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Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis CD (album) cover

FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS

Kenso

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 60 ratings

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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

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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