Kevin Leonard - "Automatrix"
(Space Monster Optional Entertainment, 1995 CD-0995-3)
From Aural Innovations #4 (October 1998)
According to the promo material keyboardist Kevin Leonard has been quite active having recorded a number of albums with the band North Star throughout the 80's, and four solo releases. "Automatrix", his fourth solo effort was originally released in 1992 and was re-released as a CD in '95.
An all-instrumental effort, "Automatrix" features intricate keyboard pieces that utilize piano and electronic keyboards to produce excitingly complex progressive rock. Throughout the disc's eight tracks Leonard displays both chops and inventive compositional ability. As musicians, Keith Emerson and Kit Watkins are fair comparisons, and a few of the piano parts reminded me of Tony Banks' playing from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Musically, however, this is closer to much of what I've heard from A Triggering Myth, though having been recorded in '91, "Automatrix" predates ATM's recordings.
Leonard incorporates both classical and fusion influences with a piano/keyboard interplay that produces multiple layers of complex melody lines. Much of this has a frantic, quirky, 'edge of your seat' quality that keeps the music intense and gripping throughout. For someone who has been around so long Leonard deserves to be heard and I confess that Automatrix came as a pleasant surprise.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz