The Essential Kitaro – Domo Records CD + DVD
Published on August 4, 2007
Japan’s leading figure in New Age sounds has made 26 albums over 30 years, released on the Domo label, as well as many others on other labels. He was one of the first to turn to the new synthesizers in the 1970s, and has employed their many sonic possibilities in all of his albums ever since. But he combines the electronics with many different folk and percussion instruments taken both from Eastern and Western cultures, so the ensuing blend is often a unique tapestry of sound that appeals to wide audiences. Some of the selections use progressive rock electric guitar solos, but mixed with haunting melodies, bits of nature sounds, Taiko drums, even monks chanting.
The CD is a compilation of some of the favorite Kitaro tracks from past Domo albums. The second disc DVD presents five videos taken from two of the many concerts around the world performed by Kitaro and his ensemble. One was shot in Spain on stage and the other is a show in 2004 in China, which ends with a lovely video in a Chinese temple setting with Kitaro playing flute, plus scenes of modern Chinese urban life and of the Great Wall. The opening video is a performance of the gorgeous main theme from the Japanese TV series The Silk Road (also on the CD) – whose melody is the one I would most closely associate with Kitaro. The only gripe I would have about the entire presentation is Kitaro’s exaggerated choreography with his free left hand when he is playing a theme on the synth keyboard with only his right hand. The video is widescreen, but you may have to zoom it to fill your 16:9 display. The PCM stereo track is excellent and works well via ProLogic II for surround effects.
TrackList, CD: As the Wind Blows, A Passage of Life, Contortionists, Estrella, Whisper, Itonami, Wood Fairy, Dance of Sarasvati, The Scroll is Read, Theme from Silk Road, Nagare No Naka de, Koi, Shizuku
DVD: Silk Road, Dance of Sarasvati, Estrella, Koi, Mercury
– John Sunier