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Kenso — Sora Ni Hikaru - Early Live Vol.1
(Belle Antique 9465, 1983/1994, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1994-10-01

Sora Ni Hikaru - Early Live Vol.1 Cover artKenso were perhaps the pinnacle of the great Japanese symphonic rock bands. All too often, where others fell short, Kenso succeeded admirably at many of the things that make a band of this genre great — complexity, originality, melodic development, instrumental talent, interplay, and emotional impact. While over the years this dual keyboard led ensemble went from classic music in a very 70s Italian influenced vein to a more typically straighter and fusion oriented style in the 90s, one thing remained the same, these guys knew how to pull out the stops live. This live compilation of their music, from arguably their peak years between their first two albums (1981 and 83) is testament to this, a compilation of some of Kenso's most dazzling moments. While those who have their Music from 5 Unknown Musicians double live album won't be too surprised here, those unfamiliar with Kenso's progressive hybrid — a combination of Italian progressive (check out the Area riff in the classic "Prelude to Sophia"), Canterbury riffing and breezy Happy the Man like melodic content — would do well to check this disc out. The sound quality is maybe a hair below very good, yet the effect is imminent — this is great music by a killer band in their prime. Bring on Volume 2!

Filed under: New releases, Issue 5, 1994 releases, 1983 recordings

Related artist(s): Kenso

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