Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews
Kitaro – Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 4 – Domo Deuter – Mystery of Light – New Earth Records
Published on April 20, 2011
Kitaro – Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 4 – Domo 73120-2 (Distr. by Allegro) *****:
Deuter – Mystery of Light – New Earth Records NE 3101 (Distr. by Allegro) ****:
I find most New Age albums pretty depressing musically, but a few longtime stars of the genre still shine, and these are two of them. Kitaro is probably the No. 1 Japanese New Age performer-composer. He got hooked on analog synthesizers early on and picked up techniques from Klaus Schultz in Germany – who is considered the Beethoven of New Age/Electronic/Ambient Music. His soundtrack music for the NHK TV series “The Silk Road” brought Kitaro to fame, and he has played with several Western artists. His 1999 album “Thinking of You” won the Best New Age Album Grammy. Kitaro never had education in music, he says he just learned to trust his ears and feelings.
He has done 13 albums to date for the Domo label, included four peace-themed Sacred Journey of Ku-kai albums begun in the wake of 9/11, of which this is the fourth. Each track on each of the four CDs has samples from 88 sacred Japanese temple bells (Peace Bells) from various temples – they are designed to inspire spiritual awakening and profound sense of peace in listeners. Various electronic keyboards have always been Kitaro’s mainstay, but this one also features violin, electric guitars. Others have included koto or shamisen. Although most of the tracks are of a dreamy nature, there is often a certain ritual Japanese feeling about the music, and occasionally a loudly building percussive section using his beloved taiko drums. His live concerts are more intense and rock-oriented than his CDs.
Georg Deuter was one of the leaders of the Krautrock movement in Germany, but later became a disciple of Rajneesh, producing a series of “active meditation” music tapes for the other disciples. He is now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has released over 60 albums devoted to various healing and spiritual practices. He has taught himself a wide variety of instruments over the years, some of which are heard on Mystery of Light, including flutes, recorder, guitar, santur, drums and various string and keyboard instruments. This is more laid-back music than Kitaro, and with more Renaissance-era influences and less electronica than Kitaro. Some quite beautiful sonic environments.
Kitaro: Lotus Mountain, Yakushi, Magic Seeds, Reflection of Water, South Wind, Circle Pray, Requiem, Ritual Winds
Deuter: La Folie 1, 2, 3 & 4; Memories of an Angel; The Sun Enters the River; The Fawn Drinks the Sun; Enchanted Summer Night; The Heron Dreams; Laughing Waters; Celestial Meadows; Elysian Fields.
— John Henry