Sound: The music of Kitaro is new age but unlike the average new age that is just soft sounds and is just plain boring, I can really feel the art and 'spirit' of Kitaro's music. Brilliant melodies and powerful Japanese taiko drums soar with grace in the 10 compositions of the album. He is an inspiration to the symphonic side of my interest in music. The music can be described as spiritual. "Feeling is the most important element in my music." once said Kitaro.
About Kitaro. He was born into a Japanese Shinto farming family in Toyohashi, Japan in 1953. As a teenager, he was inspired by Otis Redding, and taught himself the electric guitar in high school and formed the Far East Family Band, which released two progressive rock albums in the early '70s. One remarkable thing about him is that he records all his albums in the privacy of his home studio near Mt. Fuji, Japan, which is 2500 square feet! "It's large enough to hold a 70-piece orchestra -- big enough for me!" (special thanks to http://www.op.net/~kitaro/Kitaro5.htm for this information). He was one of the 'underground artists' until he was picked up by Geffen Records.
About the music on this album it kicks off with "By The Sea Side", which features waves of sea water at the very beginning. The next track "Soul Of The Sea" is more livelier, with a pretty cool wind instrument and some taiko drum beats. "Micro Cosmos" features what appears to be a sitar. "Beat" features some weird beats, which I assume was made by some weird keyboard setting. Around the middle of the track, features the wind instrument again. and harmony kicks in. It ends abruptly after some staticky wave of sound. "Fire" is a personal favorite. Features a stringed instrument close to a siter but is closer to the sound of an acoustic. The second half of the song kicks in with some bass-like sounds and more taiko drums, but with a slow tempo. The outro of the son gis a softer sequence with that stringed picking instrument. "Mu" is not a very big deal but features a bit of picking instruments. "Dawn of the Astral" is also a favorite, features something like a keyboard sound and somehting close to a real acoustic. "Endless Dreamy World" has a wind instrument with deeper tone. The drums are wild on this one. "Kaiso" has a good stringed picking instrument intro. Then there is keyboards, and the sharp-sounding wind instrument (high tone) comes in, and soon the track becomes semi-lively, with an acoustic-like instrument. The final track is "Astral Voyage" (on the tape it said "Astral Trip" but I assumed it was "Voyage"). It has an intro with train sounds (mostly inside the train, where there's conversation). Then there is slight symphony. There is also some cool taiko drums. The wind instrument comes back again, accompanying the drums. Gradually, the drums fade and is left with the harmonies of the wind instrument, and satisfyingly ends the album. // 10
Lyrics: There are no lyrics to this album. All instrumental, but Kitaro's melodic elements cannot beat vocals in my opinion. // 10
Overall Impression: Good thing my mom had a tape of this or I wouldn't have explored or have known the very existence of art in music. Really inspiring. For someone who has a taste in some new age with some spirit and oriental art, this is for you. But I doubt 99% of the people in UG has even heard of him. I doubt you'd find this in most stores, so you can order the CD online of something. Oh, and for the record, Kitaro plays taiko drums every year on Mt. Fuji for the ritual drum ceremony, and he plays them so passionately his hands often bled. // 10