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Kitaro - In Person (Live) CD (album) cover

IN PERSON (LIVE)

Kitaro

 

Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 2 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars I am not intimately familiar with the breadth of KITARO's work as part of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND in the 1970s or as a solo/collaborative artist since, but he occupies one of those inextirpable corridors of my memory thanks to this album. On some releases its full title is "In Person Digital", and so it was presented in its entirety on a French language radio station in Quebec City on a lonely summer evening in 1982. I must have known it would be special because I recorded it all on cassette, eventually buying the LP. It might have mesmerized me more then than it would the modern listener today, but it might just be a work of widespread emotional resonance, an impassioned breakthrough for a release so dominated by electronica.

"Prologue" could be lifted from the intro to any number of earlier TANGERINE DREAM albums, an amorphous brew that passes barely filtered into "Eternal Spring". It is only halfway through this track that we realize the artists will actually play distinguishable notes, and very distinguished they are. One hypnotic sequence on a synth that sounds like a keyboard is overlaid by a counter melody on another synth. A far eastern flair is discerned but not forcibly so. As the exercise fades out, in fades "Westbound", certainly the most powerful piece here if not in the entire Kitaro discography. It too has a Tangerine Dream-esque feel with rhythmic keyboards and real percussion volleying back and forth, losing themselves in each others' auras, while exquisite violin contributions by Yasuo Kojima could induce goosebumps on a duck. As an aside, one of the Kitaro "Silk Road" albums contains a piece with the same title that sounds nothing like it. The laconic melody of "Silver Moon" is sometimes called "Silk Road" on other Kitaro releases. I'm really not trying to confuse you! It's also one track that uses mellotron, of the choral variety. "Peace" again accentuates violin with an appealing musical box accompaniment that craftily re-imagines some of the themes of "Westbound".

On the original LP, side 2 began in much the way of side 1, with an extended atmospheric piece. However, it more closely resembles some of MIKE OLDFIELD's work on "Incantations" than what came before. By this point it's quite clear that KITARO is a master of many trades, among them compilation and editing. When the mist clears and "Morning Prayer" emerges, its impact is not quite as arresting as on side 1, but just as well executed. "Tienshan" is similar but superior, with the lead synths sounding more like moogs, raspy and bubbly. At the end of the interlude-like "Four Changes", we hear birdsong, which fades into the opening acoustic guitar chords of the epic "Magical Sand Dancing". Taking his cue from the earlier electronic wizards, the integration of acoustic guitar augments the already ponderous mood with another dimension in reflection. while the weeping synths are reminiscent of TOMITA himself.

Without a whisper of audience sound, "In Person Digital" is KITARO's private concert to fans, to each and every one in their living room, dorm room, dedicated home theatres, yoga studio, or monasteries. I utilize the religious reference to imply levels of spirituality I can't fathom but know are there. Indeed, if Kitaro is the master of anything, and I think he is, it is of parlaying electronica into spiritual vision with authenticity. Your attendance is recommended.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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