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Kenso - Kenso CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 45 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Consistency is the right word to describe KENSO's journey through the years.Over 35 years of a great musical career is the best proof for that.They were formed in 1974 by guitarist/keyboardist Yoshihisa Shimizu but this first period of the band didn't last long,as Shimizu concentrated on his medical studies,not to mention KENSO were just an amateur band playing for fun.In late 70's they reformed under Shimizu's guidance to record their self- titled debut,which has been re-issued with 6 bonus tracks.

STYLE: Maybe my favorite style of Japanese Prog and definitely one of the best to come out of progressive rock music.A mind-blowing mix of Symphonic Rock and Canterbury Jazz-Prog,where the archaic sound of flutes blends attractively with the synthesizers.Very complicated music at moments with series of professional interplays dominated by the keys and the magnificent performance of Shiro Yajima on flutes.Nice work on guitars by leader Yoshihisa Shimizu,who's style ranges from HACKETT-ish melodic parts to FRIPP- ian complex outbursts.Endless soft symphonic passages created by awesome keyboards are an ear;s heaven.I also recognize the addition of traditional Japanese tunes at some points.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Hold on and try to imagine GENESIS and CAMEL jamming together with NATIONAL HEALTH and SUPERSISTER!For those who have listened to the masterful works of MR.SIRIUS,you know exactly what to expect.

PLUS: The inspired and fantastically executed interplays and breaks.The memorable work of Shiro Yajima on flutes,certainly one of the best flutist to be heard.The way that calm symphonic passages alternate with the more complex parts of the Canterbury school of prog.The balanced mix and acceptable production of an 80's prog album.Surprisingly the synths not only do not sound cheesy,but we would probably talking about a different album,were they absent!Compositionally speaking KENSO belong to the top league of progressive rock.

MINUS: The big problem of all Japanese bands:the vocals do not fit well with the music plus they are rather amateur.Fortunately the album is mostly instrumental.The bonus tracks are in a Hard-Symph Prog mood,nice tracks in general but somewhat out of the main' album's atmosphere.

WILL APPEAL TO: The whole prog community without exception and to every music fan who wants to broaden his horizons with a qualitive album.

CONCLUSION/RATING: Playing one of the most demanding styles of prog and delivering such a great number of unforgettable pieces of art,KENSO's debut can only flirt with the masterpiece label...4.5 stars and a little suggestion to those not familiar with Japanese vocals.

apps79 | 4/5 |


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