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Kenso Sparta album cover
3.75 | 47 ratings | 4 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Good Days, Bad Days (2:47)
2. Bifuka (4:15)
3. The Stone Of Golden Hair Village (1:12)
4. Miskatonic (2:41)
5. Pm (6:07)
6. Gesshya Senkoh (0:49)
7. The Shadow Over Innsmouth (6:32)
8. Neuro-Psychoma (2:53)

Total time 27:16

Bonus tracks on 2009 remaster:
9. Bifuka_naked (Piano Solo) (7:12)
10. Good Days, Bad Days (2008 Live) (8:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Yoshihisa Shimizu / guitar
- Toshihiko Sahashi / keyboards
- Kenichi Oguchi / keyboards
- Kimiyoshi Matsumoto / bass (1,2,4,5,7,8)
- Haruhiko Yamamoto / drums (1,2)

- Kenichi Mitsuda / keyboards (9,10)
- Shunji Saegusa / bass (3,6,10)
- Masayuki Muraishi / drums (3-8)
- Keisuke Komori / drums (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Hitoshi Watanabe with Ilvio Gallo (photo)

CD Crime ‎- 292E-2058 (1989, Japan)
CD Pathograph ‎- PA3506 (2009, Japan) Remixed & remastered With 2 bonus tracks, new cover art and retitled "Sparta Naked"

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

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KENSO Sparta reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
3 stars I listened from this Japanese band so far only this album and Kenso III, which is the better one of the two. According to their webpage their second one and Yume no Oka are supposed to be their strongest ones. I still have to try to get those ones. Still they're offering here some great symphonic Jazz fusion with twin keyboards and it's a very enjoyable listen.

The album opens with Good days, bad days, initially a rather mellow and dreamy piece which is shifting after 2 1/2 minutes to a more up-tempo theme. Not really a bad one with many tempo shifts. Bifuka has a very short acoustic intro with guitar and flute sound, then the track is floating along quite nicely with many theme changes. In The stone of the golden hair village the sound changes quite significantly and one can hear clearly that there is a different line-up playing now. The drums are sounding more aggressive and less dampened. Shunji Sægusa is presenting quite a good bass play in replacement for Matsumoto. In fact this is really not a bad one, but as well not very exciting, nice one for letting it run in the background.

GOOD album, but not an essential one (3 stars)!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1986 Kenso released their first ever live work ''Music for unknown five musicians'' and in 1987 comes a private-pressed compilation of tracks from their early albums, titled ''Self portrait''.Around the same time recordings for their upcoming album ''I Sparti'' had already started, this prooved to be though a slow work in progress, partly due to member exits and the fading trend of progressive music.Haruhiko Yamamoto appeared in only a couple of tracks, before being replaced by new drummer Masayuki Muraishi.Things were starting to roll over again, before in 1989 Kimiyoshi Matsumoto quit and new bassist Shunji Saegusa was inducted to the line-up to complete the album.''I Sparti'' was eventually released the same year on King's branch-label Crime Records.

For the first time Kenso were performing with the standard assests of keyboards/guitar/bass/drums without the use of an expanded instrumentation, this fact along with the hard period for progressive music led to a more synthetic and modern sound, far from the 70's flavors of their early releases.Even under these difficult circumstances the band managed to keep an honest faith in the intricate roots of their Fusion sound and the album comes like a combination of STEVE HACKETT-like dreamy keyboard/guitar orchestrations, smokin' ALLAN HOLDSWORTH-like Jazz Fusion and the inbetween HAPPY THE MAN-flavored aesthetics.The compositions are all in a very high level, the turn towards more jazzy and Fusion deliveries is more than apparent in the tricky synth lines and the piano as well as in Shimizu's impressive guitar moves, but there are still some symphonic breaks of excellent inspiration with a nice and ethereal atmosphere.You can listen to some strings popping up in several tracks, but these are propably played via the keyboards.What I like about Kenso is that these guys never overdo it, the have clearly understood the meaning of composition even in progressive arrangements and they always add some lovely melodious themes between the more emphatic and technical executions.Great synth and piano interludes are sitting next to bombastic Fusion pyrotechnics and the drumming is phenomenal, extremely pounding and technically efficient.

I certainly miss some of the more human sounds of their self-titled works, but this is 1989 and ''I Sparta'' really shines among the year's releases.This is solid, grandiose and melodic Fusion with a couple of mindblowing pieces.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album like it's predecessor and Kenso II are for me the three best albums of the eighties! Sparta takes the symphonic structures further than ever before. Still the fusion-rhythms are there and powerful fusion-prog songs do exist on this album. The Stone Of Golden Hair Villa and Miskatonic f ... (read more)

Report this review (#475293) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Monday, July 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps because it was the first work of Kenso I ever heard, it became my favorite Kenso album (I have most of them) and one of my all-time-favorite listens since 1994. True, it has a distinctively 80's fusion production, but that is something I h ... (read more)

Report this review (#110835) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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