive album. There are only two songs actually that might count as such.

First is the opener "Losers Day Parade", an uptempo number which has a few nice tempo changes from heavy guitar riffs to almost Beatle'esque. Good guitar work from John Maitland. One of my favourites.

"Letting Go" is a ballad, again some good guitar work, keyboards are underrepresented (like generally during the first half of the album), the chorus is a bit too much sweet icing on the cake for my liking.

"Leave a Light On" is a great pop song with a catchy chorus and a nice guitar solo.

"Swimming in Women" is an uptempo song again with John Beck doing the lead vocals and finally keyboards are a bit more prominent. From the illustration accompanying the lyrics you know what they are talking about. Another favourite.

"People" starts slowly but quickly turns into another uptempo pop rock song with good guitar work.

"All You See" is another ballad, this time more melancholic, therefore more to my liking.

"Perfect Tense" and "Room for Two" are again uptempo guitar heavy pop rock songs

"Holding On" is the second one which qualifies as prog. It starts fairly slow with acoustic guitars, organ and (finally) a really strong bass guitar from Pete Trewavas. Soon it builds up to considerable power. Great song.

The closer "Picture" is the song that gave the album its title, a short number based on piano and vocals.

What you do get is a very good pop rock album with only few truly progressive moments. So how to rate it? From the true meaning of the rating system it is only 3 stars because I don't think it is essential. From the quality of the music I'd give it 4 stars. So 3 and a half in summary.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Picture
Kino Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I had high hopes for this record. Too high apparently. Kind of an all-star cast here with PORCUPINE TREE's ex drummer, ARENA's guitarist, MARILLION's bass player and IT BITES keyboardist.

Although the first two songs, "Losers Day Parade" and "Letting Go" certainly did fulfill my expectations (I can listen to those two songs over and over again) but the rest of the record failed to deliver.The songs are "nice", but I can get "nice" on the radio anytime. It's almost like they decided to go for it and try to make a success of this commercially instead of sticking with what they do best, namely Prog.

It's a good album, but certainly not essential.

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 Picture by KINO album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.34 | 108 ratings

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Picture
Kino Prog Related

Review by Platypus66

4 stars I never thought of Kino as a supergroup, whatever that may mean. Some reviewers here have used the term "side project" and that's what Kino seems to me, in the best possible sense: four very talented and experiences musicians having a very good time, with no worries about career strategies, grumpy critics or such. This cd is as relaxed, emotional and, well, happy, as you could ever expect from a prog-pop-rock album.

There are no overambitious or pseudo-artsy moments here, and thank god for that. One can easily hear echoes and traces of Beatles, Yes, It Bites (of course) and such all over the place, but the influences and references never become annoying. What I get from this music is the feeling of "let's play the kind of music we grew up with and have loved for all these years". There's honest emotion here, and that's always a big plus (with me, at least). And the songs are so filled with good choruses and hummable melodies that it made me just giddy when I listened to it the first time.

So it may be more pop that prog - so what? (Then again, to a 15-year old pop fan this probably sounds pretty impossible to figure out - everything's still relative...)

What I truly admire about the record is that the band, despite its side project nature, has an organic, unforced identity that's pretty much all their own, even with the sonic references to other bands. Having seen the 4-song live DVD that comes with the spec.ed. of this disc, it seems that the guys communicate really well on stage and enjoy playing together. And really, what else is there, in the end?

I've become pretty much hooked to this and hope for more. It may take some time, now that Mitchell, Beck and Bob Dalton make up 75% of the new It Bites, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.

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