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Review of DEEP SKIES albums and WINTER

"... You may remember that Kevin Kendle's 2004/05 CD "Deep Skies 2: Lagoon of Eternity" was my top pick of the year 2005. He has two other great CDs I want to mention.

He just sent me Deep Skies 1 this month, and it was #1 on my January playlist. As great as Deep Skies 2 is, volume 1 may be even better. It is called Light from Orion. It is even more consistently good throughout, and its sound is smooth and cosmic. 6 tracks stand out among the 10, especially Stellar Nursery (track 6), Flame Nebula (track 7) and the finale, Betelgeuse; plus the first three tracks. As the cover says, the music "transports the listener deep into the heart of space." Truth be told, there is more heart in this music than in outer space, but what it represents is our awe and wonderment before this universe we live in, and how it lives within our own inspiration. All subscribers to this list owe it to themselves not to miss Deep Skies 1 AND Deep Skies 2 by Kevin Kendle. Both volumes are must-haves for any spacemusic fan.

But that's just the beginning. Kendle has just released another great
new CD (copyright 2006) called "Winter," which is part of his seasonal series. Again, in spite of his outer-world subject matter, the real subject of this music is how it inspires us within. Few works in the new age or ambient genres live up to the hype on their covers. I quote the cover to Winter: "At times tinged with melancholy, at times joyous, the music on this album will move your emotions and touch your soul." Boy, it really does :-) ! The first track might not give you a clue to what's ahead. Good as all the tracks are, they get better as the disc goes along, more or less. If you miss the last 4 tracks, you've missed the album.

But there is one piece on "Winter" that is very much the standout, a
work of genius I think. Track #5, it bears the modest title "Midwinter," but should really be called something like "Midwinter Love." This piece is in the romantic sound arts genre, and as good as any other of its kind. Listening to it, I discover again that I am at heart a romantic. " Midwinter" has cast a spell on me that just may remind me what it means to be in love, whether with a person, or just with life. Simply put, " Midwinter" melts your heart. It's structure is rather simple, but profound; and with extraordinarily sumptious and moving orchestration. It is amazing what some composers can do with electronics these days. Kendle claims on his albums that "outstanding production and crystal clear sound are trademark features of his work, prompting some to rate him as one of the finest keyboard artists recording today." I agree.

The closest analogy I can relate Kendle's "Midwinter" piece to, is Robert Carty's "Within Love." It has the same deceptively-tame intro, followed by the appearance of the haunting repeating motif and then the gorgeous melody in counterpoint. Kendle is here challenging Carty's title (in my book, at least) of the most poignant composer of today. Carty's melodic lines are more emotionally biting, but Kendle's sound is more elegant than Carty's was at the time he created his romantic masterpieces. But these are two supreme works, and I hope Kendle's gets more notice and appreciation than Carty's got; although some people indeed recognized "Within Love" for the masterwork that it is. I don't know if these two composers know each other, but perhaps the fact that Kendle is creating a "Deep Skies" series, and Carty's self-publishing company is called "Deep Sky Music," is a clue that they are on the same high wavelength. The fact that Steve Roach just created a great piece called "Deep Sky Time" (from New Life Dreaming) hints that, maybe on the superconscious level, Roach finally recognizes the work of his younger colleagues; or at least, they are secretly communing up in the deep sky we all share.

Other similar works to Kendle's "Midwinter" include Carty's "Love Life"
(Natural Wonder), Suzanne Ciani's "The Velocity of Love," George Wallace " Within the Dream," Borodin's Polovetsian Dance #2, Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," and the Beatles "Here There and Everywhere" and " Michelle." Can anyone think of other works that fit this genre? Besides the obvious Pachelbel piece?

Programmers owe it to their listeners not to let them miss out on these works by Kevin Kendle!

Review by Eric Meece, Broadcaster, USA


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