Kinetic Element – Powered by Light

What’s a characteristic of those bands who are, ready to take promotional duties on themselves, in addition to music? Of course, I’m talking about enthusiasm. I was contacted by Mike Visaggio recently, one of the leaders of this US symphonic/neo-prog band, Kinetic Element. Let me give you a short history about Kinetic Element and its mainman. Besides Mike, who plays keyboards and sings, the rest of the band consists of Michael Murray on drums and backing vocals, Todd Russell on guitars and David Donlon on bass. Kinetic Element has toured with Circa (featuring Tony Kaye and Alan White of Yes), Rare Blend and IZZ as well as many other ands. They have also played at Prog Day in 2008.

Kinetic Element is not Mike’s first band, as he has been involved in music since 1962, playing in a number of NYC cover bands, then in progressive rock groups Randori and Intervision. He has worked with Billy Falcon’s Burning Rose, as well as Strokers. In 2006, Mike released his first solo album named Starship Universe, which was used as a base for starting Kinetic Element and recording Powered by Light.

Now that I’ve bored you all to the verge of leaving this page forever, let’s get back to music. I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical when I got my hands on this CD, as I’m not much into neo-prog as a sub-genre, but the album quelled my fears, and the end result is quite excellent.

Powered by Light is divided into seven tracks, with a total duration of a little less than 70 minutes. The most obvious thing on this record is the usage the of the wonderful Hammond B3 organ, which is performed incredibly well. There’s evident influence from Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman in this playing. The whole album exudes an inspiring atmosphere, and Mike’s vocals and keboard harmonies go in favor really set this mood. Keyboards are definitely the *key* instrument of this release (sorry for the pun), but the other members are not there just as a fillers. Just check out the guitar solo in „Now and Forever“ or „Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart“. „Meditation“ is the only instrumental on the album and it’s written by Tod Russell. It’s a very nice acoustic piece that fits well as a bridge beween the vocal songs. The only complaint I have about this album have to do with the drums. In my opinion the drum work is rather simplistic, and I was expecting it to be dynamic, with more fillings and diversity like the rest of the music.

Powered by Light is not an epochal achievement, but it’s a good retrospective of what’s been done so far in the subgenre of neo-prog and as such, it deserves to be heard. I believe this album can be seen as an excellent starting point and, I hope that their second album will make a step forward and bring us some more originality in this era of hyperproduction. Keep up the good work guys!

Rating: 4/5

Tracklist:

1. Riding in Time (9:06)
2. The Ascent (8:21)
3. Now and Forever (7:29)
4. Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart (12:22)
5. Meditation (5:54)
6. Reconciliation (16:08)
7. See the Children (9:58)

Duration: 69:16

Kinetic Element

Line-up

* Mike Visaggio – piano, organ, synthesizers, mellotron, lead vocal
* Michael Murray – drums, backing vocal
* Tony D’Amato – bass
* Todd Russell – guitars

Links:

* Kinetic Element official website
* Kinetic Element @ MySpace
* Kinetic Element @ Facebook

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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