Kevin Bartlett’s career in the rock arena proved to be very interesting, from playing in the obligatory bar bands, to lighting design and stage management, retail/wholesale record buying/selling, to Television and Theatrical scoring, to booking and concert promotion, to running a record label and touring as a musician. There was even a disco band along the way but he’ll deny it.
The "Rennaissance Man" term truly applies to Kevin who has worked the business from all sides. Three years of early teenage R&B bar bands gave way to the Psychedelic era where Bartlett took to special effects lighting design and found himself working with the likes of Janis Joplin, Led Zepplin, Jeff Beck, The Who, B.B. King, John Cage, The Moody Blues, and The Velvet Underground and to name a few.
His first love of playing music (rather than colorizing it) brought him to Rochester, NY in 1971 where he began experimenting with Rock Theatre and electronic music, back when he claims that synthesizers used to take up "entire rooms". He co-wrote, recorded and produced two full length Rock Operas in the 1970s while supporting the endeavors as manager and buyer for one the nation’s largest record retailers. "I think all aspiring recording artists should serve a mandatory sentence in record retail. It’s a very sobering and eye opening look at the machine. Plus you get alot of free stuff."
In the early 80’s Kevin’s compositional and theatrical background naturally led to scoring for Dance and Theatre. He scored the world premiere of Toni Morrison’s play, "Dreaming Emmett", as well as scores for New York’s Circle Rep, The Nikolais Dance Theatre Company, and The Empire State Youth Theatre Institute. His unique use of synthesizers became sought after by the advertising world and in 1983, Kevin opened shop as Aural Gratification, composing for TV and Radio, while also releasing 10, ninety minute soundscapes for museums, art galleries and a small mail order catalog. To date he has composed for MTV, HBO, VH-1, Comedy Central and his favorite, Sesame Street. "I now have a pretty good grasp of my numbers and the alphabet!"
The Aural Gratification label was founded by Bartlett as a vehicle for his recordings and later co-produced and released nine albums by the gifted composer / vocalist, Happy Rhodes. In the mid-90s Aural Gratification released two ambient techno compilations for the European market, on which Bartlett contributed seven tracks and collaborated on another three with composer Bokeno. "That experience refocused me on creativity. It was great to get out from behind the desk and the phones. I found I was much happier making music than I was marketing it. People said I was even less cranky." Volume 3 is planned for release one of these freakin’ days.
Kevin currently lives in Woodstock, NY, where he has just completed construction on the new Aural Gratification Studios. He also is busy at work composing and producing for TV and film while rehearsing and staffing a small tour that will feature his works from Glow in the Dark and Near-Life as well as a few surprises and guests. Look for the film Peaceable Kingdom due out soon that will feature a fair portion of Glow in the Dark as it’s soundtrack.