Exposé Online banner

Kenso — Kenso's Guide To Making Progressive Rock Music
(Pathograph PADV-04, 2008, 2DVD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2009-07-01

Kenso's Guide To Making Progressive Rock Music Cover art

Well, in all my years or reviewing things, this is really a first. The 2DVD set is part performances, part music theory lectures, part insights, and part interviews; this is basically the members of Kenso showing the viewer how they create their music – sort of a ‘prog rock clinic’ if you will. On paper that doesn’t really sound that enticing, but in fact the first DVD (all 2.5 hours of it) is pretty amazing stuff, where the band dissects and analyzes a number of their better known pieces. “Anesthesia Part 2” from their second album way back when is revisited, analyzed, re-arranged using various different time signatures, each version played by the band in a rehearsal. There are clips of other pieces, both live and rehearsals, used to illustrate various theoretical concepts (melodic and rhythmic) that they are built on. Their gamelan piece “Tjandi Bentar” is given a lengthy dissertation by keyboardist Kenichi Oguchi. Granted, I wouldn’t suggest starting here – it would probably be best to familiarize yourself with Kenso’s repertoire via one of their many excellent live albums first. This is really something for musicians who want to delve deeper into what makes Kenso’s music work. Everybody in the band gets the focus at various times, and even a few folks from outside the band offer ideas as well. The second disc is shorter – a little over an hour, and is mostly guitarist Yoshihisa Shimizu and Oguchi discussing the merits of various progressive rock LPs in their collection, although the other guys contribute at various times as well. Not as engaging as the first disc, but still a lot of fun. English subtitles are provided, although one gets the sense that there’s more being said than what’s printed at the bottom of the screen. An excellent set, though mostly of interest to musicians and prog music geeks.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Kenso

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Original Outer Limits - Outer Mania – Outer Limits were one of the mainstays of the Japanese 80s symphonic scene and perhaps one of the most accomplished of their peers (Teru's Symphonia, Pageant, Mr. Sirius and others). They released...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues