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Jade Warrior - Kites CD (album) cover


Jade Warrior


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.27 | 74 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Jade Warrior are one of the most criminally underrated prog bands of the 1970s, and in KITES (which was released in 1976) they produced their masterpiece. Apparently, in the days of emerging punk and disco, no-one was waiting for this filmic 'chamber-prog' which subtly combines, say, early Mike Oldfield (but without Mike's massed guitars or intrusive string synthesizers!), classic Ralph Towner, Eno's BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE (particularly the quieter instrumental tracks on that album) and a vast association of Chinese and Japanese soundtracks.

Judging from KITES' song titles, the album tells the story of the Zen monk Chia Shan - a story I am, unfortunately, unfamiliar with. There are no lyrics, and most of the music sounds quiet and dreamy, but it is never too repetitive or sentimental, in other words: definitely NOT 'New Age'. Some of the most striking tracks feature the flute as lead instrument, either delicately accompanied by bass and acoustic guitar (which may remind you of Oregon) or more Oriental-sounding and reminiscent of Noh theatre. 'Quietly by the River Bank' features a lonely electric guitar which sounds as if it's singing out from a Chinese ink landscape. 'Arrival of the Emperor' has some dreamy electric guitar accompanied by, apparently, a harp. 'Arrival of Chia Shan' consists of superbly reflective acoustic guitar, while the final album tracks feature a beautiful combination of guitar, flute, piano and violin.

Even when you don't know what KITES is about, this album will set you dreaming and stimulate your imagination. NOT TO BE MISSED - especially now that the album is included, in its entirety, in the excellent value Jade Warrior retrospective ELEMENTS.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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