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Kenso Kenso II album cover
4.09 | 80 ratings | 5 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sora Ni Hikaru (Shining In The Sky) (6:22)
2. Anesthesia Part 1 (2:05)
3. Anesthesia Part 2 (4:21)
4. Hyoto (Frozen Island) (6:13)
5. Brand Shikou (Brand IX) (4:34)
6. Harukanaru Chi E (Toward The Land Beyond) (3:55)
7. Naibu E No Tsukikage (Moon Casting Shadows Within) (3:45)
8. Sayonara Progressive (Arrivederci: Goodbye Prog) (7:06)

Total time 38:21

Bonus tracks on 1993 remaster:
9. Nihon No Mugiu-Ta (5:55)
10. Inei No Fue (5:26)
11. Umi (5:31)

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
9. Power Of The Glory (4:19)
10. Four Holes In The Ground (7:46)

Line-up / Musicians

- Yoshihisa Shimizu / guitar, keyboards
- Atsushi Makiuchi / keyboards
- Shiro Yajima / flute
- Kimiyoshi Matsumoto / bass
- Haruhiko Yamamoto / drums

- Naoko Shimogaito / vocals
- Sachiko Miyashita / vocals
- Kenichi Oguchi / keyboards (9,10)
- Toshihiko Sahashi / keyboards (9,10)
- Masayuki Tanaka / woodwind

Releases information

Artwork: Jun Endou

LP Pam ‎- PAM-002 (1982, Japan)

CD King Records ‎- KICS 285 (1993, Japan) With 3 bonus tracks, taken from 1st album
CD Pathograph ‎- PA-2504 (2002, Japan) Remastered by Hirokazu Fukushima With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy KENSO Kenso II Music

KENSO Kenso II ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KENSO Kenso II reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For the second Kenso album keyboardist Atsushi Makiuchi and bassist Matsumoto Kimiyoshi, who had been guest musicians on the debut, have been promoted to full-time members after the departure of bassist Tanaka Masayuki.The album was simply entitled ''Kenso II'' and was self-released in 1983.

For the first few albums the titles of Kenso's albums definitely lacked fantasy, but the main reason had to be that the band put all this fantasy into the compositions.So, this is again some excellent, frenetic and fiery Prog/Fusion albums with plenty of symphonic interruptions and impressive technique by the members.''Kenso II'' is another tremendous work filled with fascinating interplays and constant battles between the musicians, while here and there the mainly jazzy approach is supported by slight doses of Classical breaks and symphonic sections, driven by Makiuchi's deep keyboards and Yajima Shiro's high class flute-lines.The overall style recalls the best of FOCUS, AIN SOPH or FINCH, but noone can accuse Kenso for lacking identity, their music has this virtuosic Japanese touch, offered by this underrated Prog scene.The atmosphere delivered is full of dramatic passages and melodic solos with a top-notch rhythm section accompanying Shimizu Yoshihisa's Fusion-like guitars and the endless themes of the keyboard and flute players.

Yet another impressive work by Kenso.Adventurous, intricate and technical Symphonic/Fusion all the way.No less than highly recommended, especially if you find the CD reissues with the bonus tracks.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars Idea considered so that band leader's Yoshihisa Shimizu may start this "Kenso" in full scale at student's time. Or, it is guessed that the zeal conceived power to make only at that time. The band started exactly at beginning of event of the 80's. Of course, they had formed the band at high school student's time. However, the leader was talking that there were some obstructions in the situation in which they were left so that they might walk in full scale in the history of music as "Kenso".

The band of their Prog Rock for the market of Prog Rock of Japan of the 80's though the band had been acting since student's time. Or, it is true not to be in order of the situation for Scene of Jazz Rock either. All works are announced exactly in the form of independent production for their initial works.

And, the situation of the music of Japan to the real start of the member and the leader of the band of Kenso for advancing the band. Or, the situation in which the leader is left. Coexisting of work to have originally until shifting to band leader at student's time. It is guessed that there were a little trouble and a flow to the band. However, the intention and zeal that starts advancing the band in full scale though the form of independent production is taken appear completely in the work.

They have been discharging energy that had it really at that time since the time of 1st Album announced in the form of independent production in 1980. Prog Rock exactly faced the state of the revolution for the market of music in the early the 80's. To establish it, the flow to which their musician took the element of minority at that time, Prog Rock on the dawn in the 70's might have spent a lot of time. It is said that "Sora ni hikaru", "Hyoto", and "Sayonara Progre", etc. had been completed at time when 1st Album has already been announced. The situation of a band active as the form of independent production was taken in Prog Rock Scene of Japan that faced the revolution period including them at the dawn might have been really difficult. I think that their debuts were the especially impacts for the listener in Japan.

The zeal is a composition of the tune to have already appeared in an initial work and not to think that it is a band in Japan completely. Or, how to make the sound. And, the height of the technology of the performance. The method of the expression by the composition of the band splendidly makes the directionality of the music at which they aim at that time an embodiment though the flutist existed in their initial works.

The sound of other various bands will be able to be imagined if it listens to the tune of the band. The idea of Prog Rock and Jazz Rock that the Japanese thought about though it had the element of PFM, Gentle Giant, and Brand X will have been exactly the challenges to music from another angle. It doesn't stay in the home country, and as for this album, there is very an evaluation and the fan that says the masterpiece this album might be not few in foreign countries either. Kenso contributes to the item of Prog Rock and Jazz Rock with the technology of the superior performance at the time of beginning.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Japanese band of classically trained musicians performing very tightly a series of intricate compositions with a sound palette and level of competence quite reminiscent of Dutch band FOCUS and, at times, Brand X.

1. "Sora Ni Hikaru (Shining In The Sky)" (6:22) great uptempo jazzy interplay among half a dozen instruments for the first two minutes, then a shift into more gentle CAMEL-like territory with flute and drum play being quite prominent. Back and forth, A-B-A-C-A-B arrangement with skilled electric guitar solo (on two or more tracks) in the C part. (9/10)

2. "Anesthesia Part 1" (2:05) plugged in acoustic guitar opens before spoken background vocals and odd synthesizer-generated noises join in (mostly in the background--like kalimba [or is it real?]). (4.5/5)

3. "Anesthesia Part 2" (4:21) a continuation of motif from Part 1 using clavichord and full electric jazz complement (including accordion). Flute, electric guitars and bass (!) hold the melody lines (mostly). Reminds me of something FOCUS would do. Nice composition. (9/10)

4. "Hyoto (Frozen Island)" (6:13) piano opening establishing Japanese melody through jazzy chord play. This is then enhanced and carried forward by synth wind and flute. Quite reminiscent of one of the early melodies Ryuichi Sakamoto explored in his soundtrack music for Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence. Reminds me, again, of something Thijs van Leer might have composed for his FOCUS contingent. (8.75/10)

5. "Brand Shikou (Brand IX)" (4:34) eventually gels in a way that sounds and feels quite a bit like Brand X--the drums aren't quite as smooth and flashy and the circus calliope-like sound chosen to MIDI with the lead synth are not quite up to the level of the Brits. Odd to have the effected male chant voices be in spoken Japanese. Great bass play. (8.75/10)

6. "Harukanaru Chi E (Toward The Land Beyond)" (3:55) this one feels like a JACO PASTORIUS imitation--but which incarnation? which support musicians? Then it kind of turns kind of BRAND X meets DAVE STEWART in the second and third minutes. Nice guitar synth interplay in the final minute. (8.75/10)

7. "Naibu E No Tsukikage (Moon Casting Shadows Within)" (3:45) "distant" female vocalise and mushy synth chord play ( la PATRICK MORAZ in Story of i and ANT PHILLIPS in 1984) makes for an interesting, unusual, and, ultimately, beautiful musical expression. (9/10)

8. "Sayonara Progressive (Arrivederci: Goodbye Prog)" (7:06) Full on jazz-rock fusion. Drums are a tad bit on the disco side while complex whole band weave flows over and around them. Reminds me of BRUFORD/NATIONAL HEALTH. (13.5/15)

Total time 38:21

Very skilled mastery displayed by all instrumentalists though flute and drums tend to stand out most.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music in the Jazz-Rock Fusion vein.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Ah, the young Kenso. This is where it first really came together, and the compositions on this album are so strong that half of them have been the cornerstone of Kenso's repertoire ever since. But the orchestration on this album is quite different from where Kenso would later go, giving many of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#226852) | Posted by ods94065 | Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some wrote earlier that Kenso 3rd is where the the band first. Kenso II should really consider Kenso's first true band record. Tracks such as Sora Ni Hikaru, Anesthesia (Misui)PTII,and Hyoto have been staples of Kenso's live shows for many years (Sayonara Progre occasionly gets a live hearing ... (read more)

Report this review (#4229) | Posted by | Thursday, September 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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