compiled by Nicholas D. Kent
email: ndkent "at" optonline.net
Last updated 04.09.21
(*) means I do not own this album
(@) are albums I've listened to but don't own a copy
(#) means out of print - perhaps others are, these I feel certainly are.
Hirotaka Hara gave me many details about the Japanese releases and translations. Quotations from him begin with HH:
I don't currently have access to all the catalog numbers, so I've only included the #s from my collection.
Some of the "Best of" info was compiled from Bill Spurlock's page, which doesn't seem to be operating any more.
...to a collections of Kitaro photos
which Domo Records shared with me.
From The Full Moon Story
Full Moon Story (U.S. title)1979 Victor/Zen (JP) lp: ZEN-1006
Kitaro's second solo album. Kind of a hard sound, not all that pleasant to listen to. He basically has the style he was to use for the next several years almost evolved on this album. Has uses an authentic recording of the Monkey Chant at one point. The original back cover has an ominous photo of Chicago on it! Out of print at least outside Japan.
Daichi means earth or a vast land.
Japanese CD cover ->
1979 Canyon (JP), Kuckuck (GER) lp: 053
Almost evolved up to THE Kitaro sound. Quite pleasant sounding this time, though the compositions are better on the next one.
Silk Road I
Silk Road IIBoth 1980 Canyon, Kuckuck (GER) double lp: 054
Recently 20 Bit Remastered by Domo (as separate CDs.)
A classic of the genre. These are 2 separate albums. Kuckkuck, the German label, released these as a double allbum. They are normaly sold separately these days. I've seen the English language video version of the NHK documentary series about ancient China, Kitaro's music works very well. I guess the Chinese made it rough on the Japanese crew, or it was just low budget, because the photography on the series looks kind of economy from a technical standpoint. Still the content and images very exciting. The music is very memorable.
(above right) German artwork
(left) U.S. CD based on Japanese art
(*) A single from the title exists
Silk Road wo Iku
Live In Person Digital
In Person - Live1980 Canyon (JP), Gramavison (US), Kuckkuck (GER) lp:056
Recently 20 Bit remastered by Domo (US)
As this contains tunes from other albums, I thought this would be dull. The tunes actually have a nice edge to them. The live sound is first rate, unlike many other artist's live albums. "Person" is the name of the concert hall.
Ki1981 Canyon (JP), Kuckkuck (GER) lp: 057
Recently 20 Bit remastered by Domo (US)
Slightly thicker sound, Not that memorable melody wise, though good texture. Cool cover art. Reminds me a little of early 1970s Vangelis (Earth, etc.)
Ki is an abstract word. Generally it is a spirit which comes from nature.
also known as Tonfa
also known as Silk Road III1981 Canyon (JP), Kuckuck (Ger) cd: 11058-2, Kuckuck (GER) lp:058, Polydor (EU) cd: 811 696-2
Sound track from the Silk Road documentary series. One of my favorites.Wonderful. Solid melodies, great playing. This is the best in my opinion of the style that made him famous. The wonderful sitar piece, Lord of the Sand, is much more up-tempo than Kitaro usually is.
HH: Tonko is Tunhuang. Chinese call it Tunhaung. Japanese call it Tonko because Japanese and Chinese pronounce same Chinese characters differently. This is the name of a place in China. You can check it on the world historical map. This album is the third one of NHK (Japanese public television) documentary Silk Road series. Tunhuang is the famous historical place of Silk Road culture. I like it better than Silk Road 1 & 2 because I feel it has more solid concept in whole album. As a matter of fact , this album was made after Kitaro took a trip to Tunhuang . Seems to be out of print.
Soundtrack to an animated film. Pretty much like a Kitaro album, except many of the pieces are variations on the main themes. Quite nice. I've actually seen the movie. My jaw dropped when I saw this huge spaceship battle scene with all this beautiful romantic Kitaro music and everything smoking and exploding. I didn't know what to think of it. Was it a brilliant and ironic post-modern juxtaposition or an inept mismatch of ill-suited music. It was memorable. The character was created by the famous manga artist Renji Matsumoto. Seems to be out of print.
For some reason the Japanese record industry used to put out double record sets of the complete audio tracks from movies. The one from this one is Canyon C38G0135-6
Hoshizora No Angel Queen
(*)1982 single cover version (#)
HH: Sung by Dara Sedaka (the daughter of Neil Sedaka) and Guitar: Steve Lukather (TOTO), Background vocal: Pages (who sing 'Caravan'). Arrangement : David Foster It's is also the last piece of SYMPHONIC SUITE QUEEN MILLENNIA (see Orchestral)
A page on Queen Millennia can be found here (thanks Jane H. Warriner)
Also available on VIDEO which had slightly different pieces. I've never heard it.
Tenjiku (NHK soundtrack)
India (U.S. title)
(also known as Silk Road IV)1983 Sound Design lp: 1342-5 (28SD)
Wonderful and massive sound. Carefully constructed, one of my favorites. Superb arrangements and orchestration. The title translates as India
Singles covered by other artists:
(* single) Caravan (1983) (#) Pages sings. David Foster arranges.
(*) Umezawa Tomio Caravan (sung by Umezawa Tomio) (1983) (#)
<- Later Japanese CD cover. The original Japanese LP and U.S. CD had different art
(a.k.a. Flying Cloud)
Asia Super Tour Live
Asia (U.S. title)a.k.a. Live In Asia
1984 Sound Design lp: 1342-46(28SD)
Still doing the rock thing that I don't care for, only this time live. Seems to be out of print.
<- Later Japanese CD cover design. The original LP and U.S. CD had different art.
Toward the West (U.S. Title)1985 Geffen (USA) 24094-2
This one goes back to an earlier style. Much more simple but also not very original. I was very frusterated by this album. Nothing in the way of good new melodies. Same old stuff. Stamped from the same mold.
Out of print
Japanese CD artwork ->
Sung by Iwasaki Motoyosi. The title means Blue Wind. I've never heard it.
Less numbingly similar to other albums as Toward the West. Still nothing memorable. Another "by the numbers" album. The title means Planetarium.
Barbara Campbell adds:
In TENKU, his first Geffen record - the baby you hear in the beginning of the record is his son, this was recorded in his home in Japan with the windows open and the earth's sounds drifting through. This is again about the cycle of life..."Unfolding a drama day by day, plants breath a rhythm, insects play their melody, light flies as wind cries, now catch the sound... feel the light. Originally, the working title was MILKY WAY. Of course there is repetition...did you ever sit and listen to the sounds he just spoke of when recording this album?
The Light of the Spirit
1987 Geffen (USA) 9 24163-2 (original) 1997 Domo (USA) 71061-2 (20 Bit Remaster)
Surprise, this album sounds very different. Was co-produced by The Greatful Dead's Mickey Hart. A big sound, plenty going on., all sorts of styles. Maybe too much because the compositions and performances are big but not very tight. It has these big masses of sound, even soul music, but kind of sounds like a big jam session. I caught Kitaro's American tour for this album.
There is a single called The Field which earned Kitaro his first of 5 Grammy nominations.
This "Best Of" was prepared by Kitaro and contains 2 new pieces and all other pieces are new arrangements. New arrangements- yes. Flow -okay. Interesting -not really.
Back to the older style, slightly less rigid in format. Nothing exceptional.
Barbara Campbell adds:
Kojiki - the translated meaning is really "the old story" as in the Japanese Shintu Bible.
LIVE IN AMERICA(@)1991 Geffen
I've listened to it. Pleasant. Nice though nothing too memorable.
Lady of Dreams
(sound track for the film "15 Girls Adrift Story")
Dream (U.S. title, different contents)
with Jon Anderson1992 Geffen
This album is another that has a big change in style compared the other ones. Features an orchestra and is more acoustic sounding, though still has much electronics. Melodies and sound are superb. Jon Anderson's vocal contributions on several tracks are wonderful. Amazing piece of work.
Island of Life(*) 1992 CD Single - Toshiba EMI
The Oliver Stone film telling the life's story of a Vietnamese woman. Interesting to hear music for specific scenes rather than have a bunch of regular-style album tracks as with his earlier film scores. Includes an orchestra and acoustic Vietnamese instruments. Quite a different style. Closer to Dream than the next album.
Back to the earlier style, but clear effort to include more variety. Some new textures plus some of the nicer old trademarks to remind you this is a Kitaro album. Has a piece where Kitaro combines Indian and Native American music. An enjoyable listen. First album for Domo records.
I've not heard this one.
Peace on Earth1996 DOMO 71014-2 (USA)
This is Kitaro's Christmas album. It has an acoustic ensemble led by Keith Heffner and the International Peace Choir (a children's choir). Kitaro plays synth, organ, percussion and guitar using his trademark sounds. He plays arrangements of old standards plus a couple pieces less well known including a final piece composed by him (and certainly more a spiriual piece than a Christmas one). I played it at an Xmas party and everyone enjoyed it quite a bit. They didn't mind hearing it several times over. (I didn't have many Xmas CDs and everyone still enjoyed it after a couple plays)
Cirque Ingenieux1997 DOMO 71022-2 (USA)
This is music for a theatre-style circus. Early on the album is kind of new-agey, which I didn't care much for. Soon, though, the album gets quite surprising and interesting. He does a 3 part track called Underworld which is by far the darkest piece he's composed, other tracks have some meanace too. Also Contortionists has neat clockwork sequencing.
Here Kitaro does a sort of World music thing with many influences. Though the openning track has the overblown guitar sound not heard since the 80s, its a a decent listen. Sort of a summing up of many musical ideas he's been working with, but far from a definitive statement. A mix of electronics and live ethnic instruments with singing/chanting.
2002 DOMO (USA) 73009-2
While I think the Soong Sisters soundtrack is a separate release in Japan, US pressings in 1999 included in with best of album include it as a bonus disc. It is crerdited to Kitaro and Randy Miller is most notable to me as being mostly orchestral with little up front synth use. While a pleasant score, I didn't find it memorable at all from a CD listening standpoint. It was released separately in the US in 2002
1999 DOMO 72438-47110-2-3 (USA), after 2001 without the bonus- cat# 47111-2
US copies before 2001 included the above soundtrack as a bonus.
1999 DOMO 72438-48129-2-8 (USA)
While the cover with an old upright piano makes one think this might be some kind of piano solo or something, its actually done in his older synth and multi-instrument sound with some guest instrumental soloists. Its kind of enjoyable to hear a lot of sounds similar to his earliest abums. This album won a Grammy Award.
2001 DOMO 7 9401-73000-2-3 (USA)
This one was released in 2000 in Japan and it was tied in to a TV documentary series it was the soundtrack to while the U.S. release is not billed as a soundtrack per se (although it uses the artwork from the series that as I understand it, Kitaro had a hand in producing. While its by no means bad music I was a bit dissapointed that seemingly the tracks are meant to evoke the great early civilazations - Egypt, the Indus Valley, Messopotamia and China -- maybe it was Kitaro's intention to make them all sound kind of similar, but if not, wind up sounding similar. To me the only slightly standout element is some wordless vocal contributions by Slava, who is a Russian-British opera trained male singer who has an, no disrespect, very eerie very high register voice. But even he is kind of blended in rather than really showcased -- so I guess what I'm trying to say is while the album is quite listenable the subject seems so promising that when I hear a not exceptional Kitaro album as the result, I'm more dissapointed than if it were non-thematic based music, which it could have been if I didn't see the booklet.
I've seen a CD5 single in Japan. It has track names from the album, presumably the same versions as on the album but I've not confirmed it.
(*) 2002 Domo (USA) double CD 73002-2
Different from Ancient. The music is from the same documentary TV series project as far as I can tell. Grammy Award nominated.
(*) 2002 Domo (USA) double CD 73015-2
also released on SACD and DVD .
(*) 2003 Domo (USA) 73020-2
Anime series soundtrack. 2 themes by Kitaro.
(*) 2003 Domo (USA)73022-2 also 73024-2 SACD [HYBRID]
Inspired by the events of September 11 and tied into Kitaro's 88 temple pilgrimige on the Japanese island of Shikoku
KITARO MEETS THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (SILK ROAD SUITE) 2LPs 1980
SILK ROAD SUITE was recently 20 Bit Remastered bt Domo.
Kitaro No Sekai (1982) Kitaro's World -Symphony versions: MIRAGE, FLIGHT, AURORA, FIRE, AQUA, SPRING of YOUTH, SHIMMERING HORIZON, OASIS, PILGRIMAGE.
The World of Kitaro was recently 20 Bit Remastered by Domo.
PORTPIER MATSUSHITA KA
HH: It is the name of theme park in KOBE-- Portpier Exhibition. Matsushita is Panasonic--- a Japanese electronics maker. Kitaro composed the theme music. It translates as SPRING of YOUTH
PHILHARMONIC 1000 QUEEN (SYMPHONIC SUITE QUEEN MILLENNIA) - Arranged & Conducted by Jeremy Lubbock
Silk Road Junrei Best (1983).(#?)
Kitaro No Kiseki (1984) (#?) = Kitaro's history This is the symphony version of "Silver Cloud" + "Tenjiku " + Silk Road
Silk Road Junrei Best II (1984) (#?)
AURA NO SAITEN (Probably it is for some exhibition. SAITEN = Festival)
ENDLESS JOURNEY (Probably it is from SEIHO in 1985)
- Inspired by the works of Kitaro
04.08.24 Kanpai Records (USA) cd: 73037-2
1. Crystal Tears - Audiomoe
This is an album of remixes by the newly formed Domo related label Kanpai. What's happening here is Kitaro's melodies are often quite sucessful backed by generally uptempo sounds. Kitaro's material has unquestionably a lot more of a solid melody than a lot of riff based dance tracks and still works well in place of repeated hooks. You can catch excerpts of any of the tracks with the link below
Kitaro's label's page http://www.domo.com
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