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Kinetic Element | Travelog

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Progressive Rock Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Travelog

by Kinetic Element

Classic Neo-symphonic progressive rock in the vein of the great prog acts of the 1970s.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. War Song
20:29 $2.60
2. Travelog
9:51 $1.60
3. Into the Lair
10:08 $1.60
4. Her
11:19 $1.60
5. Vision of a New Dawn
18:29 $2.60
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Kinetic Element is a symphonic progressive rock group from Richmond VA who has followed up its widely acclaimed first CD "Powered by Light" (2009) with another journey through instrumental brilliance and poignant lyrics titled "Travelog." Keyboardist Mike Visaggio and guitarist Todd Russell teamed up to compose the pieces on this CD and are ably assisted by classic rock style drumer Michael Murray and bassist Mark Tupko. KE employed the great talents of three singers (Dimetrius LaFavors, Michelle Schrotz and Mike Florio) who are all well known in the prog rock world. Travelog is a 70-minute excursion into the capabilities of a rock band to transport the listener into places he's never been, as is all good prog.


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Reviews


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Edward Pampani

Travelog
Excellent feat in music!
Great musicianship and stellar Vocals, impressive work from start to finish.
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eric harabadian

a brilliant tour of progressive music
Kinetic Element
Travelog Melodic Revolution Records MRR CD 22112. War Song; Travelog; Into the Lair; Her; Vision of a New Dawn.
Personnel: Mike Visaggio, keyboards; Todd Russell, guitars & triangle; Michael Murray, drums, percussion & whistling; Mark Tupko, bass; Dimetrius LaFavors, vocals ( tracks 1,2 &5); Michelle Schrotz, vocals ( track 3); Mike Florio, vocals ( track 4).
This is the long-awaited follow up to Kinetic Element’s 2009 debut release Powered by Light. That album gave the world a glimpse into the early Genesis/ELP/Yes-influenced musings of keyboardist Mike Visaggio and company. Travelog continues on that road of musical excellence, but ups the ante on all fronts. What first comes to mind is the brilliant level of melodic quality that runs throughout. There is an attention to detail here that is meticulously crafted, with sharp accents, contrasts and breaks that are performed by master musicians. The album is comprised of five distinct acts or pieces that seem to center around life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the challenges thereof. But nothing comes off particularly heavy handed, with concepts and ideas delivered in an engaging and poetic manner.
“War Song” opens with a series of distinct repetitive notes and patterns that serve as the bedrock for the band’s introductory statements. There is some nice conversation and interplay between Visaggio’s keys and Michael Murray’s drum filigree. Visaggio tends to add a lot of color to the mix with strings and creates a monster sound via organ and synth counterpoint. The entry of guitarist Todd Russell finds him blending psychedelic swells and noise, with fully realized and articulated sustained notes and legato phrasing. Demetrius LaFavors from the band Odin’s Court makes his first appearance and his presence grabs the listener from the outset. He’s got a voice that spans several octaves and utilizes his expressive gifts to full advantage. As the piece approaches the mid-section there are some intense exchanges between players which are seamless. The call and response of each musician is so exquisitely timed and spot on. The title track “Travelog” was written by Russell and appropriately begins with solo acoustic guitar in the vein of Andres Segovia or Christopher Parkening. After the somewhat bombastic and frenetic activity of the opening track this is a nice respite. And Russell is a virtuoso; taste-ful, empathic and a great manager of dynamics and space. LaFavors dutifully recites the composer’s clever take on “America the Beautiful,” with candor and an acknowledged wink. Madrigal-like Celtic motifs and various odd-metered twists and turns make this ride a wondrous “travelogue,” indeed! “Into the Lair” begins with an enveloping choral backdrop by way of Brave vocalist Michelle Schrotz. She furthers the story line of global freedom under siege amid dense rhythms and streamlined song structures. This seems to have a tight orchestral feel reminiscent of UK mixed with some of the more accessible aspects of Gentle Giant’s oeuvre. Schrotz has a clear and eloquent delivery that is delicate, yet packs a soulful punch. The third guest vocalist to the KE fold is Mike Florio of the Mass Dream Project. He sings Russell’s piece “Her” and has a nice mid range delivery to the lyrics. This features more of a jazzy feel from Visaggio where he comps proficiently in staccato fashion. His organ work here recalls Keith Emerson and Tony Kaye along with a bit of Brian Auger and John Novello. The keyboardist also employs tasteful orchestration behind much of this piece that really gives it a thick and rich façade. Florio’s backing vocals toward the latter part are exceptional as well. The fifth and final act of this treatise on the state of the world is entitled “Vision of a New Dawn.” There is a brilliant solo piano intro here that superbly couples jazzy improvisation with a romantic flair. This quickly leads into a full ensemble section showcasing Russell’s Steve Hackett/Al Dimeola-flavored lead lines. The guitarist’s deft mix of the electric with acoustic flamenco figures makes for a satisfying and unique pause in the proceedings. This concludes with an Eddie Jobson-like augmented key finish.
Travelog is a huge leap forward for this Richmond, Virginia-based progressive rock group. Improvements were made across the board, from the inclusion of first rate guest vocalists , more cogent and developed ideas behind the songwriting and a fatter and more distinct bottom end via bassist extraordinaire Mark Tupko. Also, kudos must be awarded to Michael Murray—who successfully took on double duty as sound engineer and drummer for this project—and the mixing/ mastering team of Fred Schendel and Steve Babb of the band Glass Hammer who gave the album just the right amount of shimmer and sheen. Clocking in at well over the 70 minute mark, this is an album that provides a wealth of musical depth and emotion and, with repeated listening, is, most assuredly, that proverbial gift that will keep on giving for some time to come.
--Eric A. Harabadian, freelance writer for Downbeat, Progression, Music Connection, Jazz Inside, etc.
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