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Kitaro - The Light of the Spirit CD (album) cover

THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT

Kitaro

 

Progressive Electronic

3.96 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Nice to see this artist added here, though it's among those long-time semi-favourites I wasn't exactly expecting to be added (Clannad is another). Much of KITARO's work that I was familiar with in my teens, at the late 80's, frankly didn't feel very progressive, just like perhaps the majority of electronically produced music associated with the problematic term New Age. To some degree I have expanded my Kitaro discography in the latest ten years and have discovered some very good albums. But this one I bought as a vinyl in February 1988, and I still own it (which is a meaningful merit in my books, because so many vinyls - even pretty good ones - I used to get rid of in my early adulthood). So, in my case there's the nostalgia factor involved, but I daresay that The Light of the Spirit can be considered as one of Kitaro's finest albums. It must be also among those with the longest list of individual guest musicians and producers. Happily the (rather underlined) production had strong material to begin with.

Both vinyl sides have four tracks between roughly 4½ minutes and 7½ minutes in length. 'Mysterious Encounter' is a gorgeous opener full of moods and cinematic, Vangelis-like sonic elegance. The role of acoustic percussions is even bigger on 'Sundance'; its majestic melodies could rival classic Symphonic Prog of Yes or Renaissance, except that the track sadly doesn't evolve very much. 'The Field' is a delicate electronic mood piece, followed by a romantic and slightly pompous title track that features two ladies on a central vocalise role. A wonderful dynamic arc on this vinyl side, and the second, slightly less tight side sort of imitates it.

'In the Beginning' starts Side Two in a rather similar manner as 'Mysterious Encounter'. One of Kitaro's strengths has always been the ability to fill the melodies with passion. 'Moondance' is naturally more nocturnal and serene than its solar opposite. This track of peaceful tempo and simple, repetitive melodies resembles the Silk Road music. The lack of more progressive structures in compositions may easily bring down your listening experience if you let it do so. 'Howling Thunder' resembles 'Sundance'. The percussion on both tracks sounds very good. But at 7½ minutes this one really ought to contain some more progress. 'Journey to a Fantasy' (7:08) has the passionate majestic feel of the title track in less sugared form.

This album would be an excellent introduction to Kitaro for (female?) music listeners that appreciate emotional aspects and accept even sentimental pompousness. Who knows, that might also be a step towards Symphonic Prog with similar ingredients, in your girlfriend's music taste! But for a seasoned prog listener this music, as Kitaro in general, may wear out its power pretty soon. 3½ stars rounded up for excellent production.

Matti | 4/5 |

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