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New Age Reporter Review of WINTER - page 1


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"... Kevin Kendle has continued to refine his craft through the years to such a degree that with Winter (his latest recording), he has reached the point where his music has transcended the new age and relaxation genres and almost belongs in a class by itself. That may sound like hyperbole and maybe even a tad pretentious on my part, but Kevin’s music is now so technically sophisticated, so musically diverse when compared to the bulk of the genre, and so subtly dramatic and warmly inviting that I honestly can’t lump it in with most other new age music recordings. Winter represents a new high in compositional skill from the English keyboard player, as well as also showcasing his relatively new ability to surround himself with accompanists. The guests on this album include James Asher on hammered dulcimer (heard on the opening track), Nigel Shaw on flutes and whistles, Chris Conway on zither and whistles, Brian Abbott on glissando guitar, and his own son, Sam, on acoustic guitar (on “Icicles”). Some tracks feature just the artist himself, but even he has branched out, adding percussion, glockenspiel, chimes, and even sleigh bells(!) to his vast assortment of keyboards.

Attempting to capture, in music, the wonder and beauty of the winter season is a daunting task, but Kevin carries it off with music which varies from somber and reflective to childlike and playful and also dramatic and sweeping. No matter what emotion a song is rooted in, though, the artistry of Kevin’s composing and performing is always in evidence. This variety of moods and contrasting musical textures and motifs is why I made the statement I did at the start of this review. On the opening “January Sunrise,” he deftly navigates from the neo-Celtic opening with its hammered dulcimer and plaintive whistle, transitioning to a gentle midtempo section featuring guitar, soprano sax, and delicate chimes, and then winds it back down amidst a snow-shower of twinkling synths and shimmering keyboards. This is all the proof you should need that this is not your standard new age music – not by a long shot!


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