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Kenso - Kenso CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 41 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kenso's eponymous debut album is a testimony of their struggle to find their own prog voice, while clearly marking a preference for jazz-oriented prog. The influences of Happy the Man, the good side of 78-79 Camel, and National Health are there, but it's also fair to add that the presence of Far Eastern flavours in their melodic lines and harmonic textures give a special touch of exotic drive to their repertoire. The musicianship is excellent, though the recording process wasn't conveniently supported by an efficient sound production: this one is actually quite poor, not disastrous, but actually poor. Yet, that should not be a reason not to enjoy the magical beauty of 'Inei no Fue' and 'Umi', which in my opinion are the highlights of this album. Tracks 5 and 6 are the weirdest, and I mean really weird: stepping far out of their jazz-rock influence, they choose to swim across pools of synth driven avant garde ambiences, indulging in dissonances, tetrical sound and vocal effects, Cage and Stockhausen anti-melodic studies... in a few words, they go Area-esque. On the other hand, track 3 (the only one with vocals in it) mixes glam-rock oriented passages with some delicate jazz-rock interludes: this one most likely was a remanent for their early years, since their original line-up included a vocalist, and their style included some hard rock leaning (this phase is properly documented in some of the bonus tracks). Clearly, this record is not as cohesive as you must expect from any masterpiece to be. Nevertheles, all in all, the level of proficiency and skill in the band members' performances makes it one good place to start for the newbie's entry into the world of Kenso. Only from 'Kenso III' onwards you can find a fully coherent Kenso personality conveyed on record.

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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