Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis

Year of Release: 1993
Label: King Record Co. Ltd
Catalog Number: KICS 954
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:33:00

If you attended the last Progfest on Labor Day weekend 2000, then you probably got the opportunity to see Kenso play their first ever (and, as far as I know, only) gig outside Japan. And if you were fortunate enough to see Kenso's American debut, then you may have also found yourself wondering just "Who the hell is the goofy-looking wild man sitting second-row center?" Well, that was me going absolutely starkers (Thanks, Steve) over Kenso's furious mix of fusion and progressive rock while becoming a fan for life.

Two years on and now comes Fabulis Mirabilibus de Bombycosi Scriptis ('Fantastic Tales of Bombycosis'), a concept work that Yoshihisa Shimizu (Kenso's leader, guitarist, primary composer, and dentist at his day job!) has told me is influenced by Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki and based on a rare mental disorder called bombycosis. Apparently, bombycosis is a dynamic disorder that encompasses many moods, not unlike bipolar disorder. And in that spirit, FMDBS is extremely dynamic and crosses the emotional spectrum, from furious anger to quiet daydreaming to senseless joy.

All of Kenso's originality and influences are brought to bear on FMDBS, providing the listener a roller coaster ride through the progressive lexicon, from Led Zeppelin-style rock to fusion a la Return to Forever to eclectic world music. "Fist Of Fury" blows the door open at groove one with a dirty guitar riff reminiscent of Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. "The Cunning Madrigal" abruptly dives into keyboard-based fusion then evolves into "Prelude To Concealment" which includes a brief flamenco interlude. "Wooden Horse Pathos" picks up with a keyboard figure introduced in "The Cunning Madrigal" and establishes the melodic narrative of FMDBS.

At this point, it's "All Systems Go!" as the good Dr. Shimizu and Co. demonstrate their musical prowess and eclecticism across the remaining eleven tracks. The near-epic "The Split Gate" may be the highlight of FMDBS with its changing moods and movements. The sounds of an idyllic small town give way to a beautiful ballad that is promptly driven away by rocking fusion only to fade out in sudden, ghostly fashion. The opening to "Rebellion" reveals a Led Zeppelin influence, but the impression doesn't last long as Kenso rolls out their trademark fusion featuring Kansas-style Hammond organ. Kenso then throws a major change-up with "Echoes From Romano" by juxtaposing cinematic keyboard interplay with a great Celtic-sounding jig that would surely break the ankles of any Riverdance enthusiast. "A Grim Diary" ices the cake with a fine mixture of symphonic rock, fusion, superb UK-style ensemble playing, and another shot of Keiko Kawashima's cante flamenco.

There's plenty more to talk about, but I'll make it plain: Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis is a great album by great band. It may not be easy to find, but it is available here State-side (I got mine through Greg Walker's Syn-phonic Music) and well worth looking up. Any dedicated fusion fan would be remiss in letting this one get away - check it out!

* Special "Thanks!" to Yoshihisa Shimizu and Tatsuoru Ueda for their assistance and long-suffering patience. "I Love You, Man...." (sic)

Fist Of Fury (5:10) / The Cunning Madrigal (4:20) / Prelude To Concealment (2:23) / Wooden Horse Pathos (3:57) / The Split Gate (6:57) / Rebellion (4:04) / The Stairs For Dreaming (2:27) / Echoes From Romano (5:27) / The Daughter Of A Recluse (2:10) / A Way Of Living As Taro (2:40) / Doppelganger In The Night (1:14) / Isolated Jiro (4:14) / The Understanding (1:01) / A Grim Diary (5:53) / Amalgamation Of Self And Others (1:36)

Yoshihisa Shimizu - guitars, synthesizers, bouzouki and other ethnic instruments
Kenichi Oguchi - organs and synthesizers
Kenichi Mitsuda - piano, accordion, and synthesizers
Shunji Saegusa - bass guitars
Masayki Muraishi - drums and V-drums


Keiko Kawashima - flamenco vocals and handclaps

em>Kenso (1980)
Kenso II (1982)
Kenso III (1983)
In Concert (1986)
Self Portrait (1987)
Sparta (1989)
Yume No Oka (1991)
Live 92 (1993)
Early Live Volume 1 (1994)
Early Live Volume 2 (1995)
Zaiya Live (1996)
In The West (1999)
Esoptron (1999)
76/77 (2000)
Ken Son Gu Su: 25th Anniversary (2000)
Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis (2002)
Chilling Heat (2005)
Utsuroi Yuku Mono (2006)

Ha-Re-Ki (2003) (DVD)
Ayr (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin JP

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: David Cisco

Artist website:
Hits: 629
Language: english


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