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Kenso Kenso album cover
3.85 | 47 ratings | 3 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nihon No Mugi-Uta (5:54)
2. Inei No Fue (5:26)
3. Furiorosareta Yaiba (7:41)
4. Umi (5:31)
5. Kagome (15:28)
6. Buchan No Chugaeri (1:11)

Total time 41:11

Bonus Tracks On 1995 CD Release:
7. Umi (Live *) (7:40)
8. Hisho No Tokimade (1979) (2:17)
9. Shijunsetsu No Tabi (1979) (3:03)
10. Kasukanaru Shido (1977) (6:30)
11. Harukanaru Toki (1976) (3:22)
12. Tabiji (1976) (7:54)

Total time 71:57

* Recorded at Silver Elephant, 1983

Line-up / Musicians

- Yoshihisa Shimizu / guitar, keyboards, producer
- Shiro Yajima / flute
- Masayuki Tanaka / bass, keyboards
- Haruhiko Yamamoto / drums, percussion

- Kumiko Tanabe / vocals (2)
- Yoshiaki Tsukahira / vocals (3,10-12)
- Ichiro Karamatsu / keyboards (1,9)
- Kazuyuki Morishita / piano (2,4)
- Atsushi Makiuchi / keyboards (5-7)
- Kimiyoshi Matsumoto / bass

Releases information

LP Pam ‎- ICR-1144 (1981, Japan)

CD Arcāngelo ‎- ARC-1003 (1995, Japan) Remastered by Yoshihisa Shimizu with 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KENSO Kenso ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KENSO Kenso reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars An exceptionally good album. The opening track is the weakest with little sounds of interest, although it did/does keep me listening. With the flute on the second track I knew I had found what I was looking for the sounds is apart from other styles I had heard it was different. This contin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2493213) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Tuesday, January 12, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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