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Kitaro - Thinking Of You CD (album) cover



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4 stars -- The first review for this album --

This is the last one in the chain of good albums KITARO released during the 90's. After this the Japanese synth legend has been notably less active. The key word here could be "romantic", as the album title suggests. Many listeners want to categorize Kitaro as a New Age artist, and this album doesn't much fight against that point of view. But of course his music is hardly ever just easy listening / relaxation softness; also here you hear the orchestral sounding, symphonic tendencies with a careful dose of drama.

The 54-minute album consists of ten tracks that form a harmonic sonic journey. The canvas is wide open for the listener's own inner images come and go. The opening piece 'Estrella' nicely reminds me of his brilliantly produced album The Light of the Spirit (1987) which I bought on vinyl in my teens. The drums and harp accompany the synths. 'Mercury' is more ethereal and dreamy, a bamboo flute (or a synth sounding like one) playing the moody melodies. 'Cosmic Wave' increases the sense of drama. Some of the synth sounds are reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre while the whole is distinctively Kitaro and no one else.

Aptly titled 'Harmony of the Forest' is a perfect example of the "mystery in nature" sense in Kitaro's music. Like 'Mercury', the livelier 'Fiesta' relies strongly on the bamboo flute. It has an almost danceable rhythm and a Peruvian- reminding ethnic flavour despite the synth backing. The album's title track has -- typically for Kitaro -- very song-like melodic approach, and the arrangement sounds rich as if there were a large orchestra. 'Spirit of Water' is a spacey, ambient and nearly atonal sonic painting with some sound effects. This music could be used in an exhibition of modern art, in a dark room with perhaps some video art. The deep ambience continues seamlessly on 'Stream' which gradually returns to the more familiar Kitaro territory (the hurriless, long and repetitive synth wailings la Silk Road). The harp sounds good, giving the piece a slight Andreas Vollenweider reminiscense. 'Spacete' then approaches the Vangelis-like synth tapestry: after the majestic slow beginning it gets more intense and rhythmic, almost like the 'Blade Runner' theme. 'Del Mar' featuring oceanic sound effects is a brief but dynamic finale to this fine album. The electric guitar has a Mike Oldfield flavour.

Indeed I would gladly recommend this album for a newcomer to Kitaro's music. It's not necessarily Kitaro at his most progressive, but the balance between romantic calmness and the cinematic grandiosity is pretty ideal. All the ten tracks are enjoyable and also have their own distinctive characters, which is not for granted with Kitaro.

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Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | Review Permalink

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