Kit Watkins ~ vocals, keys, bass, wind synthesizer, percussion
Forrest Young ~ drums & percussion (tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
Bill Smith ~ assorted percussion (tracks 2, 4)
Greg Moreau ~ ebow guitar (track 4)
PRODUCED & ENGINEERED BY KIT WATKINS, 2007-19
All tracks by Kit Watkins, except #1 by Peter Bardens.
Cover design by Kit Watkins
Kit Watkins, maestro of both the progressive and ambient genres, has generated musical splendor spanning five decades. His sonic landscapes have shown a mastery of percussion, woodwinds, synthesizers, and a host of other-worldly instruments. For his 30th official studio album, Field of View, Kit has imbued almost every new air with the magic of his own voice. In lyrical form and as a textural blanket, his vocals help the listener ascend to enjoy endlessly evocative views.
Three additional minstrels, Forrest Young, Bill Smith, and Greg Moreau each give an exhilarating new energy to key tracks. From these ingots of glowing metal, Kit has forged an accessible yet deeply hypnotic musical adventure for listeners. Hearken to these Views... Behold the Field of possibilities therein, and this album will transport you, again and again.
It’s always good news whenever Kit Watkins releases new music, and for me, being unaware of his two 2015 releases, the last one I heard was Sky Zone from 2006. When one listens to the seven cuts here the music unmistakably has Watkins’ signature all over it, both in composition, arrangements, and performance — there is really nodody else who sounds like him. The biggest news regarding Field of View is that Kit is using his voice far more more than almost any of his previous releases, although with the exception of the opener “Spirit of the Water” (a cover of the Camel tune from Moonmadness), most of the vocals here are wordless extensions of his instrumental palette, mostly keyboards, wind synthesizer, and percussion. He is joined by various drummers and percussionists (Forrest Young or Bill Smith, track depending) and one cut (“Paradoxicon”) features Greg Moreau on ebow guitar. One might recall that the Camel version of that opening track sounds like the vocals were routed through Leslie speakers, giving it a very alien and distant sound; on the version at hand, Watkins’ voice is strong and completely untreated, yet still has that haunting mysteriousness that made it so special to begin with. Another haunting track here that will follow the listener around all day and night is “The Vessel Ruse,” a six chord sequence that stops and goes, highlighted by a strong bass undercurrent and percussion punctuated with colorful melodic sprites. The ten-minute “To Love Their Servitude” is reminiscent of some of the material from his Azure period, though some tuned mallet percussion (via synths I’m sure) is spread throughout the piece as well as some sampled spoken voice bits toward the end that elaborate on the title if one listens closely. A bit closer to heaven is “Life after Truth,” where Watkins’ wordless voices take center stage, certainly unlike anything he has done previously, though still bearing his imaginative compositional style. The title track closes the set, a dreamy and magical space where pillowy wind-synths criss-cross with voices and a piano undercurrent shifting from place to place, at times seeming restless, and calming in others. Overall, Field of View is a fine return to classic form with enough new elements in the mix to make it a sizable step forward. —Peter Thelen, 7-30-2019, Exposé
Kit Watkins — Kit’s solo career began in 1980 with the self-produced album Labyrinth, released on his own Azimuth Records label. The album won him 5th place in Keyboard magazine’s Annual Readers’ Poll Awards for keyboard album. Before this, Kit had recorded and toured with bands Happy The Man and Camel. He currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys gardening.
Forrest Young — Forrest became known as “The Emergency Drummer” in the late 90s while studying jazz at VCU. He’s earned three Emmy Awards for his session work on separate PBS documentaries. Forrest is also a visual artist whose Lyric Portraits can be seen at ArtThruZ.com.
Bill Smith — Bill is a drummer/percussionist who has performed in an eclectic array of ensembles playing rock, jazz, blues, Celtic, and avant-garde music. His album, “Music for Gongs, Bells & Singing Bowls,” led to his sessions using gongs for meditation, yoga, and wellness throughout the Southeast.
Greg Moreau — Greg has recorded many wonderful pieces of music over the years, influenced heavily by the art music movement from the 80s. His EBow work graces the track Paradoxicon.on this album, and gives a glimpse into his creative genius.