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Kenny Mitchell - The Light and The dark... CD (album) cover

THE LIGHT AND THE DARK...

Kenny Mitchell

 

Crossover Prog

3.21 | 9 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
3 stars This is the latest release from Kenny Mitchell, who has been playing music for well over forty years, but only started recording his own material in 2001. This is his eighth album since then, and while he provides all music, he is joined by Nathan Jon Tillett on vocals from Napier's Bones. They met by chance a few years ago when Mitchell was going through Soundcloud and came across Tillett's page. This album contains two lengthy (more than twenty minutes long each) instrumentals, plus two shorter songs with vocals. It was one of these that led to this being a connected album, as when Nathan provided the lyrics for "Where Do I Go" he based them loosely on the story of the Charlotte Dymond murder which occurred on Bodmin Moor in 1844, and for which her spurned lover Matthew Weeks was convicted and hanged in August of that year. There was some controversy and speculation surrounding the conviction which is still discussed and debated today, more than 170 years later. Mitchell says: "Nathan's lyrics were so powerful and effective for the song that I decided to likewise loosely arrange this entire album around Charlotte and her story, and especially to try to give her a happy ending of some sort, if only an imaginary one. "Charlotte's Journey" describes her re-awakening after death and her travels through the void towards the shining light in the distance, "Where Do I Go" tells the story of her murder while "Reflections" and "The Waterfall" are given over to her killer who after the trial and conviction is given a short time to reflect on his deeds and his fate.

Given that Mitchell is first and foremost a guitarist, with keyboards being very much a secondary instrument, I was rather surprised to hear them so much to the fore, as there are times during the instrumentals when he comes across as Jean Michel Jarre, which is not what I expected at all. But, it does make sense given that this is a very atmospheric album, and the spoken words that feature in the opening epic works incredibly well with that backing. In some ways the album feels almost like three separate pieces of work, with the areas where synths are to the fore being one, when the guitars are off and running (as they do in "Reflections") is another, while the vocal area is a third. In some ways this means that as a whole the album can feel a little disjointed, and I would personally rather that Mitchell keeps these albums as pure instrumentals, which would allow the flow to be better throughout, and for him and Tillett to set up a separate project for where they record albums together. Overall this is an interesting release, and as with all his other albums they have all been released on Bandcamp so I suggest that progheads should give them a try.

kev rowland | 3/5 |

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