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Kenso Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis album cover
4.17 | 76 ratings | 8 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fist of Fury (5:10)
2. The Cunning Madrigal (4:20)
3. Prelude to Concealment (2:23)
4. Wooden Horse Pathos (3:57)
5. The Split Gate (6:57)
6. Rebellion (4:04)
7. The Stairs for Dreaming (2:27)
8. Echoes from Romano (5:27)
9. The Daughter of a Recluse (2:10)
10. A Way of Living as Taro (2:40)
11. Doppelganger in the Night (1:14)
12. Isolated Jiro (4:14)
13. The Understanding (1:01)
14. A Grim Diary (5:53)
15. Amalgamation of Self and Others (1:36)

Total Time 53:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Yoshihisa Shimizu / guitars, bouzouki, synth, ethnic instruments, producer
- Kenichi Mitsuda / piano, synth, accordion
- Kenichi Oguchi / organ, synth
- Shunji Saegusa / bass
- Masayuki Muraishi / drums, electronic drums

- Keiko Kawashima / flamenco vocals & handclaps

Releases information

Artwork: Shinsaku Fujita

CD King Records ‎- KICS 954 (2002, Japan)
CD VM 2000 ‎- VM 089 CD ( ? , Italy)

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KENSO Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis ratings distribution

(76 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KENSO Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
5 stars As other reviewers have pointed out, the Kenso sound often resembles the best efforts of British "progressive jazz-rock fusion" bands such as Bruford, Brand X and National Health. Some of their most majestic guitar solos also bring Steve Hackett to mind. However, it needs to be pointed out that these guys are much more than epigones. There is such joy in their playing, and their melodies (which occasionally have an East Asian flavour) sound so memorable that they have become one of my favourite progressive bands. Do you sometimes despair that no-one plays prog these days with the same palet of colours, and the same inventivity, as on CLOSE TO THE EDGE or SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND? Do you enjoy (maybe) the music of the Flower Kings or Spock's Beard but does the banality of their lyrics tend to annoy you? Kenso's albums are all instrumental. These guys play with great virtuosity and tremendously youthful enthusiasm. All I need to add is that FABULIS MIRABILIBUS is their most original and enjoyable album to date! (However, if you can get hold of IN THE WEST or YUME NO OKA, I'm convinced you'll be hooked as well.)
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I enjoyed their "Dream Hill" release,but to be honest it didn't do a lot for me. So my expectations weren't that high for this one. They had me right where they wanted me. Haha. To compare the two albums is like comparing black & white to colour. This is so much more dynamic, I couldn't believe it was the same band. It's like they have totally let go of anything that was holding them back.

"Fist Of Fury" sounds like a Prog-Metal song. Fantastic scorching guitar as drums pound away so crisply and bass throbs. Some good organ from Kenichi who has guested on a RUINS album. Check it out after 3 minutes as the tempo picks up and the synths come in. The guitar is back 4 1/2 minutes in. "The Cunning Madrigal" opens with a pleasant melody before a dark and heavy sound comes in. This is incredible ! Again, I can't believe this is the same band.The guitar is beautiful, as is the organ before 2 minutes. It gets brighter sounding 3 minutes in like the intro. "Prelude To Concealment" features more heaviness. The drums and organ are great ! A change 1 1/2 minutes in as we hear a vocal melody and percussion. More splendid guitar. "Wooden Horse Pathos" again puts the spotlight on the organ and guitar as drums pound away with precision. A calm with piano is brief, and it is followed up with some blistering guitar. "The Split Gate" takes a minute to really get going. Light drums slowly beat as synths and percussion? take turns.The song gets more aggressive before 3 minutes as guitar comes in. Nice. It calms back down after 5 minutes. "Rebellion" is a great tune. The first 3 minutes make me feel good with the pounding drums and tasteful angular guitar melodies. Then they turn it up a notch for as the guitar becomes more prominant and organ shines as well.

"The Stairs For Dreaming" is a reflective acoustic guitar piece. "Echoes From Romano" reminds me of CAMEL until the pulsating synths come in. A full sound arrives 1 1/2 minutes in. "The Daughter Of A Recluse" features Eastern sounding synths? in this pleasant tune. "A Way Of Living As Taro" is another good one. An uptempo song with what sounds like vibes. The drums and bass are really well done. "Doppelganger In The Night" opens with what sounds like Hendrix on the axe. Guitar and keys intertwine the rest of the way. "Isolated Jiro" sounds like a ZEPPELIN outake. Nice and heavy with guitar leading the way. "The Understanding" is a short mellow tune that ends strongly. "A Grim Diary" opens with bass and drums before the guitar angles it's way in if you know what I mean. This is incredible ! Just a great, heavy rhythm to this one. Piano comes in and then some vocals after 4 1/2 minutes. Some nice keyboard melodies as the drums intricately beat to end the song. "Amalgamation Of Self And Others" closes the album with gentle keys and some odd sounds.

If you want to check out KENSO this is a great place to start. This was fun. Highly recommended.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It took me a long-time to hunt down this highly-rated album and I was finally rewarded by finding it sitting in a discount bin in my favorite Montreal progressive rock store. It slipped into my hands faster than a chameleon's sticky tongue and I can now crow about my patience. Kenso is quite a band, often given comparisons with stalwarts like Brand X but I see them as a much heavier jazz-rock outfit that has few similarities with anyone out there. Led by the mercurial guitarist Yoshihisa Shimizu (who allegedly is a dentist during the day), the overall impression is one of complex insanity, delirious instrumental exuberance and unparalleled technical flash. Two keyboardists, both synthesizer specialists, one on organ and the other on piano, make for quite a keyboard intense frenzy. Bassist Shunji Saegusa is a monster, who bleeds laser quick blasts for a living, providing the acceleration for drummer Masayuki Muriashi to beat his kit into a pulp.

Perhaps fission is a better description than fusion, like the opener "Fist of Fury" as the material is scintillating, rapid- fire and explosive, to say the very least, with occasional ethnic/ambient pauses like on "The Split Gate", a 7 minute jewel of a track that has all the goods including a blistering guitar rampage. The infusion of Japanese sounds makes this a unique discovery adding originality to a style that shreds like an Osaka chef gone berserk. On a piece like "Rebellion", Shimizu alters his guitar tone once again, a true master of various effects, doing some lovely Andy Summers-like slashes on rhythm while searing like Adrian Belew on the lead. Very breezy, yet smoldering from all the previous molten lava spewing, the master cannot help drilling and grating like a mad dentist (which he may be). Combining experimental sounds with acoustic guitar and odd female voice effects on "The Stairs of Dreaming" serve only as a prelude setting for the impressive and oddly symphonic "Echoes from Romano" which, when it gets uncorked, packs quite the wallop with a bass guitar leading the charge and evolving into a funky chariot ride. The various organ solos are a turbo-charged fury that would make Jon Lord proud. Dense, cinematographic and contemporary, this is Kenso at its most prog.

Follows a suite of shorter pieces, mostly within the 2-3 minute range that run the gamut of synthesized indigenous turbulence, an accordion-fueled field trip that adds vibes (probably the V-drums) and burping bass. Then, to show off more guitar-god influences, toss in some reverb-laden Jimi Hendrix caresses that sputter like phosphorus, gradually foaming like some experiment gone haywire. If that is not enough to convince, Shimizu then nods at late- period Jimmy Page on the heroic 4 minute "Isolated Jiro", incorporating some amazing dissonance and oblique phrasings that have a hint of Kashmirian mountains. Exhilarating!

Alternating soft synthesizer/piano soundscapes and harsh athletic bluster is what finishes off this amazing album, going from one extreme to another. "A Grim Diary" is just that, a persistent bass line and syncopated drum rhythm sets the stage, for a fiery run on the fret board, Shimizu showing off a mastery that is certainly deserving of major acclaim. Technically fast and furious, his notes have purpose as well, swerving, soaring, diving and crashing like a nimble Zero fighter from WW2. When the insane flamenco vocals enter the fray, you get completely lost in the eye of the hurricane that has engulfed you.

I am truly giddy after listening to this flurry of stormy delirium. Fusion/fission of the highest order and a must for any respectable progger. If you need one Kenso album, this may be it. My patience has been rewarded.

4.5 Cunning Nipponese madrigals

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars More excellent heavy prog rock with a hint of jazz from these veterans from Japan.

1. "Fist of Fury" (5:10) hard drivin' (8/10)

2. "The Cunning Madrigal" (4:20) unforgettable melody (8.5/10)

3. "Prelude to Concealment (2:23) probably looks really good on paper! (4/5)

4. "Wooden Horse Pathos" (3:57) more like 'wooden apathos.' J/k! I actually hear/feel a little emotion in this one (loose playfulness!) More like this, please! (8.5/10)

5. "The Split Gate" (6:57) a familiar Balinese Gamelan song taken and progified. Great opening third, loses its soul a bit once it goes racing into the prog jazz fusion track but then regains some dignity in the final third. A top three song for me. (13.75/15)

6. "Rebellion" (4:04) raunchy Grunge sounds brought to a bluesy-jazz fusion fabric. Great Fripp guitar. I really like the pace of this one: it allows each instrument the opportunity to be heard. Another top three song. (9/10)

7. "The Stairs for Dreaming" (2:27) weird and disjointed. (4/5)

8. "Echoes From Romano" (5:27) beautiful classically-infused opening 90 seconds with great melodies. Turns hillbilly hoedown in an ELP way in the second minute. Thankfully returning to the melodies of the opener in the third minute before transitioning into an all-out YES ALBUM passage in the fourth minute. Great song despite its unusual motifs spliced together as they are. (9/10)

9. "The Daughter of a Recluse" (2:10) opens with a Japanese folk melody played on keyboard bamboo flute. Joined by guitar, bass, and then electric guitar--still in the first minute. With a weird keyboard passage at the beginning of the second minute, this is obviously meant as an étude. (4.25/5)

10. "A Way of Living as Taro" (2:40) echoplex-like guitar introduces a tightly formed CARAVAN-like Canterbury tune. keep expecting Richard Sinclair to start singing! Love the steel drums! (9/10)

11. "Doppelganger in the Night" (1:14) raunchy electric guitar-led étude. (4/5)

12. "Isolated Jiro" (4:14) opens like a heavy pop song before going into a jazz-rock theme. (8/10)

13. "The Understanding" (1:01) gentle BOB JAMES-like whole group smooth jazz. (4.5/5)

14. "A Grim Diary" (5:53) rolling bass line with Bruford-like syncopated drums opens this one. Soloing electric guitar enters around 0:40. Synth takes a little trip in the fore around 1:00 before relinquishing the reins to guitar, bass and drums again. Odd synth sounds join in the third minute and then piano fills a pause before things amp back up for the final stretch of almost three minutes. Slight changes in tempos of several of the instruments though the overall pace remains constant. Pretty cool how they did that! (9/10)

15. "Amalgamation of Self and Others" (1:36) electric piano solo exposition is cut off at 0:35 by synth-generated "ocean wave" sounds. EP rejoins, trying to be heard through the electro-static fuzz.(4.25/5)

Total Time: 53:33

Impressive display of skills! What lacks in the music from much of this album--especially the first half--is some kind of soul; it all feels so much like mathematically worked out mental masturbation--circle jerking (cuz of the tight timing and frequent feeling of entrainment). I respect the artists, their skills and their hard work, but I want to feel more of their spirit in their art. Perhaps they were trying to impress too much with those opening songs.

Four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Review by progpositivity
4 stars Sometimes genius simply cannot sit still long enough to endure the inconveniences of trivial matters like song style categorizations and constructing a well thought out running order for a CD. Fortunately for us, Kenso's leader Yoshihisa Shimizu did not allow his musical genius to distract him from such pragmatic matters of attention to detail. This is a fabulous collection of well constructed and skillfully performed hard rock jazz fusion tunes.

My only complaint is that many of the shorter sound experiments/pastiches which are sprinkled throughout the second half of the album are not given an opportunity to develop into anything substantive. Perhaps Yoshihisa was concerned about them overstaying their welcome. Well, they don't do that, but in most cases, neither do they establish a satisfying and/or memorable musical statement.

Don't allow that to deter you though. If you are a fan of jazz-rock fusion, this is a "must listen" album IMO!!

Track by track:

The first track (Fist of Fury) clearly establishes that this will essentially be a guitar led hard rock jazz fusion album (with soaring synth solos and a strong rhythm section).

The second track (The Cunning Madrigal) is a beautifully interwoven composition of various lines and instrumental voices. Keys, guitar, bass and drums all shine (often simultaneously as a synergistic whole). Highly recommended.

Track #3 is a similar hard rock jazz fusion tune which curiously introduces a palpable ethnic twist toward the end. This ethnic element will come and go, ebb and flow throughout the rest of the album. I like the way this track introduces it so very prominently. I think this helps make the many re-introductions of ethnic intricacies seem much more subtle and less surprising than they might have been otherwise.

Track 4 (Wooden Horse Pathos) is a more straight-forward jamming slice of fusion with some humorous outbursts which remind me of classic RIO a bit. There is a rather short but very melodic and elegant piano interlude toward the end which cannot restrain the song for long. In the end, it wraps up with a familiar outburst of energy.

Track 5 - The Split Gate The first minute or so features ethnic instruments in what sounds like a street performance. A unique instrument reminds me of tuned drums. Whatever that instrument (or patch) is, it will reappear to play prominent role again before this album's running time is complete.

There is much more 'back and forth' sharing of leads between guitar and "tuned drum" as well as keyboards and "tuned drum". And this should go without saying... the drums and bass are powerful and tight throughout the entire album.

Track 6 - Rebellion This jazz rock fusion tune is a bit more straight-forward on the rock side. We catch our breath a bit at about the 2 minute mark with a passage of slower more melodic interplay between keys and guitar. But worry not! The intensity starts to pick back up a little before the 3 minute mark. Nice syncopation adds energy and spice at around 3:14. The song wraps up festivities by letting us down quickly yet gently which sets the stage for the lighter mood of the next piece.

7 - The stairs for dreaming This song features relaxing acoustic guitar which soon encounters a subtly experimental collage of sounds including a loop of a semi-intensely spoken word.

I'm not typically a huge fan such noise patchworks experiments, but for some reason the various noise elements are treated so musically that I does seem to actually "work" for me.

This song foreshadows that additional shorter experimental collage pieces will be coming our way later on in the album.

8 - Echoes From Romano is a beautiful symphonic piece. There is a Renaissance feel to this tune that is not entirely unlike the general "feel" of track #2 (A Stunning Madrigal). But it is less bouncy, more smooth and serene. It is reminiscent of some of Gentle Giant's more melodic pieces.

Somewhere around 1:40, a rock beat kicks which Kenso would typically be expected to followed with blistering electric guitar or synth leads. But instead of rock guitar - SURPRISE - accordion takes the center stage! But the intensity doesn't totally drop. The juxtaposition of rock drums and bass with accordion is quite interesting. It is a bit hard for me to tell when the accordion ends and organ begins in this song. It has its frenetically energetic passages. But it is also very memorable for shimmering with utter beauty.

NOTE: Five of the next seven songs will be shorter pieces many of which in some way or another will be either "experimental" or at least venture a bit "outside" the normal musical range of the rest of the album.

9 - The Daughter of a Recluse The Renaissance feel continues on this short and tightly composed piece. This is wonderful music. If someone had told me this was a restore, remastered and newly published demo from Gentle Giant's hey day I just might have believed them!

10 - A way of living as Taro recalls shades of track 5 (The Split Gate) but in a shorter less satisfying manner IMO.

11 - Doppelganger in the night begins with a quasi-Hendrix styled guitar lead. This piece feels too much like an INTRO to something that unfortunately never happens for my taste. Right when I got the feeling that the prelude had been established and we were about to TAKE IT somewhere, the piece suddenly ended, leaving me cold. I feel like there is a more full SONG to flesh out from these melodic phrases when suddenly our progress is stilted and the entire proceeding is suddenly truncated. Game over.

12 - Isolated Jiro could be considered a bit related to the previous track. It explores some similar ideas where the previous track left off - but not convincingly. Fortunately, it is a much more satisfying piece in its own right. This is remarkable music. It jumps effortlessly from idea to idea

13 - The Understanding is exquisitely beautiful pastoral piece featuring whistle-like synth, piano, organ and clean melodic electric guitar. Alas, it is too short IMO. This is another piece that DESERVES a FULL SONG IMO. When you have as many great IDEAS as Yoshihisa Shimizu, I suppose you can afford to leave many of them unexplored. But it is a bit disappointing to me as a listener. To speak in terms of food, it is like being given a SAMPLE TASTE of a wonderfully appetizing new dish which I will NEVER get to eat. Am I happy for the sample? Or am I frustrated by it never turning into something I can sink my teeth into? It is a bit of both - but I'm afraid it is a touch more the LATTER. I would gladly trade in 3 of these shorter tastes for 1 more fully developed main course.

14 - A grim diary - This is an experimental jam piece which manages to interlock contrasting rhythms into genuinely interesting poly-rhythms. Well done.

15 - Amalgamation of Self and Others. This is the one short piece which does not leave me wanting more. The idea may have potential but the competing sound sources of music and noise just don't do much for me. Your milage may vary though so be sure to check it out!

Latest members reviews

4 stars The cd edition that I own is issued in Italy, and features a beautiful heavyweight gatefold mini-LP sleeve with an 8-page booklet containing pictures of the band members and other info. (The Latin-sounding title may simply be the result of the Italian production?) This 2002 studio album from th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441972) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Best prog album ever? Here's my exhibit A. These Japanese dudes just keep on delivering the goods. I'd been a Kenso fan for ten years before I heard this insanely brilliant, furiously energetic album (trying to keep up with Il Berlione or Happy Family, boys?). This really is quite absurdly won ... (read more)

Report this review (#94660) | Posted by Paul Stump | Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fast and furious, Kenso come out with all guns blazing on this release. Where some of their earlier works emphasized mood over substance, this is power fusion all the way. Maybe heavy metal fusion. Miss at your own expense. ... (read more)

Report this review (#40476) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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