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Kenso - Sparta CD (album) cover

SPARTA

Kenso

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.74 | 44 ratings

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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.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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