Review Summary: Nothing short of a masterpiece.
By the time he was recording The Light of the Spirit
in 1987, Kitaro had already made a career out of excellence. While most of his previous albums were produced and recorded only by himself, Kitaro brought in Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead to co-produce The Light of the Spirit
. While this seems like a strange match-up, the decision proved to be a wise one, because the result of these sessions ended up being his best work since his debut album nine years earlier.
If there's anything to be said about Kitaro, one must first point out the obvious; the man is a genius when it comes to composing melodies. Previously, Kitaro sometimes struggled to find a winning melody, but here, the struggle is gone, as he's always on the mark with a breathtaking, dramatic, or uplifting theme. Perhaps the best track here is "In the Beginning," which can only be described as jaw-dropping. It's easily one of the most triumphant moments Kitaro has ever created, a life-affirming, climactic, synth build-up only bolstered by the strings accompanying it.
In fact, there's no shortage of jaw-dropping moments on The Light of the Spirit
. Wisely, some tracks still play to Kitaro's well-worn strengths and the typical stereotypes of New Age music such as "Moondance," which is still ingenious. Others, such as "Mysterious Encounter" and the title track merely use Kitaro's synthesizers as a backdrop to what the studio musicians are doing; blistering guitar solos (YES A KITARO GUITAR SOLO), wordless vocalizations, you name it. Thankfully, he still allows his synthesizers to create climaxes, though, which results in some blissful moments of euphoria.
On previous releases, Kitaro made his work seem effortless. Here, he's really pushing himself
, and that's what makes The Light of the Spirit
all the more brilliant; rather than allowing his work to stagnate, he went beyond his limits. While I'm sure the album would have been a success if he hadn't, it's exactly why lightning strikes yet again for Kitaro on The Light of the Spirit
, re-affirming that he is indeed the musical genius he's been touted to be.
"In the Beginning"