45789-2 Gaia • Onbashira
Produced by Kitaro
Released on May 19, 1998
US NEW AGE CHART POSITION #9
Find it at GEMM
45789-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

A bunch of guys straddling a giant log and riding it downhill? Yeah, that would be a gaia festival by most definitions. The Onbashira Festival is a sexennial celebration in Japan that centers on the ceremonial rebuilding of a shrine. Long weird story short: men are selected to ascend a hill, commune with trees (and Gaia in general I guess), cut them down and ride them down the mountain. Honestly, I was expecting a snoozefest from Gaia-Onbashira, largely because of its sleepy cover (shades of such tangerine dreamnaps as TD’s Oasis and Grand Canyon). I was pleasantly, happily wrong. This is an evocative and imaginative work that mixes synthesizer, flute, classical guitar, percussion, chanting, natural sounds and biwa (a Japanese lute). The six movements portray the ritual (“Yamadashi,” “Satobiki,” “Kiotoshi”) and the incidental (“Misty,” “Gaia,” “Wood Fairy”) with rich shades of sound and, in the case of the closing “Kiotoshi,” a melody for the ages. Despite the fact that Kitaro has strayed little from his original style over the years, this is no autopilot album. With a substantial supporting cast, maestro Kitaro is in his element here, bringing nature to life through sound and form. While many of his European contemporaries (Jarre, Schulze, Vangelis) have painted interesting electronic visions of Oriental themes, none of them have approached Kitaro in terms of authenticity. It could be said that Kitaro inverts their formula: he weaves electronic music into traditional Japanese structures. He’s not afraid to borrow bits of their styles for his own compositions; you can hear elements of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream in “Yamadashi,” Vangelis in “Gaia” and “Kiotoshi.” Yet his is a distinct (and distinctly national) voice in the electronic/new age category, a voice that increasingly deserves consideration as that of a modern classical composer rather than a mere new age sorcerer of the synthesizer.

45789-2 back cover
45789-2 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. YAMADASHI
      TANNE
      PRAYER
  2. MISTY
  3. GAIA
  4. WOOD FAIRY
  5. SATOBIKI
  6. KIOTOSHI

    All music written and arranged by Kitaro

CREDITS

KITARO -- instruments, human birds, cover photo
Ty Burhoe -- tabla, tamboura
Angus Clark -- electric guitar, 12 string guitar
Jonathan Goldman -- chanting voice
Masa Ito -- classical guitar
Kristin Stordahl Kanda -- transversal flute
Tadayasu Nishi -- Kiyari chant
Luis Perez -- atmospheric percussion
Ryusuke Seto -- biwa
Keiko Takahashi -- hand drums, human birds
Derek Zimmerman -- percussion
Miazawa -- human birds
Rieko -- human birds
Gary Barlough -- engineer, human birds
Jun Yoshida -- engineer
Peter R. Kelsey -- mixing
Osamu Matsuki -- photography
Graphic Compose Yellow -- art direction & design
Wendy Sherman/Art Slave -- art direction & design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US May 19, 1998 Domo CD 45789-2  
UK 1998 Domo CD 91003  

 

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